Marine Bombing Squadron Six-Thirteen
October 1, 1943 - November 21, 1945
VMB-613 Insignia


PBJ-1H - The last type of aircraft received by VMB-613 was the PBJ-1H, a navalized equivalent of the USAAF B-25H.  This aircraft boasted very heavy armament.  Armament included a 75mm T13E1 cannon and a total of 14 .50 caliber machine guns -- four in the nose, four package guns (two on each side) below the pilot's compartment, one on each side in slightly staggered waist positions, two in a power operated Bendix Model "R" turret, and two in a power operated Bell type M-7 turret in the tail of the aircraft.  In addition to the armament, these aircraft were heavily modified for Marine Corps use.  Modifications included the addition of AN/APS-3 ("Dog") search radar in a radome on the starboard wingtip, AN/APN-4 Loran receiver, APK-2 IFF, AN/APN-1 radar altimeter, SCR-522A VHF radio, ARN-8 marker beacon, C-1 automatic pilot, ATC radio transmitter, ARB receiver, YC-2B receiver, BC-348 liaison receiver, and the AN/APG-13A ("Falcon") 75mm radar gun director.  Further modifications to the aircraft took place once VMB-613 arrived overseas. Most notably, due to the absence of Japanese aircraft, the top turret was removed and an astrodome was installed in its place. This modification reduced the crew by one, the mechanic-gunner, saving weight and increasing the aircraft's range. Later modifications included the elimination of the four package guns, a modification which further increased the aircraft's range. 

Although the PBJ-1H was only equipped with a single set of controls, all of VMB-613's aircraft carried two qualified naval aviators (pilot and co-pilot), with the copilot's primary duties being the operation of the radar gun sight and assisting the pilot.  Additionally, the pilot and co-pilot would often switch seats in flight in order to reduce fatigue and maintain the co-pilot's effectiveness in flying the aircraft.  The navigator sat in a station behind the pilot and copilot, and had the additional duty of loading the 75mm cannon.  Two radio-gunners, whose primary duties were to operate and monitor the search radar and communications equipment, manned single flexible mounted machine guns in the waist positions.  Completing the crew, a mechanic-turret gunner manned the top turret, while in the rear, an armorer-turret gunner operated the machine guns in a power-operated tail turret. 

All of VMB-613's PBJ-1Hs were initially finished in the three-tone color scheme adopted by the U.S. Navy in March of 1944 -- sea blue, intermediate sea blue, and white.  An unusual feature to this color scheme was that the sea blue on the upper surfaces was carried over onto the leading edges of the lower surfaces of the wing and horizontal stabilizer.  Each aircraft's Bureau of Aeronautics Number was painted on the vertical stabilizer in black four-inch numbers.  Above the Bureau Number, the word "Navy" appeared, also in black four-inch letters.  The squadron number for each aircraft was stenciled in large white numbers within a dark-colored rectangular box below the aircraft's Bureau Number.  The purpose of this dark-colored rectangular box was simply to obliterate the original two-digit aircraft numbers used stateside while the squadron was training.  While overseas the commanding officer permitted the application of rudimentary names to each aircraft.  Painted in white, each aircraft's name appeared in a semi-circular fashion on the port side above the opening for the 75mm cannon blast tube.  The names which have been documented include 8-Ball, Betty Lou, Bung-Ho!, Fireball, Flaming Fury, Green Weenie, Ladders Up, Long Gone, Love Bug, Miss-Carriage, and Pregnant Annie.  Eventually paint was removed from leading edges of wings, center section, empennage, engine cowling, and nose of each aircraft leaving the surface of these areas in a natural aluminum finish.  Once this had been done, the names of the individual aircraft were not reapplied.  This local modification to the standard paint scheme was simply due the inability to maintain paint on these surfaces due to the amount of coral sand that was constantly blown around on the flight line, and the maintenance and runway areas.

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