Kamikaze - Japan's Kamikaze pilots and their suicide...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Japan's Kamikaze pilots and their suicide attacks on American warships in the last year of World War 2, remain one of the most terrorizing memories of this war. As I write this essay, three years after terrorist suicide pilots killed thousands in New York and Washington, and as suicide terrorists kill innocent civilians worldwide, it is important to note that history clearly shows, that those who turned to systematic use of suicide warfare, lost their war . In addition to the Japanese Kamikaze pilots air campaign, the essay also explores other suicide weapons and tactics in World War 2, and the military and cultural rationale of suicide warfare, in order to better understand this type of fanatic threat that the free world is facing once again. Kamikaze pilots - Japan's last weapon Kamikaze, which means "Divine Wind" in Japanese, was Japan's last attempt to balance the ever increasing technological and material advantage of the American forces advancing to Japan. The Kamikaze attack tactic was suggested on October 19, 1944, by vice-Admiral Onishi of the Japanese Navy, when he was assigned to command the air attacks against the huge American invasion fleet off the Philippines, and then realized that he had less than 100 operational aircraft for this task. There was no way to sink or even severely damage the American fleet in any conventional tactic, so the Admiral needed a force multiplier, a way to get a significantly greater striking power from a given force. The solution was obvious. Guided weapons provide dramatically greater accuracy and lethality than unguided weapons, producing much greater damage per weapon unit and per sortie. Such weapons already existed and were operational for over a year then, but not in Japan. The German Air Force successfully used large radio-guided Fritz-X bombs against battleships and cruisers since September 1943, but Japan had no such weapon, and therefore Admiral Onishi suggested that volunteer pilots will guide their bomb- carrying aircraft all the way to an explosive suicide collision with their American warship targets, acting as a living guidance system, literally becoming "smart bombs". The new tactic was adopted immediately. Large numbers of pilots, initially qualified and experienced pilots and later air cadets with minimal training who were asked to volunteer, were assigned to "Special Attack" air wings, the official name of the Kamikaze units. Their goal and motto was "One man - one ship". To increase the Kamikaze pilots chance of successful penetration of the American Navy's dense perimeter defense of fighters and anti-aircraft ships, and reach the main ships in the center, most desirably the aircraft carriers, the Japanese concentrated most of the Kamikaze pilots attacks during the battle of Okinawa in ten large attack waves of mixed Kamikaze and conventional attack aircraft, in an attempt to saturate the American defenses. These large attack waves, nicknamed Kikosui (floating Chrysanthemum), were also coordinated with the Japanese naval and ground operations of the battle of Okinawa, the war's last great battle.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 12/03/2011 for the course REL 150 taught by Professor Mason during the Spring '11 term at Lindenwood.

Page1 / 5

Kamikaze - Japan's Kamikaze pilots and their suicide...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online