Kamikaze

Mitsubishi_Ki15-Kamikaze

I know what you are thinking “Yet another blog about Japanese suicide bombers” but you’d be wrong.

This Japanese kamikaze did not attack anywhere in the pacific but it flew to London instead.

The Ki-15 aircraft air_ki15_1was originally designed to meet a 1935 Army Air Force requirement. The prototype first took flight in May 1936, and was quickly accepted as the Japanese Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1. Production for the first order of 437 aircraft began in May 1937. They were single-engine monoplanes with fixed tail wheelundercarriages.

Kamikaze ( Kamikaze-gō) was a Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane aircraft, sponsored by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Asahi_Shimbun_first_issue

It became famous on April 9, 1937, as the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly from Japan to Europe. The flight from Tokyo to London took 51 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds and was piloted by Masaaki Iinuma (1912–1941), with Kenji Tsukagoshi (1900–1943) serving as navigator.

Pilot and Navigator

 

 

The Kamikaze-go took off from Tachikawa Airfield in Tokyo at 2:12:04 pm on April 6, 1937, with much fanfare. The aircraft flew from Tokyo via Taipei to Hanoi and Vientiane in French Indochina, then via Calcutta and Karachi in British India and Basra and Baghdad in Iraq, and then Athens, Rome and Paris in Europe.

The aircraft landed at London’s Croydon airport to a cheering crowd of spectators at 3:30 pm on April 9. The total elapsed time since departure was 94 hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, with actual flight time for the whole distance of 15,357 km of was 51 hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds (average speed: 162,8 km/h or 101 MPH). The flight was the first Fédération Aéronautique Internationale aviation record to have been won by the Japanese.

This flight to Europe made the pilot, Masaaki Iinuma (then 26 years old), a national hero, and he was acclaimed as the “Japanese Lindbergh”. Both the pilot and navigator Kenji Tsukagoshi were awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government.

On April 12, only a few days after the record-breaking flight, the Kamikaze-go carried Prince and Princess Chichibu, who were visiting England for the coronation, on a joy ride.

prince

A month later, on May 12, it was used to film the coronation ceremonies from the air. The Kamikaze-go was then flown back to Japan, duplicating its original route in the opposite direction, departing London May 14 and arriving in Osaka on May 20, and Haneda airport in Tokyo on May 21.

Kamikaze ‘s pilot, Masaaki Iinuma, later served as chief test pilot for the Kayaba Ka-1 autogyro from May 1941. He was later killed in action in the Pacific War in December 1941 near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He was 29 years old. In 1943, Kamikaze ‘s former navigator, Tsukagoshi, set off from Singapore for Germany in the prototype Tachikawa Ki-77, but disappeared over the Indian Ocean.

After its return to Japan, the Kamikaze-go continued to work actively in a variety of capacities for the Asahi Shimbun. However, on a flight back from the south of China it encountered bad weather and had to be ditched in southern Taiwan. It was later recovered and put on display at a “Kamikaze Memorial Center” on Ikoma, Nara Prefecture. The facilities were destroyed in World War II.

To commemorate the 1937 flight of the aircraft, Asahi Shimbun produced sake bottles and cups which were made available with the image of this aircraft on it.

kamikaze.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

Banzai-Suicides for the Emperor

5d356UA

How do you fight an enemy that is not afraid to kill themselves?19026-004-8C3631D6

In the air they had the Kamikaze pilots on the ground they had troops carrying out Banzai charges, how can you fight an enemy that has absolutely no regard for life? Not even their own lives.

How do you fight an army that sees their leader as some kind of divine entity?

One of the great injustices post WWII was that Emperor Hirohito was not tried for his involvement in World War II, even if it had been for the death of his own soldiers who killed themselves in his ‘honour’

He died on January 7 1989 at the age of 88 after having lived a life of luxury, when thousands of young men died for him or in his name.

 

 

“Whenever we cornered the enemy and there was no way out, we faced the dreaded banzai attack.” An anonymous US Marine who was on Saipan.”

42d13b22b692964deec98c974eb392b0--banzai-charge-ww-photos

Banzai Charge was a suicidal last-ditch attack that was mounted by Japanese infantry during WWII. Banzai Charge was actually not the real name of the attack, but rather a name given by Allied forces because during the charge, Japanese forces yelled “Tenno Heika Banzai!” (long live the emperor, ten thousand ages!).

During the war period, the Japanese militarist government began disseminating propaganda that romanticized suicide attack, using one of the virtues of Bushido as the basis for the campaign. The Japanese government presented war as purifying, with death defined as a duty.

