As American ground forces fought for control of Okinawa in the spring of , Japanese Kamikaze pilots wreaked a grim toll on American naval forces. Are you well? It is now a month since that day. The happy dream is over. Tomorrow I will dive my plane into an enemy ship. I will cross the river into the other world, taking some Yankees with me. When I look back, I see that I was very cold-hearted to you. After I had been cruel to you, I used to regret it. Please forgive me. When I think of your future, and the long life ahead, it tears at my heart.
It will prove costly—to both sides. This decision to employ suicide bombers against the American fleet at Leyte, an island of the Philippines, was based on the failure of conventional naval and aerial engagements to stop the American offensive. Declared Japanese naval Capt. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country. The targets were U. Lo, was struck by a A6M Zero fighter and sunk in less than an hour, killing Americans. More than 5, kamikaze pilots died in the gulf battle-taking down 34 ships. The Baka was a rocket-powered plane that was carried toward its target attached to the belly of a bomber. All told, more than 1, Japanese aircraft crash-dived their planes into Allied warships during the war, desperate efforts to reverse the growing Allied advantage in the Pacific.
Battle of Agincourt
Kamikaze , any of the Japanese pilots who in World War II made deliberate suicidal crashes into enemy targets, usually ships. The term also denotes the aircraft used in such attacks. The practice was most prevalent from the Battle of Leyte Gulf , October , to the end of the war. Most kamikaze planes were ordinary fighters or light bombers , usually loaded with bombs and extra gasoline tanks before being flown deliberately to crash into their targets. The pilot had no means of getting out once the missile was fastened to the aircraft that would launch it. Dropped usually from an altitude of over 25, feet 7, metres and more than 50 miles 80 km from its target, the missile would glide to about 3 miles 5 km from its target before the pilot turned on its three rocket engines, accelerating the craft to more than miles per hour km per hour in its final dive. The explosive charge built into the nose weighed more than a ton. Kamikaze attacks sank 34 ships and damaged hundreds of others during the war. At Okinawa they inflicted the greatest losses ever suffered by the U. Navy in a single battle, killing almost 5, men.
Hisao Horiyama first learned how he was due to die from a simple slip of white paper. On it were written three options: to volunteer willingly, to simply volunteer, or to say no. Without hesitation, he agreed to fly his plane into the side of a US warship. With that one act of destruction, he would end his life and the lives of many others, in the name of his emperor as a member of an elite, and supposedly invincible, group of young men whose sacrifice would deliver victory to Japan: the kamikaze. Horiyama was a young soldier in an artillery unit of the Japanese imperial army when he was drafted into the air force. It was late , and the tide of war was turning against Japan. A model fighter plane sits on a bookcase in the living room of the apartment he shares with his wife. I thought then that this was a sign that he was personally requesting our services. I knew that I had no choice but to die for him.