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The last of Japan's paratroopers

Discussion in 'The War In The Pacific' started by Jim, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    Some months later another airborne raid on the Okinawa airfields was planned. This time it was intended to airlift 12 Type 95 light trucks armed with 2cm Type 98 machine cannons, by bomber-towed Ku-8 gliders. The drivers were selected from the 1st Raiding Tank Unit and gunners from other 1st Raiding Bde units, and Capt Toshio Hirota of the tank unit was chosen to command. Early in August 1945 they moved to Fussa airfield near Tokyo; the attack was to be carried out at the end of August, but on the 15th of that month Japan announced its intention to surrender. The IJN planned an attack similar to the Giretsu Unit's aborted raid on the Marianas B-29 airfields, designated the Ken Operation. Some 300 sailors of Lt Cdr Daiji Yamaoka's Kure 101st SNLF began preparations at the end of June; this unit was formed as a "submarine SNLF" intended to land on enemy-held islands, but on this occasion they would be carried aboard 30 Type 1 "Betty" bombers, whose long range (3,750 miles) allowed a one-way mission to the Marianas. The raid was initially planned for July 24th, but on July 14th American carrier planes raided Misawa naval airbase, Honshu, where the operation's bombers were destroyed or damaged. The raid was postponed until August 19th. Although the plan was conceived by the IJN, at the end of July the IGHQ ordered that 300 Ist Raiding Regt paratroopers under Capt Sunao Sonoda be included and 60 bombers readied. Again, Japan's surrender cancelled the operation.

    The IJN used their long-ranged Mitsubishi G4M Type 1 "Betty" heavy bomber to drop cargo containers for paratroopers and to transport raiders. This example has an Ohka piloted rocket-propelled bomb fitted to the belly. A suicide mission by 60 G4Ms carrying 300 paratroopers of 1st Raiding Regt to the Marianas airfields was planned for August 19, 1945, but was aborted by the Japanese surrender.


    Akira Takizawa
  2. Buford

    Buford New Member

    Oct 21, 2007
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    What was it that motivated the kamikaze pilots to sacrifice themselves the way they did?

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