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Our Fighting Forces - Battle Album: Kamikaze (Divine Wind)
Script and art by Ken Barr
National Periodical Publications, April-May 1974, No. 148

The back of the April-May 1978 issue of Our Fighting Forces has a two-page feature about kamikaze. The story briefly covers the history and beliefs of Japanese kamikaze forces. The author presents the information objectively but not entirely accurately.

The story states, "Kamikaze or 'special attack' suicide squadrons were organized, at first, using improvised Zeke fighters and Betty bombers, loaded with bombs and piloted to targets by dedicated warriors." Although the Japanese Navy frequently used Zeke fighters carrying bombs as kamikaze aircraft to crash into American ships, Betty bombers were not used as improvised kamikaze aircraft. However, about five months after the first kamikaze attacks in October 1944, Betty bombers did first carry kamikaze ohka (called "baka" by Americans) rocket-powered glider missiles that were intended to be released about 25 to 30 kilometers from their targets (Naito 1989, 49).

The second page summarizes the kamikaze creed, which includes the following misleading statement, "Recruitment for the kamikaze units was voluntary and plentiful." The final sentence states, "These willing sacrifices were made by Japan's young men in World War II without compulsion or indoctrination." In actuality, many times orders were given to pilots and other crewmen to form kamikaze squadrons with no requests for volunteers. Even in instances when officers requested volunteers for kamikaze squadrons, they expected compliance. In addition, the young airmen faced societal and peer pressure that made it difficult for them to turn down such requests.

The following sentence on the history of the ohka also has a couple of incorrect statements:

As the effectiveness of these macabre last-ditch tactics brought horrifyingly successful results, specialized 'no-return' craft attached to a 'parent' bomber were developed and for a time threatened to bring the U.S. invasion of Okinawa to a halt.

The ohka "no-return craft" was developed before, not after as indicated above, the first kamikaze attacks. The first ohka model was completed in August 1944 and full production started in September 1944 (Naito 1989, 11), whereas the first kamikaze attacks took place in October 1944 in the Philippines. Also, the ohka weapon never "threatened to bring the U.S. invasion of Okinawa to a halt." On March 21, 1945, in the only ohka mission prior to the Okinawan invasion on April 1, American fighters shot down the entire squadron of slow-moving Betty bombers before they could release the ohka glider missiles they carried.

The two main stories about "The Losers" and U.S.S. Stevens in this issue of Our Fighting Forces do not relate to kamikaze. However, both of these long-running series have episodes in other comic books that deal with kamikaze such as the following ones:

Source Cited

Naito, Hatsuho. 1989. Thunder Gods: The Kamikaze Pilots Tell Their Stories. Translated by Mayumi Ishikawa. Tokyo: Kodansha International.