Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 11, 1945 Kamikaze Attack

This picture of a Japanese "Zero" about to hit the USS Missouri (BB-63) on April 11, 1945 is one of the most famous photographs of the U.S. Navy in World War II. The attack served as a testament to the toughness of American battleships as the plane did little to no damage to the ship. The attack itself was unusual as kamikaze pilots typically targeted less armored ships such as aircraft carriers and smaller surface combatants such as destroyers.

USS Wisconsin (BB-64) was steaming alongside Missouri when the attack happened. Watches aboard Wisconsin spotted this "Zero" as it made its run at the American task force. Wisconsin's gunners fired at the plane as it approach their battleship forcing the pilot to abort his attack and circle around again to find another target (which eventually was Missouri). A Wisconsin officer recorded the event with a crude diagram (shown above) for the official after action report.

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