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BrushWolf

Kamikaze Commandos! Japanese Airborne Raid Okinawa 1945

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While technically not about the naval battle this is an interesting action that took place during the battle for Okinawa in an attack against the air fields we were operating from the island.

 

Edited by BrushWolf

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I remember hearing about these guys when I did some touring when I was stationed on Okinawa, namely the ones that landed on Kadena.

 

IMO it was a useless waste of highly trained men.  Aircraft losses were easily replaced by the US, but quality troops such as these troops weren't easy to replace for Japan, especially by 1945.  They'd have been better with the defense of Mainland Japan against the expected invasion.

"The U.S. airfields on Okinawa were back in business within hours of the attack."

That's about as damning you can get for the throwing away of a bunch of highly trained men as well as the aircraft that brought them over, and trained aviators lost with them.  Then there was the follow-on kamikaze flights expecting the mission to have succeeded.  It was pointless.  Useless.  Wasteful.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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44 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

I remember hearing about these guys when I did some touring when I was stationed on Okinawa, namely the ones that landed on Kadena.

 

IMO it was a useless waste of highly trained men.  Aircraft losses were easily replaced by the US, but quality troops such as these troops weren't easy to replace for Japan, especially by 1945.  They'd have been better with the defense of Mainland Japan against the expected invasion.

"The U.S. airfields on Okinawa were back in business within hours of the attack."

That's about as damning you can get for the throwing away of a bunch of highly trained men as well as the aircraft that brought them over, and trained aviators lost with them.  Then there was the follow-on kamikaze flights expecting the mission to have succeeded.  It was pointless.  Useless.  Wasteful.

I agree that it was a waste of trained men but you have to take the Japanese mind set into consideration which was extreme even by oriental standards. Look up the allied raids on Singapore particularly the second and what happened after to get a good look at their rather medieval world view.

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I saw the title and thought, "Probably Mark Feltons video." I wasnt disappointed. He has a wide array of quality videos on YouTube. 

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On 11/6/2020 at 6:46 AM, RipNuN2 said:

I saw the title and thought, "Probably Mark Feltons video." I wasnt disappointed. He has a wide array of quality videos on YouTube. 

Both the good doctor and the history guy cover a wide and interesting range of topics and of course for everything naval Drachinifel. There are others out there but those are the three I trust to get things right and on the rare occasion when they fluff they quickly admit their mistake.

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On 11/5/2020 at 10:50 PM, BrushWolf said:

I agree that it was a waste of trained men but you have to take the Japanese mind set into consideration which was extreme even by oriental standards. Look up the allied raids on Singapore particularly the second and what happened after to get a good look at their rather medieval world view.

Admiral Perry and the "Opening of Japan" only happened in 1852.  Japan as a society wasn't too far off from their feudal history.  The Shogunate only collapsed in 1869 and Japan literally tried jumping into the modern world overnight.  So the Japanese had this weird mix of "old" and "western modernization."  Real unique thing.  For better or worse.

 

Quite a bit of the war toward the end had that mentality going.  In "Japanese Destroyer Captain," the author noted how the "kamikaze spirit" permeated the navy.  Hell, Operation Ten-Go of April 1945 was nothing more than a suicidal, face saving move by the higher ups of the IJN, knowing full well Yamato and her "fleet" (if it could even rate being called that) had zero chance of succeeding.

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On 11/8/2020 at 12:54 AM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Quite a bit of the war toward the end had that mentality going.  In "Japanese Destroyer Captain," the author noted how the "kamikaze spirit" permeated the navy.  Hell, Operation Ten-Go of April 1945 was nothing more than a suicidal, face saving move by the higher ups of the IJN, knowing full well Yamato and her "fleet" (if it could even rate being called that) had zero chance of succeeding.

And from what I can tell, what motivated Operation Ten-Go was from some vague statement from the Emperor that was somehow interpreted to mean the Emperor was demanding blood sacrifices for the sake of honor by the upper echelons.

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12 hours ago, Sventex said:

And from what I can tell, what motivated Operation Ten-Go was from some vague statement from the Emperor that was somehow interpreted to mean the Emperor was demanding blood sacrifices for the sake of honor by the upper echelons.

If I recall the story right, in April 1945, the Emperor was hearing the Army's briefing on what was being done for the defense of Okinawa.  They had a bunch of soldiers on Oki itself and plans for land based Kamikaze attacks were in order.  Then the Emperor goes, "What about the Navy?"

