Kamikaze Attacks of World War II

A Complete History of Japanese Suicide Strikes on American Ships, by Aircraft and Other Means


In stock

About the Book

Drawing on U.S. government reports, interrogation reports of Japanese officers, ship action reports and secondary sources, this book details more than 400 kamikaze attacks by Japanese aircraft, manned torpedoes, suicide boats and suicide swimmers against U.S. ships during World War II. Part One focuses on the traditions, development and history of the kamikazes, including the origins of the samurai class and its ethos, the development of kamikaze aircraft and watercraft, and the indoctrination of children in the Japanese school system. Part Two details the kamikaze attacks on ships in the waters around the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Taiwan, Okinawa and Japan. Appendices list all of the U.S. ships suffering kamikaze attacks along with casualty figures, outlines and silhouettes of various U.S. ships involved in kamikaze attacks, and silhouettes of Japanese kamikaze aircraft.

About the Author(s)

Robin L. Rielly spent many years as an educator, specializing in international relations, Asian studies and American history. He also served as the Historian/Archivist for the USS LCS(L) 1-130 Association, a World War II veteran’s group. This is his sixth book dealing with American Naval history.

Bibliographic Details

Robin L. Rielly

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 384
Bibliographic Info: 281 photos, maps, charts, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2010]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7303-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

Part One—The Genesis of the Kamikazes, Their Organization, and Disposition
1. The Development of the Samurai Class and Its Ethos      7
2. Kamikaze Traditions      16
3. Special Attack Aircraft      29
4. Development of the Tokko-tai      42
5. Tactics      54
6. Kamikazes on Land and Sea      73

Part Two—The Kamikaze Chronicles: A Detailed Account of the Attacks
7. Prelude to Mayhem      107
8. The December Kamikazes, 1944      138
9. Lingayen Gulf      154
10. Taiwan, Iwo Jima, and Ulithi      .      176
11. Okinawa and the Ten Go Campaign      187
12. The Invasion of Okinawa, Week One      205
13. The Onslaught Continues      227
14. “…We Cleaned Up the Bodies…”      253
15. A Miserable May      273
16. The War Winds Down      288
17. Ketsu Go: Defending the Homeland      301

Appendix I: U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine Ships Damaged or Sunk by Kamikaze Attacks, 1942–1945      317
Appendix II: Ship Types      325
Appendix III: American and Japanese Aircraft      334
Chapter Notes      343
Bibliography      355
Index      .      369

Book Reviews & Awards

  • A Library Journal Starred Review
  • “the author has brought together every suicide attack he could positively identify…this compendium will undoubtedly be useful to future writers, and is a record one cannot resist reading with horror and regret for the lives wasted in what seem to us now a futile gesture”—Library Journal
  • “a thorough account…a very solid, fact-based synopsis of the Japanese suicide forces…the perfect book for someone who wants an understanding of the development and employment of special attack forces…nicely illustrated…almost certainly the best book on the subject. Highly recommended”—Stone & Stone Second World War Books
  • “in its extensive research, range, depth and detail, historian Rielly’s work is the most important book to appear on the suicide attacks of World War II, and deserves to stand at the head of kamikaze literature”—National Association of USS LCS Newsletter
  • “an exhaustive study”—The National Association of Destroyer Veterans
  • “valuable”—The NYMAS Review