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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ? Tail T1-326
705 Kōkūtai

Pilot  FPO2/c Hiroshi Hayashi (survived)
Crew  ?
Crew  ?
Crew  ?
Crew  ?
Crew  ?
Crew  ?
Commander  FPO1/c Hiroaki Tanimura (KIA)
Passenger  Vice-Admiral Matome Ugaki, Chief of Staff (survived)
Passenger  Captain Motoharu Kitamura, Chief Paymaster
Passenger  Commander Rinji Tomoro, Meteorology Officer
Passenger  Commander Kaoru Imananka, Staff Officer 
Passenger  Commander Suteji Muroi, Staff Officer

Crashed  April 18, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Manufacture number unknown. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 705 Kōkūtai. Tail code T1-326.

Mission History
On April 18, 1943 this bomber along with G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail T1-323 participated in the "Yamamoto Mission". Took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul and flew a short distance to Lakunai Airfield to pick up the passengers, departing at 0610. Escorted by six A6M Zeros of the 204th Kōkūtai and the formation departed on schedule and proceeded as planned. The bombers were scheduled to land at Ballale Airfield.

Meanwhile, American P-38 Lightnings of the 339th Fighter Squadron had taken off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal. Flying with auxiliary fuel tanks for the six hundred mile round trip flight. They spotted the Japanese formation south of Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville, and the P-38s spilt up to engage the escorting Zeros while the attack group engaged the two bombers.

Roughly a mile away, the P-38s were spotted by the Japanese formation and Yamamoto's bomber dove to low altitude, and was followed by the other bomber, as a defensive maneuver.

Roughly a mile away, the P-38s were spotted by the Japanese formation and Yamamoto's bomber, followed by this bomber, dove to low altitude as a defensive maneuver.

After the shoot down of Yamamoto's G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail T1-323, this bomber was attacked from the rear by three fighters: P-38G #100 piloted by Holmes, P-38G piloted by Hine and P-38G "Miss Virginia" 43-2204 #147 piloted by Rex Barber.

Holmes dove at the bomber, firing at it and causing the left engine to smoke. Hine next fired at it. Finally, Barber fired into the fuselage and claimed to cause it to explode. Damaged, the bomber ditched into the sea off Moila Point off southern Bougainville.

The only survivors were Vice-Admiral Matome Ugaki, Yamamoto's chief of staff and pilot Hiroshi Hayashi, plus one other crew member who waded ashore.

The former pilot, Hiroshi Hayashi is was still alive as of 2005 and lives on Yaku Sihima Island. He declines interviews from Japanese researchers and authors.

Reportedly, the wreckage of this bomber remained near shore and on a reef.

Kodochosho, 705 Kōkūtai, April 18, 1943
13th Fighter Command "Fighter Interception Report" April 18, 1943
Fading Victory The Diary of Admiral Matome Ugaki, 1941-1945 describes this mission and loss
13th Fighter Command in World War II Chapter 8 - Yamamoto Mission pages 137 -162

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018


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