Commissioned in 1944, the second USS Comfort ferried injured servicemen from the Pacific Theater battlefields to field hospitals in Australia, New Guinea and the United States. During World War II, nearly 4,000 kamikaze pilots were sacrificed. Taking a break onboard the U.S.S. There are a total of 22 ] WW2 Japanese Kamikaze Aircraft entries in the Military Factory. But as she was standing near her medicine cabinet loading a syringe with penicillin, she felt a jolt unlike any before. There is no other way. , According to some sources, on 14 October 1944, USS Reno was hit by a deliberately crashed Japanese plane. The peak period of kamikaze attack frequency came during April–June 1945 at the Battle of Okinawa. Their motivations in "volunteering" were complex and not simply about patriotism or bringing honour to their families. Its non-retractable landing gear was jettisoned shortly after takeoff for a suicide mission, recovered and reused.  First Lieutenant Takeshi Kosai and a sergeant were selected. As the forward hospital ship at Okinawa, the USS Comfort was a natural target. Devilish. Howard’s hearing gradually returned, and she continued on her regular shifts. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The minute I got up, I was hit again by a club so that I would confess." Kamikaze Attacks Not New to Warfare . The Imperial Japanese Navy's 1st Air Fleet, based at Manila, was assigned the task of assisting the Japanese ships that would attempt to destroy Allied forces in Leyte Gulf. Inside the post-surgical ward of the USS Comfort, Howard began her 12-hour night shift treating some of the 517 patients aboard the ship. We read and read, trying to understand why we had to die in our early twenties.  At Okinawa, kamikaze attacks focused at first on Allied destroyers on picket duty, and then on the carriers in the middle of the fleet. Many of the kamikaze pilots believed their death would pay the debt they owed and show the love they had for their families, friends and emperor. “I kept telling the young man next to my desk that I wouldn’t leave. When the gasoline in the plane caught fire, it ignited a massive explosion that sent Howard flying, as she recalls. Read about WWII fighting tactics like Blitzkrieg and kamikaze attacks, and the eventual end of the war with V-E Day and V-J Day. According to some accounts, two made suicide attacks, one of which hit USS Indiana.. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. All pilots took a five point oath: a soldier must make loyalty his obligation, a soldier must make … In a meeting on 19 October at Mabalacat Airfield (known to the U.S. military as Clark Air Base) near Manila, Onishi told officers of the 201st Flying Group headquarters: "I don't think there would be any other certain way to carry out the operation [to hold the Philippines] than to put a 250 kg bomb on a Zero and let it crash into a U.S. carrier, in order to disable her for a week.  One example of this may have occurred on 7 December 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbour. During World War II, nearly 3,000 kamikaze pilots were sacrificed. Many Army officer kamikaze took their swords along, while the Navy pilots (as a general rule) did not. Decommissioned in 1946, the USS Comfort received two battle stars for its participation in the Leyte and Okinawa campaigns. … By 1945, large numbers of anti-aircraft shells with radio frequency proximity fuzes, on average seven times more effective than regular shells, became available, and the U.S. Navy recommended their use against kamikaze attacks. Naval War College Analysis, p.1; Parshall and Tully. When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. With his superiors, he arranged the first investigations into the plausibility and mechanisms of intentional suicide attacks on 15 June 1944. Despite radar detection and cuing, airborne interception, attrition, and massive anti-aircraft barrages, 14 percent of Kamikazes survived to score a hit on a ship; nearly 8.5 percent of all ships hit by Kamikazes sank..  The attack killed 30 personnel, including the cruiser's captain, Emile Dechaineux, and wounded 64, including the Australian force commander, Commodore John Collins. Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. We tried to live with 120 percent intensity, rather than waiting for death. In total, seven carriers were hit, as well as 40 other ships (five sunk, 23 heavily damaged and 12 moderately damaged). On 6 April 1945, waves of aircraft made hundreds of attacks in Operation Kikusui ("floating chrysanthemums"). “I was blown right off my feet. Tokkōtai pilot training, as described by Takeo Kasuga, generally "consisted of incredibly strenuous training, coupled with cruel and torturous corporal punishment as a daily routine". , The tokkōtai pilot's manual also explained how a pilot may turn back if he could not locate a target, and that a pilot "should not waste [his] life lightly". USS Laffey(DD-724) is a Allen B. Sumner Class Destroyer who survived a fierce kamikaze attack during World War II Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The actions of Howard and her fellow service members also earned the praise of Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the U.S Pacific Fleet, who declared, “The cool and efficient manner with which the Comfort met the situation when a Japanese plane attacked her while on a mission of mercy is a source of pride and gratification.”