Response to JHB (Reply #15)
Thu Mar 7, 2013, 10:55 AM
Travelman (659 posts)
From your link:
Before the formation of kamikaze units, deliberate crashes had been used as a last resort when a pilot's plane was severely damaged and he did not want to risk being captured or he wanted to do as much damage to the enemy as possible since he was crashing anyway; this was the case in both the Japanese and Allied air forces. According to Axell and Kase, these suicides "were individual, impromptu decisions by men who were mentally prepared to die." In most cases, there is little evidence that these hits were more than accidental collisions, of the kind that sometimes happen in intense sea-air battles. One example of this occurred on 7 December 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor. First Lieutenant Fusata Iida’s plane had been hit and was leaking fuel, when he apparently used it to make a suicide attack on Kaneohe Naval Air Station. Before taking off, he had told his men that if his plane was badly damaged he would crash it into a "worthy enemy target."
While they weren't officially called kamikaze at the time, there actually were kamikaze attacks at Pearl Harbor. This Wiki citation is one, there were a couple of others (though IIRC they actually happened at Hickham Field, so technically they weren't at Pearl Harbor).
Anyone who has an interest in the history of what happened at Pearl Harbor, particularly in the mindsets of the Japanese commanders who put the plan in motion, should read Gordon Prange's At Dawn We Slept. It's incredibly exhaustive and thoroughly covers pretty much every imaginable aspect of the events of December 7, 1941.
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