Only search Kamikaze Images

Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai. Special Attack Units
by Eduardo Cea
Artwork by Eduardo Cea
Translated from Spanish to English by Sally-Ann Hopwood
AF Editions, [2011], 200 pages

Tokubetsu Kogeki Tai narrates the detailed history of Japanese aerial special attack units that carried out suicide attacks during the latter part of the Pacific War from October 1944 to August 1945. The author Eduardo Cea has written seven other similarly designed books about Japanese Navy and Army aircraft with this volume being the last in the series of eight.

Although the author tells the history in an evenhanded manner with apparent accuracy, the book’s critical failing is complete lack of documentation of sources. The English translated from the book's original Spanish is quite good with only a minimal number of misspellings of Japanese proper names. The author assumes that readers know wartime Japanese air force organizational units, since no English translations are provided for terms such as Hikoshidan, Koku Sentai, Kaigun Kokutai, Hikodan, Koku Kantai, and Hiko Sentai.

Over 100 illustrations of Japanese aircraft and over 30 illustrations of American aircraft are included in the book. The illustrations show side views of different planes such as those on the front cover and at the bottom of this web page. Many of these are the same aircraft models and types with the only differences being the symbols and numbers displayed on the tail fins and in some cases also on a plane's side. The photo captions explain when the aircraft were used in special attacks such as the caption in the photo below.

Special attacks are presented chronologically, but the book does not have a table of contents, index, or explanation of its target audience. Although there no notes and bibliography to indicate sources, the author clearly used both Japanese and English information since extensive information about both sides' operations are presented. The author certainly went to a great deal of effort to write and illustrate this history with many details from the Japanese side that are not included in other sources in English, but its value is limited with no clue as to where information was obtained.

"Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane Kawanishi E7K2,
the second aeroplane in the fifth section of the Sakigake
Tai that
participated in the departure on the 4th May within
the Dai 5 Kikusui Sakusen and that contributed to the sinking
of the destroyer USS Morrison (DD-560). Pilot, Ship's
Second Class Sub-lieutenant Atsutsugi Watanabe, navigator
and machine-gunner Second Class Ship's Sub-lieutenant
Motoichi Hayashi." (p. 137)