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  G4M1 Model 11 Betty Manufacture Number ? Tail Number F-355
4th Kōkūtai
2nd Shotai
2nd Chutai

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Click For Enlargement
Australian Army
May 18, 1942
Pilot  FPO1c Chiharu Oyama (KIA)
Co-Pilot ?
Navigator ?
Gunner ?
Gunner ?
Gunner ?

Crashed  May 18, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi at Nagoya No. 3 Works. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to 4th Kokutai. Possibly assigned tail code F-355.

Mission History
On May 18, 1942 one of sixteen G4M1 Betty bombers led by Lt. Commander Hatsuhiko Watanabe took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul armed with 60kg bombs on a bombing mission against Port Moresby. This bomber was part of the 2nd shotai, 2nd chutai. The formation was escorted by A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai.

Over the target, the Bettys dropped their bombs over 7 Mile Drome hitting the northwest end of the runway and dispersal area damaging water supplies, telephone lines, tents, a mess hall and two trucks from the Australian Army 17th anti-tank regiment, C Troop.

After completing the bomb run, the Bettys were intercepted by Airacobras from the 8th Fighter Group, 35th Fighter Squadron and 36th Fighter Squadron. This bomber was hit causing it to catch fire and explode in mid air before crashing near Port Moresby. Afterwards escorting A6M2 Zeros of the Tainan Kōkūtai could intercept the intercepting Airacobras.

That same day, the crash site was investigated by Australian Army soldiers from the 53rd Militia Battalion. At the crash site, they salvaged radio equipment, the instrument panel and 20mm cannon. They also recovered the bodies of four of the crew and transported them to Port Moresby for burial, likely at Bomana Cemetery.

COIC Intell Resume to 1100K/19/5/42 May.
“One T99 heavy bomber [sic Type 1] shot down [by P-39's] and burnt in air.”

“Further to Raid 52 on 18.5.42. Two more Jap bodies were found by 53rd Bn. in vicinity where Jap bomber crashed in flames.”

Kodochosho, 4th Kōkūtai, May 18, 1942
AWM 52-1-5-51-014 pages 6-9
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of World War 2 page 41
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 139-140
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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