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October 19, 1944

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Rohmann, Oct 18, 2021.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture


    On October 19, 1944, Vice Admiral Ōnishi Takijirō ...


    ... founded a new fighter unit::

    Their name "Shimpū Tokkō-tai" means "Special Attack Force". The members of this unit - mostly volunteers (but also "persuaded"!) between 17 and 19 years of age are supposed to inflict as much damage as possible on the enemy by self-sacrificing attacks!


    The corresponding characters of the standard designation - "神 風" - are incorrectly translated as "Kamikaze" in the USA; the term "Kamikaze" (= divine wind) is used all over the world today - just not in Japan!

    In 1944, the Japanese Empire was militarily with its back to the wall - the fleet in particular was hopelessly inferior to the units of the USA, Great Britain and their allies!

    Contrary to the prevailing opinion in Western society, the hastily trained pilots were mostly not nationalist fanatics who were ready to die, but soldiers who knew that conventional missions were hopeless, but also students and graduates of high schools who did their part to avert defeat wanted to contribute.

    On the other hand, there were also those who were simply given the order to do so. An intermediate position was taken by those who were not internally convinced, but submitted to the group.

    The first self-sacrifice, flown by members of the Naval Aviation Squadron 201 ...



    ... took place on October 25, 1944 on the escort carrier association 77.4.3 ("Taffy 3") in front of Leyte. This resulted in the sinking of the CVE-63 “St. Lo ”as well as the damage to four other escort carriers.




    In connection with these self-sacrificing attacks on the American fleet, well over 3,000 Japanese airmen died (the exact number has never been determined).

    According to the American Navy, a total of 36 ships of the US Pacific Fleet were sunk - including the USS "St. Lo" (on October 25, 1944, 163 dead), later "Ommaney Bay" (January 4, 1945, 95 dead) and USS "Bismarck Sea" (February 21, 1945, 318 dead).



    368 ships were damaged.

    Although each of the large fleet carriers was hit at least once, only the USS "Bunker Hill" and the USS "Enterprise" were hit so badly that they were canceled for the rest of the war. The main victims were destroyers of the early warning chain and support ships ...



    Die hastig ausgebildeten jungen Piloten, die meist nicht einmal gelernt hatten richtig zu landen (sollten sie ja auch nicht!) gaben ihr Leben für eine aussichtslose Sache, im Oktober 1944 bestand für das japanische Kaisereich nicht die geriunmgste Aussicht, die Kriegslage noch erfolgreich zu wenden...



    On August 15, 1945, the creator and commander of the "Shimpū Tokkō-tai", Vice Admiral Ōnishi Takijirō, asked the families of the sacrificed pilots for forgiveness and then committed Seppuku - he slit his stomach with a sword and killed himself (poster for a movie about him) ...:

    Airkid, Nap and sd0324 like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Interesting Martin

    Thank you

    Martin Rohmann likes this.
  3. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Interesting post Martin. The last but one photo is also interesting. Apart from being the template for the Andrea bust, it begs one question - why would the guy put on the bulky kapok life vest if he wasn't planning on surviving? There are a lot of photos of "Special Attack Force" pilots with the life vest and full parachute harness. Japanese Navy ace Saburo Sakai stated in his biography "Samurai" that IJN pilots frequently chose to fly without a parachute as it gave them more mobility in the cockpit, and they took the view that ditching in the Pacific was curtains anyway. The youth of these pilots is not surprising, since by late '44 most of the older, more experienced flyers were either dead or grounded through injury. Towards the end, anything that could fly was employed on Special Attack, and there were attempts to build low-cost, non strategic planes for sole use in suicide attacks.

    Nap likes this.

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