|Pilot SPO Shigeyuki Uchibaba (survived, POW)
Observer 2nd Class Petty Officer Kato (KIA)
Engineer 1st Class Petty Officer Furubayashi (KIA)
Radio 2nd Class Petty Officer Hogaki (survived, POW, died)
Tail Gunner Sup. Airman Iizawa (KIA)
Ditched September 22, 1943 at 12:00
Pilot Uchibaba was 23 years old, and had completed primary and middle school. Prewar he was a poultry farmer from Miyagi-ken, Sendai. He volunteered for the Navy on June 1, 1937 at Yokosuka. During December, he was transferred to the Kanoya Kōkūtai for training and in April 1941 to Tsukuba. In October 1941 to Omura and February 1942 to Kisarazu Airfield. On July 23, 1943 he was flown to Tinian and assigned to 751st Kōkūtai as a pilot. During the end of August 1943 he departed Tinian via Truk for Vunakanau Airfield arriving September 1, 1943.
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Manufacture number unknown. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 751st Kōkūtai. Tail 328 painted in white. This bomber had green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces.
On September 22, 1943 one of eight G4M1 Betty bombers that took off at 10:00am from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul. Each bomber was armed with an aerial torpedo on a strike mission against the Allied convoy in the Huon Gulf off Lae. The bomber formation was escorted by approximately twenty A6M Zeros.
While on its torpedo run against a U. S. Navy destroyer, one engine was hit by machine gun fire and crashed into the Huon Gulf around noon. Pilot Uchibaba was knocked unconscious during the
crash and survived. Also, Hogaki survived.
The other crew are presumed to have died in the crash.
Fates of the Crew
Uchibaba and Hogaki were rescued by the destroyer and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Later, Uchibaba was interrogated by the advanced echelon of ATIS No. 1 (AE 71).
Kodochosho, 751 Kōkūtai, September 22, 1943
ATIS No. 1 (AE 71) interrogation Report No. 237 via Richard Dunn
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February 4, 2018