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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number 1605 Tail 378
IJN
751 Kōkūtai

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
PNG Museum 1982

Pilot  Yoshikatsu Narusawa (KIA)
Co-Pilot  Mitsuo Iwao (KIA)
Observer  Hiroshi Nagamatu (KIA)
Observer  Tadashi Tamura (KIA)
Radio   Yoshio Sato (KIA)
Engineer  Koichi Toyama (KIA)
Tail Gunner  PO3c Mitsuru Otani (KIA)

Crashed  April 12, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No.3 Works during March 1943. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to 751 Kokutai. Tail number 378 painted in white. Painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. The fuselage Hinomaru was outlined with a white square.

Mission History
On April 12, 1943 took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on a bombing mission against Port Moresby. After the bomb run, this bomber was shot down and crashed into the southern face of Mount Albert Edward onto the East Dome at roughly 9,500' elevation.

It is possible that P-38 Lightning piloted by 2nd Lt. Richard E. Smith from the 39th Fighter Squadron claimed a "Betty bomber over Mt. Albert Edward", possibly this bomber.

Wreckage
After the crash, locals claim the tail gunner survived the crash and was trapped inside the tail, calling out for help.  Frighten by the crash, they ran away and he died of his wounds inside the wreckage.

During November 1982, the wreckage of this aircraft was visited by Joe Hill, who was informed of the trapped gunner story by locals. Afterwards, Hill reported the wreckage to the PNG Museum curator Bruce Hoy who informed the Japanese Ministry of Health & Welfare.

Recovery of Remains
Later that year, a team from the Japanese Ministry of Health & Welfare visited the crash site with Bruce Hoy. In the tail section, they recovered the remains of the tail gunner in situ. The tail gun 20mm cannon was recovered from the wreck and brought to the PNG Museum for display and added to their collection.

References
Air'Tell Research Report "G4M Serial Numbers" by Jim Long
Kodochosho, 751 Kōkūtai, April 12, 1943
Thanks to Bruce Hoy and Yoji Sakaida for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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