Design, Development & Operational HistoryEdit
The long-range twin-engine Mitsubishi G4M torpedo bomber had a relatively small bomb load of 1000 kg but a long flight range of about 6000 km.
Because of the Washington Naval Agreement, Japan was far behind in fleet construction. Therefore, to guard against potential enemy warships, the 10-Shi specification was created, calling for a long-range, twin-engine torpedo bomber.
The power plant consisted of two engines with 1530 horsepower. The plane was the first Japanese plane in history to use retractable landing gear.
Needing to make weight cutbacks to construct a high-speed and long-range bomber, the designers abandoned fuel tank protection, assuming that the G4M1 would be able to flee from enemy fighters. Unfortunately for future G4M crews, due to the lack of fuel protection, the wings (where the fuel tanks were located) easily caught fire. To add to this flaw, the designers' hopes of creating a high speed bomber were not fufilled. Allied fighters capable of intercepting the G4M were already in production by the start of the war.
1170 G4M1s were constructed in total.