Kamikaze: Japanese Special Attack Weapons 1944-45
ISBN: 978 1 84908 353 9
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 27 Jul 2011
Desperate times required desperate measures, and the Japanese serviceman's willingness to sacrifice himself for the Emperor allowed his leaders to create entire organizations of suicide warriors to implement such desperate measure. In Steven Zaloga's Kamikaze: Japanese Special Attack Weapons 1944-45, he focused on the machines used in the special attacks, which included not only aircraft but also manned-bombs, manned-torpedos, crash boats, and others, many of which were especially designed and constructed for suicide attacks. The history of the development of special attack methods was brief but appropriate, showing that the author had done thorough research for this title and inspiring me to learn more on this topic. One trivia item brought up by Zaloga that I particularly enjoyed was the mention that the Japanese actually called the special attacks tokko (short for tokubetsu kogeki); the popular name kamikaze was actually the name of a single tokko unit, Japanese Navy 201st Air Group, and not necessarily a generic name for suicide attacks. The various pieces of artwork found throughout the book by Ian Palmer were superb, some vividly depicting scenes otherwise not captured on film, while others gave clear cross-sections of the machines that made special attacks possible. While the very idea of organizations being created for the very purpose of suicide attacks remained controversial, the ingenuity that had gone into designing specialty weapons for special attacks, especially considering the lack of raw materials in the latter stages of the Pacific War, could not be overlooked. Kamikaze: Japanese Special Attack Weapons 1944-45 provided an excellent primer, and a bit beyond, on these weapons.
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