“Today, the fate of our country is in my hands. We are the defenders of our country. You can forget me when I am gone, but please live better than you lived before. Do not worry and do not be disheartened. "
- From the farewell letter ml. Lieutenant Shunsuke Tomiyasu.
Kamikaze, of course, heroes. Self-sacrifice has been valued at all times by all nations of the world. But what is the peculiarity of the “divine wind” phenomenon? Why do not ridicule the Japanese "zombies" who, in impotent rage, beat their heads about armor? What was the difference between kamikazes and Russian, European and American pilots who committed suicide ram?
Captain Gastello, who sent the wrecked car to the enemy’s mechanized convoy, or Captain Fleming, ramming the Japanese cruiser Mikuma on a burning bomber — these heroes had hoped to survive until the last minutes. The suicide ram was their last, spontaneous decision in a hopeless situation.
Unlike Gastello, the Japanese pilots sentenced themselves to death in advance and lived with this sensation for long months. Repeating something like that, having a Russian upbringing, seems completely impossible. Everyone knows that there are situations in war when you have to risk and even sacrifice your life - but in advance to condemn yourself to the fate of a “living bomb” and a “walking corpse” ... The Bushido code says: a samurai should prepare for death every day. No doubt we will all die someday. But why think about it every minute?
At kamikaze, the last sortie turned into an exquisite death ritual with bows, white “hachimaki” armbands and a ritual cup of sake. For the emperor and the sacred land of Yamato!
A separate question to the Japanese leadership: in contrast to the fanatical young pilots, these wise Lao Tzu knew the situation at the front perfectly. Even the biggest optimists could not have been unaware that by 1944, the war had been smashed to smithereens. So why was to ruin the “color of the nation” in useless suicidal attacks ?! In order to delay the hour of reckoning and save their own skin, throwing the young generation of their country into the furnace?
Despite the discrepancies in the estimates of the moral component of the actions of “kamikaze” and some shocking details of the training of suicide pilots, do not forget about the main thing - это было WEAPONS. A powerful cruise missile is a prototype of modern "Harpoons" and "Granites", equipped with the most reliable and perfect guidance system - a living person.
Of greatest interest is the performance of the "Corps of special attacks." How many ships were sunk? What damage could the kamikaze pilots do to the enemy?
Americans prefer not to focus on this issue, telling contradictory storiespulled out of the general context of events. When asked about overall statistics, a list of 47 ... 57 sunk ships is usually given. The differences are caused by three main reasons:
1. Suicide attacks were practiced not only by pilots of the “Special Attack Corps”: it was not easy, and sometimes impossible, to distinguish the “real” kamikaze from the Air Force bomber, whose crew decided to repeat the feat of Gastello.
An example is the death of the destroyer "Twiggs." 16 June 1945, the ship was attacked by a single torpedo bomber. The plane dropped a torpedo that hit the port side, then described a circle and crashed into a doomed destroyer. Was it the work of kamikazes or pilots from combat units? The question remained unanswered. Destroyer "Twiggs" sank.
2. The attacked ships did not always sink immediately. Often they needed "help" in the form of a torpedo and a dozen five-inch shots at the waterline. The mortally wounded ship was finished off by nearby US Navy destroyers - which means it’s a reason to exclude the loss from the list of kamikaze victims.
An example is the destroyer Kolhoun. 6 April 1945. He was rammed by a Japanese plane, and subsequently finished off with a destroyer "Kessin Yang".
3. Attacked ships did not always sink in the same place. Taking advantage of their numerical superiority and weakness of the enemy, the Yankees towed the charred ruins to Pearl Harbor or to the nearest shore, and then used what was left of the ships in the interests of the national economy. Of course, such “wounded animals” were not included in the official list of losses.
Destroyer "Morris" - damaged kamikaze at about. Okinawa towed to USA. Due to the unreasonableness of the repair, he was excluded from the lists of the Navy and was cut into metal.
PC-1603 Submarine Hunter - Kamikaze rammed, towed to shore. Subsequently, its hull was used to construct a breakwater on the Japanese island of Kerama.
Escort destroyer "Oberrender" - Kamikaze rammed, towed to the United States. Not recovered. Sunk as a target in November 1945 year.
In total, among the large losses from the actions of Japanese suicide pilots are 4 escort aircraft carriers and 24 destroyer. Destroyer kids more often than others were hit - first, there were a lot of them. Secondly, they provided radar patrols on the most dangerous routes.
The rest of the losses list sounds like a mockery of a kamikaze: an escort destroyer, six high-speed Navy transports (converted from obsolete destroyers), two dozen landing craft, a hospital ship, a floating dock, a tanker, and several small boats and hunters ...
No heavy aircraft carrier, cruiser or battleship!
At first glance, it may seem that 3913 kamikaze pilots died for nothing - loud world fame with such useless results. The desperate courage of the Japanese guys was powerless against combat air patrols and anti-aircraft guns with automated radar guidance.
