B-25, Japanese Raider

North American, B-25 Mitchell

Research is by; Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Aviation Artist/Historian


This is my painting of the B-25, the “Ruptured Duck.” This bomber was part of the famous raid on Japan in the months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This bomber was piloted by Ted Lawson.



42 B-25 2003

This is the print I made from my painting of the “Ruptured Duck.”

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This photo is from the movie set, “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo!” The actual artwork had only been sketched on the fuselage with a piece of white chalk. They ran out of time the day they were painting the artwork on the other bombers. They were under the impression that they had another 24hours before the bomber had to be launched. Then suddenly they were forced to launch before the artwork was finished. Davenport who was the co-pilot of the “Ruptured Duck” said that it was hair raising. They knew that this was it. He told me that they were trained and were ready but being forced into launching right away made for an uneasy feeling. There was a little panic. The American Fleet was at risk trying to sneak up on the Home Island of Japan.

The Hornet would eventually pay for this attack on the Island of Japan. The carrier lost it’s entire Torpedo Squadron 8 at the Battle of Midway along with many other pilots and some of the ships crew. Then at the Battle of Santa Cruz luck had run out for the Hornet where she was lost at sea with many of its officers and crewmen.

The Hornet was sunk by the Japanese within the next year or so. The torpedo-Bomber Pilot, Maruyama whom I worked with was one of the attacking Japanese pilots that sank the Hornet at the Battle of Santa Cruz. It was Maruyama that put one of the fatal torpedoes into the American Aircraft Carrier sending it to the bottom of the Pacific.

The many movies and film-clips of the Victory of the United States over Japan has been made out to where the U.S. looked like giants who swatted the fly that bothered them. The Japanese gave as much as they received.

North American B-25 Mitchell

By Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Aircraft Development

The United States Army Air Corp in 1938 issued a request for a new twin-engine medium attack bomber. North American Aviation, Inc. entered the competition and won with their first prototype the NA-40. The bomber was a success and met the Air Corps requirements. Further development continued until the outbreak of war rushed the B-25 (NA-62) into production.

The B-25B above was one of the first to see combat in the Pacific. The new medium bomber was named the “Mitchell” in honor of General Billy Mitchell who is considered the father of modern military aviation.

Manned with a crew of five the B-25 was equipped with armor plating for the crew’s protection and self-sealing fuel tanks. The Mitchell was powered by twin Wright Cyclone engines thundering 1,600-horse power at take off. The three bladed Hamilton Standard propellers could pull the 28,000 pound Mitchell 330 mph.

The powered gun turret was incorporated into the design for the most effective defense. Different combinations of forward firing guns were operated by the bombardier or pilot. Several variations of side and tail guns were tried on other models as combat experience and need developed.

The B-25 Mitchell was one of the most effective medium bombers used by the Army Air Force and the Navy in the Pacific and in Europe. The Mitchell served after the war with many reserve units and with many nations worldwide. The B-25 Mitchell is now a favorite at air shows and aviation museums.


The photo above of another of the Doolittle Raiders shows clearly that many of the artworks were not finished before they had to take off.

Doolittle Raider

By: Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Raid on Japan

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a terrific blow to our Navy and to the moral of the American people. The Pacific and Asia was being consumed by the Japanese Empire. The expansion of the Germans and Italians in Europe and Africa painted a bleak picture for the world’s future.

President Roosevelt wanted to strike back at the Japanese. With the help from Naval planners they decided to plan an attack using medium bombers launched from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Army Air Corp Lt. Col. James Doolittle was asked to help in the plan and the training of the crews for this incredible mission. The new carrier USS Hornet was chosen as the launch platform and the new B-25 Mitchell was selected as their aircraft.

Doolittle realized that he not only wanted to train the crews but obtained permission to lead the attack on Japan. With the operation classified as “Top Secret”, Doolittle and 79 volunteers trained daily until the B-25’s were loaded onto the flight deck of the USS Hornet as the ship and its men set out to change the events of the war.

On April 18, 1942, only 4 months after the attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor 80 brave Americans flew 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet. With the carrier pitching in heavy seas and stormy weather these aviators were truly the tip of the sword. This one event had more emotional impact than any other in raising the moral of the American people and shattering the moral of the Japanese.

Text by Artist and Historian Ernie Hamilton Boyette

I called the co-pilot after I took this photo only to find out that Davenport had just passed away. After talking to Davenport on and off the phone for over a month I was stunned because I really wanted to meet him. I got to hate this part of my experiences of working with our aviators. This happened too many times. But then again I was meeting these men at the end of their lives.

If anyone is interested, the original painting above is available for purchase. Painting size is two feet by four feet. It looks great on the wall. It would look good in your office as well.