 

The IJN had nothing planned for Okinawa originally.  Hell, the IJN expended most of the fuel it had left for that one last push to Leyte Gulf in late 1944, which was an unmitigated disaster.  They used their last big pile of fuel, lost a bunch of ships, and had next to nothing to show for it.  The IJN already did what it could to defend the Philippines, and by April 1945 they had nothing left.  So yeah, the IJN got shamed in front of the Emperor, and the leadership then put together Operation Ten-Go.

 

In that April 1945 time frame, there were still a lot of ships afloat for the IJN.  Nagato was still around, for example.  They got some new Fleet Carriers, the 3 of the Unryu-class.  Etc.

But they no longer had the trained naval aviators to give their new Carriers.

They no longer had fuel to send a larger Ten-Go task force.

There were ships stuck at Singapore like Heavy Cruisers Myoko and Takao.  Their damage from Leyte Gulf couldn't be repaired, the Americans were now straddling the sea lanes since they were now in between at the Philippines.  Not to mention the submarines.  So they were stuck until the surrender months later.

 

The more I found out about how Ten-Go came to be, the more upset I get about it.  Good ships, good men, thrown away for zero good reasons.

 

Anyways, from "Japanese Destroyer Captain" leading up to orders for Ten-Go being issued:

Spoiler

 

I felt impelled to say, “The realistic thing for us to do is to attack the enemy’s overextended lines of supply. I would like permission to go on a lone-wolf mission. Yahagi now has radar and sonar equipment and I think she could go out alone and account for at least half a dozen enemy ships before they could get us. That strikes me as a worthwhile mission. The proposed fleet mission to Okinawa would, in my estimation, be just like throwing an egg at a rock.”

Captain Masayoshi Yoshida of Destroyer Division 41 spoke up next. “Hara has expressed my opinion exactly. My destroyers Fuyutsuki and Suzutsuki are the very latest in anti-aircraft ships. These destroyers were built with blood, tears, and taxes of our impoverished nation, and have yet to be given a worthy assignment. I am positive that they could serve best on an independent mission such as Hara has described.”

Commander Yoshiro Sugihara, skipper of Samidare when she sank in August, and now commanding Asashimo, vehemently seconded Yoshida’s remarks. “I am living on velvet,” he said, “and am prepared to die at any moment, but not meaninglessly as this action requires. My Asashimo is 2,520 tons of fighting warship. I would like a full chance to make her an asset to the nation.”

The conference was interrupted when orderlies brought lunch, but the food was tasteless. During the meal the destroyer skippers voiced their opinions in the general vein of what had already been said. At 1300 Komura went back to Yamato. The rest of us waited grimly in Yahagi until he finally returned at1600.

His face was haggard when he entered the salon slowly and said in a tired, croaking voice, “I have accepted the orders, which went into effect at 1530.”

He seemed relieved to have gotten this off his chest. Then, looking around the room at each of us in turn, he gave a detailed account of the fateful meeting:

“I spent a full hour in conveying your opinions and my concurrence in them. Kusaka and the others listened to me intently. When I finished, Kusaka explained that this sortie was a decoy mission. He emphasized that it was not his plan, but that it had been worked out during his visit at Kanoya. While enemy carriers are occupied in opposing our fleet, Kanoya, as the southernmost airfield on Kyushu, will fling hundreds of kamikaze planes at Okinawa. Kusaka assured me that this decoy sortie will not end in vain as did my last one.

“Then he turned to Morishita and explained that the high command, and especially the Army members, had been dismayed by Yamato’s breakoff at Leyte. Kusaka said that he felt it was not Morishita’s fault, for he had worked a wonder in dodging all torpedoes, while Musashi fell victim to them. Yet he said that Tokyo was displeased that Yamato had returned without firing her 18.1-inch guns at the enemy. Morishita took these remarks very hard.“

Kusaka said to Aruga that the whole nation would hate the Navy if the war should end with Yamato still intact. Through no fault of Aruga’s, Yamato had been out of action for three years prior to Leyte, and was being spoken of as ‘a floating hotel for idle, inept admirals.'

’“Ito broke his long silence at this point and said, ‘I think we are being given an appropriate chance to die. A samurai lives so that he is always prepared to die.’ That ended all argument. When Morishita and then Aruga finally gave in, I did too.”

