Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ? Tail F-348
4th Kōkūtai
1st Chutai

Click For Enlargement
USN February 20, 1942
Pilot  WO Kenzo Watanabe (KIA)
Co-Pilot  PO3c Minoru ? (KIA)
Observer  Lt. Commander Takuzo Ito (KIA) C.O. 4th Ku Hikotaicho
Observer  Lt. Saburo ? (KIA)
Radio  PO ? Akiba (KIA)
Radio  PO1c ?-ichi Murata (KIA)
Mechanic  PO1c Sukenobu Ietani (KIA)
Mechanic  PO3c ? Hagio (KIA)

Crashed  February 20, 1942 at 5:12pm

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 4th Kōkūtai, 3rd Chutai, with two white strips across the tail and tail number F-348. At the time of the mission, the bomber was leading the formation's 1st chutai. Aboard as observer was Lt. Commander Takuzo Ito, Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 4th Kokutai.

Wartime History
On February 20, 1942 took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul at approximately 11:20am armed with two 250kg bombs on a mission to attack the U. S. Navy (USN) Task Force 11 (TF-11) northeast of Rabaul. At 1:35pm, the 2nd Chutai located the enemy and began their attack. At 2:00pm the 1st Chutai locating the enemy and attacked. This bomber was flying in the 1st Chutai, 1st Shotai as the no. 1 bomber.

Leading the 1st Chutai of eight bombers, the formation sighted Task Force 11, but were intercepted by F4F Wildcat piloted by Lt. Edward 'Butch' O'Hare from VF-3 who made a firing pass, hitting this bomber's left engine and causing it to flame, explode and break off the engine mount and fall out of formation.

Gaining control at low altitude, the bomber salvoed both bombs and attempted to crash into the USS Lexington CV-2. As the damaged bomber approached, it was hit by anti-aircraft fire from the carrier and screening destroyers USS Bagley DD-386 and USS Aylwin DD-355. A sailor aboard the carrier recorded cine film of the bomber's final moments before crashing at 5:12pm.

This Betty crashed roughly 1,400m ahead of USS Lexington CV-2 and 200 yards off the starboard quarter of USS Bagley DD-386. The entire crew was killed during the attack or when it crashed into the sea.

In total, eighteen Betty bombers were shot down and two others crash landed, including this bomber. A total of 88 Japanese airmen were Missing In Action / Killed In Action on this mission. Also lost was G4M1 Betty Tail F-348 commanded by Ito.

Kodochosho, 4th Kōkūtai, February 20, 1942 (translation by Minoru Kamada)
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of World War 2 page 36-37
The First Team page 118, 127, 129

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram