Saturday 5 January 2019

Betty & Zero - video

A video from the NHK collection entitled "Seinan Taiheiyo Sensen" (Battle Front of the South West Pacific). Nothing really interesting by the narrator except that the whole video shows training. The Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" unit featured in the news reel is a small mystery. First of all there at least 27 "Bettys" flying in perfect formation. The planes nearest the camera all have two white lines on the fin and a 3-digit number that is placed towards the rear signifying that either the first part, which would have been the unit letter or number  was deleted or is in red. The video was taken on July 13, 1943 and the closest we could get was a photo featured in FAOW#59, p.29 where according to the caption: "Crew and a news reporter are taking a commemorative photo in front of Model 11 early production type in the South battle area (possibly in Rabaul)." Photo date is unknown but notice again the two white lines on the fin. Kisarazu Ku, which is shown in artwork to have a similar looking marking, moved in the area in the end of August 1942 and had the letter "R" to signify the unit. In November 1, 1942 the unit was renamed 707Ku and continued using the same marking. The unit though was dissolved on December 1, 1942 when most of their planes were destroyed. What remained was transferred to 705Ku which used the marking of their original Misawa Ku "H" but also just a number. From June 20, 1943 though it is said they used "TI-" (or "T1-") until they changed again to "705-" from March 1944. So, it is possible that these planes belonged to 705Ku during their marking transition period.
Note the "Betty" flying over a Minekaze-class destroyer and ofcourse the Zeros doing their thing.

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