Saturday, May 26, 2012

"till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing" - A Kamikaze Pilot

 Tokyo Sky-Tree Tower (634 meters high)
Now in Business as the World Tallest Tower

A Kamikaze Pilot

The first wave of the kamikaze special squadrons was formed by the Imperial Japanese Navy in October 1944.

On October 25, about 30 pilots of Zero fighters in the seven squadrons departed their bases to attack US fleets around the Leyte Gulf of the Philippines.  They all naturally died in this suicide attack mission except one.

The pilot named Takahashi even survived WWII, though he was just 21 years old at the time.

When he was asked by a superior officer whether he would join this first kamikaze mission as other pilot who volunteered for this fatal air attack got ill suddenly, Takahashi immediately answered that he would go for the sick air soldier.

At 6:30 a.m. on October 25, however, when Takashi took off as a member of a squadron, he found his plane had a trouble.  So, he immediately landed to fix the problem.  Then he was assigned to another squadron as his original squadron already hurried to start; and in the next try his plane successfully took off.  This incident took only 20 minutes or so, but it subtly changed a mood of Takahashi who had first been determined to carry out this kamikaze mission by any means. But when he took off in the second time, he somewhat lost a passion for this heroic mission.

Takahashi's and other three kamikaze Zero fighters, with some support Zeros guarding the kamikaze planes, flew along islands of the Phillipines.  They saw some US naval ships burning and a US hospital ship.  Oil was floating on the surface.  A battle had been fought there already.  They continued fly and search for US aircraft carriers, their main targets.  But they could not find any while they were flying over the sea on the east side of the Leyte Gulf.  Then the four Kamikaze Zeros came to be out of fuel.  So, they dropped bombs their planes carried on the surface of the sea.  And support Zeros left them here.  But soon after it, they could find three US destroyers.  Two of the four kamikaze Zero fighters dashed to the US naval ships, firing machine guns.  Takahshi and other fighter took their own position in the air for a raid to the destroyers.  But Takashi found his Zero had not enough fuel, and he thought it was useless to smash his plane into a US destroyer since he had already dropped the bomb.  So, Takahashi decided to leave the battle zone and look for an emergency air field built by the Imperial Army troops being deployed in islands around Leyte island.  Takahashi could find one.  His Zero landed there.  There his Zero was refueled.  He returned to one of major air bases the Imperial Navy was using, though it was different from the base he had departed.  In the base, he was warmly accepted and appointed to a support squadron but not to other kamikaze squadron.  And, Takahashi eventually survived the Japanese-US War or the Pacific Theater of WWII.  It is believed that Takahashi is the only survivor among the some 30 kamikaze pilots who participated in the first kamikaze mission carried out on October 25, 1944 in order to support desperate operation by the Imperial Japanese Navy fleets planned to destroy US fleets being massed in the Layte Gulf.
In the last ten months of WWII, the Imperial Navy and Army sent total 2,483 military planes for kamikaze suicide attack missions.  About 4,000 soldiers died.  About 400 planes hit US military ships or blasted themselves near US ships.  About 350 US naval ships were damaged to any degree, and 20 were sunk.  But no full-scale US aircraft carriers were sunk though some of them were severely damaged.

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Mat 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.