View Full Version : On this day, the Divine Wind

25th Oct 2004, 10:43
October 25th 1944, 24 volunteer pilots from the Japanese 201st Navy air group became the first kamikaze to attack the US during the battle of Leyte Gulf .

All told, more than 1320 Kamikaze aircraft were launched, causing over 3000 allied deaths, but failing to halt the allied advance in the Pacific.

JB Mods
25th Oct 2004, 10:47
Parapunter, if this becomes another xenophobic thread you'll find yourself sporting the nastiest personal title in pprune's history...:E

25th Oct 2004, 10:51
Not at all, Lords & Masters. A historical event worthy of note is ones thinking process.

Nothing at all agin the Japanese me.

25th Oct 2004, 10:57
Jolly interesting article on this subject here... (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2266173.stm)


25th Oct 2004, 11:26
It is nice to see that Jet Blast topics are read in far-away lands, such as Japan. This young lady quoted in the linked BBC article has obviously been keeping up with her English jargon as recently mentioned in these pages. Or?

Xenophobes can cheer themselves up by thinking of a race of self-destructing foreigners, I suppose.

And then there was Yukio Mishima, of course, who got so far into all this that he went out at the head of his own private army.... What a trip! Made our very own Ernest Hemingway look a bit of piker, really.

And one of the most famous stories in Japanese literature is that of the 47 (49? Whatever) Ronin. First they get even, big-time and then they top themselves. For some strange reason this is one that Hollywood never managed to make into a movie. Yet.... Perhaps Tom Cruise will get on this one with a slight re-work to give a happy ending.

Actually, there were some World War II American heroes who were celebrated for crashing crippled aircraft onto the Japanese enemy, but it might have been that they were just clumsy or having a bad day. With propaganda you never really know. Our guys were noble and self-sacrificing, while the bad guys were demented and suicidal. Part of the problem here is that the post-mission de-brief just doesn't usually give you a lot to work with when it comes to determining motivation, state of mind and that sort of thing.

And there was the famous speech President Ronald Wilson Reagan made, quoting the pilot who rode his crippled bomber in. Only some wise-guy reporters wanted to know just how the pilot's words were recorded for posterity.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
25th Oct 2004, 11:32
To the victor the spoils................including how history is recorded. Who invented concentration camps ??

25th Oct 2004, 11:40
A few countries, no names, still resemble said places !!!

Seem to remember Charge of Light Brigade and Agincourt today as well. Duty done in face of impossible odds.:ok:

tony draper
25th Oct 2004, 11:46
True Mr Outlaw, we invented the Concentration Camps, but if you read further on the subject, you will find the peoples who's outrage closed those same camps down, were the British public, would that the same had been true in another place fifty odd years later.

25th Oct 2004, 11:49
I believe the point is that individual pilots, when mortally wounded or with no chance of escape decided to take some of the enemy with them. A far different cry to recruiting and organising suicide squads. Similarily concerning concentration camps. The British invented them during the Boer War as a means of confining Boers. The many deaths were a result of massive incompetence and poor logistics; not a deliberate policy as practiced by the Nazis.

The British did practice biological warfare against the natives in America, giving them blankets used by smallpox victims. But such warfare had been practiced for hundreds of years by lobbing diseased bodies into beseiged towns. So they cannot be claimed to have invented it.

One demonises the enemy in order to make it easier to train recruits to actually kill them and to stiffen resistance at home. Hence tales of Germans pitchforking babies in WWI, Our brave submariners, their evil U-Boat killers in WWII etc. It is a necessary evil in wartime. And, of course, in some cases the horrors later revealed were far worse than the propaganda....

The problem is in erasing the effect afterwards.

25th Oct 2004, 15:46
Wasn't there an RAF fighter pilot in WWII who got a posthumpus VC for ramming a bomber when he ran out of ammo. Does this make him a kamikaze?

And weren't concentration camps invented the other side of the pond in the War Between the States???? ... or just possibly by the Spanish in Cuba in the early sixteenth century????

25th Oct 2004, 15:56
Irrespective of whose side you're on, I think you have to have a degree of admiration for the kamikaze squadrons.

What would it take for members of this forum to die for a cause?

And read that again - I don't mean simply be "willing" to die. I mean actually die.