By the end of 1944, the government announced the last protocol, unofficially named ichioku gyokusai (一億玉砕, literally “100 million shattered jewels”), implying the will of sacrificing the entire Japanese population of 100 million, if necessary, for the purpose of resisting opposition forces.

During the U.S. raid on Makin Island, on August 17, 1942, the U.S. Marine Raiders attacking the island initially spotted and then killed Japanese machine gunners. The Japanese defenders then launched a banzai charge with rifles and swords but were stopped by American firepower. The pattern was repeated in additional attacks, but with similar results.

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, on August 21, 1942, Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki JapaneseColIchikiled 800 soldiers to launch a direct attack against the American line guarding Henderson Field in the Battle of the Tenaru.

 

After small-scale combat engagement in the jungle, Ichiki’s army launched its banzai charge on the enemy; however, with an organized American defense line already in place, most of the Japanese soldiers were killed and Ichiki subsequently committed suicide.

The largest banzai charge of the war took place in the Battle of Saipan in 1944 where, at the cost of almost 4,300 dead Japanese soldiers, it almost destroyed the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th U.S. Infantry, who lost almost 650 men

Banzai charges were always of dubious effectiveness. In the early stages of the Pacific War, a sudden banzai charge might overwhelm small groups of enemy soldiers unprepared for such an attack. However near the end of the war, a banzai charge inflicted little damage while its participants suffered horrendous losses if launched against an organized defense with strong firepower, such as automatic weapons, machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.

1024px-GuadNakagumaMatanikauDeadJapanese

At best they were conducted by groups of the last surviving soldiers when the main battle was already lost, as a last resort or as an alternative to surrender. At worst they threw away valuable resources in men and arms in suicidal attacks, which only hastened defeat.

Some Japanese commanders, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, recognized the futility and waste of such attacks and expressly forbade their men from carrying them out.

Tadamichi_Kuribayashi

Indeed, the Americans were surprised that the Japanese did not employ banzai charges at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The greatest effect of the Banzai charge was not casualties, but the decrease in morale in most allied troops.

main-qimg-34741c6044cc5d0b6cd8b63752b00994

Many soldiers feared “the dreaded banzai attack” and this itself sometimes affected performance in the field. Japanese soldiers however did sometimes surrender, but rarely in large numbers. They were also trained to commit suicide if the attack did not breach enemy lines and this included using grenades to kill oneself and any allied soldiers who were not careful. The weapons used by Japanese soldiers during an attack varied from machine guns, rifles, bayonets, swords, spears, knives, grenades, etc.

3

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

Unusual WWII Facts:Part 14

pilots_american_8th_bomber_command_1942

During World War II, the now-legendary VIII Bomber Command (often referred to as the Eighth Air Force) served as the principal American force assembled to attack Germany from the air. For several critical years in the early and mid-1940s, B-24 and B-17 bombers—the Flying Fortresses—from the “The Mighty 8th”, often in tandem with Royal Air Force fighters, crossed the Channel and hit strategic towns and cities in Nazi-held Europe

First crewman is wearing the RAF Type B flight helmet (famously used during the Battle of Britain), the second crewman is wearing a USAAF B-6 type shearling helmet. The mask is an early A8-B type used by bomber crews mostly from before the war up to about 1943 when it was phased out by more modern systems. The A-8B was a constant flow oxygen mask, patterned after the original design by Boothby, Lovelace, and Bulbillion (the mask was originally known as the BLB mask). It covered the mouth and nose and also had a rebreather bag attached to concentrate the oxygen for enrichment.

Both crewmen wear the famous B-3 type shearling jacket. Aviators in WWII bombers came to rely on their B-3 jackets as they often flew for 8-9 hours in unpressurized cabins, where air temperatures could drop to more than 60 degrees below zero (-53 Celsius). The bomber was vital to the crew’s comfort as the crimp of the sheep’s wool created insulating air spaces, naturally retaining heat and absorbing excess moisture generated by the body. It remains one of the warmest and most insulating bomber jacket ever made. Both crewmen also are sporting RAF type MK VII goggles with flip down sun visors.

dutch_woman_and_german_sodier_1944

A Dutch woman is seen here with her husband, a German soldier that she had married during the German occupation of the Netherlands. Refusing to leave his side, she marched with the German prisoners to the Prisoner of War holding center. Picture taken in Walcheren, Zeeland, the Netherlands. November 1944.