But, blind faith to official American sources is a thankless task. The reality was much more serious.
Large ships are known to have a large buoyancy margin and little susceptibility to damage above the waterline. Hitting bombs, missiles or suicide ram “Zero” can not cause them critical damage.
But this did not prevent the American ships from fading to ashes and losing several hundred people from their crew. In such circumstances, the most fair criterion for the success of an attack becomes damage.
Alas, the official historiography bypasses this issue side.
Kamikaze strike in the battleship "Maryland." At that time, 25 in November 1944, the damage was significant - the GK tower was damaged, the sailor died 31
Indeed, whose case turned out to be harder: the sinking of the Abner Reed destroyer (1 in November 1944, 22 killed a sailor as a result of the incident) or the second damage to the aircraft carrier Intrepid (in November 25 1944, the ship lost 65 crew members and completely lost combat capability)? .. Hard to say.
More than half of the US Navy warships in the Pacific theater had “scars” and “marks” after meeting with the kamikazes. Often - repeated. Only in the course of the Battle of Okinawa, kamikazes sank 26 of enemy ships and damaged 225, incl. 27 aircraft carriers!
The results of the attacks are impressive.
Spring 45 year
Their rage knew no bounds. With frenzied perseverance, the Japanese set off on their last flight to crash into the sea with a meteorite or onto the deck of an enemy ship — as lucky as they could be. The gusts of the “divine wind” subsided and amplified again, filling the air with surrealistic horror and the stench of grave decay. The water was boiling, the barrels of the anti-aircraft guns were heated, and the kamikazes all went and went to give their lives for the great Nippon.
The greatest intensity of suicide attacks was noted during the landing on Okinawa. At that time, the Japanese had to defend their own territory - everything that could fly was thrown into the attack: new and battered Zero, Oka rocket planes, single and twin-engine bombers, seaplanes, training aircraft ...
In just one day, April 6 1945, the American fleet lost six squadrons of destroyers from kamikaze attacks! The 7 of April damaged the battleship Maryland and the heavy aircraft carrier Hancock. The battleship, having lost 10 anti-aircraft gunners on the upper deck, still managed to hold out for a week in position, firing on the shore and repelling countless suicide attacks. The aircraft carrier with a twisted deck had to be immediately sent for repair in the US (the fire broke out was succeeded in extinguishing the cost of killing 62 seafarers, another 72 were injured and burned).
16 April 1945 was damaged (for the fourth time!) The aircraft carrier Intrepid - by luck, the damage was small, the crew was able to restore the ship’s combat capability in just three hours. However, the very next day, Intrepid was forced to redeem in San Francisco.
Explosion on the aircraft carrier "Enterprise"
Saratoga is on fire - three kamikaze attacks resulted in the loss of an X-wing wing aircraft, the entire nose section was destroyed, the sailor's 36 died
It is not often said that the combat career of the hero of the battle of Midway - the glorious aircraft carrier Enterprise, suddenly ended after a couple of meetings with the kamikaze. And if the first attack (April 11) was relatively easy for the ship, the second (May 14) turned out to be fatal - the Zero, controlled by ml. Lieutenant Shunsuke Tomiyasu (thus, whose letter was quoted at the beginning of the article), broke through the wall of anti-aircraft fire and broke through several decks at full speed. There was a deafening internal explosion on the ship - the nose lift vomited and threw up 200 meters. The Enterprise remained in repair until the end of the war and was never used again as an aircraft carrier.
Bunker Hill was the worst hit - on May 11, 1945, as a result of two kamikaze attacks, the newest heavy aircraft carrier lost speed, combat effectiveness, buoyancy and lost all hope of salvation. 80 planes and about 400 crew members burned in the fire. The squadron command considered the issue of forced flooding of the ship. It was only the absence of new enemy attacks and the presence of dozens of US Navy ships nearby that made it possible to save and tow the charred ruin to their native shores - Bunker Hill was partially repaired after the war, but was never used for its intended purpose. In 1947 he was forever expelled from the current membership. fleet.
These cases are the true meaning of the kamikaze legend - alas, reputable experts on the other side of the ocean prefer to tell the 47 tale of drowned vehicles, destroyers and patrol boats. The real consequences of powerful attacks go as if out of the list of losses - the ship did not sink? Not. So everything is ok.
A lot of painful scars and marks left on the decks of cruisers. The planes did not manage to sink a single armored monster, but every time it ended up with major damage, fires and corrupted armored forms.
Last dive. Target - the cruiser "Columbia"
In January, the cruiser Columbia (the newest one, such as Cleveland) was seriously damaged by 1945 - the whole fodder group of artillery GK was damaged as a result of two kamikaze attacks, 39 people died, more than 100 found themselves in the infirmary. However, thanks to its resilience and high survivability, the cruiser continued to perform tasks in the combat zone.
