Japanese kamikaze pilots: the most serious enemies of the US Navy during World War II
Japanese kamikazes from World War II. When talking about these people, many ordinary people have an image of a pilot with a white bandage on his forehead, shouting a battle cry seconds before he rams an enemy ship.
But who were these people? Why did they willingly give their lives, turning their plane into a flying torpedo?
Many of these questions can be answered at the Peace Museum in the Japanese city of Chiran. It was here on the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture that during World War II the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force base was located, where kamikaze pilots were trained.
In the museum building you can see a huge number of photographs with portraits of pilots who decided to give their lives in the name of the emperor. Under some photographs are written the last words left by the kamikaze in a note to his relatives.
In particular, 18-year-old Second Lieutenant Torao Kato wrote a short letter to his mother.
- says the last appeal of the kamikaze.
The Japanese called the “Big Army” the US Navy, which suffered colossal losses in the battle for the island of Okinawa.
The very concept of “kamikaze” combines two Japanese words: “kami”, which means “divine” and “kaze” - “wind”. The term entered the Japanese lexicon as early as 1281, when a powerful typhoon sank a Mongol fleet heading to a weakly defended Japan, thereby sparing its citizens the likely destruction of hostilities.
Kamikazes from World War II are also known as "tokko", meaning "special forces pilots".
According to data provided by the museum, a total of 1036 boys and men serving at Chiran Air Base died during kamikaze missions.
The pilots were generally between 17 and 19 years of age, and were all young men who had joined the Air Force Training Corps at the age of 14, before the kamikaze units were created.
- says the book “The Kamikaze Mind” by Alex Guo.
It is worth noting that it was no coincidence that these young pilots were called the deadliest enemy of the US Navy during World War II.
The losses they inflicted on the American Navy were colossal.
So, in the Office of the Naval stories and US heritage call the Battle of Okinawa, which was fought from April 1 to June 22, 1945, the deadliest in the history of the American fleet.
According to published data, about 40% of the 12 thousand American troops killed in action were aboard the 26 ships sunk and 168 damaged by kamikaze attacks that fought off the coast of Okinawa.
- archive photo
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