Date & Time: Apr 18, 1943 at 0800 LT
Type of aircraft:
Mitsubishi G4M
Operator:
Registration:
T1-323
Flight Phase:
Flight
Flight Type:
Military
Survivors:
No
Site:
Plain
Schedule:
Rabaul – Lakunai – Balalae Island
MSN:
2656
Region:
Oceania
Crew on board:
8
Crew fatalities:
8
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
4
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
12
Circumstances:
The aircraft left Rabaul-Vunakanau Airport in early morning bound for Balalae Island with an intermediate stop in Lakunai to pick up passengers. The twin engine aircraft was flying together with another Mitsubishi G4M and an escort of six Mitsubishi Zero. It left Lakunai Airfield at 0610LT and while approaching the south of the Bougainville Island, the formation was attacked by a squadron of 12 USAAF P-38. The G4M was shot down and crashed in a jungle located some 25 km north of Buin, killing all 12 occupants, among them Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto and several high rank Navy Officers who were performing an inspection of the Japanese installations in the area of the Solomon Islands.
Crew (705th Kōkūtai):
W/O Takeo Koyani, pilot,
W/O Takeo Kotani, pilot,
F/S Akiharu Ozaki, copilot,
P/O Haruo Ueda, flight engineer,
P/O Nobuo Hara, radio operator,
P/O Minoru Tanaka, air gunner,
F/S Mitsuo Ueno, air gunner,
F/S Harumasa Kobayashi, air gunner.
Passengers:
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto,
Admiral Takata,
Cdr Kurio Toibana,
Cdr Noburu Fukusaki.
Probable cause:
Shot down by USAAF fighters.