Following the refusal of the Dutch government to return after the German invasion, the Netherlands was controlled by a German civilian governor, unlike France or Denmark which had their own governments, and Belgium, which was under German military control. The civil government, the Reichskommissariat Niederlande, was headed by the Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart. The German occupiers implemented a policy of Gleichschaltung (“enforced conformity”), and systematically eliminated non-Nazi organizations. Not all Dutch offered active or passive resistance against the German occupation. Some Dutch men and women chose or were forced to collaborate with the German regime or joined the German army (which usually would mean being placed in the Waffen-SS).

After the war, some accused of collaborating with the Germans were lynched or otherwise punished without trial. Men who had fought with the Germans in the Wehrmacht or Waffen-SS were used to clear minefields and suffered losses accordingly. Others were sentenced by courts for treason. Dutch women who had sexual relations with German soldiers were publicly humiliated. Some were proven to have been wrongly arrested and were cleared of charges, sometimes after being held in custody for a long period of time.

htiler_helga_goebbels_1

Helga was the oldest of Goebbels’ six children and notably his favorite. Goebbels was proud of his eldest daughter and would go straight to her cot as soon as he returned from his office, to take her on his lap. Helga was a “daddy’s girl” who preferred her father to her mother. She was reported to have been a lovely baby who never cried and just sat listening uncomprehendingly to the Nazi officials with “her blue eyes sparkling”. It was not unusual for Hitler, who was fond of children, to take her on to his own lap while he talked late into the night. Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda Quandt had 6 children: Helga Susanne, Hedwig Johanna, Helmut Christian, Hildegard, Holdine Kathrine and Heidrun Elisabeth – all starting with the letter H (allegedly after Hitler).

nazi_rally_argentina_1938_1

Before the war Argentina hosted a strong, very-well-organized pro-Nazi element that was controlled by the German ambassador. In the spring of 1938, some 20,000 Nazi supporters attended a “Day of Unity” rally held at the Luna Park stadium in Buenos Aires to celebrate the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into the Third Reich.

kamikaze-pilots-posing-with-a-puppy-on-the-day-before-their-suicide-missions-1945

Photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and 19 years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their kamikaze mission in Okinawa.

under-british-military-escort-two-captured-luftwaffe-crewmen-walk-out-of-the-london-underground-1940

Under British military escort, two German Luftwaffe crewmen, an Unteroffizier (Subordinate Officer, or Corporal) and an Oberleutnant (the highest ranking Lieutenant Officer) who bailed out over the English countryside and were taken as POWs during a bombing raid emerge from the London Underground onto the city streets as shocked Londoners look on. The unorthodox travel arrangements for the two POWs on public transportation probably served as a good propagandistic photographic opportunity, as the image would be widely disseminated and seen by a nation beleaguered by constant aerial assaults during the Blitz.

deputy-mayor-ernst-kurt-lisso-and-his-family-after-committing-suicide-by-cyanide-to-avoid-capture-by-us-troops-1945-1

Deputy Mayor Dr. jur. Ernst Kurt Lisso, his wife Renate Stephanie, in chair, and their daughter Regina Lisso after committing suicide by cyanide in the Leipzig New Town Hall to avoid capture by US troops. April 18, 1945.

actress-marlene-dietrich-kisses-a-soldier-returning-home-from-war-1945

This photo shows Marlene Dietrich passionately kissing a GI as he arrives home from World War II. It seems that the guy on the left holding her up is enjoying the view. It was first published in Life Magazine with the caption: “While soldiers hold her up by her famous legs, Marlene Dietrich is kissed by a home-coming GI”. Photo taken by Irving Haberman.

simone-segouin-the-18-year-old-french-resistance-fighter-1944

Members of the French Resistance are photographed in the midst of battle against German troops during the Liberation of Paris. We see a man in makeshift army fatigues to the left and a young man on the right. Then, most strikingly, we see a woman in shorts, a patterned top, and a military hat in the center. The photograph of this young female fighter would become a symbol of women’s involvement in the Resistance.

