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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty    
IJN
705 Kōkūtai

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as G4M1 Model 11 Betty manufacture number unknown. Assigned the 705 Kokutai. No known markings or tail code likely 3?? (last two digits numbers) painted in white.

Wartime History
On April 14, 1943 took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on a bombing mission against Milne Bay led by Lt. Commander Miyauchi Shichiso (Hikocho, 705 Kokutai) including 26 from the 705 Kokutai and 17 from the 751 Kokutai armed with 250kg and 60kg bombs targeting Allied shipping in Milne Bay with a secondary target of airfields.

Over the target, the bombers encountered anti-aircraft fire and were intercepted by P-40 Kittyhawks from 75 Squadron and 77 Squadron before escorting A6M Zeros intervened to intercept the attackers. The aerial attacks caused the bombers to switch to their secondary target and bombed Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip). This bomber might have sustained damage from the Kittyhawks as the reported the bomber was "giving slight trouble".

Meanwhile, six P-38 Lightnings from the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron joined the combat and spotted three waves of bombers. Attacked from the rear by a P-38 Lightning piloted by 1st Lt. Richard I. Bong who reported opening fire with all his guns on the left flank wingman and saw smoke from the left engine and hit the cockpit before observing the bomber was going down. Bong broke off his attack to dive away from Zeros and sustained a 20mm cannon shell hit on one of his elevators. For his actions on this mission, Bong earned the Air Medal.

Aboard, the Betty crew reported the left engine was smoking and the pilot was killed in the initial attack. Subsequent attacks by 3-4 other P-38s killed or wounded other crew members before the bomber went out of control and crashed into Milne Bay.

Fates of the Crew
Two of the crew survived the crash and floated at sea for fifteen hours before being captured by the Allies. Both became Prisoners Of War (POW). Afterwards, both were interrogated by Allied intelligence.

References
Operation A by Richard Dunn

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Last Updated
April 11, 2018

 

Tech Info
Betty
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