Kugisho MXY7 K-2 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) 43B

Kugisho MXY7 K-2 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) 43B

     

Late in 1944, the Japanese Navy began to consider using human-guided missiles to crash themselves into Allied warships. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines. To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, or Special Attack. It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe.

Tokko pilots flew almost every type of Japanese military airplane, but initial operations showed the need for an aircraft designed and built specifically for the purpose. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (abbreviated Kugisho) at Yokosuka answered this requirement with the single-seat Ohka 11. The Ohka was actually a human-guided missile, brought within striking distance snugged to the belly of twin-engine bombers such as the Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bomber (NASM has the remains of a BETTY forward fuselage section).

Little or no pilot training was required to fly the Ohka. The navy devised a short, introductory training session probably consisting of ground instruction followed by one or two flights. The aircraft probably killed several trainees.

The NASM Ohka K-2 is the last remaining example of this frightful, desperate technology. The U. S. Navy transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1974 in deteriorated condition and without wings.

Transferred from the United States Navy.

Physical Description:
Two-seat, monoplane trainer with landing skid.

Country of Origin
Japan

Manufacturer
Kugisho (First Naval Air Technical Bureau)

Date
1944

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
Wood and metal
Dimensions
Overall: 120 x 610 x 500cm, 1865lb.* (3ft 11 1/4in. x 20ft 3/16in. x 16ft 4 7/8in., 846kg)- *weight is aircraft and stand combined.

Late in 1944, the Japanese Navy began to consider using human-guided missiles to crash themselves into Allied warships. Since the epic Battle of Midway in 1942, the tide of war had swung decisively against Japan, and Allied air and sea power continued to wipe out the Japanese war machine. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines.

To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, or Special Attack. A number of intellectual concepts motivated the Tokko pilots. The ultimate sacrifice to save homeland, countrymen, and emperor; duty to "Bushido," the warrior code of honor and conduct; and the belief that Tokko missions could reprise the miracle of the original "divine wind," a typhoon that destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281.

It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe. During the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the U. S. Navy lost 21 vessels sunk and 217 damaged. Casualties were horrific. Navy crews suffered 4,300 fatalities and 5,400 casualties, or seven percent of all crew casualties incurred during the entire Pacific war.

Tokko pilots flew almost every type of Japanese military airplane but initial operations showed the need for an aircraft designed and built specifically for the purpose. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (abbreviated Kugisho) at Yokosuka answered this requirement with the single-seat Ohka 11. This flying bomb packed a large warhead in the nose and employed three small rocket engines mounted in the tail to extend the range. Later, a Campini style jet engine replaced the rockets and boosted range to about 130 km (81 miles). The Japanese designated this Campini style jet-propelled version the Ohka 22 (see NASM collection). The Ohka was actually a human-guided missile, brought within striking distance snugged to the belly of twin-engine bombers such as the Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bomber (NASM has the remains of a BETTY forward fuselage section).

Little or no pilot training was required to fly the Ohka. The navy devised a short, introductory training session probably consisting of ground instruction followed by one or two flights. For flight training, Kugisho built the MXY7 K-1 Ohka. This was an unpowered glider version of the single-seat Okha 11. A bomber carried the trainer aloft but the airplane touched down on retractable landing skids. Water ballast replaced the warhead. The pilot dumped the ballast before landing to reduce touchdown speed. Kugisho built about 45 K-1 trainers but the aircraft was difficult to control, especially after the pilot dumped ballast. The aircraft probably killed several trainees. Kugisho engineers developed an improved trainer, the two-seat MXY7 K-2 Ohka 43B, when they substituted a second cockpit for the warhead/ballast compartment. They gave the aircraft a landing skid, flaps, and a single rocket motor of the type used in early versions of the Ohka 11. The motor extended training time in the air and allowed student pilots to practice flying the bomb with power.

Using this MXY7 K-2 trainer, the navy also taught pilots to fly a ground-based Ohka called the Model 43. A catapult propelled the Model 43 down short guide rails and into the air. The Japanese could hide the whole apparatus in caves. Development began so late in the war that Kugisho completed only two of these trainers before hostilities ended.

The NASM Ohka K-2 is the last remaining example of this frightful, desperate technology. The U. S. Navy transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1974 in deteriorated condition and without wings.

