World War II in the Pacific
Japanese Suicide Attacks at Sea.


19 June44.  Japanese carrier-based aircraft attack Fifth Fleet covering Saipan operation ; battleship Indiana (BB-58) is damaged by a suicide pilot.

14 October44. Japanese aerial counterattacks continue on TF 38, inflicting damage on light cruiser Reno (CL-96) by a suicide plane.

Kamikaze -- Japanese Navy suicide plane. The Army also used suicide planes.

Mitsubishi J8M/Ki-200 Shusui -- rocket powered interceptor.

    Japanese copy of German Me163 rocket powered interceptor fighter specially designed for use against B-29.  The prototype flew on 7July45.  The War ended before production. Ki-115 suicide plane

Nakajima Ki-115.  -- Specially built, basic aircraft that could carry a bomb for kamikaze attacks.

    Hundred and four were build before the war ended, but had not yet reached combat units. Training planes were typically used by inexperienced pilots as kamikazes.

Shinten Special Unit 47th Air Regiment -- to defend the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

    The unit was equipped with Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki ("Tojo") fighters (Army equivalent of Zero), with which they were to ram B-29s in their attacks on Japan.

Reppu.  -- Specially designed kamikaze for use against B-29 ;  the war ended before production.

    Mitsubishi A7M Reppu (Sam) was planned replacement for A6M Zero fighter. Six built. Comparable to Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

Yokosuka Ohka. --   A piloted glide bomb, called "BAKA" (idiot) by the allies.

baka piloted bomb     The Baka piloted glide bomb was carried to within 12 miles of the target by a medium bomber.  It would glide towards the target then activate rockets (model 11) or jet engine (model 22) to dive into the target and explode its one ton warhead.  The Baka was difficult to stop, but its mother plane was extremely vulnerable.

Ki-167 or Hiryu To-Go --   Bomber with 3 ton thermite bomb.

Ki-67     A Ki-67 Kai (Peggy) twin-engine bomber with guns removed and faired over, with crew reduced to four men, a 6,400 pound thermite bomb was installed with a blast radius of 1 km. Two are known to have been built, one sorted 17Apr45 for the USN fleet and disappeared, likely shot down by a Hellcat.

Shinyo and Maru-ni -- Motorboat with explosives in the bow.

Shinyo motorboat     Great numbers -- 6,200 Navy (Shinyo) and 3,000 Army (Maru-ni) -- were built and stored in caves for the invasion. 400 were at Okinawa and Formosa ; thousands waited in the coves of Japan proper. The speedboat had one man and, typically, two depth charges as explosives. See stories. A slightly larger 2-man speedboat was also available.

Fukuryu -- Human mine - Swimmers carry an explosive charge beneath a ship or landing craft.
    Water's Edge Surprise Attack Force

Nikaku -- Human anti-tank mine - Soldiers with explosives strapped to their bodies.


Miniature Submarines
Kaiten -- Submarine launched, human guided torpedo. Kairyu -- Small, 2-man, midget submarines. 20 ton.
    Although not intended only as a suicide weapon, survival rates were not high.  Recall that all five in the "Special Attack Unit" used in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor were destroyed.   Midgets also attacked in Sydney (all four lost) and Madagascar in June'42.   300 new submarines were built that could be equipped with either two torpedoes OR a special 1,000 pound warhead in the bow for crashing into ships as the kaiten did.
mini-subs Koryu -- Medium Midget Submarines. 60 ton.
    Five hundred 5-man, two torpedo submarines were being built for coastal defense with 115 completed at the time of surrender.
girls training w/ spears

Civilian Resistance Training.

Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps.   Schools were suspended. Teenaged boys and girls were taught how to use grenades and spears. Civilians, including woman armed with spears, made attacks on Okinawa, 21April, and Ie Shima. 23April. Unable to provide uniforms, they were equipped with a patch. One million people on Kyushu were eligible. Chance of their survival improved after Hiroshima.
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About this page: Suicide - A full range of suicide "special attack" weapons were used towards the end of the War.
Last updated on January 23, 2009 -- add photos
    April 15, 2004 -- Separate Kairyu and Koryu
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