25th Oct 2004, 18:45
I once teased my German mother-in-law when she was holding a frozen one-litre jar of orange juice . That's as close to signing up for the Kamikaze Korps as makes no difference, really. Death by flying fruit....

The degree of revulsion that was provoked at the time by the Japanese suicide attacks was rather extreme. I doubt you would have found anyone from the West ready to admire anything about that at all. Even today I think most people would find it distinctly odd to find that admirable.

There are enough ways to die already. I prefer to try and find something to live for, thank you very much. Too, seeing me sat up front with my white headband on might just put the passengers right off flying with me, and who could blame them?

25th Oct 2004, 19:16
In Nevil Shute`s autobiography "Slide Rule" he wrote that he found the mentality of the Kamikaze quite easy to understand.

He was recalling his time at an English public school during the first world war when senior boys were leaving at regular intervals for the briefest of officer training before going off to the horrors of the trenches, knowing that in all probability they would not be returning (the life expectancy of an infantry subaltern being exceedingly short). He wrote of the sombre acceptance of this fate and compared it to the Japanese experience.

These men were fighting for their country. If you are doing that on the winning side, you are a hero. History is not kind to those who lose.

25th Oct 2004, 21:13
I would like to say I have the most utter, utter, respect for those who volunteered for such duties. Just profounding misgivings for those that persuaded them to do so in what was, even in they eyes of their own experts, a lost cause.

25th Oct 2004, 22:09
I would have to say that Mohamud Atta and company would garner no degree of respect from me or anyone I know. He died for his cause did'nt he? Mods what do you think are we done here?:mad:

26th Oct 2004, 03:27
I hear that they had to cancel the reunion this year as the numbers were a bit down:E

26th Oct 2004, 07:12
I fear that any Suicide Pilot, Soldier or Terrorist,must be to some extent brainwashed or of such low interlect as to be almost unable to understand the meaning of life.

As a full blown Westerner I cannot understand the mind set of suicude bombers who are told and alegedly believe they will enter their heaven, it points to a total lack of education and knowledge of the wider world, and seems almost harking back to the ages when people believed in demons and Hobgoblins.

26th Oct 2004, 07:41
If you look through history you can often find people willing to give their lives for their beliefs.
It all depends on who is writing the history book. 911 has had a huge effect on the world for the loss of around 6 attackers lives.
We now have America, the home of the free breaking the Geneva convention, internment without trial ( shades of Northern Ireland there) and accusations of torture as well.
I was once in a history class where we were given the question "Name the country and year" The facts were things like suicide attackers, internment, breach of rights. False propaganda. The trick was it could be virtually any country, just pick the right period.
Oops time to go now the CIA are here or is it the JGB?

26th Oct 2004, 10:45
Take your pick.

tony draper
26th Oct 2004, 11:08
For pure unadulterated sneakiness guile and doubledealing those organisations you mention are mere tyros, we did not earn the name Perfidious Albion for nowt, one takes great pride in that.
The difference being most of our black ops worked.


27th Oct 2004, 02:21

In "The Battle" Sergeant Ray Holmes, RAF, of 504 Squadron rammed a Dornier 17 bomber that crashed near Victoria Station. Sergeant Holmes baled out and landed with minor injuries. He was flying a Hurricane.

He had run out of ammunition. "There was no time to weigh up the situation. His aeroplane looked so flimsy. I did not think of it as something solid and substantial.... I thought my plane would cut right through it, not allowing for the fact that his plane was as strong as mine."

His port wing sheared off the tail of the Do 17. One 110 lb bomb from the Do 17 hit Buckingham Palace. The Hurricane hit the junction of Buckingham Palace Road and Pimlico Road. Sergeant Holmes came down on the roof of a block of flats in Pimlico. His parachute caught on an up-spout, and "arrested his descent at the last moment".

One of the three survivors from the Do 17 came down near the Oval underground station, was beaten up by civilians, and died from the beating. The other two were taken into captivity.

27th Oct 2004, 15:15

Many thanks! Wow! And lived to tell the tale (on reflection, if he hadn't lived to tell the tale, would we have known it was an intentional "ram".)

Sgt Holmes - Respect!

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 15:29
They dug that up that Hurricane live on telly in one of those Time Team type progs a while back Mr Davvar,I think the pilot was in attendence at the dig.

