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.
This bomber was abandoned at Ballale Airfield.
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
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!"
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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January 9, 2018