The Fleet that Came to Stay
Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa 1945
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Japanese Kamakaze suicide bomber attacks spread fear through the Allied fleets in the Pacific. Such tactics might seem wasteful of human life today, but the rationale for them was simple. By 1945, the Allies had overwhelming air superiority and often flew more advanced fighters with very experienced pilots. Rookie Japanese aviators had little chance of success in conventional attacks and were usually shot down before even reaching the target. But, training for Kamikaze missions for young new pilots was quick and easy, tactics were simple and older obsolete aircraft could be used. (For the most part, experienced Japanese aces were held in reserve and not used on these missions.) Though the vast majority of Kamikazes were shot down or missed their targets, a small number got through with devastating effect." Zeno

In March, 1945, the US Army, Navy and Marines, with the support of the British Pacific Fleet, launched "Operation Iceberg" against the Japanese Island of Okinawa, in the Ryukus, a key stepping stone for the invasion of the Japanese home islands. US troops landed successfully, leading to one of the bloodiest land battles in World War II. In response over the next tree months,the Japanese launched a series of terrifying kamikaze suicide aircraft attacks from land bases only 350 miles away against the screening Allied naval forces.

The Japanese flew 1,900 sorties, sinking dozens of Allied ships and killing more than 5,000 U.S. sailors at the cost of 1,465 kamikaze planes. 2,200 other Japanese and 763 U.S. aircraft were also destroyed during the battle. Although no major warships were lost, several fleet carriers were severely damaged and knocked out of action. "The Fleet that came to stay" tells the high tension story of the defense of the landing beaches with some of the most exciting and dramatic air combat footage to come out of World War II. You'll see nonstop action including determined Kamikaze attacks through a forest of FLAK, extensive gun camera film taken from US carrier planes defending the ships, and exciting air to ground attacks as Admiral Mitcher's planes struck back at Japanese air bases.--
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Photos of Kamikaze attacks off Okinawa, 1945.

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* The Battle of Midway
* The Second Battle of the Philippines: The Battle of Leyte Gulf
* The Life and Death of the USS Hornet
* The Saga of the USS Franklin