Her name was Simone Segouin, also known by her nom de guerre Nicole Minet. When this photo was taken she was 18 years old. The girl had killed two Germans in the Paris fighting two days previously and also had assisted in capturing 25 German prisoners of war during the fall of Chartres. In 1944, at the height of the Nazi occupation of France, she joined the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (Free-shooters and Partisans, or FTP) – a combat alliance made up of militant communists and French nationalists. Simone was very much in the latter camp. Her father was a huge inspiration – a decorated soldier who had fought in the Great War – and she was intensely proud of her country.

body-of-frozen-soviet-soldier-propped-up-by-finnish-fighters-to-intimidate-soviet-troops-1939

Finnish defenders sometimes, though very rarely, took fallen frozen Russian soldiers and posed them upright as psychological warfare. Although rare, a few cases have been documented. Common Russian soldiers and Finnish troops had a great deal of respect for the dead and would allow both parties to retrieve and bury their dead in peace and would make impromptu ceasefires for such occasions. Each party also buried the dead of the opposing side, left a stick on the ground marking the burial site and all the tags intact that would identify the dead.

Sonderkommando Elbe- The German Kamikazes

ramming_

SonderkommandoElbe was the name of a World War II Luftwaffe task force assigned to bring down heavy bombers by ramming aircraft into them mid-air. The tactic aimed to cause losses sufficient to halt or at least reduce the western Allies’ bombing of Germany.

The pilots were expected to parachute out either just before or after they had collided with their target. The chances of a Sonderkommando Elbe pilot surviving such a practice were low, at a time when the Luftwaffe was lacking sufficient numbers of well-trained pilots.

This bold tactic of the Luftwaffe was created by Colonel Hans Joachim ” Hajo ” Hermann; a desperate attempt to regain control of the sky.

Hajo Herrmann

The aircraft of choice for this mission was the G-version (Gustav) of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, stripped of armor and armament. The heavily stripped-down planes had one synchronized machine gun (usually a single MG 131 in the upper engine cowling) instead of up to four automatic weapons (usually including a pair of 20mm or 30mm underwing-mount autocannon) on fully equipped Bf 109G interceptors, and were only allotted 60 rounds each, a normally insufficient amount for bomber-interception missions.

SonderKommandoELBE

To accomplish their mission, Sonderkommando Elbe pilots would typically aim to ram one of three sensitive areas on the bombers: the empennage with its relatively delicate control surfaces, the engine nacelles which were connected to the highly explosive fuel system, or the cockpit itself.

The most visible and famous encounter during this attack was that of Uffz Heinrich Rosner against the lead formation of 389th Bomb Group “Sky Scorpions” (with 31 B-24 Liberators, the most produced four-engine heavy bomber of World War II).

He managed to fly his 109 through the entire formation, slice through the cockpit of the lead B-24 “Palace of Dallas” and then careen into the deputy lead B-24, taking them both out (the 389th completed its mission successfully despite this loss). Amazingly, Rosner bailed out and survived with minor injuries.

Adding to the last-ditch nature of this task force, the only mission was flown on 7 April 1945 by a sortie of 180 Bf 109s. While only 15 Allied bombers were attacked in this manner, eight were successfully destroyed.

The “Sonderkommando Elbe”, which began recruiting at the end of 1944, consisted mostly of young volunteers who had grown up under the Nazi regime and were ready to sacrifice their lives for their leaders and their country.  Their use, however, remained limited. The only official use of the Sonderkommando Elbe was over the Steinhude Sea, Germany’s largest inland sea, on April 7, 1945. Most of the pilots died, but the enemy was not harmed as much as had been hoped.  The attack on the bridges over the Oder yielded similarly weak results.

A manned version of the “Vengeance Weapon” V-1, the first cruise missile in military history, was never employed. The first 175 copies were built with a cockpit made for flight tests, but the Luftwaffe briefly considered using these simple bombs as suicide weapons.

v1

This device bore a surprising similarity to the Japanese “Oka” (“Cherry Blossom”) aircraft, which was essentially a manned glide bomb. These Japanese planes, in contrast with the German ones, were used more than 70 times between March and June 1945.  However, only one US destroyer was sunk while half a dozen smaller warships were badly damaged.

oka

It is likely that the German suicide pilot missions were inspired by the Japanese example, but there is no conclusive evidence to confirm that. It is clear, however, that this murderous plan fell short of its goal: though the psychological impact of the missions was immense, the physical damage they incurred was minimal. Once the US Navy was able to recover from the initial terror of the attacks, their effect waned. Any approaching aircraft that were believed to be on kamikaze missions were shot down before they had a chance to reach their target.

Several hundred pilots who were ready to sacrifice their lives still remained in service by the time the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. On the day of the Armistice, their commander took his life. Yet Hajo Hermann, who led the German suicide pilots, began a new life after the war. Following a decade of prison in the Soviet Union, he became a lawyer, before dying last November at the age of 97.