 

SECOND FLEET

Spoiler

 

Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito*

330px-Vice_Admiral_Seiichi_Ito.png

Battleship Yamato,* Rear Admiral Kosaku Ariga*

300px-K%C5%8Dsaku_Aruga.jpg

 

Destroyer Squadron 2, Rear Admiral Keizo Komura in Yahagi

Komura_Keiz%C5%8D.jpg

Yahagi,* Captain Tameichi Hara

330px-Tameichi_Hara.jpg

 

Destroyer Division 17, Captain Kiichi Shintani*

Isokaze,* Commander Saneo Maeda

Hamakaze,* Commander Isami Mukoi

Yukikaze, Commander Masamichi Terauchi

 

Destroyer Division 21, Captain Hisao Kotaki*

Asashimo,* Commander Yoshiro Sugihara

Kasumi,* Commander Hiroo Yamana

Hatsushimo, Commander Masazo Sato

 

Destroyer Division 41, Captain Masayoshi Yoshida

Fuyutsuki, Commander Hidechika Sakuma

Suzutsuki, Commander Shigetaka Amano

 

* = Lost during Operation Ten-Go

"Photo of the commanding officers on the flagship Yamato on 5 April 1945, two days before the operation." (source)

YamatoTenGoOfficers.jpg


In the quoted story, "Morishita" was thrown under the bus by high command.  His name was Morishita Nobuei

Spoiler

 

He was Captain of Yamato when she went to Leyte Gulf in late 1944.  Prior to Yamato, he was Commanding Officer of CLs Ooi, Sendai, then BB Haruna, then finally Yamato.  When in Command of Sendai, the ship was part of the heavy fighting for Guadalcanal, namely First and Second Naval Battles of Guadalcanal.  In the latter, Sendai was under Washington's 16" gunfire but wasn't hit.

He'd be promoted to RAdm while in command of Yamato, just before the sortie for Leyte Gulf.  For Operation Ten-Go he'd be 2nd Fleet Chief of Staff to VAdm. Ito but still be posted on Yamato.

While observing the American attacks on Yamato, he commented, "Beautifully done, isn't it?" (Source from that link)

Morishita would survive the sinking of Yamato and would retire from the Navy in 1947, passing away in 1960.

 

From Kantai Collection's wiki entry for Destroyer Yukikaze, regarding her Commanding Officer at the time of Operation Ten-Go:

Spoiler

Her battle start quote 「雪風は沈みませんっ!」 "Yukikaze will not sink!" is originally a quote of Masamichi Terauchi as her 5th Captain. He took command from September 1943 to May 1945 and was the former captain of Inazuma. He always told his crew 「諸君、雪風は沈まん!なぜならばワシが艦長だからだ」 "Everyone, Yukikaze will not sink! Because I'm your captain!" After the war, historian Kazutoshi Hando asked him in presence of other (former) captains of the Yukikaze: "Why did Yukikaze never sink?" He said, laughing: "Why? BECAUSE I WAS HER CAPTAIN!"

 

 

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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7 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

The more I found out about how Ten-Go came to be, the more upset I get about it.  Good ships, good men, thrown away for zero good reasons.

Yeah I've had discussions with Murotsu about the merits of the French fighting on in France during WWII after France was effectively loss.  The Nazis were capricious with their prisoners, vengeful against those who fight back and victory was no longer attainable for the French.  And yet for some reason, I appear to be in the minority in that I agree France should have surrendered to prevent throwing away lives zero good reasons.  Vichy France is seen as some great betrayal but I wonder what possibly could have been a better alternative that did not lead to millions more dying in a lost cause?

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10 minutes ago, Sventex said:

Yeah I've had discussions with Murotsu about the merits of the French fighting on in France during WWII after France was effectively loss.  The Nazis were capricious with their prisoners, vengeful against those who fight back and victory was no longer attainable for the French.  And yet for some reason, I appear to be in the minority in that I agree France should have surrendered to prevent throwing away lives zero good reasons.  Vichy France is seen as some great betrayal but I wonder what possibly could have been a better alternative that did not lead to millions more dying in a lost cause?

Vichy France (or something like it) was always going to exist.  Germany would have found someone to prop up as "in charge" in the Western European countries.

The concept that committing to something similar to what Japan and Germany did would have made the situation better has always confused me.

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On 11/5/2020 at 9:52 PM, BrushWolf said:

While technically not about the naval battle this is an interesting action that took place during the battle for Okinawa in an attack against the air fields we were operating from the island.

 

oooh yay mark felton productions! been watching a few of his vids on the falklands war and theyre pretty good

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