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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Kamikaze

 'Kamikaze' is a Japanese word meaning 'divine wind.' it refers to the providential typhoons in 1274 and 1281, which baled Mongolian invasion fleets under Kublai Khan. During World War II, it was applied to the suicide aircraft attacks under Vice Admiral Onishi in the Pacific between October 1944 and January 1945.

The first kamikaze attack took place on October 21, 1944 .A Japanese fighter plane carrying a 200-kilogram (440 lb) bomb attacked HMAS Australia off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.

There were 355 kamikaze pilots in the first wave of Japanese forces attacking the American fleet off Okinawa in April 1945, at the end of World War II.

Around 3,860 kamikaze pilots gave their lives in attacks when their bomb-loaded fighters crashed into Allied naval vessels. It is estimated that about 19% of kamikaze attacks managed to hit a ship.



The missions of Kamikaze pilots were often scrapped before the final planned attack because of turbulence, bad weather, or low visibility.

"Kamikaze pilots only had enough fuel for one-way missions" is actually a myth.

Japanese Kamikaze pilots were allowed to return if they didn't find a suitable target. One pilot was shot after his ninth return.

Motoharu Okamura, the Japanese officer who proposed the use of Kamikaze pilots during World War II shot himself in the face post-war as penance for sending so many young men to their deaths

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, "kamikaze" is a "member of a Japanese air attack corps in World War II assigned to make a suicidal crash on a target (as a ship)." Since World War II, the word has been used to describe any person willing to sacrifice their own life to carry out an act of violence upon another.

  St Lo attacked by kamikazes, October 25, 1944
                                   
The Norwegian band A-Ha had a 1988 UK Top 40 hit with "The Blood That Moves the Body," which was about the Japanese kamikaze attacks.

Originally written for Songfacts.com

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