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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number 1651 Tail U2-323
IJN
702 Kōkūtai
2nd Hiko Buntai

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Ray Fairfield 1971

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M Claringbould 1977

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Yoji Sakaida 2005

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works during March 1943. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to 702 Kōkūtai, 3nd Hiko Buntai. Tail code U2-323 in white on both sides of the tail. This bomber was painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces with ASV radar installed in the nose.

Wartime History
This bomber was abandoned at Ballale Airfield.

Wreckage
This bomber remains in situ in the northern area of Ballale Island, near G4M1 Betty 1800. Near the starboard wing is a large bomb crater. Damaged, either wartime bomb damage or a tree impact that broke the fuselage aft of the observation gondola, thrusting the nose upward. Sometime after the mid-1970's, a tree impact smashed the nose section, ripping it open.

The starboard engine is still present but broken off at the mounts and resting at a downward angle. The tail section is intact and it is possible to walk from the middle fuselage all the way to the tail position. The right outer wing panel is missing on the starboard side. Still standing on its landing gear.

Nearby is a fuel bowser, seemingly ready to refuel the bomber for another mission. Its fuel tank is still present, but most of the truck missing, only the engine and cab remain.

Charles Darby adds:
"[This] aircraft had the best surviving set of ASV aerial arrays along the nose. The aerial array on the G4M consisted of four flat-blade antennae each side of the nose. I rather think they were for an ASV Beacon Homing function, but the antennae would have been capable of receiving a wider range of frequencies than any corresponding Allied equipment that I am aware of.  It would have been easy to miss noticing  these flat-blade antennae on the derelict airframes at Ballale as they provided excellent shelves upon which birds-nest ferns could grow.  Only when the ferns were removed were the radar antennae revealed!"

References
Air'Tell Research Report "G4M Serial Numbers" by Jim Long
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 34 (center) , 74 (upper, middle)
Charles Darby noted Manufacture Number as 1651 and tail number as U2-323 during 1974
Photos of this aircraft prior to the tree impact on nose, and references this aircraft was apparently an ASW radar equipped betty.

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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