Betty was the Allied code name for the Mitsubishi G4M bomber. This aircraft designed in 1939 for the Imperial Japanese Navy, was quite successful during early part of the war, due long range and good carrying capacity. Unprotected fuel tanks proved their greatest undoing, even leading to death of famous Admiral Yamamoto ambushed while aboard one flying out of New Caledonia.
The G4M was operated throughout the war as both a tactical and torpedo bomber. There were a considerable number of them based at Chuuk’s Param Island, the newest of 5 airports located here. It was a broad duty plane similar to a US Mitchell and was utilized for many purposeful missions. Later reports from eyewitnesses, say there were few pilots at the field, on morning of Feb 16, 1944, and Japanese commanders were pushing mechanics at bayonet tips into the cockpits of close to 50 aircraft sitting vulnerably exposed to incoming attackers.
Most were destroyed on the ground, but several got off only to be forced down shortly thereafter. The illustrated, badly shot-up craft appeared to be attempting an emergency but failed landing on Eten Island’s fighter strip, crashing into the lagoon on approach, and now lying in 60 ft .
- Mitsubishi G4M: Crew 7
- Wingspan: 85 ft.
- Length: 66 ft.
- Height: 20 ft.
- MATOW: 29,000 lbs
- Engines: 2- 14 cylinder MK4A-11 1530 HP each
- Speed: 266 mph at 14,000 ft
- Ceiling: 29,000 ft
- Range: 1875 NM.
- Armament: 4 x 12.7mm machine guns, 1 x 20mm cannon, 1-1750 lb bomb.