. Dive deep on key World War II battles (Operation Barbarossa! Up to 300 aircraft at a time dove at the Allied fleet. Seki became the 24th kamikaze pilot to be chosen. , In August 1944, it was announced by the Domei news agency that a flight instructor named Takeo Tagata was training pilots in Taiwan for suicide missions. The Bulge!) About 3,800 kamikaze pilots died during the war, and more than 7,000 naval personnel were killed by kamikaze attacks.. Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka rocket planes, launched from bombers, were first deployed in kamikaze attacks from March 1945. The ultimate offering was to give up one's life. 95-year-old Navy veteran reflects on serving aboard aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill during WWII . “I had to grab a stool because the ship was shaking,” recalls Howard, who turned 100 years of age in 2020.  They also composed and read a death poem, a tradition stemming from the samurai, who did so before committing seppuku. A Japanese plane plunging downwards during a Kamikaze attack . She might not have been able to save them, but she wasn’t about to leave them to die alone either. Although these floating hospitals embark on missions of mercy, they have also become casualties of war. Kamikaze pilots who were unable to complete their missions (because of mechanical failure, interception, etc.) Allied aviators called the action the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot". USS LAFFEY (DD 724) Launched November 21, 1943 Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine Commissioned February 8, 1944 Like wild cherry blossoms Arima was killed and part of a plane hit Franklin. , The manual was very detailed in how a pilot should attack. In the final moments before the crash, the pilot was to yell "hissatsu" (必殺) at the top of his lungs, which translates to "certain kill" or "sink without fail".. The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture and shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture; one of the primary values in the samurai life and the Bushido code was loyalty and honor until death. Allied pilots were more experienced, better trained and in command of superior aircraft, making the poorly trained kamikaze pilots easy targets.  Japanese planners had assumed a quick war and lacked comprehensive programmes to replace the losses of ships, pilots and sailors; and Midway; the Solomon Islands campaign (1942–1945) and the New Guinea campaign (1942–1945), notably the Battles of Eastern Solomons (August 1942); and Santa Cruz (October 1942), decimated the IJNAS veteran aircrews, and replacing their combat experience proved impossible.. We felt the clock ticking away towards our death, every sound of the clock shortening our lives. Some of these escort pilots, such as Zero pilot Toshimitsu Imaizumi, were later sent out on their own kamikaze missions. About 14% of kamikaze attacks managed to hit a ship. Suicide-mission pilots looked over their shoulders to see the mountain, the southernmost on the Japanese mainland, said farewell to their country and saluted the mountain.  The speedy Ohkas presented a very difficult problem for anti-aircraft fire, since their velocity made fire control extremely difficult. Shinpū is the on-reading (on'yomi or Chinese-derived pronunciation) of the same characters as the kun-reading (kun'yomi or Japanese pronunciation) kamikaze in Japanese. U.S. , One source claims that the first kamikaze mission occurred on 13 September 1944. Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war. On December 13, 1944, a kamikaze aircraft carrying a bomb under each wing crashed into the deck of light cruiser USS Nashville (CL43) with both bombs exploding. , Rear Admiral Masafumi Arima, the commander of the 26th Air Flotilla (part of the 11th Air Fleet), is sometimes credited with inventing the kamikaze tactic. The battle marked the first significant use of kamikaze aircraft in combat. In 1890, the Imperial Rescript on Education was passed, under which students were required to ritually recite its oath to offer themselves "courageously to the state" as well as protect the Imperial family. During World War II, the pronunciation kamikaze was used only informally in the Japanese press in relation to suicide attacks, but after the war this usage gained acceptance worldwide and was re-imported into Japan. One man, in particular, is credited with inventing the tactic of Kamikaze attacks. About 19% of kamikaze attacks were successful. