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Ōka K1 Trainer Version

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the largest military aviation museum in the world with over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display. The museum has a few exhibits related to Japan's Kamikaze Special Attack Corps that made attacks on Allied ships from October 1944 to August 1945.

The Ōka Type 11 was a rocket-powered glider used for suicide attacks on American ships at the end of the Pacific War from March to June 1945. A Type 1 Attack Bomber (Allied code name of Betty) served as the mother plane that carried the ōka weapon suspended underneath and then released it when a point was reached near the intended target. The ōka could reach a speed of 600 mph as it accelerated toward its target with three rocket engines mounted in its tail. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has an orange-colored K1 trainer version of the ōka on display. The trainer differed from the Type 11 by the addition of a landing skid and flaps, and water was used as ballast equal in weight to the 1.3-ton warhead carried in the Ōka Type 11's nose.

The museum has on exhibit a restored Zero carrier-based fighter (Allied code name of Zeke) that was found in Papua, New Guinea. The Zero fighter was the most frequently used aircraft used by the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps. About 50% of the Japanese Navy's 2,363 aircraft that took off on kamikaze flights were Zero fighters, and 530 of the 1,189 Navy planes that completed their suicide missions were Zeros (Okumiya and Horikoshi 2004, 353).

The Grumman F6F Hellcat and the Vought F4U Corsair fighters were the primary American aircraft used to combat Japanese kamikaze planes. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighters were also used against the kamikaze aircraft in May and June 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has on display two P-47 Thunderbolts, a razorback version and a bubble canopy version.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero Carrier-Based Fighter

Date of most recent visit: August 31, 2007

Source Cited

Okumiya, Masatake, and Jiro Horikoshi with Martin Caidin. 2004. Zero. Originally published in 1956 by Dutton. New York: ibooks.