Postwar Latin American Use of the Mitchell

Last revised March 11, 2000


After the war, the B-25 found its way into the service of several Latin American air arms.

BOLIVIA:

Thirteen B-25s were delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Boliviana under the provisions of MAP in 1947. Three of them were later converted into transports and served with the FAB as late as 1979.

BRAZIL:

The Forca Aerea Brasiliera was the only Latin American air arm to receive B-25s under the terms of Lend-Lease during the war. The USA supplied seven B-25Bs, one B-25C, and 21 B-25Js. They were operated by the 4 Grupo de Bombardeio Medio at Foraleza, while the 6 Regimento de Aviacao's 2 Groupo at Salvador operated B-25s along with Lockheed PV-1 Venturas and Lockheed A-28 Hudsons.

Brazil also got additional B-25s from the United States after the war as part of MAP. Between July 11, 1946 and October 2, 1947, at least 64 additional B-25s were delivered to Brazil under the American Republic Projects and subsequent military assistance programs.

The type was finally declared surplus in 1970.

CHILE:

The Fuerza Aerea de Chile acquired twelve surplus B-25Js in 1947. Only eleven can be accounted for, indicating that one may have crashed during delivery. FAC serials were originally 801/811, but were later reserialed in the 900 range. They served with the Grupo de Bombardeo Mediano No 8 at Quintero until being replaced by Douglas B-26 Invaders in 1954.

COLOMBIA:

The Fuerza Aerea Colombiana received three B-25Js in 1947. Their serials were 44-30358, 30397, and 30408. They were assigned the FAC serials 657, 658, and 659, although not necessarily in the order of their USAAF serials. They were used until 1957.

CUBA:

In 1947, four B-25s were purchased by the Fuerza Aerea Ejercito de Cuba from an American source. They were stationed at a military airfield near Havana. Three of them appear to have been B-25Js, with perhaps one of them being a B-25H. These aircraft were sold in 1955-56, and were replaced by six to eight Douglas B-26 Invaders. By the time of Fidel Castro's takeover of Cuba in early 1959, the Cuban B-25s were gone, but in late 1959, Major Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, Castro's first Air Force Chief who had gone into exile earlier in the year, flew over Havana in an unarmed B-25 for half an hour dropping leaflets while dodging light flak and a couple of Hawker Sea Furies sent up to intercept him.

DOMINICA:

Two B-25Hs and three B-25Js were acquired between 1945 and 1952. One of the B-25Hs was later sold back to a US customer.

MEXICO:

Three B-25Js were delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Mexicana in March of 1945. These aircraft were assigned to a Mexico City-based medium bomber squadron. By 1950, the three B-25Js were with Escuadron Aero 206 4/o Grupo Aereo at Cozumel. They are believed to have served until the 1960s.

PERU:

The Fuerza Aerea del Peru received 20 B-25Js in the late 1940s. They equipped the Grupo de Bombardeo 21, which operated them until they were replaced by English Electric Canberras in the 1960s.

URUGUAY:

Fourteen B-25Js and one B-25H were delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya in the early 1950s. Twelve FAU serials are known, FAU 150, 152, 153, 155, 156, 157, 158, 161, 162, 163, and 164.

VENEZUELA:

14 B-25Js were delivered to the Fuerza Aereas Venezolanas between 1947 and 1949. In 1952, ten more B-25Js were purchased from the US, and in 1953 nine former RCAF Mitchells were acquired. At least one B-25H was received in 1955, and another five Mitchells were delivered by 1957 under the Reimbursement Aid Program. They equipped Escuadrones de Bombardeo Nos 3, 7 and 40. No 40 was the last Venezuelan B-35 unit. The last FAV Mitchells were replaced in 1971.

Sources:


  1. B-25 Mitchell: The Magnificent Medium, N. L. Avery, Phalanx, 1992.

  2. Medium with the Mostest--The B-25 Mitchell, Jerry Scutts, Air International, Vol. 44, Nos 2 and 3, 1993.

  3. Boston, Mitchell, and Liberator in Australian Service, Stewart Wilson, Aerospace Publications, 1992.

  4. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  5. North American's Flying Gun--The Story of the B-25 From Paper Airplane to Legendary Bomber, Jack Dean, Wings, Vol 23 No 4, 1993.

  6. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  7. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  8. North American B-25A-G Mitchell, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1966.

  9. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J. H. Taylor.