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country, and I would like to command such an operation. The Kamikaze attack required first and foremost a mental attitude to the task and any average pilot was suitable for it in terms of his skills. On 20 March, the submarine USS Devilfish survived a hit from an aircraft just off Japan. Five A6M Zeros, led by Seki, were escorted to the target by leading Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, and attacked several escort carriers. 2. A final element included intensive fighter sweeps over Japanese airfields, and bombing of Japanese runways, using delayed-action bombs to make repairs more difficult.. " Publishers also played up the idea that the kamikaze were enshrined at Yasukuni and ran exaggerated stories of kamikaze bravery – there were even fairy tales for little children that promoted the kamikaze. During World War II, two dozen hospital ships were sunk by enemy fire, ... READ MORE: How Japan's Kamikaze Attacks Went From Last Resort at Pearl Harbor to WWII Strategy.  But in most cases, little evidence exists that such hits represented more than accidental collisions of the kind that sometimes happen in intense sea or air battles. The exact number of ships sunk is a matter of debate. Firsthand interviews with surviving kamikaze and escort pilots has revealed that they were motivated by a desire to protect their families from perceived atrocities and possible extinction at the hands of the Allies. According to a wartime Japanese propaganda announcement, the missions sank 81 ships and damaged 195, and according to a Japanese tally, kamikaze attacks accounted for up to 80% of the U.S. losses in the final phase of the war in the Pacific. As Allied forces made their final push toward Japan in April 1945, the U.S. Navy hospital ship joined the invasion force at the Battle of Okinawa.  The destroyer USS Laffey earned the nickname "The Ship That Would Not Die" after surviving six kamikaze attacks and four bomb hits during this battle. In the immediate aftermath of kamikaze strikes, British carriers with their armoured flight decks recovered more quickly compared to their US counterparts. U.S. personnel gave them the derisive nickname "Baka Bombs" (baka is Japanese for "idiot" or "stupid"). Kamikaze were Japanese suicide pilots who attacked Allied warships in the Pacific Ocean during the Second World War.The name means "divine wind" and refers to a typhoon that destroyed an enemy fleet in the 13 th century.After the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 they were defeated in many important battles in which they lost ships and airplanes. , The resilience of well-armoured vessels was shown on 4 May, just after 11:30, when there was a wave of suicide attacks against the British Pacific Fleet. Doris Gardner is pictured second from the left. On 25 October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Kamikaze Special Attack Force carried out its first mission. One Zero attempted to hit the bridge of USS Kitkun Bay but instead exploded on the port catwalk and cartwheeled into the sea. It was not safe to be on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II, even by the standards of that war. The most effective use of kamikazes was in the battle for Okinawa. The fires were gradually brought under control, and the crater in the deck was repaired with concrete and steel plate. Allied pilots became adept at destroying enemy aircraft before they struck ships. Its bomb caused fires that resulted in the bomb magazine exploding, sinking the carrier. These factors, along with Japan's unwillingness to surrender, led to the use of kamikaze tactics as Allied forces advanced towards the Japanese home islands. The U.S. Fast Carrier Task Force alone could bring over 1,000 fighter aircraft into play. , A Japanese monoplane that made a record-breaking flight from Tokyo to London in 1937 for the Asahi newspaper group was named Kamikaze. Late in 1944, the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) used the good high-altitude performance of its Supermarine Seafires (the naval version of the Spitfire) on combat air patrol duties. Ships Sunk or Damaged during 1945", "History and Technology - Kamikaze Damage to US and British Carriers - NavWeaps", Dr Richard P. Hallion, 1999, "Precision Weapons, Power Projection, and The Revolution In Military Affairs", "Advice to Japanese kamikaze pilots during the second world war", "The Hindu : International : A "Japanese hero" goes home", "Ore wa, kimi no tame ni koso shini ni iku (2007) – IMDb", Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office, Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors, Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, German pre–World War II industrial