By Edward M. Young, Mark Styling
The japanese excessive Command discovered that the lack of Okinawa could supply the american citizens a base for the invasion of Japan. Its determined reaction to the invasion of Okinawa used to be to unharness the total strength of the unique assault devices, identified within the west because the Kamikaze ('Divine Wind'), within the wish of causing punishing casualties at the US Pacific fleet that during flip disrupted the invasion. In a sequence of mass assaults in among April and June 1945, greater than 900 Kamikaze aeroplanes have been shot down. traditional opponents and bombers observed the specific assault devices as escorts, and so as to add their very own weight to the assaults at the US fleet. within the air battles top as much as the invasion of Okinawa, in addition to those who raged over the island within the 3 months, that undefined, and in moves on eastern airfields in Kyushu (the base of the unique assault Units), the japanese misplaced greater than 7000 airplane either within the air and at the flooring. through the battling, sixty seven military, 21 Marine, and 3 USAAF pilots turned aces, destroying no less than 5 airplane among March and June 1945. in lots of methods it used to be an asymmetric wrestle. whereas many standard eastern military and military aviators volunteered for the unique assault devices, a number of the pilots within the specific assault devices have been green and just recently out of flying education. additionally they frequently flew out of date plane. those much less skilled pilots have been no fit for the Hellcat, Corsair and Thunderbolt pilots who have been on the height in their video game. certainly, the various latter have been flying warring parties for 2 or extra years, and had earlier strive against adventure. On a number of events following those asymmetric contests, American fighter pilots could go back from strive against having shot down as much as six jap aeroplanes in the course of a unmarried undertaking. certainly, in the course of the crusade thirteen military, 5 Marine Corps and USAAF pilots grew to become 'aces in a day'.
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Extra resources for American Aces against the Kamikaze
On 7 April a kamikaze hit Hancock, dropping a bomb on the port catapult and cartwheeling across the deck into the aircraft parked aft. The crew managed to get the fires out and resume operations, at a cost of 62 dead and 71 wounded, but the carrier had to be sent back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. KIKUSUI NO 2 – 12-13 APRIL 1945 Both sides now prepared for the next onslaught. As part of these preparations, two Marine Air Groups arrived on Okinawa for the Tactical Air Force. On 7 April Marine Air Group (MAG) 31 began operations from Yontan with three Corsair squadrons and one night fighter unit (VMF-224, 311 and 441 and VMF(N)-542).
The JAAF fighter exploded when hit by Pearce’s fire. He then attacked another ‘Frank’, which started to trail smoke prior to it being finished off by a second Hellcat. By then Lt Harris had run into another group of aircraft, making a head-on run at a ‘Tony’ which exploded. He then saw two ‘Zekes’ above and behind him. Reversing course, Harris pulled his Hellcat almost straight up behind one of the IJN fighters and hit it in the engine and the cockpit. Moments later the ‘Zeke’ fell away in flames.
Soon separated from his leader, Reber went after a ‘Zeke’ that he saw at ‘ten o’clock’. Pulling in behind the fighter, he fired a burst that hit the ‘Zeke’s’ wings and fuselage, setting it on fire. He then saw another ‘Zeke’ at ‘nine o’clock’. Again pulling in behind the IJN machine, he fired a burst into the fuselage and engine. The ‘Zeke’ exploded with such force that debris damaged Reber’s engine. With a ‘Dinah’ shot down in February and two ‘Zekes’ destroyed on 18 March, Reber’s four claims of the day made him an ace.