By Edward M. Young, Mark Styling
The japanese excessive Command learned that the lack of Okinawa might supply the americans a base for the invasion of Japan. Its determined reaction to the invasion of Okinawa was once to unharness the complete strength of the specified assault devices, identified within the west because the Kamikaze ('Divine Wind'), within the wish of causing punishing casualties at the US Pacific fleet that during flip disrupted the invasion. In a chain of mass assaults in among April and June 1945, greater than 900 Kamikaze aeroplanes have been shot down. traditional combatants and bombers followed the distinct assault devices as escorts, and so as to add their very own weight to the assaults at the US fleet. within the air battles best as much as the invasion of Okinawa, in addition to those who raged over the island within the 3 months, that undefined, and in moves on jap airfields in Kyushu (the base of the detailed assault Units), the japanese misplaced greater than 7000 plane either within the air and at the flooring. throughout the scuffling with, sixty seven army, 21 Marine, and 3 USAAF pilots turned aces, destroying at the least 5 plane among March and June 1945. in lots of methods it used to be an asymmetric wrestle. whereas many usual jap military and army aviators volunteered for the certain assault devices, a good number of the pilots within the designated assault devices have been green and just recently out of flying education. additionally they frequently flew out of date airplane. those much less skilled pilots have been no fit for the Hellcat, Corsair and Thunderbolt pilots who have been on the top in their online game. certainly, some of the latter have been flying combatants for 2 or extra years, and had prior strive against adventure. On quite a few events following those asymmetric contests, American fighter pilots could go back from wrestle having shot down as much as six jap aeroplanes in the course of a unmarried undertaking. certainly, in the course of the crusade thirteen army, 5 Marine Corps and USAAF pilots grew to become 'aces in a day'.
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Additional info for American Aces against the Kamikaze
A short time later Watts’ section leader found another 721st Kokutai ‘Betty’ and shot it down too. An hour later four divisions from VBF-17 were on a CAP 30 miles from the Task Force. Lt(jg) John Johnston was leading his division at 7000 ft when he received word of bogeys approaching, and was vectored out to intercept.
It had been a day of intensive combat, almost all the fighting taking place in the afternoon. By dusk on the 12th US Navy pilots had claimed 144 Japanese aeroplanes shot down and their Marine Corps compatriots a further 77. But a number of kamikaze had managed to break through the CAPs to attack American ships, hitting 18 and sinking one LCS(L). Again, the destroyers and destroyer escorts took the brunt of the attack. Maj Archie Donahue, who became an ace in the Southwest Pacific flying Wildcats and Corsairs with VMF-112, was executive officer of VMF-451 aboard Bunker Hill when he claimed six victories on 12 April (USMCHD) KIKUSUI NO 3 – 15-16 APRIL 1945 54 The Japanese had again suffered heavy losses during Kikusui No 2, IJN and JAAF fighters having been unable to establish air superiority along the route taken by the Special Attack aircraft to the American fleet.
While the ships’ AAA shot down many aircraft, 20 ships were hit on this day and six were sunk, including two destroyers on radar picket duty. The radar pickets would bear the brunt of the kamikaze attacks during the Okinawa campaign. On 7 April a kamikaze hit Hancock, dropping a bomb on the port catapult and cartwheeling across the deck into the aircraft parked aft. The crew managed to get the fires out and resume operations, at a cost of 62 dead and 71 wounded, but the carrier had to be sent back to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
American Aces against the Kamikaze by Edward M. Young, Mark Styling
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