Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Kamikaze Flying Bomb
The Yokosuka MXY-7 Model 11 Ohka (cherry blossom) was a human piloted rocket with 2,646 lbs. of Ammonal in the nose. It was designed to be carried close to its target by a Mitsubishi G4M Betty bomber and then dropped to make a final high speed suicide kamikaze attack. While the final approach was almost unstoppable because the Ohka could fly at 403 mph in level flight and 650 mph in a dive, it had to be carried to within 23 miles of its’ target by a very slow mother plane. This made it very vulnerable to interception by USN carrier fighters. While several versions were designed, the only operational Ohka was the Model 11. It was basically a 2,646 lb. bomb with wooden wings, powered by three Type 4 Model 1 Mark 20 solid-fuel rocket motors. About 855 were built. Only 7 US ships were damaged or sunk by Ohkas throughout the war. The USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) was the first Allied ship to be sunk by Ohka aircraft near Okinawa on April 12, 1945. In a typical raid on March 21, 1945, 16 Ohka carrying Bettys were to be escorted by 55 Zeros to attack Task Group 58.1. 25 Zeros had to turn back or could not take off. The Ohka attack force was intercepted by USN Hellcats and the Ohkas were immediately jettisoned by the Bettys about 70 miles from the target. None of the Bettys returned, no ships were attacked, 16 kamikaze pilots were lost and only 15 damaged Zeros made it back. United States sailors gave the aircraft the nickname Baka (Japanese for fool or idiot).