Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works during May 1943. At the factory, painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as as Type 1 Attack Bomber / G4M1 Model 11 Betty manufacture number 2806.
Assigned to the 705 Kokutai. Tail code U-321. This Betty bomber flew missions in the Solomon Islands until abandoned at Ballale Airfield in a ravetment on Ballale Island. A large bomb crater is present off the right
wing. Neither engine is present, presumably removed during the war
for repair or swap with another bomber.
This Betty remained in situ on at Ballale Airfield in a ravetment on Ballale Island. This bomber was standing on its landing gear and rotted remains of the tires. Arguably, this Betty was one of the most impressive World War II wrecks that remained in the world. Pieces of the cowling of one engine are present, and the flap is still
attached to the starboard wing. The wing lower Hinomaru (rising sun) is remarkably preserved on both wings. The top of the tail is
missing with U-3??. Sometime after 1977 a tree impacted the nose causing slight damage.
Justin Taylan visited in 2003:
"On the tail, only 'U-3' was visible,
but previous visitors and records confirm this marking to be U-321 or U2-321."
During August 2018, this bomber was recovered by a foreign salvager and moved across Ballale Island to the beach to await export. Also salvaged was G4M1 Betty 1800 and G4M1 early model fusealge.
Air'Tell Research Report "G4M Serial Numbers" by Jim Long
Aircraft Wrecks page 18 (lower), 39 (upper) 56 (upper)
Charles Darby noted Manufacture Number and tail number in 1974
Hostages To Freedom page 444
Thanks to William Bartsch, Charles
Darby and Yoji Sakaida for additional information
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October 28, 2018