Late in 1944, the Japanese Navy began to consider using human-guided missiles to crash themselves into Allied warships. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines. To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, or Special Attack. It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe.

Tokko pilots flew almost every type of Japanese military airplane, but initial operations showed the need for an aircraft designed and built specifically for the purpose. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (abbreviated Kugisho) at Yokosuka answered this requirement with the single-seat Ohka 11. The Ohka was actually a human-guided missile, brought within striking distance snugged to the belly of twin-engine bombers such as the Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bomber (NASM has the remains of a BETTY forward fuselage section).

Little or no pilot training was required to fly the Ohka. The navy devised a short, introductory training session probably consisting of ground instruction followed by one or two flights. The aircraft probably killed several trainees.

The NASM Ohka K-2 is the last remaining example of this frightful, desperate technology. The U. S. Navy transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1974 in deteriorated condition and without wings.

Transferred from the United States Navy.

Physical Description:
Two-seat, monoplane trainer with landing skid.

Country of Origin
Japan

Manufacturer
Kugisho (First Naval Air Technical Bureau)

Date
1944

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
Wood and metal
Dimensions
Overall: 120 x 610 x 500cm, 1865lb.* (3ft 11 1/4in. x 20ft 3/16in. x 16ft 4 7/8in., 846kg)- *weight is aircraft and stand combined.

Late in 1944, the Japanese Navy began to consider using human-guided missiles to crash themselves into Allied warships. Since the epic Battle of Midway in 1942, the tide of war had swung decisively against Japan, and Allied air and sea power continued to wipe out the Japanese war machine. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines.

To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, or Special Attack. A number of intellectual concepts motivated the Tokko pilots. The ultimate sacrifice to save homeland, countrymen, and emperor; duty to "Bushido," the warrior code of honor and conduct; and the belief that Tokko missions could reprise the miracle of the original "divine wind," a typhoon that destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281.

It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe. During the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the U. S. Navy lost 21 vessels sunk and 217 damaged. Casualties were horrific. Navy crews suffered 4,300 fatalities and 5,400 casualties, or seven percent of all crew casualties incurred during the entire Pacific war.

Tokko pilots flew almost every type of Japanese military airplane but initial operations showed the need for an aircraft designed and built specifically for the purpose. The First Naval Air Technical Bureau (abbreviated Kugisho) at Yokosuka answered this requirement with the single-seat Ohka 11. This flying bomb packed a large warhead in the nose and employed three small rocket engines mounted in the tail to extend the range. Later, a Campini style jet engine replaced the rockets and boosted range to about 130 km (81 miles). The Japanese designated this Campini style jet-propelled version the Ohka 22 (see NASM collection). The Ohka was actually a human-guided missile, brought within striking distance snugged to the belly of twin-engine bombers such as the Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bomber (NASM has the remains of a BETTY forward fuselage section).

Little or no pilot training was required to fly the Ohka. The navy devised a short, introductory training session probably consisting of ground instruction followed by one or two flights. For flight training, Kugisho built the MXY7 K-1 Ohka. This was an unpowered glider version of the single-seat Okha 11. A bomber carried the trainer aloft but the airplane touched down on retractable landing skids. Water ballast replaced the warhead. The pilot dumped the ballast before landing to reduce touchdown speed. Kugisho built about 45 K-1 trainers but the aircraft was difficult to control, especially after the pilot dumped ballast. The aircraft probably killed several trainees. Kugisho engineers developed an improved trainer, the two-seat MXY7 K-2 Ohka 43B, when they substituted a second cockpit for the warhead/ballast compartment. They gave the aircraft a landing skid, flaps, and a single rocket motor of the type used in early versions of the Ohka 11. The motor extended training time in the air and allowed student pilots to practice flying the bomb with power.

Using this MXY7 K-2 trainer, the navy also taught pilots to fly a ground-based Ohka called the Model 43. A catapult propelled the Model 43 down short guide rails and into the air. The Japanese could hide the whole apparatus in caves. Development began so late in the war that Kugisho completed only two of these trainers before hostilities ended.

The NASM Ohka K-2 is the last remaining example of this frightful, desperate technology. The U. S. Navy transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1974 in deteriorated condition and without wings.

ID: A19740758000