Did any Kamakazi Pilots survive impact?

OK, I know that some Kamakazi pilots survived the war by not going into action.

Did any of them actually make an attack, & still survive anyway?

Did any manage to successfully “chicken out” on the way in?

Do you mean “did any of them change their minds and turn around and go home,” or do you mean “did any of them actually impact a ship or the sea on an attack run and live” (impossible), or do you mean “did any of them sort of fake it and ditch in the sea and survive?”

I’m just trying for clarification here, because I don’t see any of the above scenarios being true.

Some of them went up, ran into bad weather or couldn’t find their target for whatever reason, turned around and went home.

I doubt that any actually survived impact.

This is tangential, and I’m not readily dredging up a cite, but I do recall reading of one who, after takeoff, strafed his own airfield before heading off to a glorious way to die.

They didn’t have enough fuel for a round trip. Plus IIRC…they were herded to the target.

I actually heard once that part of the reaosn the U.S. won the air war is that the Japanese killed off some of their best pilots by use of kamakazis. No one was left to pass on the training and Their air force suffered greatly becasue of it.

“You don’t win a war by dying for your country… You win a war by making the other guy die for his” – Patton

I don’t think so. The Japanese Air Force was virtually non-existent before the kamakazis started.

As I understand it, the pilots were given just enough training to know how to take off and fly, with guidance from a leader who wasn’t a kamakazi, to a distination. I don’t believe they even learned how to land.

By the time the kamikaze were in use, almost all of Japan’s best pilots had been killed in action (either through regular fighting or because the carriers they were stationed on were sunk). Kamikaze fighting was a last-ditch method created when the military realized they didn’t have the time or resources to adequately train new pilots or build planes that could dogfight effectively.

Even more grisly, in my mind, was the submarine version of the kamikaze, the kaiten. A volunteer was loaded into what was essentially a large torpedo with a seat and a steering wheel, then fired out of the sub. If they missed their target (which they frequently did), there was no way for them to get back into the mother sub; they would just keep going until their fuel ran out, at which point the torpedo would sink until the water pressure crushed it.

How, then did they bomb Pearl Harbor? Are you not counting the carrier-based planes in the Japanese Air Force?

Any kamikazes caught attempting to dodge kamikaze duty were summarily shot down.

Most kaiten pilots would just detonate their craft if they missed.

There were a few variations of the Kamikaze. The Kaiten is a naval version. There were also Ohka rocket planes (called ‘baka’ bombs by the allies). These were slung under a Betty bomber. I don’t think they had any sucess at all with the Ohkas; the bombers were shot down before they got into range.

I’m a bit iffy on suicide craft. If they could be produced/deployed in great numbers, I suppose they’d have an impact (they seemed to have a psychological impact against the US). The Japanese didn’t use Kamikaze tactics well enough for it to make a difference in the war.

Compare the Ohka with a German antiship rocket which was remote-controlled. Watching the History channel, apparently the Germans had success with these weapons- It can be guided just as a suicide pilot could guide a craft, only you don’t lose the pilot. Originally they were radio-transmitted, but the allies started developing countermeasures and so they switched to really long wires (think modern day wire guided missiles/torpedoes)

During the start of WWII, Japan had a force of very experience pilots, many of which had been fighting in China for some years. Many of these pilots were lost in the aftermath of the Battle of Coral sea and the Battle of Midway. In Midway alone the Japanese lost approximately 350 planes, which coincedentally is about what they threw at Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese pilot training program could simply not produce pilots fast enough to make up for losses. Its said they had a very good training program, but chances are that meant a small number of pilots were produced due to the time required for extensive training. Later in the war, Japan started suffering fuel shortages, and didn’t have the fuel to train pilots as well. Many of the Kamikaze pilots were 17 and 18 year olds with bare bones training of flying an airplane. When the quality of pilots went down, plane losses continued to rise due to the gap in skill/experience/plane performance. The Marianas Turkey Shoot is an excellent example of how Japan got hosed by superior pilots, planes, and numbers. Many members of Japanese command saw that attacks against American Carriers would result in such high casualties, they were better off having those planes trying to crash into it if they were going to be lost anyway.

Well, Pearl Harbor was bombed 3 years before the kamikazi attacks started. The Pearl Harbor attack was at the beginning of the Pacific war and the kamikazis came in the last few months.

As incubus pointed out, Japan started with a large, experienced and well-equipped air force. Their logistic pipeline of trained pilot and plane replacements was inadequate to keep pace with their losses.

Apparently Lieutenant Kaoru Hasegawa is the only World War II Japanese pilot who survived making a Kamikaze attack who then was rescued. From this article

Well, I can’t really add anything useful to the answers already provided (great job dopers, as usual).

However, I don’t think anyone has mentioned the reason behind kamikaze, and why surviving such an attack would be a horrible shame for the Japanese pilot.

(Generalizations and simplification follow): The Japanese Empire had existed for thousands of years before WWII. The warrior, (bushido) culture was ingrained. When the emperor, a living god, called you answered. Part of the bushido code was to die in battle - no surrender. This in part explains both why Allied POWs were treated so horribly by the Japanese and also why the Japanese fought to the last man on several Pacific Islands. The reasons for this code and its following are for another thread, but it can explain why a kamikaze pilot who misses his mark continues into the water to finish the mission - with honor.

In short, barring something extraordinary, it was a greater glory for a kamikaze pilot to die on his mission than to return.

Read the link provided by don’t ask for more on this.

Any or all of the above qualify.

As a follow up to Incubus’ first post, the Japanese had a whole bunch of suicide devices. A full list can be found here.

Also, before the actual squadrons started organizing, it was considered an honorable action for a Japanese pilot that if in a no-way-out situation (mortally wounded person or airplane, out of ammo/fuel for a return, whatever) you could just ram your plane into a target of opportunity. It was just not standard practice.

As to training, it was considered undignified to take your best able men back home to train the next class of fliers, so instead you kept them on the front lines, dying in battle against an ever-expanding ever-improving enemy force. At the beginning the Air Force and Naval Aviation had an excellent formal training system, that however took too long to produce sufficient trained pilots to replace losses, and did not adapt its methods of teaching to a more practical “wartime” mode. Eventually they DID find themselves having to scrape the bottom of the barrel for recruits AND provide only bare-bones training even for regular forces.

According to a History Channel documentary last evening, initially the professional military men in the High Command did not wish to officialize this as a tactic, in part because it would be an admission of desperation. But more radical factions started organizing even w/o official sanction and eventually prevailed .

I was watching a show on the war, on the History Channel I think, and it mentioned a kamikaze plane hitting a ship & the bomb didn’t explode. Actually, maybe it was HBO since they showed a gory pic where you could see about half of the pilot’s head. They gave the guy a full military funeral service. One of the sailors on the ship said he refused to salute the pilot; he was threatened with a court-martial.

I don’t think training kamikazes should have been a problem. All they needed was a crash course.