By Edward M. Young, Mark Styling

The japanese excessive Command discovered that the lack of Okinawa may supply the americans a base for the invasion of Japan. Its determined reaction to the invasion of Okinawa was once to unharness the entire strength of the detailed assault devices, recognized within the west because the Kamikaze ('Divine Wind'), within the desire 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 warring parties and bombers followed 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 best 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 detailed assault Units), the japanese misplaced greater than 7000 airplane either within the air and at the floor. during the battling, sixty seven military, 21 Marine, and 3 USAAF pilots turned aces, destroying not less than 5 plane among March and June 1945. in lots of methods it used to be an asymmetric strive against. whereas many usual eastern military and military aviators volunteered for the certain assault devices, loads of the pilots within the particular assault devices have been green and just recently out of flying education. in addition they usually flew out of date airplane. 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, some of the latter have been flying warring parties for 2 or extra years, and had earlier strive against event. On a number of events following those asymmetric contests, American fighter pilots might go back from strive against having shot down as much as six jap aeroplanes in the course of a unmarried undertaking. certainly, throughout the crusade thirteen army, 5 Marine Corps and USAAF pilots turned 'aces in a day'.

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Com THE APRIL BATTLES Lt(jg) Hugh Batten was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on 6 April, when he and his wingman, Lt(jg) Samuel Brocato, shot down eight ‘Zekes’ from a formation of nine kamikazes. Both pilots became aces that day (via the author) the division took one and shot it down. This was Clark’s fifth kill, making him an ace. Climbing through the overcast, the division saw four Hellcats holding off more than 20 Zero-sens. In the fight that followed Clark managed to shoot down a ‘Zeke’ for his second kill of the day, but both his Hellcat and that of Ens Berube were badly shot up in the process.

Coats, who had two previous victories from a tour with VF-18, had become an ‘ace in a day’ – the first of 20 pilots to achieve this distinction during the Okinawa campaign. Lt Cdr Beebe, meanwhile, had led his other two divisions – joined by Lt(jg) Harris’ division – in a strafing attack on Kanoya airfield, where they claimed six aeroplanes destroyed on the ground. As the two divisions were pulling up from their strafing run, they were attacked by a force of ten to fifteen fighters that they later identified as ‘Zekes’ and Ki-84 ‘Franks’.

Kostik made a tail-on approach, opened fire into his wing roots and the “Val” crashed in flames. Ens Kostick observed the last aeroplane of the original five split to the right and head away from the fight. He tailed in on him and fired. The “Val” started smoking and spiralled into the water. The division had joined up and was returning to Point Nan when the call came advising us that the two destroyers bearing 030 from the orbit point were being attacked. ‘Course was set for the DDs, and approaching their position, Ens Yeremian “tallyhoed” five or six “bogies” between the division and the DDs.

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American Aces against the Kamikaze by Edward M. Young, Mark Styling


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