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Fightin' Marines - Kamikaze
October 1979, Vol. 11, No. 146, 36 pages

This one-page comic story with only three frames does not really fit in with this issue's four other stories about US Marines as indicated by the comic books' title of Fightin' Marines. Unlike most other comics about kamikaze pilots, this story does not portray them in any way as fanatics but rather as "courageously giving up their lives for their country." The story only shows an ohka (piloted rocket-powered glider) diving at an aircraft carrier and getting shot down, even though extremely few ohka weapons got close to American ships in comparison to suicide attacks by conventional Japanese aircraft.

The story has some questionable points. The aircraft carrier with the number of 47, USS Philippine Sea (CV-47), did not get commissioned until May 11, 1946, about a year after ohka weapons were deployed just before and during the Battle of Okinawa. The final frame shows gunners shooting down the ohka very close to the ship, but the likelihood of gunners' hitting and stopping an ohka this close would have been very small due to its relatively small size and its top speed of almost 600 mph after using its three rocket engines.

The angle of the ohka's attack shown in the first comic frame seems to be too steep, since generally an ohka planned to come in at about a 50 degree angle, but the pilot would try to level it out from the dive to strike the target ship at the waterline (O'Neill 1981, 181-2). The last frame states, "As the kamikaze pilots attacked again and again, U.S. gunners got more accurate." Although many kamikaze aircraft attacked American ships, an individual ship would get very little practice at shooting them down due to the huge number of Allied ships and the many enemy aircraft shot down by CAP (Combat Air Patrol) even before they reached the ships.

Source Cited

O'Neill, Richard. 1981. Suicide Squads: Axis and Allied Special Attack Weapons of World War II: their Development and their Missions. New York: Ballantine Books.