On this day in history, the Japanese Kamikaze pilots were deployed for the first time in 1994, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Japanese military continued using this method of attack until the end of World War II.
Kamikaze pilots would make deliberate suicidal crashes into enemy targets, mostly aiming for their warships. The decision to send Kamikaze Pilots against their enemies was largely influenced by the failure to defeat the American troops using naval and aerial engagements. The Captain to call this order had a firm belief that there were ‘more than enough’ Japanese volunteers to save Japan using the crash-dive attacks.
The first wave of Kamikaze pilots consisted of 24 volunteer pilots from Japan’s 201st Navy Air Group. These men targeted U.S. escort carriers, and within less than one hour they had killed over 100 Americans.
The Kamikaze Pilots served great damage to both sides, although this did not delay the Japanese from deploying thousands of pilots. Out of the thousands of Japanese pilots deployed, 2,800 attackers sank 34 ships, damaged 368 ships, wounded 4,800 sailors, and killed over 4,900 sailors. The death ratio between Kamikaze Pilots and their enemies were quite similar, due to so many Japanese pilots missing their targets.
Out of all the deaths of the Kamikaze Pilots, it is tragic to learn that nearly ¾ of the pilots were new conscripts. New conscripts (also called ‘boy-pilots’), were student soldiers that graduated from their schools early to serve their country and emperor.
Kamikaze soldiers normally had no choice if they were going to fly for their emperor. Many of the pilots were forced into their assignments and convinced that this is what their emperor needed. They were trained to be ready to die for their emperor, unquestioningly.
On a lighter note in history…
the Australian rock band, AC/DC, earned their first top 40 Hit in 1980 with their hit song “You Shook Me All Night Long”. This rock band has never had a song become as popular as this classic hit. “You Shook Me All Night Long” became a rock of the ages, resonating deep within the rock culture for decades to come.