This aircraft was nicknamed the "Flying Cigar" because the fuel tanks were unprotected and easily caught fire. Nevertheless the Mitsubishi G4M was the most famous Japanese bomber of the war and the one produced in the largest quantity. The aircraft saw service throughout the war, from the first day to the last, and was well known by the Allied codename of "Betty". The G4M series was begun late in 1937 at the request of the Japanese Navy, which wanted a land-based bomber that was even better than Mitsubishi's excellent G3M, which was just going into service at that time. High speed and long range were the chief requirements, and the G4M in fact ended up with outstanding range, which literally revolutionized operational concepts in the Pacific. Mass production of the bomber began in 1940, and the first planes came off the assembly line in April 1941. The aircraft made its operational debut in the last phases of the war against China. When Japan and the United States went to war, the G4M had considerable operational experience behind it. Its experience and its long range were responsible for the plane's great success, particularly during the first year of war in the Pacific. The Mitsubishi bomber played a major role in the sinking of the British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse on December 10, 1941. Soon, however, the Allied air forces learned to exploit its weaknesses (such as insufficient armor and unprotected fuel tanks), and they found themselves no matches for the ever more powerful and plentiful Allied fighters.
Mitsubishi G4M3 Model 34
Type: Land Based Attack aircraft Service: Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) Crew: seven Armament: four 7.7mm Type 92 machine guns (2 in nose, 2 in waist) two 20mm Type 99 cannon (1 each in dorsal and tail turrets) one 1764 lb (800 kg) torpedo or up to 2205 lb (1000 kg) bombs Reference: Francillon: 386, Mondey: 203 Specifications: Length: 63' 11.75" (19.50 m) Height: 19' 8.25" (6.0 m) Wingspan: 82' 0.25" (25 m) Wing area: 841.01 sq. ft (78.13 sq. m) Empty Weight: 18,409 lbs (8350 kg) Max Weight: 27,558 lbs (12500 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 2 Powerplant: Mitsubishi MK4T Kasei 25 14-cylinder radial Horsepower: 1825 hp each Performance: Range: 2694 miles (4335 km) Cruise Speed: 195 mph (315 km/hr) at 13125 ft Max Speed: 292 mph (470 km/hr) at 16895 ft Climb to/in: 22965 ft (7000 m) in 20 min 10 sec Ceiling: 30250 ft (9220 m)
Production: approximately 2446 G4Ms and G6Ms total
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia HERE.
For several very nice scale color drawings of this aircraft, see here (11 versions available on left).
(note: in the final illustration, the crosses on the surrender aircraft should be GREEN).
Additional color schemes for this aircraft can be found here.
(go to Mitsubishi page)
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