During World War II, one of the well-known traits of the Japanese troops was their willingness to give their lives for the war effort in the form of suicide attacks against enemies. The Japanese military culture had put great emphasis on self-sacrifices as an honorable means to end one’s life, leaving behind a heroic legacy. Because of these, many of their strategies, especially when the odds were against them and they knew they could not stop the US, involved different forms of suicide attacks. One of which involved equipment used during the nearing end of WWII called the lunge mine, which was an effective tool not only in damaging enemy tanks but also in killing its user.

Japanese Suicide Attacks

For the Japanese military of World War II, suicide attacks were a costly but effective way of hindering the enemy forces, a price that they were willing to take. For instance, a single Japanese aircraft carrying tons of bombs could sink a US aircraft carrier, and the sacrifice was worth it. They established Japanese Special Attack Units called shimbu-tai, specifically made by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army for suicide missions. This included perhaps the most famous Japanese suicide missions called kamikaze attacks, wherein Kamikaze pilots would fly their planes filled with explosives and dive them straight into target enemies like human-guided-and-sacrificed missiles. This was effective in destroying enemy units if they succeeded, although they were usually destroyed or the pilot was killed before reaching their target.

There were also these banzai charges on the ground when Japanese troops would swarm into enemy positions when defeat was apparent. Then there were fukuryu or suicide divers armed with Type-5 attack mines with 33 pounds of explosives. Other types included attacks using boats, midget submarines, and manned torpedoes. The idea of dying in combat as a heroic and honorable death was even solidified and romanticized by wartime propaganda, so it was no surprise that many, if not all, were willing to give up their lives for the country.

Lunge Mines

Lunge mine was one of the equipment created by the Japanese to help their infantry tackle the threat of enemy tanks. It was a two-meter long pole with an explosive charge on its tip. It was in 1944 that the US first knew about its existence, at a time when Japan was becoming more and more desperate.