Thursday, January 24, 2008

Suicide attack

Repeated suicide attack was seen for only the first time in of all recorded history in the 1940’s. Japan resorted to this tactic after it was obvious that they were losing badly. Many suicide attacks had been seen prior to that point. However, the intention was that they were not to be repeated. After the defeat of the carrier air groups in the ‘Marianas Turkey shoot’, Japan began to organize suicide groups. The air force is most commonly remembered. However, it took many other forms as well. Among other things, suicide ships and torpedoes were built. Aircraft and other weapons were built to be expendable and cheap to make. "Human bombs" were organized to strap explosives to themselves. The intent was to jump under a tank or into another U.S. position to blow it up. They were given minimal training. For example, the experienced pilots escorted the Kamikaze pilots to the target. This way, the attackers would have protection and reports would be available with the results of the attack. Many missed the target. Japan would run out of attackers from time to time. The supply of aircraft, pilots and men would be used up until they could be replenished.

From the point of view of the U.S., we were faced with a problem: How do you defeat them? Defensively, it was obvious that you must physically blow them apart before they reach you. Preemption took the form of attacks with the objective to destroy the ability to launch new attacks. For example, attacking the air bases that the Kamikazes used to take off from. We did not know the exact bases, so we attacked them all. We attempted to destroy ALL aircraft in the area. This worked fairly well. We also placed more expendable assets in the way. We would place escort ships along the route to our fleet. These ships would be able to defend themselves. Inexperienced pilots would attack them instead of more important targets. This is an important factor as to why we lost so many escort ships in the Okinawa campaign.

The scary part about this is that it took nuclear weapons to put a decisive end to it.

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