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World War II
When the war had turned against Japan, the Kamikaze was born.
The Ohka or Cherry Blossom, was cheap, easy to produce and effective. It was carried to combat by Mitsubishi G4M "Bettys" to within 20 miles of the target and dropped.
The nose was a warhead of up to 2,646 lbs. The rocket propelled bomb would dive to its doom. The Ohka could achieve dive speeds of up to 750 mph.
Due to the nature of their missions, the Ohka did not have any landing gear. The sacrifice of the pilot that appealed to the Japanese psyche, however, was a concept that made little sense to Americans, the Ohka was given the nickname "baka" bomb meaning "fool."
Most Ohka's were destroyed on the ground or in route with along with the vulnerable Betty Bomber carrier plane, less than 60 saw combat.
In later models, the warhead was reduced to allow for greater range of up to 173 miles.
The Ohka's first success was April 1945 damaging the battleship West Virginia.
MFG: Yokosuka, Fuji Hikok & Chigaski
Built In: Yokosuka Naval Air Depot, Japan
First Produced: 1944
Powerplant: (3) Solid Rocket Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20
Thrust: 1,764 lbs each
Service Ceiling: 11,500 ft
Cruise: 403 mph
Top Speed: 576 mph
Range: 23 miles
Empty Weight: 970 lbs
Gross Weight: 4,718 lbs
Wing Span: 16’9”
Wing Area: 64.5 sq. ft
Armament: 2,646 lb warhead
Number Built: 755
We made a trip to Earl and Ray Reinert's house to sign the contract to purchase a P-47 Thunderbolt. We stayed and talked, sharing airplane stories and Earl Reinert mentioned the Japanese Ohka was also for sale. The visit continued all day until it became obvious they weren't ready for us to leave.
Nichols asked "Okay what's the problem, seller's remorse?" Earl said, "I really want you to have the Ohka." Nichols explained that Yanks Air Museum is an 'American only' aircraft museum, but Earl insisted that no one else would have the ability and materials needed to restore the Ohka correctly and he wanted it saved. Nichols' politely refused and Earl finally said "you don't understand, Nichols, if you don't take the Ohka I can't sell you the P-47."
So the Ohka deal was struck and the Yanks team returned a month later to pick up the two new acquisitions.