co-operation, International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Japanese dissidence in 20th-century Imperial Japan, Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kamikaze&oldid=991963561, Aerial operations and battles of World War II, Military history of Japan during World War II, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from November 2020, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from September 2010, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The Japanese word kamikaze is usually translated as "divine wind" (kami is the word for "god", "spirit", or "divinity", and kaze for "wind"). During the invasion of Okinawa, the British Pacific Fleet’s job was the Sakishima Islands, which are located about midway between Taiwan and Okinawa. Ceremonies were carried out before kamikaze pilots departed on their final mission. The kamikaze attack struck the heart of the floating hospital, plunging through its decks and into the surgery unit, instantly killing six nurses, four surgeons and seven patients. , In early 1945, U.S. Navy aviator Commander John Thach, already famous for developing effective aerial tactics against the Japanese such as the Thach Weave, developed a defensive strategy against kamikazes called the "big blue blanket" to establish Allied air supremacy well away from the carrier force. Early on 21 October, a Japanese aircraft deliberately crashed into the foremast of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia. Many of those who were selected for a bodycrashing mission were described as being extraordinarily blissful immediately before their final sortie. When Japan began to suffer intense strategic bombing by Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, the Japanese military attempted to use suicide attacks against this threat. He lists: It was claimed by the Japanese forces at the time that there were many volunteers for the suicidal forces. He was promoted posthumously to Vice Admiral and was given official credit for making the first kamikaze attack. , In Japanese, the formal term used for units carrying out suicide attacks during 1944–1945 is tokubetsu kōgekitai (特別攻撃隊), which literally means "special attack unit". A Kamikaze plane during the attack on US warships. , Some Japanese military personnel were critical of the policy. The attacks expended 1,465 planes. The Japanese lost over 400 carrier-based planes and pilots in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, effectively putting an end to their carriers' potency. Some 77 destroyers were lost in the war and 17 of those were from kamikaze attacks. A group of pilots from the army's 31st Fighter Squadron on Negros Island decided to launch a suicide attack the following morning. Such situations occurred in both the Axis and Allied air forces. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a "body attack" (tai-atari) in planes loaded with bombs, torpedoes or other explosives. Photo by the US Naval History and Heritage Command Haruo was one of more than 2,000 Japanese servicemen who perished in kamikaze attacks during the three month long battle for the island of Okinawa, located just 400 miles south of mainland Japan, that raged from April 1 to June 22, 1945. Residents on Kikaishima Island, east of Amami Ōshima, say that pilots from suicide-mission units dropped flowers from the air as they departed on their final missions. This brutal "training" was justified by the idea that it would instill a "soldier's fighting spirit", but daily beatings and corporal punishment eliminated patriotism among many pilots. During 1945, the Japanese military began stockpiling hundreds of Tsurugi, Ohkas, other aircraft and suicide boats for use against Allied forces expected to invade Japan. Comfort, the nurses were teaching themselves to play bridge. USS Laffey DD724 in World War II . In 1942, when U.S. Navy vessels were scarce, the temporary absence of key warships from the combat zone would tie up operational initiatives. Everybody was looking down and tottering. The hospital ship’s bright white paint glistened in the glow of a full moon as it sailed 50 miles offshore from Okinawa on the night of April 28, 1945. Like all Army and Navy servicemen, the kamikaze would wear their senninbari, a "belt of a thousand stitches" given to them by their mothers. If you would like to read the rest of this and other articles, visit our order page to see which digital editions we have on offer. On October 25, 1944, during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, the Japanese deploy kamikaze (“divine wind”) bombers against American warships for the first time.It will prove costly–to both sides Attack on HMAS Australia—21 October 1944" (j-aircraft.com), "Divine Wind The Japanese secret weapon – kamikaze suicide attacks", "HyperWar: Antiaircraft Action Summary--Suicide Attacks [Chapter 2]", "United States of America 