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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ?  
4th Kōkūtai

Pilot  Reserve Lt(jg) Takafumi Sasaki (KIA)
Crashed  August 8, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 4th Kokutai. No known tail code or markings.

Mission History
On August 8, 1942 took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul piloted by Reserve Lt(jg) Takafumi Sasaki as one of twenty-six Japanese bombers armed with torpedoes (seventeen from the 4th Kokutai and nine from the Misawa Kokutai) on a mission to attack American ships in Iron Bottom Sound between Tulagi and Guadalcanal. Inbound to the target, three Betty bombers aborted the mission.

Just before noon, the formation of twenty-three G4M1 Betty bombers attacked from minimum altitude and eight were shot down due to anti-aircracft fire and others were interepted by F4F WIldcats only a few managed to release their torpedoes.

During the attack, G4M1 Betty piloted by Reserve Lt(jg) Takafumi Sasaki was damaged by F4F Wildcats from USS Enterprise. At 12:02 his damaged bomber approached USS George F. Elliott AP-13 from the starboard side and was fired on and hit by her gunners before impacting the starboard boat deck aft of the stack.

Burning fuel and wreckage damaged the rear fire main and causing a massive fire from below decks fueled by supplies aboard and topside. Due to the fire, the engine room was abandoned and the ship stopped in the center of Iron Bottom Sound. The crew vainly attempted to use a bucket brigade to fight the fires. Other vessels were unable to render support due to the air raid. The rear bulkhead failed, releasing fuel into the rear hold. The crew abandoned ship shortly after 1:00pm and the ship sank.

Kodochosho, 4th Kōkūtai, August 8, 1942
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko Betty Units of World War 2 page 45-46
The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign page 76, 78, 621

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Last Updated
October 21, 2018


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