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by Osamu Tagaya
Osprey Publishing 2001
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|Osprey Combat Aircraft 22
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of WWII
If the "Zero" is the best known Japanese fighter of WWII, it is the "Betty" that gets that distinction in the bomber category. Despite this fame, little is published in english about the stories of the aircrews and missions they preformed. Readers learn about its design, operations, and stories of its crews, from the first days of the Pacific war, until the very end of the Japanese empire.
Revolutionary in its design, the Betty fulfilled Imperial Japanese Naval requirements for a bomber that could operate from land bases, and fly incredible distances to attack enemy ships far out at sea, or distant bases, and deliver torpedoes and bombs. Its range and performance were unbelievable, compared to other aircraft designs at the time, and the Allies greatly underestimated this bomber's abilities in the first months of the war.
Author Tagaya tells the history of this famous bomber. At the start of the war, the bomber changed the course of history off the Malay peninsula in particular, Bettys were instrumental in the sinking the British battleships Repulse and Prince of Whales. Like the dive bombers and torpedo bombers at Pearl Harbor, the Betty's success sunk the reign of the battleship.
As the war progress, the Betty was the spearhead of Japanese bombing raids, serving over New Guinea, and northern Australia. Following the Marine landings on Guadalcanal, Bettys made daily appearances over the island to harass the Americans, and attempt to bomb Henderson Field into submission.
Fighting continuously, the Kokutai
(units) of Betty bombers began to feel the effects of war, and the
drawbacks off their
by the Americans - particularly their lack of armor plating or
protected fuel tanks. As the war dragged on, more and more Betty
Review by Justin Taylan
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