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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Kamikaze Tactics - Insane or Rational?

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Some think the Japanese Kamikaze attacks were just insane or stupid

Yet U.S. analysis showed that to impose a given level of damage the Japanese actually lost fewer pilots when they adopted these tactics

So let's look at the calculations,

characteristic tactics and counter tactics. To determine how effective kamikaze attacks were we need to compare them to a conventional attack.

Based on the available data from 1944 and 1945

Norman Friedman did some calculations on how many planes were needed to score a certain number of hits

I used those numbers and did some of my own calculations. Let's assume

120 Japanese planes would carry out the conventional attack. The combat air patrol of the US Navy would destroy on 60% of such an attack

Thus 72 planes shot down leaving us with 48 attack aircraft going for a strike.

Of these 48 planes about 33% could be shot on by anti-aircraft fire

Thus 16 planes would be shot down and 32 would make it to the final run.

Now of these 32 aircraft only about 15% would score a hit thus leaving us with four to five hits

statistically speaking in other words the Japanese needed about

120 planes to square around five hits by losing 88 planes and pilots in the process.

Now let's look how many kamikaze planes were needed to achieve a similar amount of 5 hits

So let's do the calculations in reverse. First the hit rate; although Friedman calculated in a spoke of a rate of 100%

I lower the value to 80 percent to a more conservative value. Thus four five hits

6.25 planes would be needed to make it through the AA screen, so let's say seven planes.

Now kamikaze planes usually didn't do evasive maneuvers, often steer directly at the enemy AA fire and were rather poorly trained

Thus the loss ratio in AA screan was estimated at 50%. As a result 14 planes would need to make it through the combat Air Patrol.

Now we can calculate the required number of planes.

Again I adapted the numbers from Friedman. He used the kill ratio of 60 percent whereas here using more conservative value of 75 percent

Meaning that 56 kamikazes would be necessary whereas with Friedman numbers, it would be 35

Let's take the more conservative number here and compare them to a conventional attack

So 56 pilots and planes lost for about five hits in a kamikaze attack

versus eighty eight pilots and planes lost for about five hits in a conventional attack get a total number of

120 planes and pilots needed

although this is far from a perfect assessment to the many factors being not accounted for

like the different kinds of damage a hit would result in, more fuel needed for a conventional attack due to the

necessity of them being able to return to base

more training time required for

conventional pilots and many other factors

Yet most of these factors actually in favor of the kamikaze attacks in terms of a loss to hit ratio

so this calculations in line with the observation of a Japanese officer.

A Japanese officer later said that his country had adopted suicide tactics because conventional tactics were inherently suicidal

Similarly the author of "Kamikazes, Corsairs, and Picket Ships, Okinawa, 1945" put it this way

Kamikaze attacks rather than being fanatically missions launched by madman were actually the only

Possibility for the Japanese to prevent the invasion of the homeland the very only rational means by which it could be demonstrated

To the Americans that an invasion of Japan would be too costly

Now to give you a better understanding of chemical attacks. Let's look at some characteristics of the raids by the Special Attack Corps and

First we need to clear something up the name kamikaze is most likely wrong and the result of a misinterpretation

kamikaze used as a term to identify the special air corps, is generally thought to be a erroneous pronunciation of the Japanese characters by Japanese-Americans

In the Imperial Japanese Navy

The Corps was called the Shimpu Tokubetsu-Kogekitai

The characters for Shimpu can also be read as kamikaze, hence the commonly used name in western works

Well luckily if you had a problem with Erin's pronunciation you wouldn't be around in this channel anyway

So let's move on. Now kamikaze had various strengths and weaknesses

Which are also highly dependent on the point of view for instance

They were mostly untrained thus they required less training time and were less resource-intensive than regular pilots

Yet it also meant they needed to be guided to the targets

Another aspect was the following

For most kamikaze pilots, it probably was the first

combat mission and their last. Our fighter pilots constantly reported in amazement the ease with which they had destroyed the enemy.

division of four fighter pilots in the Yorktown amassed a total of 50 enemy planes between themselves

Without so much as receiving a single enemy bullet in any of their planes

No evasive action became a stock phrase and the pilot reports describing the reaction of enemy planes which were destroyed

Now the no evasive action also relates to the next point namely that most were determined to die in the attack

This had various implications when it came to anti-aircraft fire a regular pilot would likely wait or break off the attack

Where's Kamikazes often dived for the most intensive fire

One needs to remember during the Second World War anti-aircraft fire was most often a deterrent rather than a means of destroying incoming aircraft

There's a further implications on ships 50 cals became basically useless due to limited fire power and range even

20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns were considered not powerful enough

Similarly the planes were often not equipped with standard loadouts. some had the guns removed

