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Reflections on the Kamikazes

A kamikaze attack, as witnessed by a potential victim, can be ranked among the most frightening experiences in the history of modern warfare. As a rule, such attacks were pressed home with fanatical determination, despite the most intense antiaircraft fire. Virtually all kamikaze attacks ended in flaming violence and death, if only for the pilot crashing into the sea amid a torrent of bursting shells and tracers, some of which were often wildly and dangerously erratic. Carriers were always the primary targets, but no ships were immune. Once a kamikaze was damaged, he usually selected whatever ship was nearest ahead as his target. The specter of sudden holocaust created on board a ship by a combination of the exploding bombs and gasoline carried by a suicide plane instilled fear in the staunchest heart.


1999 The Battleship USS North Carolina Commission
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Last updated: July 15, 1999.