By late 1944 the war in the Pacific had turned decisively against the Japanese, and overwhelming allied forces began to close in on the home islands. At this point Japan unveiled a terrifying new tactic: the suicide attack, or Kamikaze, named after the Divine Wind which had once before, in medieval times, saved Japan from invasion. Intentionally crashing bomb-laden aircraft into Allied warships, these piloted guided missiles at first seemed unstoppable, calling into question the naval strategy on which the whole war effort was based. This book looks at the origins of the campaign, at its strategic goals, the organisation of the Japanese special attack forces, and the culture that made suicide not just acceptable, but honourable. Inevitably, much mythology has grown up around the subject, and the book attempts to sort the wheat from the chaff. One story that does stand up is the reported massive stockpiling of kamikaze aircraft for use against any Allied invasion of the home islands, if the atomic bombs had not forced Japan s surrender. However, its principal focus is on the experience of those in the Allied fleets on the receiving end of this peculiarly alien and unnerving weapon how they learnt to endure and eventually counter a threat whose potential was overestimated, by both sides. In this respect, it has a very modern resonance.
FIRE FROM THE SKY Surviving the Kamikaze Threat
A thorough and scholarly work that covers more or less the whole timeline of kamikaze attacks with a specific focus on “what happened after the plane hit.” The principal focus is on the experience of those on the Allied fleets who were on the receiving end of this particularly alien and unnerving weapon.
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Robert, C. Stern
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Hardback, 400 pages