|Fire from the Sky: Surviving the Kamikaze Threat|
|Friday, 13 August 2010 11:16|
By Robert C Stern
From Baird Maritime:
By late 1944 when the Japanese Imperial Forces began to realise that their war was lost, they introduced a new and effective tactic. That was the Kamikaze or suicide attack using bomb-laden aircraft which were flown directly into Allied ships.
To the Allies the Kamikazes became a serious threat if only because it was so difficult to deal with them culturally. Once, of course, the Allied navies had become accustomed to this new approach by the Japanese, measures could be taken to countermand it.
In the end the best form of defence against suicide attack was effective gunfire. It had to be accurate, rapid and powerful enough to shoot down attacking aircraft far enough from the ship to prevent damage. Secondary defence involved evasive manoeuvres. Not always effective in the case of a 30 knot ship dodging a 300 knot aircraft.
While frightening, the Kamikaze tactics were really just a desperation measure. They put 66 ships out of the war and caused 15,000 casualties for the loss of 4,000 Japanese fliers and 3,000 aircraft but they scarcely slowed the Allied onslaught.
An excellent and exciting overview.
Ordering Information:The Naval Institute Press
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