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  G6M1-L Betty "Bataan 1"  
IJN
Yokosuka Kōkūtai

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Click For Enlargement
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August 19, 1945

Co-Pilot  Rinpei Komai (survived)
Ditched  August 21, 1945 around midnight


Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as G6M1-L Betty manufacture number unknown. Assigned to the Yokosuka Kokutai. No known tail code or markings.

Wartime History
After Japan's capitulation, this aircraft was painted overall white with green crosses, in accordance with the terms of surrender for aircraft. Initially, larger crosses were painted on the upper surfaces of the wings, fuselage and each sides of the tail, mistakenly painted too large. These were over painted (but visible through the white paint). Two slightly smaller green crosses were painted over top on the upper wings and sides of tail.

After Japanese capitulation, on August 17, 1945 U. S. Army General MacArthur instructed the Japanese to send emissaries to Manila to arrange the formal surrender, and bring with them all of Japan's defensive plans. Japanese Army Chief of Staff, General Umezu refused to participate and delegated the mission to General Torashiro Kawabe, who choose fifteen staff members to accompany him.

On August 19, 1945 two Betty bombers, this aircraft and a G4M1 Betty, both painted in surrender markings took off from Tokyo with the Japanese delegation aboard and proceeded southward to Ie Shima.

Rendezvousing with two B-25J Mitchells from the 345th Bombardment Group, with two others flying backup in case the first two missed the rendezvous point, before locating the two Japanese were bombers flying slightly off course. Providing top cover were six P-38 Lighting of the 80th Fighter Squadron. The Americans assigned the call signs "Bataan I" and "Bataan II" to the Japanese aircraft. This G6M1-L was assigned call sign "Bataan I". The Japanese landed at Ie Shima Airfield at 12:40pm in front of a large crowd of Americans gathered to witness their arrival.

On the ground, the delegation boarded C-54E Skymaster 44-9045 and were flown to Manila to meet with General MacArthur's staff to establish the details for the surrender. Both Bettys and their air crews remained at Ie Shima Airfield.

After the meeting, the delegation returned to Ie Shima Airfield on August 20, 1945. While taxiing at Ie Shima Airfield the other aircraft G4M1 Betty "Bataan 2" slipped off the runway and required minor wheel repairs that required five to remain behind while the rest of the crew and passengers boarded "Bataan 1" instead

Mission History
On August 20, 1945 took off from Ie Shima Airfield at 6:40pm with the Japanese delegation aboard on the return flight to Tokyo. This bomber was escorted by B-25J Mitchells from the 345th Bombardment Group to a point 55 miles north Ie Shima then proceeded back to Japan.

On August 21, 1945 after midnight "Bataan 1" developed a fuel leak, reportedly due to the incorrect conversion from a gallon to a liter when the bombers were refueled. Low on fuel, this bomber ditched into shallow water off the east coast of Honshu roughly 130 miles short of Tokyo. Everyone aboard survived unhurt.

Fates of the Crew
After the ditching, the crew and passengers waded ashore and were assisted ashore by local fisherman then proceeded by train to Tokyo, arriving the morning of August 21 to deliver the surrender information. As 2000, co-pilot Rinpei Komai, was still alive.

References
Warpath Across the Pacific pages 355-358
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII pages 98-100
Thanks to Yoji Sakaida for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Information
G6M1-L


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