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  G6M1-L2 Betty Manufacture Number 209 Tail V-903
Tainan Kōkūtai

Former Assignments
1st Kōkūtai

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Click For Enlargement
US Army December 1942

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Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2005

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi and completed during November 1940. At the factory painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces with black on the inner sides of each engine cowling and top of the nose. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as G6M1-L2 Betty manufacture number 209 as a transport version of the Type 1 / G4M1 Betty bomber. Possibly, this aircraft was used for testing as an escort gunship variant.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 1st Kōkūtai (1st Air Group) with tail code Z-985. Next, transferred to the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) with tail code V-903 painted in large white block letters and numbers. One of two transports assigned, the other was G6M1-L2 Betty 613 Tail V-902. Likely, this Betty operated as a transport flying between the Tainan Kokutai bases at Lakunai Airfield and Lae Airfield. During late August 1942, flown to Buna Airfield (Old Strip).

On August 29, 1942 while parked at the side of the runway at Buna Airfield (Old Strip), destroyed during an air raid by U. S. bombers and fighters including B-26 Marauders from the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG) escorted by P-400 Airacobras. This bomber was destroyed with the center section burned out leaving only the tail section relatively intact and one wing. Also destroyed in the same air raid was G6M1-L2 Betty 613 Tail V-902.

The wreckage of this Betty was abandoned by the Japanese, the wreckage was bombed and strafed during other Allied air raids against Buna Airfield (Old Strip) for the remainder of 1942. The kunai grass grew around the wreckage and possibly grass or .

At the conclusion of the Battle of Buna Airfield on December 27, 1942, the Allies captured many Japanese aircraft Buna Airfield (Old Strip) including the wreckage of this bomber including the tail section and wing wreckage. After the battle, a group of Australian Army and U. S. Army soldiers were photographed posing with the tail section. In the photograph the tail gun position appeared to be modified with a fairing and palm fronds were place on the tail section as camouflage covering most of the tail code with the tail section angled to the left with the right stabalizer pointed at an upward angle. A second photograph shows the wing with Hinomaru near a bomb crater with the tail in the background with tail code V-903 visible with the tail flat with on rudder angle to the left.

The wing and tail section of this bomber are displayed at the end of Buna Airfield, near the war memorials.  A second wing in poorer condition was likely transported to the nearby Buna War Museum, displayed sticking vertically out of the ground.

Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of World War 2 by Osamu Tagaya page 40, 42
Eagles of the Southern Sky (2012) pages 31, 321 (profile)

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Last Updated
November 9, 2019


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