Photo from the collection of Doris Howard. We felt the clock ticking away towards our death, every sound of the clock shortening our lives. 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. In a 2004 book, World War II, the historians Willmott, Cross and Messenger stated that more than 70 U.S. vessels were "sunk or damaged beyond repair" by kamikazes. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (Kugisho) in Yokosuka refined Ohta's idea. 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 A final element included intensive fighter sweeps over Japanese airfields, and bombing of Japanese runways, using delayed-action bombs to make repairs more difficult.. 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. Through war and peace, American hospital ships have served the country since 1804 and the First Barbary War. I was thrown about two yards against a bulkhead and landed with my entire spine against the bulkhead and cracked my head hard. 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. Kamikaze Attacks Not New to Warfare . For example, during WWII the Ticonderoga-class of carriers added two 40mm guns that acted as a layer of defense against new threats posed by kamikaze attacks that turned planes into missiles. It was not safe to be on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II, even by the standards of that war. 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. Devilish.  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 It appeared the kamikaze pilot had hit his mark, however, since a document found with his body listed potential targets that included hospital ships. It's all a lie that they left filled with braveness and joy, crying, "Long live the emperor!" On 20 March, the submarine USS Devilfish survived a hit from an aircraft just off Japan. 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. 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.  The poem reads: If someone asks about the Yamato spirit [Spirit of Old/True Japan] of Shikishima [a poetic name for Japan]—it is the flowers of yamazakura [mountain cherry blossom] that are fragrant in the Asahi [rising sun]. Although causing some of the heaviest casualties on U.S. carriers in 1945, the IJN had sacrificed 2,525 kamikaze pilots and the IJAAF 1,387—far more than it had lost in 1942 when it sank or crippled three carriers (albeit without inflicting significant casualties). On 19 June 1944, planes from the carrier Chiyoda approached a US task group. " Young Japanese people were indoctrinated from an early age with these ideals. More specifically, air suicide attack units from the Imperial Japanese Navy were officially called shinpū tokubetsu kōgeki tai (神風特別攻撃隊, "divine wind special attack units"). , Before the formation of kamikaze units, pilots had made deliberate crashes as a last resort when their planes had suffered severe damage and they did not want to risk being captured, or wanted to do as much damage to the enemy as possible, since they were crashing anyway. and locations (including the Second Front and that irresistible but deceptive Soft Underbelly). Morris Neighbors, 95, holds a model of a ship like the one he served aboard during World War II. This is usually abbreviated to tokkōtai (特攻隊). The Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi was a simple, easily built propeller aircraft with a wooden airframe that used engines from existing stocks. USS LAFFEY (DD 724) Launched November 21, 1943 Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine Commissioned February 8, 1944 Provide me with 300 planes and I will turn the tide of war. About 14% of kamikaze attacks managed to hit a ship. The Seafires' best day was 15 August 1945, shooting down eight attacking aircraft with a single loss.  They also composed and read a death poem, a tradition stemming from the samurai, who did so before committing seppuku. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country, and I would like to command such an operation. “I had to grab a stool because the ship was shaking,” recalls Howard, who turned 100 years of age in 2020. 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.”. , The tokkōtai pilot's manual told pilots to never close their eyes, as this would lower the chances of hitting their targets. Allied gunners had begun to develop techniques to negate kamikaze attacks. Kamikaze methods were developed in the last year of the war as Allied forces began to encroach on the home islands of Japan. Later, Tamai asked Lieutenant Yukio Seki to command the special attack force. The British were able to clear the flight deck and resume flight operations in just hours, while their American counterparts took a few days or even months, as observed by a U.S. Navy liaison officer on HMS Indefatigable who commented: "When a kamikaze hits a U.S. carrier it means six months of repair at Pearl Harbor. For example, Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryū ("Peggy") medium bombers, based on Formosa, undertook kamikaze attacks on Allied forces off Okinawa, while a pair of Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu ("Nick") heavy fighters caused enough damage for USS Dickerson (DD-157) to be scuttled. Five A6M Zeros, led by Seki, were escorted to the target by leading Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, and attacked several escort carriers. The Bulge!) , Irokawa Daikichi, Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers, Pilots were given a manual that detailed how they were supposed to think, prepare and attack. In 1942, when U.S. Navy vessels were scarce, the temporary absence of key warships from the combat zone would tie up operational initiatives. 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. Kamikaze , officially Kamikaze/Shinpū Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (神風特別攻撃隊, "Divine Wind Special Attack Unit"), were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviators who flew suicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, intending to destroy warships more effectively than with conventional air attacks. By 17:00, Corsairs were able to land. 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. 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. Seki became the 24th kamikaze pilot to be chosen. " 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. At 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. 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. 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. Doris Gardner Howard, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, witnessed World War II’s final bloody battle unfold through the ship’s portholes. Masafumi Arima Invented The Kamikaze Strategy. They had lost several important battles, many of their best pilots had been killed, their aircraft were becoming outdated, and they had lost command of the air. Kamikaze pilots who were unable to complete their missions (because of mechanical failure, interception, etc.) Decommissioned in 1946, the USS Comfort received two battle stars for its participation in the Leyte and Okinawa campaigns. All pilots took a five point oath: a soldier must make loyalty his obligation, a soldier must make … Like wild cherry blossoms At least one of these pilots was a conscripted Korean with a Japanese name, adopted under the pre-war Soshi-kaimei ordinance that compelled Koreans to take Japanese personal names. 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 All of the pilots raised both of their hands, volunteering to join the operation. , 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. The attacks began in October 1944, at a time when the war was looking increasingly bleak for the Japanese. Now wounded itself, the crippled hospital ship sailed to Guam and received temporary repairs before continuing on to California. 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. READ MORE: How Japan's Kamikaze Attacks Went From Last Resort at Pearl Harbor to WWII Strategy. I would say The attacks expended 1,465 planes.