At about the same time in the Lingen Bay under a double ram attack hit the "Louisville" - a cruiser of the "Washington period" with a weakened booking. Cruiser needed factory repair, but after a couple of months he returned to service. In total, as a result of that attack, the 41 seaman was killed, incl. Rear Admiral T. Chandler - there is a legend that a heavily burned commander refused his privileges and took his place in the general queue in the operating room.
The moment of the explosion on the cruiser "Louisville"
Despite the tragic undercurrent, the kamikaze story knows a couple of amazing and even funny episodes - for example, an incredible incident that happened on 12 on April 1945 on April with the destroyer Stanley. During the radar patrol, the destroyer was pierced through with the Oka jet aircraft. According to the crew members, the Oka hit the ship at speeds above 500 miles per hour (900 km / h). Part of the wreckage of the rocket glider got stuck in the hull, but the combat unit weighing 1200 kg flew from the opposite side and fell into the water. No one except the Japanese pilot was hurt.
Another unusual story happened to the Devilfish submarine - it became the only submarine attacked by a kamikaze. "Devilfish" escaped with a destroyed logging fence and a leak in a solid hull. Independently returned to base.
The circle of kamikaze victims was not limited to the US Navy — any ship in the combat zone was hit. The first victim of the kamikaze is considered not the American ship, but the flagship of the Australian Navy — the cruiser Australia (October 21 of the year 1944). After returning to repair, Australia was hit by a Japanese plane again, and just a day later, on 6 in January of 1945, it underwent the third attack! But it was not yet the limit - on January X, the Australians had to fight off the kamikaze again (one of the bombs dropped from the crashed plane ricocheted from the water and made a hole in the side of the cruiser). The next day, January 8, the “Australia” add-on rammed the fourth Japanese kamikaze. Despite the extensive damage and the death of fifty people crew, "Australia" was able to stay afloat and after a short repair went under its own power to upgrade to the UK.
By the way, about the British. Her Majesty's fleet sent to Okinawa, to the aid of the Yankees, a whole grouping of warships, incl. heavy aircraft carriers with an armored deck - Victorias, Ilustries, Indomitable, Fomideble and Indifetiable. It is not difficult to guess what happened to these ships.
Debris on the HMS Formidable deck. From the powerful shaking, the steam power plant burst, the speed dropped, the radars went out of order - in the midst of the battle the ship lost its combat capability
The presence of armored flight made it easier for them to transfer meetings from kamikazes, dents were quickly poured with cement - but it was impossible to completely prevent catastrophic consequences.
Each ram ended with a grand fire on the upper deck, completely destroying aircraft that was parked there, and streams of burning gasoline somehow got into the hangar, where the fiery hell began. By the beginning of May, on board the order of the burnt "Fomidebl", only 15 operational aircraft remained!
It is known at least two meetings with the kamikaze of our seamen - 18 August 1945, on the approach to Vladivostok, the tanker Taganrog was attacked - the anti-aircraft gunners managed to repel the attack, the wreckage of the aircraft fell into the sea. On the same day, in the area of Shumshu Island (Kuril ridge), a kamikaze was rammed by the minesweeper KT-152 (formerly fishing boat with a displacement of 62 tons). A Soviet minesweeper with a crew in 17 was the last person on the list of victims of the Special Attack Corps (Tokubetsu Kogokitai).
Did they have a chance to save Japan from defeat? Would the kamikaze stop the enemy by defeating his fleet? The answer is no. The forces were too unequal.
The Japanese pilots inflicted terrible damage on the Allies. Not a single fleet in the world could resist the "divine wind." None other than the US Navy. Off the coast of Okinawa, the Yankees engaged a grouping of 1000 warships and support vessels, which were constantly updated on a rotational basis. Japanese courage was powerless in front of such power. The place of damaged ships was immediately occupied by new ones - sometimes even more powerful and sophisticated than those who crawled away for repairs.
The story of the kamikaze is still of considerable interest. In addition to the mass heroism of the Japanese pilots, suicidal ramments have become a formidable harbinger of a new type of weapon - anti-ship cruise missiles. The Philippines and Okinawa turned into a magnificent training ground, where the capabilities of such "ammunition" were demonstrated in real combat conditions. The accumulated statistical material will make it possible to judge with certainty the destructive effects of “winged projectiles” and the consequences of their entry into the ship. This is a direct answer to the question of what class of ships turned out to be the most stable and tenacious when striking the surface of the hull, as well as on measures to protect and minimize combat damage.
Salvage cruiser "Australia"
Bunker Hill Flames
The aircraft carrier "Intrepid" big problems with the flight deck
The explosion of the escort aircraft carrier "St. Lo". Ship lost
Under attack hit the British "Victoria"
Wreckage of Junior Lieutenant Tomiyas, found during the repair of the Enterprise.
Currently stored in the Kanoi air base museum
Currently stored in the Kanoi air base museum