Destroy American bombers at all costs! The cheeky raid of Japanese commandos

B-29 bombers methodically and inexorably turned Japanese cities into piles of burnt ruins


The main problem of the Japanese in World War II was the choice of an enemy beyond their strength. It was pointless to rush at America, the industrial potentials of the parties were so unequal. Having made a beautiful blitzkrieg in Southeast Asia due to careful planning and surprise of the strike, the Japanese were in a difficult situation when these factors ceased to act.

Already from the middle of 1942, the war in the Pacific ceased to go into "one gate", and from 1944 only the Japanese were beaten. And they beat me painfully. The Americans switched the industry to military tracks and built so many ships, planes, and ammunition that the enemy simply could not inflict damage on them, more or less comparable with their losses.

To make matters worse, the Americans, the farther, the denser they got to Japan itself. And since 1944, giant B-29 bombers were launched there. Climbing closer and closer to Tokyo, the Americans seized new islands. Large enough turned into airbases for heavy bombers - and attacks on Japanese cities were carried out more often.

By May 1945, the Americans managed to take possession of the lion's share of the large island of Okinawa, capturing, including several Japanese airfields. And, of course, the B-29s used them with pleasure. By that time, the tactics of bombarding Japanese cities with incendiary bombs had already been worked out - from low altitudes to hit more accurately. Paper and wood buildings flashed like matches. At least tens of thousands of people perished in fiery tornadoes.


The Japanese did not have the strength to look at this. I really wanted to somehow influence the bombing. With this it was extremely tight: the air defense was weak, the material balance of power was extremely sad.

True, since 1944, the idea of ​​suicide attacks began to gain weight. The logic was simple: “Our people are massively dying and cannot cause the enemy distinct damage. So let them at least die and inflict this same damage. ”

The benefit of technical development allowed this to be realized. Era of managed weapons not yet come, but the Japanese could get it by paying for it with the life of a pilot. He simply "aimed" his plane at the target right up to the last, than he achieved high accuracy of hitting. And raised the effectiveness of aviation in general.

This practice could be transferred to other types of troops. In the case of subversive units, simply by creating plans that did not imply a return. Which greatly saved resources, and, as a result, also increased efficiency.

Japanese paratroopers before flying to Yomitan and Kadena airfields

Approximately such a raid was conceived by the leaders of the Giretsu Kutaytai created at the end of 1944 - it was translated approximately as a "detachment of heroic paratroopers." The unit was originally made for the task of "suddenly breaking into the airfield and incapacitating as many damned B-29s as possible."

But, while administrative red tape and training of personnel were going on, the Americans moved further and further. And the leadership planned to strike at one airfield, then at another. And time passed. And in the end, they decided that it was a shame to delay Okinawa further and it was time to attack right now - otherwise, you see, the war would end.

Preparing for the final battle

"Heroic paratroopers" was planned to put in 12 Ki-21 bombers. Saboteurs have expanded the background of the task. Now they should not just spoil the bombers, but help a large wave of kamikazes that were trying to hit the American fleet. The paratroopers had to do this by removing two important American airfields on Okinawa - Yomitan and Kaden, from a standing position.

The idea was to land at the airdromes with the landing gear retracted, and, after leaving the aircraft, disperse, and then deploy the explosives. Thus, the Americans will not be able to use the runways for as long as possible - first they will need to destroy the saboteurs, and then also drag the planes. While all this will be done, the kamikaze will be struck with a productive blow - enemy fighters will not interfere with them.

Destroy American bombers at all costs! The cheeky raid of Japanese commandos
Ki-21 take off

Weapons of the paratroopers were not stingy. They were given a lot of automatic weapons - both under the pistol and under the rifle cartridge, as well as light mortars. Divided into units, each with its own specialization. But each one carried explosives - in order to disable as many American aircraft as possible, ideally - B-29.

Everything goes awry

On the evening of May 24, 1945, on the eve of the kamikaze attack, 12 aircraft with saboteurs flew towards the anti-aircraft guns and American fighters. They were supported by fifty Japanese bombers, delivering distracting attacks on the very airfields that the paratroopers were targeting.

Four Ki-21s with saboteurs had to be turned back - technical problems. But the rest went to the full program. The Americans at night Hellkets with radars smashed the attackers to pieces - dozens of attacking bombers and all planes with saboteurs were shot down.

One, however, was shot down with an unexpected effect. Ridged, the Ki-21 crashed into the runway of the Yomitan airfield. Surviving saboteurs jumped out - only 11 people. And set to work.

Seize your chance

The Americans did not expect such tricks from a snuffbox. According to all the laws of military logic, the pilots of a downed plane had to leave it in the worst case and rush into the jungle - where it is most difficult to find them. But a lot of small ones rushed out of the big dead bug - and then it began to painfully sting.

All this had to be digested. Then open random shooting - the dispersed Japanese were, it seemed, everywhere. It took tens of minutes to establish more or less distinct attempts to organizely catch and kill saboteurs in an organized manner, and it took long hours to fully clear Yomitan from the Japanese.


For those half days that the airfield did not operate, the paratroopers managed to destroy 8 American planes - though, mostly, the Corsairs and transporters, not one of the coveted B-29s. Well, 26 pieces were damaged - and again without damage to heavy bombers. Still managed to kill as many as 2 Americans and injure about two dozen. The list of Japanese successes completes the burned fuel depot.

The cat and mouse cost the Japanese who got to Yomitan 10 killed saboteurs. One, having used up ammunition and explosives, managed to escape into the jungle - a month and a half later he reached his own and cheerfully reported his adventures. In total, the "heroic paratroopers" lost 99 people - most of them were those that were shot down before they had time to fly up to their targets.

The “exchange” was perhaps not legendary. But at least the saboteurs managed to inflict losses on the Americans, more or less comparable with their own. By the standards of 1945, it was quite a success, despite the failure of the raid concept as such. But such actions, of course, could not save Japan - it was already too late.
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