Others had additional bombs strapped to them and it seems that basically no kamikaze plane was without a bomb. This included fighters.

channel the aircraft types used for chemical submissions ranged from the

k5y biplane trainer to the

MXY7 oka flying bomb and lots of planes in between

And since kamikaze flights were per definition one-way flights this allowed to use planes that would usually have been out of range

Although so far I mentioned mostly Japanese navy planes the Japanese army airforce had also kamikaze planes

although both Japanese air forces had different organization and targets for the suicide Unit

The Japanese cooperation between the two branches was rather lackluster even at this stage of the war

Yet, they agreed to cooperate especially in providing fighter support for the missions

But years of inter-service rivalry had taken its toll. They agreed on sharing bases and also agreed that the Navy would primarily

target the carrier task forces

Whereas the army would attack convoy and troop carriers since those were easier to hit and the army pilots were less

experienced with moving targets than the Navy

The final aspect is damage done by successful Kamikaze strike

since kamikaze planes usually were equipped with one or more bomb this meant that the impact of the plane the bombs and the

fuel in the plane could damage the ship

And the reports I read quite often that the fires were small and could be put out rather easily

This was most likely due to planes only being fueled for a one-way flight

There are some examples where the fire spread although

It is not sure if it was from the plane fuel or something else

Or maybe a spontaneous kamikaze, namely a regular attack aircraft that should have returned to base

One of these reports that noted a severe gasoline fire is that of the destroyer Callahan

Whereas the destroyer Drexler had the fires quickly extinguished

Now let's look at chemical tactics because they were far more sophisticated than one might believe

As already outlined kamikaze tactics were reaction to the limitations the Japanese air force is faced in terms of equipment and training

Combined with the sophisticated u.s.

Fleet defense the common wisdom before a battle in the philippine sea was that attacks that were carried out in

Concentrated groups allowed for a certain amount of planes breaking through the defensive perimeter and scoring effective hits

Yet in summer 1944 the u.s.

Fleet defense had gotten too effective and devastated such concentrated attacks with combat air patrols and anti-aircraft fire

After that the Japanese learnt their lesson and adopted the tactics accordingly during the Battle of Okinawa, which saw the largest kamikaze attacks

Additionally by this time the Japanese were aware of the limitations of u.s.

Naval radar and knew that ships were most vulnerable from attacks directly overhead or low altitude approaches

Similarly the U.S. Fighter control system also had its limits

It was basically a map on which radar contacts were added with altitude speed and course

As combat air patrols would be assigned to intercept courses yet plotting an intercepted vector for a fighter

Only works if the attack vector of the incoming group stays roughly the same.

additionally decoy aircraft were used as well.

In short the constant changes in information on altitude speed and direction combined with a large number of dispersed groups limited the fighter control system and

communication capabilities of the combat information center of the US Navy

Since one can only plot a certain number of groups and keep them updated

If this data was crucial to assigning combat air patrols to the greatest threat

Now how was a Kamikaze raid actually performed?

When you usually hear about a Kamikaze you think of a single plane going on a suicide run against a ship

Although the very first kamikazes consisted of small groups this has changed till the Battle of, Okinawa

Now they approach in large formations, but also dispersed once engaged

The ideal kamikaze attack was provided by fighter support and the formation also included a regular attack aircraft

for instance the first Kikusui raid at Okinawa consisted of

the formation changed course regularly and used cloud cover additionally

These final suicide runs ranged from simply ramming the plane with its bombload into a ship

or dropping the bombs shortly beforehand it also found one rare case where regular torpedo attack was performed successfully

Against a destroyer and then circled the ship to crash itself into the destroyer.

Note that this was probably a spontaneous kamikaze attack of a regular attacker

Kamikaze attacks evolved through the course of the war and challenged the US Navy in different ways

The operational evaluation group determined that there are three distinctive faces in the late war bombing attacks of which two contain Kamikazes.

Phase one basically showed that regular

Concentrated attacks weren't successful anymore due to the huge imbalance between the US and Japanese forces

although Japanese deployed a large number of planes that often challenged the US combat air patrols

Numerically the Japanese losses were very high and the bombing runs ineffective. This was due to the fact that

The second phase saw the introduction of the first dedicated Kamikaze attacks and visually still flew in small groups

But already displayed a certain amount of deception and sophistication

Sometimes would use cloud cover if available if

intercepted the groups would break up and try to evade individually by diving away to the water or flying into clouds

If they weren't intercepted and reach a distance of about 60 nautical miles to the target they went into shallow dive and once close enough

kamikazes went into the final dives

Third phase raids were the most sophisticated the Japanese used mass rates of suicide planes

