Only search Kamikaze Images

Bombs, Torpedoes and Kamikazes
by John W. Lambert
Specialty Press, 1997, 112 pages

Photographs of kamikaze plane attacks and damage on Allied ships have played a large role in shaping people's images of kamikaze pilots. These photos usually focus on incoming planes and subsequent damage. The collected photographs in Bombs, Torpedoes and Kamikazes show U.S. Navy battle action in the Pacific during World War II, with an emphasis on kamikaze attacks. Each photograph takes up one page or a half page, so readers sometimes can make out details not easily seen in smaller-size photos.

The book's four chapters cover the Pacific war chronologically, and each chapter begins with a one-page history of the period covered. Chapters 1 and 2, which together make up about a quarter of the book, have photos from December 1941 (Pearl Harbor attack) to September 1944. Kamikaze attacks started in October 1944 in the Philippines, and the final two chapters cover these attacks and fighting by Allied naval forces in the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

Most photos in the last two chapters deal with kamikaze attacks, with the photos about equally divided into the following three types: (1) incoming planes, (2) flames and smoke after planes hit ships, and (3) damage caused by the attacks. There are also a few other kinds of photos, such as planes used in kamikaze attacks and kamikaze crashes into the sea. Photographers on Allied ships took most of the kamikaze-related photos included in this book. Most photos are from the National Archives, but the book also contains some photos from veterans and other individuals. The author did not use Japanese sources to show kamikaze farewell ceremonies and plane departures other than one photo of men in the 201st Air Group who made Japan's first kamikaze attack.

The book's photograph captions for kamikaze attacks identify the ships, attack dates, casualty totals, and sources. This pictorial history could be used as a companion volume to a detail history of Japan's kamikaze operations, and the book's introduction recommends The Sacred Warriors and The Divine Wind as two of the best sources. However, these two books and others have some of the same photographs contained in this illustrated history. While this book has more and larger photographs than other books, many photos have blurry details, and enlargement helps little for some photos with smoke or flames. This does not mean the author has not done a commendable job with the materials available, but it does demonstrate the scarcity of high-quality photos of kamikaze attacks.

Most people interested in kamikaze history will find that other books contain enough photos without feeling the need to take a look at this photo collection.