20 mm/70 (0.79") Marks 2, 3 & 4", American Merchant Marine at War (website), 2006, "Chronological List of U.S. , On 17 October 1944, Allied forces assaulted Suluan Island, beginning the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Japanese Kamikaze attacks - numbering close to 3,000 - against the Allies netted between thirty-five and sixty ships sunk with nearly 5,000 lives claimed. “Ordinary tactics are ineffective. "In our present situation I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes. According to a U.S. Navy report, a kamikaze had been shot down within 75 yards of the bow of the ship on April 6 and three bombs were dropped near the ship on April 9 but missed their mark. Seki is said to have closed his eyes, lowered his head and thought for ten seconds before saying: "Please do appoint me to the post." She had become used to hearing enemy planes roar overhead and feeling the vessel quake so violently it felt like it might overturn when nearby ships sank beneath the roiling waters. "After the war, some commanders would express regret for allowing superfluous crews to accompany sorties, sometimes squeezing themselves aboard bombers and fighters so as to encourage the suicide pilots and, it seems, join in the exultation of sinking a large enemy vessel." Eight kamikaze hits on five British carriers resulted in only 20 deaths while a combined total of 15 bomb hits, most of 500 kg (1,100 lb) weight or greater, and one torpedo hit on four carriers caused 193 fatal casualties earlier in the war – striking proof of the protective value of the armoured flight deck. How Japan's Kamikaze Attacks Went From Last Resort at Pearl Harbor to WWII Strategy.  Kamikaze attacks were more accurate than conventional attacks, and often caused more damage. Yasukuni is the only shrine deifying common men which the Emperor would visit to pay his respects. READ MORE: How Japan's Kamikaze Attacks Went From Last Resort at Pearl Harbor to WWII Strategy. The USS Comfort had been hit by a Japanese suicide pilot who had directed his plane at the massive Red Cross emblem painted on the ship’s hull as if it were a bullseye. Britain's post-war economic situation played a role in the decision to not repair damaged carriers, while even seriously damaged American carriers such as USS Bunker Hill were repaired, although they were then mothballed or sold off as surplus after World War II without re-entering service. , While it is commonly perceived that volunteers signed up in droves for kamikaze missions, it has also been contended that there was extensive coercion and peer pressure involved in recruiting soldiers for the sacrifice. A look at the organization and meth ods of the kamikaze units shows why the . This recommended combat air patrols (CAP) that were larger and operated further from the carriers than before, a line of picket destroyers and destroyer escorts at least 80 km (50 mi) from the main body of the fleet to provide earlier radar interception and improved coordination between fighter direction officers on carriers. Tropical diseases, as well as shortages of spare parts and fuel, made operations more and more difficult for the IJNAS. The B-29 also had formidable defensive weaponry, so suicide attacks against the plane demanded considerable piloting skill to be successful, which worked against the very purpose of using expendable pilots. The invasion never happened, and few were ever used. The crashing action which simultaneously kills the enemy and oneself without fail is called the Special Attack ... Every Japanese is capable of becoming a member of the Special Attack Corps. During World War II, Japanese Special Attack Units (特別攻撃隊, tokubetsu kōgeki tai, often abbreviated to 特攻隊 tokkōtai), also called shimbu-tai, were specialized units of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army normally used for suicide missions.They included kamikaze aircraft, fukuryu frogmen, and several types of suicide boats and submarines Ōnishi, addressing this unit, told them that their nobility of spirit would keep the homeland from ruin even in defeat. Although international law forbade attacks on hospital ships, it appeared the USS Comfort was deliberately targeted, perhaps in retaliation for the torpedoing of the unarmed Japanese vessel Awa Maru, which had been declared a Red Cross relief ship.  By day's end on 26 October, 55 kamikazes from the Special Attack Force had also damaged the large escort carriers USS Sangamon, Suwannee (which had also been struck The sinking of the ocean tug USS Sonoma on 24 October is listed in some sources as the first ship lost to a kamikaze strike, but the attack occurred before 25 October, and the aircraft used, a Mitsubishi G4M, was not flown by the original four Special Attack Squadrons. Later, Tamai asked Lieutenant Yukio Seki to command the special attack force. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.