By Edward M. Young, Mark Styling

The japanese excessive Command learned that the lack of Okinawa may provide the american citizens a base for the invasion of Japan. Its determined reaction to the invasion of Okinawa was once to unharness the complete strength of the precise assault devices, recognized 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 chain 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 designated 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 distinct assault Units), the japanese misplaced greater than 7000 airplane either within the air and at the floor. during the combating, sixty seven army, 21 Marine, and 3 USAAF pilots grew to become aces, destroying at the very least 5 airplane among March and June 1945. in lots of methods it was once an asymmetric strive against. whereas many general eastern military and army aviators volunteered for the unique assault devices, various the pilots within the distinct assault devices have been green and only in the near past out of flying education. in addition they frequently flew out of date plane.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 top in their video game. certainly, some of the latter were flying warring parties for 2 or extra years, and had prior wrestle adventure. On a number of events following those asymmetric contests, American fighter pilots could go back from wrestle having shot down as much as six eastern aeroplanes in the course of a unmarried venture. certainly, through the crusade thirteen army, 5 Marine Corps and USAAF pilots grew to become 'aces in a day'.

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5 bombers shot down. The high-scorer for Lt Jim Pearce led the VF-17 and VBF-17 divisions that were the first to intercept the 721st Kokutai formation. Pearce claimed two ‘Bettys’ destroyed (Museum of Flight) Despite an insufficient number of escorting fighters, the 721st Kokutai Jinrai Butai sent off 15 ‘Betty’ bombers carrying Ohka piloted rocket bombs to attack the American fleet. com OKINAWA – PRELUDE TO INVASION the Hornet divisions was Lt(jg) Henry Mitchell, who was given credit for five ‘Bettys’, making him an ‘ace in a day’.

The 23rd Special Attack unit sent out five ‘Sonias’, which were joined by seven more from two other units, and six ‘Tonys’ from the 105th Fighter Regiment, which had been converted into a Special Attack unit. That afternoon ten of VF-83’s Hellcats were sent off to search for Japanese shipping between Kyushu and Okinawa. The pilots found no vessels, but on their return flight they ran into Japanese aircraft heading down the island chain toward Okinawa and the fleet. Flying near the Amami Islands, Ens Lawrence Clark and his wingman spotted a ‘Judy’ just above the water.

The “Zeke” went into a steep dive and didn’t pull out. Kostik took a third “Zeke”, which was low on the water. He made a highside approach on him. The “Zeke” smoked and hit the water. ‘The next aeroplane sighted by this group was a “Myrt”. Ens Kostik saw him heading straight for one of the destroyers, with a bomb under his belly. He fired a long burst over his nose. The “Myrt” turned away from the DD and started to climb. Kostik closed on him to a range of 200 ft astern and opened fire. Only one gun fired – tracers hit the port wing of the Jap.

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