|A G4M from 14th Sentaļ, over the Solomon Islands|
The Mitsubishi G4M, nicknamed "Betty" by the Allied Intelligence Service, was the first heavy bomber
in use in the Imperial Japanese Navy.
- Role: Long-range heavy bomber. Crew: 7 (G4M1 Model 11)
- Conception: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK
- Production: 2,479 planes produced by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK and Nakajima Hikoki KK
- First flight of prototype: October, 1939
It was first used in south-east China in Spring 1941.
Over Guadalcanal in 1942, the G4M earned the nickname "Hamaki" (flying cigar),
because it often started burning as soon as it was hit by enemy fire. Later versions had more protection,
but the Betty always stayed vulnerable to American fighters, even with 20 mm defensive guns.
On April 18, 1943, Admiral Yamamoto was on an inspection tour of Japanese Navy bases when he was shot down and
killed in a G4M1 Model 12 by a flight of P-38s Lightning.
One of the last missions of the G4M was the most historically important: a G4M was used as a transport for the Japanese
delegation in charge of signing the peace agreements, that marked the end of World War II.
|After the capitulation, this white G4M bears red crosses.|
- When the Pacific War started, 108 G4M1 Model 11 were already in service. It was powered by a pair of Mitsubishi
Kasei 11 14-cylinder radial engines, giving 1,530 hp each. Its defensive armament was three 7.7 mm guns, plus a 20 mm
cannon in the tail. It could carry one ton of bombs, or a torpedo. The improved G4M1 Model 21 had self-sealing fuel
- The G4M2 was powered by a pair of 1,850 hp Kasei 22 engines. Late production versions had a 20 mm cannon instead
of a 7.7 mm gun in the dorsal turret.
Mitsubishi G4M2 ("Betty")
(2x) Mitsubishi Kasei 22 radial
(2x) 1,850 hp
empty: 7,994 kg (17,624 lb) - max overload: 15,000 kg (33,069 lb)
Three 7.7 mm guns (nose and sides), a 20 mm cannon in the tail and another in the top turret
One 800 kg (1,764 kg), or four 250 kg (550 lb) bombs, or one torpedo
Max speed: 437 km/h (272 mph)
Ceiling: 9,144 m (30,000 ft)
- The G4M2e was a special version able to carry and launch the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka manned rocket.
- The G4M3 entered service just before the end of the war. This version had much more protection than previous
versions; however its operational range was reduced by the additional weight, and only 60 were built before war ended.
|A flight of G4Ms from the 705th Kokutaļ over the Solomon Islands, 1943|
Stof's notes about this plane in iMOL's WarBirds
The opinions expressed below are only my own, and nothing more...
The Betty is in my humble opinion one the most underrated plane available in WarBirds©.
- The engines are powerful, and the plane climbs beautifully.
- The G4M has an excellent defensive armament, with rear-firing 20 mm cannons.
- The bombload is quite limited, wih a maximum load of four 250 kg (550 lb) bombs.
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(Plane photo from "Le Fana de l'Aviation" HS3)