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G4M1 Bomber Wreck & Mitsubishi Shusui

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Wreckage of a G4M1 "Betty" bomber  at Planes of Fame Air Museum

G4M1 Betty wreck

This display is a re-creation of a a jungle crash site for a Japanese Mitsubishi G4M1 bomber (Allied code name "Betty"). This would have been similar to the crash site of the Mitsubishi G4M1 Hamaki bomber which crashed with Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto aboard in the Solomon Islands, April 18, 1943.

Yamamoto had planned the attack on Pearl Harbor from which the United States was still recovering. When the Japanese code was broken that revealed his travel plans for April 18, 1943, it was decided to intercept and attack his aircraft.

Admiral Yamamoto's crash site

Yamamoto's plane was shot down by USAAF P-38 Lightnings who had traveled over 400 miles with minimal navigational equipment, a particularly dangerous trip for so great a distance over the Pacific Ocean. Normally fighters flew long distances in the company of a larger aircraft like a transport or bomber that had better navigational equipment as well as a navigator onboard. These fighters flew low to evade the radar detection and were equipped with drop tanks to carry enough fuel for the long trip.

The death of the commanding admiral of the Japanese fleet raised morale in the United States and was a major psychological blow for the Japan. Photo on the right above, is of the actual crash site of Yamamoto's G4M1 bomber. Agawa, Hiroyuki, The Reluctant Admiral, Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1979, p. 204.

Mitsubishi  J8M1 Shusui at Planes of Fame Air Museum

Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui

This rare aircraft is one of just two remaining J8M1 Shusui rocket-powered interceptors in the world and the only one on display in the United States. The Shusui is a Japanese version of the German Me-163 Komet.

"Thanks to the foresight of a teenager who spotted the craft in a southern California storage yard, [it is on display at] the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. The 19-year-old who recognized in 1948, an aircraft that few would know even today (the owner of the storage facility thought it might be some kind of boat) was Ed Maloney [founder of Planes of Fame Air Museum]." Lumsden, Marshall. Ed Maloney's Mission: The man behind, beside, and all over, the Planes of Fame Air Museum. March 01, 2008.

The Japanese purchased the license to manufacture the J8M1 Shusui from the Germans in hopes that it would be effective in intercepting the American B-29 Superfortress. Production was started near the World War II.

~Planes of Fame Air Museum - Chino


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