Suicide pilots

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by robin bird, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    It's very simple - the short designation for the A6M was Navy Type 0 (zero) Carrier Fighter - the 0 referring to the date in the current emperors reign when the design was registered. The Allied code name for the type was originally Hap but Hap Arnold objected so it got changed to Hamp and then to Zeke
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I am sure it's simple but I must add further the historical background which you appear to have misunderstood and is relevant.

    The Japanese Year date was founded on the year the Japanese Empire was said to be established...this was 660 BC .
    Japanese Year 660 BC ....the year the Japanese Empire was founded. The Japanese claimed that their emperors trace descent in an unbroken line from Jimmu who ascended the imperial throne in 660 BC

    Aircraft numbers were allocated by the Japanese from AD 1925 which is the Japanese Year 2585..(660 +1925)...last two year numbers indicated the aircraft type number until the Japanese year 2599 (AD 1939)

    Japanese Year 2600 (AD 1940),the new system was adopted where the last number indicated the Type number,hence 0 being allocated to the Mitsubishi Carrier borne Fighter Model 1-1.There must have been other aircraft manufacturers aircraft which were produced in 1940 and were given the Type 0 allocation but the subject is the particular aircraft in question which was dubbed "Zero" ....which leads to the question was there any other manufacturers' aircraft of the that year dubbed "Zero"

    With that I would say your reference of "the 0 referring to the date in the current emperor's reign when the design was registered" is unfounded.Hirohito reigned from December 1926 until May 1947...the 124th emperor from Jimmu in 660 BC.

    Hirohito had no bearing on the allocation of aircraft Type numbers of aircraft,it was the from the base of the Japanese Year 660 BC with the Japanese Year 2600 (AD 1940) being selected as the the Japanese Year when the new system of allocation of aircraft Type numbers was adopted.
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  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    There is no 0 in the Japanese era calendar. Emperor Hirohito became Emperor in 1926 and started the Showa era. 1926 was Showa 1. A bit like there being no AD 0. Edit: 1940 was Showa 15.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    My error the zero of course comes from the last digit of the year which was 2600 in the imperial calendar based on the legendary date of the first emperor not the current one. The aircraft was called Rei Sentoki - which means zero fighter - abbreviated to Reisen
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  5. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Richard Dunn: Japanese aircraft code-names in perspective

    An excellent article on the development of the codename system for Japanese aircraft.

    BTW the "Zeke" was always a "Zeke". The codename "Hap/Hamp" was applied to a later model of the type, the Type 32 (new engine, clipped wings).
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  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Few thank goodness for that

    Now back to suicide jockeys
  7. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    Away from home now but will check in my copy of this when I return.
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  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I always like the Aichi Val ( or is that Pam or Sue ).The Airfix prop drove me a bit kamikaze

  9. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    All of the special attack aircraft covered in this book (and it's indepth) had either sliding or open cockpits. No mention of pilots being bolted in at all. Some modifications included undercarriage that were ejected after take off (not needed for landing obviously) and no parachutes but special cushions to take up the place of a parachute on the seat.

    Both the Army and Navy kamikaze used almost every type flown by the Japanese in WW2 as well as the special manufactured ones. Definitely committed to the program. Interesting to see that the Army and Navy trained pilots in different ways too. The Navy had a crash course for their kamikaze, while the Army used the same training program as for their regular pilots, not differentiating between kamikaze and combat pilots. At that stage in the war, given the constraints they were operating with, there wouldn't have been much difference anyways.
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  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I can't find it now, of course, but a great quote I read from a kamikaze commander of some sort was, "It was throwing eggs against a castle wall."
  11. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Boom Boom
  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    An account of Japanese Kamikaze casualties gives returns of about 2530 navy pilots and aircrew and a similar number loss for army pilots and aircrew. Interesting to note that the majority of the Kamikaze operations were out of Japan because the Zekes operating from Formosa,lacked the range to search for and attack suitable targets.

    Even on the day of the Japanese surrender, 15 August 1945,Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki who had commanded the group which inflicted Kamikaze strikes from Kyushu led the last Kamikaze strike against an enemy warship off Okinawa.
    Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi,Vice Chief of the Naval General Staff and the originator of the Kamikaze practice, chose death by the traditional harakira rather than surrender.

    A mention of the Val,this 2 seater Navy dive bomber aircraft along with the Kate, a 2/3 seater Navy torpedo bomber were the principal bombers that raided Pearl Harbor,escorted by Zeke 11 aircraft.Both Val and Kate had Kamikaze versions.

    The Kate was the standard torpedo bomber from 1937 and accounted for the Price of Wales,Repulse and the two USN carriers,the Yorktown and Hornet.The US carriers had the disadvantage of having wooden flight decks which made them vulnerable to Kamikaze strikes as opposed to the RN carriers which had steel decks.

    Kamikaze strikes always followed the ritual of taking Sake before setting out on an operation.
  13. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Failed kamikaze pilot! The shame.
    Just as well given that interviews with the successful ones are difficult to come by.
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I can imagine that he has had many a tot of sake
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  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Hi Harry,

    Force Z made the mistake of sailing within range of land based bombers and was hit by twin engined Mitsubushi G3M Nells

    Mitsubishi G3M - Wikipedia
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  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Good point Dave....the reach of an of the problems faced by Russian convoys by the threat of the Luftwaffe based in Norway.

    The Nell had a range of 2240 miles at the expense of a reduced bomb load of 2200 operating radius of about 1000 miles made it a flexible bomber.. 4 to 7 crew,it was the standard Japanese navy bomber from 1935 and was used extensively against China....surprisingly it was a Junkers designed aircraft which also appeared as a civil aircraft.

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