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

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    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. To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, or Special Attack. 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.

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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.