“The Flying Cigar” – Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” in 28 PHOTOS

H/T War History OnLine.



The G4M was a Japanese high-speed bomber-torpedo carrier. During  World War 2, it was in service with the naval aviation. In the system of codes of allies, this aircraft had the designation “Betty”.  The Mitsubishi G4M combines high speed, long range, and excellent aerodynamic shape. Due to these qualities, it was a symbol of Japanese naval aviation.

The basis for the aircraft was a monoplane scheme with a mid mounted wing and a large fuselage. The large fuselage of the oval section allowed to accommodate large loads and created comfortable working conditions for the crew. The wings of the aircraft had a trapezoidal shape, and the average position of the wings allowed even at high load to keep the centering of the aircraft. The wing profile is “Mitsubishi” MAC 118.

Surrender of Japan, August-September 1945. After circling three times, a Japanese Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” which carried the envoys from Japan landed at Ie Shima airfield.

On the G4M, instead of hydraulic drives, electric drives were used. They seemed more reliable in conditions of low temperatures and high altitudes. The design was all metal with two spars and a retractable landing gear.

The power plant consisted of two, star-shaped two-row 14-cylinder air-cooled “Kasey” 11 engines. The maximum power of the engine was about 1530 hp (take-off). The engines were additionally equipped with a single-stage supercharger. The maximum speed was about 428 km/h. The G4M was equipped with screws with three blades and a diameter of 3.4 meters.

An Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber (probably a G4M2a Model 24 Ko Otsu) pictured somewhere in the Southwest Pacific. Note the radar antenna.

Fuel equipment included eight fuel tanks with a total capacity of 4780 liters. They were located between the wing spars, electric gasoline pumps, and fuel lines. The maximum range was 6034 km, and an altitude of 9220 m.

Small arms included four 7.69mm “Type 92” machine guns and one 20mm cannon. Machine guns were placed in the cockpit of the navigator, in two lateral and upper blisters.  Type 92 Machineguns were a copy of the English Vickers machine gun. The ammunition was from six to seven disc stores for each shooting point. On the ceiling between the blisters could be attached one spare machine gun.

Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack planes (Mitsubishi G4M1 “Betty”) fly low through anti-aircraft gunfire during a torpedo attack on U.S. Navy ships maneuvering between Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the morning of 8 August 1942. The burning ship in the center distance is probably USS George F. Elliott (AP-13), which was hit by a crashing Japanese aircraft during this attack.

The G4M excellently showed itself at the initial stage of the Second World War. They bombed the territories of China and the Philippines, Port Moresby in New Guinea and Darwin in Australia. On December 10, 1941, near the coast of Malaysia, torpedoes of an G4M aircraft destroyed the British battleship Prince of Wales and the cruise liner Repulse.

In January 1942, 17 bombers (including GM4) took off from the Japanese military base in Rabaul and attempted to attack the US aircraft carrier Lexington. However, the American “Wildcat” fighters destroyed 15 of the Japanese bombers.

Japanese Bomber Wrecked on Munda Airdrome.

In the future, because of weak armor, G4M bombers became increasingly easy prey. They received the unofficial nickname “One-time lighter” or “Flying cigar“. During the war, the G4M was produced only at Mitsubishi plants, and 2,414 in all.

After the surrender of Japan, almost all Japanese aircraft were destroyed. The only surviving plane is a G4M1 located in the Museum of Aviation in Santa Monica, USA.

Guadalcanal-Tulagi Operation, 7-9 August 1942 Largely intact floating wreckage of a Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack plane (a type later code named “Betty”), which crashed during the aerial torpedo attack on the Allied invasion



Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack planes (Mitsubishi G4M1 “Betty”) fly low through anti-aircraft gunfire during a torpedo attack on U.S. Navy ships maneuvering between Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the morning of 8 August 1942. Note that these planes are being flown without bomb-bay doors.


A burning Japanese Mitsubishi G4M (Allied code Betty) bomber buring during an attack by US planes, probably in the southwest Pacific, ca. 1943-1945.


Mid- or late-production G4M1 Model 11s with the propeller spinners and rubber ply beneath the wing fuel tanks.


Mistsubishi G4M1 (“Betty”) bomber wreck in Truk Lagoon, Micronesia.


Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber on Ie Shima, August 19, 1945, having carried a Japanese surrender delegation to the island. Note white paint with green cross insignia.


Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” in United States Army Air Forces markings as war booty.


Mitsubishi G4M-49 (US code name- Betty)


Mitsubishi G4M and G6M with Tokyo delegation 1945


Mitsubishi G4M2 model 24 763-12 fitted with Type 3 Ku-6 anti-ship radar


Mitsubishi G6M on the island of Ie Shima 19 August 1945


Mitsubishi G4M2 captured at Clark Field 2


G4M Betty bombers assembly line 1945


Mitsubishi G4M2e of 711 Hikotai, 721 Kokutai “Jinrai” coded 721-328 is carrying an Ohka bomb. Kanoya 1945


Mitsubishi G4M2 model 22 FI-II of ATAIU-SEA


Mitsubishi G4M2 Otsu


Brand new G4M2 model 24


P1Y Ginga and Mitsubishi G4M Betty at Yokosuka naval base August 1945


Mitsubishi G4M bomber coded 762-K-15


G4M and G6M Betty Ie Shima August 19, 1945


Parachute bombs are dropping from low-flying American planes on revetments protecting dispersed G4M bombers on the runway at Vunakanau Airfield, Rabaul, New Britain


G4M1 coded Z2-313 of 751 Kokutai in flight, 1943

Read another story from us: The Japanese Tried A Second Raid On Pearl Harbor

G4M bomber leaving smoke trails

Author: deplorablesunite

I am a divorced father of two daughters. I am a Deplorable. The cat in my profile is my buddy Ronnie Whiskers

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