27th Oct 2004, 17:00
I hope that anyone here who really finds the idea of suicide, for whatever reason, admirable, and who holds some sort of pilot's license will see fit to share their thoughts on this with, at least, their Aviation Medical Examiner.

It is just a guess, but I think they have guidelines pertaining to what sort of mindset passes for holding a pilot's license.

Any idea that to 'Dive, scleaming, onto Amelican callier, kirring serf and arr aboald' can be fit into one's normal 'Weltanschaung' might well be grounds for disqualification. But talk it over and see what the AME says, is my advice.... What do I know?

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 17:26
I remember Tokyo Suicide Taxi Drivers in the sixties, there can't be many of them left alive now, nor their passengers for that matter.

27th Oct 2004, 18:51
'Dive, scleaming, onto Amelican callier, kirring serf and arr aboald' Cheech and Chong, chuks? ;)

Remember the question that followed? :E

27th Oct 2004, 18:58

You have a point, up to a point. No healthy sentient being wants to die (I did once, nearly, and had my medical certificate removed until I could satisfy the doctors I was OK....including one very big gun of a shrink)

However, given the situation Japan was in, I can understand someone doing the maths. The chances of disabling/sinking a capital ship of the enemy at minimal cost to ones own assets were obviously too tempting not to exploit the loyalty and commitment of its young men. I`m a bit hazy about Japanese culture at the time, perhaps someone else can comment on just why these people volunteered.

Our own history of the war is full of examples of self sacrifice. The midget submarine crews setting out to sink the Tirpitz must have known their chances of survival or even success were slim and the cockleshell heroes daring raid is another example. I know there`s a difference, in that those people weren`t deliberately setting out to be killed, but setting out knowing the likelihood of that happening isn`t so different from the Kamikaze mentality.

West Coast
27th Oct 2004, 19:12
I believe Germany also toyed with the idea of self sacrifice.

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 19:24
It is so obviously contrary to nature and Darwin to select fit young men for this kind of mission, old men past their best breeding age yes, but one suspects that old men past their prime are a bit smarter and would have told the recruiters to **** orf.
I watched a History documentry that included a segment on the proposed German suicide pilots, if I recal correctly I think the pilots went the old man past his prime rout and told em to Foxtrot Oscar, a difference in east west philosophy I think.
Our mind set require that at least a slim chance of survival be a option, a superior philosophy in my opinion.
I suppose its contrary to evolution select fit young men to fight in any war really, any industrilised war anyway, I suppose when chaps went at it sword for sword shield for shield and the fittest won that would show a evolutionary advantage.
I have little respect for the kind of fanatasism that conciders suicide missions an option.

Solid Rust Twotter
27th Oct 2004, 19:31
One is always willing to assist the enemy to die for his country.....:E

West Coast
27th Oct 2004, 19:33

I suspect we watched the same program. Didn't they lose a bunch against some formations with minimal success before calling it quits?

Onan the Clumsy
27th Oct 2004, 19:39
What about Aztecs and heart removal?

or was it Incas? I get my chocolate bars mixed up. :(

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 19:53
I think the one I watched there was a planned suicide strike against a bridge or dam or something similar very late in the war, think the pilots started to have doubts when there were no return waypoints marked on their maps.

I think the Western mind would say "Well we have as good as lost this war whats the point" and it tends to be late in a war that is as good as lost that suicide missions become acceptable.
Unless of course some loon religion is involved.

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
27th Oct 2004, 20:58
What about the Ghurkas (and others) who stood their ground to the death in all sorts of wars/battles/conflicts ? Thet didn't want to die but they were preaped to do it. Is that different ?

tony draper
27th Oct 2004, 21:24
Yes I think that is different from being trained for then coldly locked into a cockpit of a flying bomb,I suppose there is always a slim hope of survival in standing and fighting even if the odds seem hopeless.

Sultan Ismail
28th Oct 2004, 02:10
Kamikaze Memorial

In todays New Straits Times there is a report on the unveiling of a Kamikaze Memorial on the site of the airfield in the Phillipines from which these flights originated.

The accompanying photograph shows a very detailed sculpture with the pilot wearing a 5 point harness, was this to prevent him hurting himself when he terminated the flight?

Concentration Camps

These were developed by the British during the Anglo-Boer War with the intention of restraining the families of Boer Commandos from feeding and supplying their kin. In other words it was the wifes and kids who were inside.

