by Aeronautical Staff of Aero Publishers
Aero Publishers, Inc., 1966, 52 pages
Although the title suggests this book may cover the entire history of
Japanese kamikaze, the subject matter is quite limited in scope. More than half
of the book covers Japan's ohka suicide flying bomb, and the remainder deals
with Germany's piloted V-1 flying bomb and the Natter interceptor. The book's
targeted audience appears to be military aircraft model enthusiasts, since one
page discusses building plastic models of these aircraft.
This small book features numerous historical photos and includes over 30
photos of the ohka rocket-powered glider bomb. One page has five photos of a
model that shows how the ohka weapon was launched from the mother plane, a Betty
The author introduces each of the three aircraft with a short history of its
development and use during World War II. Although most of this background
information seems accurate, no sources are documented and a few statements are
incorrect. For example, the author of the three-page article on the ohka weapon
writes (p. 4), "Fifty OKA 11's were selected to meet this challenge and on
the first day of the Okinawa Invasion, four United States carriers were hit and
damaged. The U.S.S. Enterprise, Yorktown, Intrepid, and Franklin [were hit and
damaged] by OKA Suicide Flying Bombs." This never happened.
There is no explanation of why these three aircraft are included in the same
book, although they have similarities in design and size. The Germans never
deployed the piloted V-1 flying bomb and the Natter interceptor. The piloted V-1
had some similarities to the ohka in that a mother aircraft carried each weapon
and released it. The V-1 pilot selected the target, set the controls, and bailed
out. The pilot's chance of survival was small, but the piloted V-1 flying bomb
technically cannot be termed a suicide weapon. In contrast, the ohka pilot had
no chance of survival once released from the Betty mother plane.
Although this book has many interesting photos of the ohka, anyone interested
in a more comprehensive history of the ohka weapon should read Thunder Gods
by Hatsuho Naito or The Cherry Blossom
Squadrons: Born to Die by the Hagoromo Society.