The Yokosuka Ohka Model 11 should have the modern-day terrorist banging down the doors to their human resources offices. As the aerial suicide bombers of Imperial Japan flew rocket-propelled missiles towards their misguided promises of paradise upon the advent of eminent defeat. In comparison to the rock and Kalashnikov-wielding religious zealots of modern times who are forced to charge on foot or in a vehicle.
Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka Model 11, Navy Suicide Attacker, Ohka, “Cherry Blossom”
These kamikaze pilotable rocket-jets was developed near the close of WWII by a desperate Imperial Japan, in an effort to increase Allied casualties as they waged the final acts of the war, by attrition.
The development and production of this type of craft was a top priority to Imperial Japan, with ten variants of this type of suicide-aircraft developed. Fortunately, only the Cherry Blossom saw combat.
Despite the efforts of Imperial Japan, they were for not, and overwhelmingly detrimental to the greater their cause, much like the Jihadist of today. Such as today’s terrorist, the Imperial Japanese military was propagandized with visions of grandeur in death. Albeit, both groups of organized suicide attackers are equally misguided and short of commonsense. During WWII, as the Imperial Japanese suicide pilots boarded their aircraft, they were told that they were honorable and were to be rewarded . . . While American service-members provided these pilots with a more realistic title – Baka, Japanese for “fool” or “idiot.”
|Ohka Model 11 replica at the Yasukuni ShrineYūshūkan war museum.|
|Manufacturer||Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal|
|First flight||October 1944 (unpowered), November 1944 (powered).|
|Primary user||Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service|
The Ohka Model 11’s, were to be hauled into combat by the Mitsubishi G4M2e “Betty,” Model 24J, Bombers and then deployed through the bomb-bay, or from underneath the aircraft. Once a target was within the twenty-two-mile range of the manned-guided missile, the suicide-aircraft was released – bearing a 2,650lb, (1,200kg,) warhead that was designed to explode upon impact. The Cherry Blossom would then achieve a top flight speed of 650 km/h (400 mph), as the suicide-rocket-aircraft moved it for its only and final mission.
The pilot would then glide the flying suicide-rocket/bomb toward the objective and, when sufficiently close, fire the Cherry Blossom’s three boosters; Type 4, Mark 1, Model 20, solid-fuel-rocket-motors. The kamikaze would have aligned the suicide-aircraft at the intended target and attempt to beat the odds of being intercepted by American and Allied interceptor fighters and anti-aircraft artillery.
Once the booster rockets were fired, the Cherry Blossom was difficult to stop. The suicide-bombers from the sky would race into their targets at excess of 650mph, (1,000km/h,) a speed which was easily accomplished upon the Cherry Blossom’s terminal dive.
The flying suicide bomber was initially viewed as a technological windfall by Imperial Japan. Yet their efforts were a dismal failure, of the 852, Ohka Model 11 variants of the Cherry Blossom to be recklessly cast to their demise. Only one U.S. destroyer was sunk, two more and a minesweeper rendered inoperable, and a few other naval vessels suffered minor damages.
The U.S. was able to swiftly adapt to the new and unique Japanese threat through difficult lessons learned. Imperial Japan had first deployed this type of suicide-aircraft during the invasion of Okinawa, primarily targeting U.S. ships. The U.S. answered, and countered through the expansion of the defensive rings around the fleets.
By the end, although, at a terrible cost in lives and material. Imperial Japan was forced to scrap the project, and eventually surrender.
Featured Image – America Service-members disarming a captured Ohka Cherry Blossom Baka Ohka-11. Via Wikimedia Commons.