The Kamikaze Campaign 1944–45

Imperial Japan's last throw of the dice

The Kamikaze Campaign 1944–45 cover

The Kamikaze Campaign 1944–45

Imperial Japan's last throw of the dice


An illustrated history of how Japan devised and launched a new kind of air campaign in late 1944 the suicidal assaults of the kamikaze units against the approaching Allied fleets.

As summer changed to autumn in 1944, Japan was losing the war. Still unwilling to surrender, Japan's last hope was to try to wear down US resolve enough to reach a negotiated settlement. Extraordinary measures seemed necessary, and the most extraordinary was the formation of Special Attack Units – known to the Allies as the kamikazes.

The concept of organized suicide squadrons was first raised on June 15, 1944. By August, formations were being trained. These formations were first used in the October 1944 US invasion of the Philippine Islands, where they offered some tactical success. The program was expanded into a major campaign over the rest of the Pacific War, seeing a crescendo during the struggle for Okinawa in April through May 1945.

This highly illustrated history examines not just the horrific missions themselves, but the decisions behind the kamikaze campaign, how it developed, and how it became a key part of Japanese strategy. Although the attacks started on an almost ad hoc basis, the kamikaze soon became a major Japanese policy. By the end of the war, Japan was manufacturing aircraft specifically for kamikaze missions, including a rocket-powered manned missile. A plan for a massive use of kamikazes to defend the Japanese Home Islands from invasion was developed, but never executed because of Japan's surrender in August 1945.

Packed with diagrams, maps and 3D reconstructions of the attacks, this book also assesses the Allied mitigation techniques and strategies and the reasons and the degree to which they were successful.

Table of Contents

The last of Japanese airpower
Facilities and infrastructure
Weapons and tactics
The encroaching fleet
Facilities and infrastructure
The last throw of the dice
Japanese objectives and plans
Allied objectives and plans
Dying for the Emperor
The first round: October 25–November 30, 1944
Countering the kamikazes: December 1, 1944–January 13,
Formosa, Iwo Jima, and long-range raids: January
14–March 26, 1945
The long grind, Okinawa: March 27–June 30, 1945
Downfall: June 30, 1944–March 1946
Surviving aircraft and ships

Product details

Published May 24 2022
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472848444
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Illustrated throughout with around 60 photos and at least 14pp of colour illustrations
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Air Campaign
Short code ACM 29
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Mark Lardas

Mark Lardas has always been fascinated by things r…


Adam Tooby

Adam Tooby is an internationally renowned digital…


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