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The Actual Suicide Plane – History of Yesterday

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Yokosuka MXY-7 Ōhka

WW2 American representation of Yokosuka MXY-7

By the second part of Wolrd War 2, the pacific war was at full wage between the United States and Japan. Even with the strong imperial fleet that was presented by the Japanese army, the Americans had naval superiority as the pacific was just too wast for the Japanse to cover it all. Many of the allied battleships were very well armed for aircraft attacks and even bombing. The American battleships had an impressive anti-aircraft armament which would shatter most Japanese attacks.

Near the end of 1944, the Japanese have created the special aviation squad by the name of “ Tokubetsu Kōgekitai” which translated to special attack unit. This unit intended to be a trained suicide squad that would commit Kamikaze attacks. This meant the pilots launching themselves with the plane into a naval ship. For more information on Kamikaze attacks do have a read of this article.

The Japs realized that they need an aircraft build specifically in mind for such attacks. The main problem that Kamikaze attackers had was lack of speed, Mitsubishi Zero A6M5 was a bit too slow and this would cause the plane to get shot down before having a chance to actually crash. They needed a real quick as well as light aircraft that is very manoeuvrable and with a high impact on the target.

With the help of all Japanese forces, they came up with Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka. The first human-guided rocket plane. This aircraft has been inspired by the V1 rocket that the germans have built, however, for a different intention. The plane was built with a Navy Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20 solid-fueled rocket motor that would fire up for only 10 seconds and could reach up to speeds of 900KM/h or 570mph.

A model 11 of Yokosuka MXY-7 found by American troops

The way in which the rocket was set for its target is by being attached to a bomber such as the Mitsubishi G4M2e Model 24J (nicknamed the Betty bomber). Once the Kamikaze pilot was in the rocket would get attached to the bomber and it would fly out towards its target, near the target the rocked would be launched and guided by the pilot into a naval ship at such a great speed that the anti-aircraft guns were futile.

The bomber was able to go to a high altitude in order to stay away from any naval anti-aircraft guns as well as enemy aircraft and also to give enough altitude for the MXY-7 to launch off. The model 11 would weight 1,200 kgs and upon impact, it would end up sinking any ship it would hit.

Yokosuka MXY-7 launching off a Mitsubishi G4M2e

The invention of the aircraft was very good, however, it has been put into service at the end of 1944 which was a bit too late as the American forces were finishing up the war in the Western front so they would move their forces into the Pacific soon. At the same time just like any other Axis country, fuel was a big problem. Even if, the rocket itself was not so big and was only going on for 10 seconds it would consume a significant amount of fuel.

At the same time, the rocket was meant to maintain some fule so that the explosion upon impact would cause more damage. The number of units built (including all the prototypes) was 852 however, only 157 of them got to see some real action. There were 10 different models built however, model 11 which was the first one was the most produced out of them all.

Miniature copy of Yokosuka MXY-7 model 33

Out of them all only Model 33 was different as it was made to be much lighter by utilizing a turbojet engine rather than a rocket engine. This would make the aircraft weight 800 kgs, 400 kgs less than the previous models.

In the end, this is just another successful military invention that just did not have enough time to make a difference towards a victory for the Japanese army.

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Thanks !

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