Tony Drapers Logo

How did that Durian get to Newcastle, something smells :yuk:

28th Oct 2004, 08:34
Sultan Ismail

On concentration camps:These were developed by the British during the Anglo-Boer War I must disagree. Although the phrase was coined in the context of the Boer war, the idea was not a Brit one.The first large-scale confinement of a specific ethnic group in detention centers began in the summer of 1838, when President Andrew Jackson ordered the U.S. Army to enforce the Indian Removal Act of 1830 by rounding up the Cherokee into prison camps before relocating them. Although these camps were not intended to be extermination camps, and there was absolutely no official policy to kill people, many Indians were raped and/or murdered by US soldiers. Many more died in these camps due to starvation and bad sanitary conditions.
Throughout the remainder of the Indian Wars, various populations of Native Americans were rounded up, trekked across country (See also the Trail of Tears), and put into detention, some for as long as 27 years.
Some people feel that the term "concentration camp" is not appropriate for POW camps such as Andersonville during the American Civil War even though the treatment of prisoners in Andersonville was horrific. Others disagree (see introduction above). In any event, a US idea. And the quote above is from a very respectable source, the Webster's Dictionary Website! (http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/concentration%20camp)

Nigerian Expat Outlaw
28th Oct 2004, 08:40
OK, but that surely doesn't justify their use, does it ? The Germans and Japanese refined them quite a lot. Changed them into extermination camps.

28th Oct 2004, 10:33
C & C were good for many stupid laughs in their time, including sending the whole WWII movies on TV/ the Kamikaze ethos up something rotten in a little aside. It is very like some of the side-play in 'The Life of Brian', to be found on one of their comedy LP records.

The CO briefs the suicide volunteers more-or-less as quoted, then asks, 'Any questions? Yes, you, young Lt Sakimoto?'

'Sah! Are you out of your f*cking mind!?' So much for cherry blossoms and all that. (The volunteers were called cherry blossoms for their short, beautiful existence.)

Certainly when it comes to most of the stuff I like to do (flying, motorcycling, sailing, hiking, working in the kitchen with sharp objects) avoidance of death is what I aim for. I really do not have any time or respect for people who can brood over the beauty of rushing off this mortal coil, self-propelled. Death comes to all of us sooner or later; there is no need to rush to embrace it.

Too, especially as SLF, one expects the folks up at the sharp end to fight to survive rather than sigh, 'Ah, Thanatos!' and give up. Rubbish to that!

Every so often one reads an accident report where it's fairly obvious the crew, for whatever reason, did not explore all the options available but simply gave up. That's not what we expect in our profession, so that suicide, for whatever reason, is right off the table for me.

28th Oct 2004, 13:29
I remember there were these brave men called Thunder Gods flying the Ohka's rocket planes which had a flying time of only minutes launched from a mother plane, I believe most fell into the sea....


28th Oct 2004, 19:16
Nice picture. Is that a Betty?

And, who took the picture and why? Were they doing a drop test? But then how did the test pilot manage a safe landing? A strange race, the Japanese....

You know about fugu fish, I suppose? Eat too much and you die. How is McDonalds going to market that one American-style? Offer jumbo portions and lose half your customer base; marketing that one is going to be a real bitch. Perhaps they could serve it at Exit banquets.

I went to Japan once. No one talked about the War. It was nothing like Germany, that way. Of course, most of the people I met in Tokyo were p*ssed as rats and didn't speak English anyway, or none that I could understand. Maybe they were talking about the War after all. It was cherry blossom time, too cold for the beach, so that I have no idea whether they do that towel thing, German-style.

11th Nov 2004, 23:12

A propos your posting of 25 October on the ramming of a Do 17 on September 15, 1940, I just came across a feature on Sergeant Ray Holmes, RAF, who did the ramming, in The Aeroplane for August 2004, at page 9. Mr Holmes had been on a TV program to celebrate the excavation of the Merlin from his Hurricane. The spadegrip was unearthed too and was presented to him. He was to be 90 years old in August, 2004. There were plans to put the engine on semi-permanent display at the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth.

12th Nov 2004, 17:07
Poor old chap seemed a bit nonplussed when they had him in the studio as they were excavating his engine, but I suppose at his age he is entitled. Saw the engine the other day at the IWM along with some other bits that they pulled out including the stick.