But dispersed these flights, used evasion regularly, and added also

Deception like dropping chaff or window which would look on radar like aircraft

Most planes flew at the low altitude and the US fleet lost at least two dozen trips to kamikazes,

and many more were damaged, sometimes severely

The data or better the corruption of it is a good indication that the direction of the u.s.. Fleet defense was overwhelmed at times

In order to counter kamikazes, various methods were used and existing methods like combat air patrol were adapted or improved

One counter tactic was to use radar picket stations in an improved variation

Picket ships were originally usually single destroyers that operated away from main force in order to detect both surface and air contact

Yet in late 1944 early 1945 the threat by the Japanese surface ships had greatly diminished whilst kamikazes attacks were the new threat

Since one ship alone was deemed too vulnerable due to kamikazes usually attacking in small groups

thus severely reducing the AA capabilities of a single destroyer,

The main objective of pickets stations were first to warn about approaching enemy aircraft and second to direct combat air patrols to the enemy planes

Usually two aircraft were stationed above a picket station and called radar picket patrol although the number could be larger if deemed necessary

In total around 48 planes were deployed during quiet times whereas during mass attacks

120 or more aircraft might be assigned for radar picket patrol. Be aware that these picket ships were

NOT intended to attack incoming kamikazes or other attackers

Nevertheless the picket ships suffered heavy losses since the Japanese attacked them repeatedly

The picket station duty at Okinawa was most likely the most dangerous naval assignment in the US Navy or the war

Yet the system itself fulfilled its role and Vice Admiral Richmond K Turner noted

Besides using pickets in combination with combat air patrols another way was to destroy enemy planes on the ground

the first kamikaze attacks in October 1944 had been severely affected by this due to fighter sweeps on Formosa

Thus destroying the planes on the ground seems to have been a very effective way

Now before we conclude this video

Let's take a short look at both the high and low tech that didn't see major use

But could have a severe impact in case of an invasion of the Japanese home islands

Namely the k5y biplane and the M X Y 7 hooker flying bomb

L et's start with Yokosuka K5Y

As counterintuitive as it might seem the biplane was a considerable threat and not just on paper. to quote from a report

Additionally it was a training aircraft thus experienced trainers were added to the pool of kamikazes or at least support pilots

Furthermore it was well suited for night attacks for which

the Japanese were training in defense of the home islands

the focus of nighttime attacks also would have a further implication and could have affected the overall combat effectiveness of the US Navy

Now you might argue it's just theory and kamikaze attacks with biplanes by nignt would have not been a serious threat

Well remember the first damage report about the destroyer that was sunk by one kamikaze plane, the Callaghan?

It was sank exactly by such a biplane night attack. And another, the USS Cassin Young

Was heavily damaged in July 1945 by a similar attack.

Now at the other end of the technology spectrum. We have the Yokosuka MXY7

oka flying bomb attentive 1200 kilograms boy head in the nose was designed for mass production and

constructed from wood and non-critical metal alloys. Thus similarly to the old biplanes the oka was likely to be immune to

US proximity fuses the severely reducing the effectiveness of AA fire

Additionally in some cases it was completely unnoticed

The main weakness of the oka was its form of delivery it was usually attached to bombers like the G4M Betty

We still had to get quite close to the target before dropping the oka.

Yet there was a different version designed, the model 22 with a smaller warhead, longer range and

Shorter wings in order to be used in a faster parent aircraft and also be dropped further away from the target

There were other variants in development as well one was designed to be launched from caves in order to provide defense of the home Island

the main advantage of the oka was its high speed of

650 kilometres per hour and British analysis of US data showed that higher speed of Kamikazes severely increased the chances of their success

During the Battle of Okinawa yoga, had a rather limited impact due to two factors

One was that many were lost due to the mother ships being intercepted and the second was that it was used mostly against

Destroyers which could result in an over penetration.

To conclude although the action of Special Attack Corp who are usually referred to as kamikaze

are often portrayed as useless attacks by madman to just steer the planes into ships

The available information clearly shows that kamikaze tactics were more effective in a friendly losses to enemy damage aspect and regular attacks

additionally the planning coordination and

execution of these attacks in the later stages clearly showed that the Japanese were mostly aware of the capabilities and limitations

Of U.S. Fleet defense and to a certain degree were able to overwhelm it

thus they were definitely not simple nor unsophisticated attacks

While I hope this video answered a few questions

And if you like this content consider supporting me on patreon remember every dollar helps improving your videos a big

Thank you to Naval Institute press for providing a complimentary copy of fighters over fleet and special

Thanks to Justin and wood is mo for helping me out on this video as always sources are linked in the description

Thank you for watching and see you next time

The Description of Kamikaze Tactics - Insane or Rational?