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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ? Tail Number 302
IJN
702 Kōkūtai
1st Hiko Buntai

Pilot  FPO1c Shigeo Yokokawa (survived, POW)
Crew ? (POW)
Crew  ? (POW)
Crew  ? (WIA, died)

Ditched  June 17, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to 702 Kokutai, 1st Hiko Buntai. Tail number 302 painted in white on both sides of the tail with three horizontal white stripes surrounding the number.

Mission History
On June 17, 1943 one of six bombers that took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on a bombing mission with part of the formation attacking Port Moresby and the rest attacking Dobodura.

Over Port Moresby, four bombers were reported, in fact two bombers that made two bomb runs. On the ground, 3.7" heavy anti-aircraft batteries fired a total of 1,262 rounds. This bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire in one engine and observed losing altitude but managed to cross the Owen Stanley Mountains and reached the sea on the north coast of New Guinea.

Attempting to reach Lae Airfield, the damaged bomber encountered a severe storm and ditched into the sea. The rest of the bomber formation landed safely at both Vunakanau Airfield and Kavieng Airfield.

This mission was the last Japanese Navy bombing mission against Port Moresby and the second to last air raid against Port Moresby.

Fates of the Crew
During the crash landing, one of the crew was injured and soon died. The rest of the crew tried to swim ashore. Three of the crew including pilot Yokokawa were later captured by the Allies and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Yokokawa was hospitalized for months and later interrogated.

Richard Dunn adds: "Seven bombers of 702 Kokutai sortied against Port Moresby and Dobodura. Four bombers were reported over Moresby but apparently it was two bombers making 2 runs. AA engaged firing 1,262 rounds and claimed one bomber was seen on fire and losing altitude. Aircraft No. 302 of the group was hit by AA and lost an engine. The pilot PO 1/C Shigeo Yokokawa got the bomber over the mountains and out over the sea trying to make Lae but after running into a severe storm the crippled bomber crashed. One crew member was injured and soon died. The other tried to swim for shore. Three were eventually captured. The rest of the crew presumably perished. The POW Haganori Furayama (gave his unit as 4 Ku) did not give crew names; no name given for POW, said he was pilot; Sato, name given by POW as 2nd pilot; Fumio Tanaka, name given by POW as navigator; Matsui, name given as mechanic; Murayama, gunner; Tabe, POW though this was name of name of other gunner. It appears Murayama was also captured but I do not have his report."

References
Kodochosho, 702 Kōkūtai, June 17, 1943
ATIS Serial 296 page 5 "PW's last mission 16 Jun '43" [sic 17 June '43] via Richard Dunn
Come What Will page 204 "On Thursday June 17, 1943 I [Richard W. Titus, 101st AAA] recorded my 82nd air raid in my diary. At the same time the Moresby Army News Sheet stated that the Thursday raid was the 112th since official count started."
Thanks to Richard Dunn and Minoru Kamada additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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