Aviation of Word War II

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MXY7
Anti-Ship Projectile Aircraft
Yokosuka

MXY7 Sakurahana

MXY7 (櫻花 Sakurahana - Sakura Blossom). It was too wasteful to use conventional aircraft for kamikaze attacks, so for Japan losing the war, the question arose of creating a "disposable" aircraft capable of overcoming the enemy's powerful air defense, and at the same time, it is cheap to manufacture and easy to operate. The latter circumstance was also important, since there was no opportunity to spend time on long training of kamikaze pilots.

Despite the fact that the production of MXY7 aircraft did not last long, from September 1944 to August 1945, the Japanese managed to build 854 projectile aircraft. This became possible due to the exceptional simplicity of the design, which made it possible to use enterprises with unskilled personnel, not very busy with military orders. Structurally, the projectile was a wooden glider with an explosive charge in the bow, a single-seat cockpit in the middle, and a rocket engine in the rear of the fuselage, i.e., the hull in the case of considering this device as a projectile.

Simultaneously with the release of aircraft, specialists worked to improve them, which led to the creation of a number of serial modifications and prototypes.

MXY7 Model 11 - the first and most massive modification produced at the 1st Aviation Arsenal of the Fleet in Yokosuka (155 units built) and at the 11th Arsenal in Kasumingaura (600 aircraft). The mass of the warhead equipped with TNT was 1200 kg. G4M2e Model 24J bombers were used as carriers of aircraft of this variant.

MXY7 K-1 (model 43) - a single-seat glider for training pilots 45 vehicles of this version manufactured from October 1944 to March 1945 did not have rocket engines and a warhead, which were replaced by water ballast of appropriate mass. Before landing on a specially mounted ventral ski, the ballast was merged, which made it possible to reduce the landing speed to 220 km/h. Apart from Betty G4M2E bombers and military vehicles Mitsubishi Ki-67 "Hiryu" were also used for training missions.

MXY7 K-1 KAI (model 43 Kai) - two-seat training glider. Two examples were built, which differed from the MXY7 K-1 by the presence of two separate cabins for the student and the instructor and an increased wingspan.

MXY7 Model 22 is the second combat modification. In order to increase the flight range, a TSU-11 turbojet engine with a thrust of 200 kg and an inline 4-cylinder Hitachi GK4A Hatsukaze engine with a capacity of 110 hp were installed on the aircraft of this modification. from. - to drive the compressor. Thanks to this, the flight range increased to 160 km, and the speed dropped to 515 km/h. In addition to the power plant, the MXY7 Model 22 aircraft differed from the Model 11 aircraft with a reduced wing span and a 600 kg warhead. The carrier aircraft was supposed to use high-speed bombers Yokosuka P1Y3 Ginga and the new Nakajima G8N "Renzan" heavy bomber. The Model 22 modification was supposed to become the most massive, it was planned to connect the Dichi company to serial production, but everything was limited to the construction of 35 complete aircraft and 15 gliders in Yokosuka by the end of the war.

Several versions of the MXY7 project were developed for the Ne-20 turbojet engine with a thrust of 475 kg - Model 33 (with an 800-kg warhead, the carrier is a Nakajima G8N1 bomber), Model 43a (for launching from submarine decks). Model 43b and Model 43c (they were planned to be used as interceptor fighters, and therefore they were equipped with weapons - two 30-mm Type 5 cannons) - but they all remained unrealized.



MXY7 Model 11Model 22
Crew 1
Dimensions
Wing span, m 5.12 4.15
Wing area, m² 6.00 4.00
Length, m 6.06 6.83
Height, m 1.62
Powerplant
Engine 3×RE a type 4 1× TSU-11
Thrust, kgf 3×800 1×200
Weight, kg
Loaded weight 2120 1439
Performance
Maximum speed, km/h 648 515
Service range, km 40 160
Armament
Warhead weight, kg 1200 600

Combat use. In general, the effectiveness of the use of MXY7 projectiles was extremely low. In the famous combat episodes with the participation of this machine, the damage inflicted on the enemy was minimal. At the same time, during attacks, as a rule, carrier aircraft were killed along with their crews. Probably in connection with this, the Americans assigned their code name "Baka" to the MXY-7, which means "Kretin" in Japanese.

On December 20, 1944, an independent special attack unit K708 was created, the unit had its own name "Jinrai" - Thunderbolt, or Divine Thunder.

• On March 21, 1945, 18 aircraft were launched, of which 15 "Betty" with MXY7 on board. Although 30 Zeros were escorted by bombers, they were unable to repel attacks by American interceptors. After 20 minutes, all 18 Betty were shot down by F6F Hellcats from VF-17s and VBF-17s from the USS Hornet, and none of the MXY7s were able to separate from their carrier.

• On April 1, 1945, the Americans began landing on the last bastion of the Japanese defense - the island of Okinawa. That night, K708 attempted a Divine Thunder mission with six Betty's with MXY7 on board. Only one bomber returned from the departure, two were missing, two more were shot down, one was lost on the way back during an emergency landing in Taiwan. It is very difficult to judge the effectiveness of this sortie, because the damaged old battleship "West Virginia" (BB-48) was damaged as a result of attacks by conventional aircraft, with the total losses amounting to four people killed and seven injured.

• On April 12, eight Rikko with MXY7 took off early in the morning as part of a large formation of Special Attack aircraft of various types ... The carriers managed to launch six MXY7s. Destroyer DD-733 "Mannert L. Abele" became the victim of MXY7. Together with the ship, 73 members of its crew were killed. During this attack, five Rikko carriers were lost, and the sixth made an emergency landing in Taiwan.

• 04/14/45 during the day's raid by seven "Betty" forces from MXY7, all carriers were shot down long before approaching the target.

• 04/16/45 an attempt by six Rikko to attack the US fleet with flying bombs ended in the destruction of the entire group.

In May, K708 switched to night attempts to break through to the target.

• On May 4th seven "Betty" with MXY7 managed to attack American ships. One of the MXY7s hit the minefield destroyer USS "Shea" MMD-30. During the attack, the MXY7 at high speed pierced the ship through and exploded already above the surface of the water. 26 sailors and one officer were killed, 91 people were injured of varying severity. Of the seven carriers, only one returned to base.

• On 05/11/45, four more "Betty" with MXY7 attempted to attack the American fleet. This time the victim was the radar destroyer Hugh W. Hadley (DD-774). As a result of the attacks of 3 kamikaze, a fire broke out on the destroyer and a powerful explosion at the stern of the ship, most of the crew left the ship, 52 crew members were killed, about 100 were injured. Although the ship was kept afloat, it never recovered.

• On the night of June 21-22, six Rikko with MXY7 set off for Okinawa, but made no progress. Four of the carriers did not return, and they did not hit the American ships. At dawn on June 22, 1945, the remnants of Colonel General Ushijima's 32nd Army in Okinawa ceased resistance.

Photo Description
Drawing MXY7 model 11/22 Diagram of the MXY7 model 11/22 anti-ship projectile and its suspension under the G4M Betty
MXY7 in bomb bay G4M Betty

Bibliography

  • Aviation of Japan / Andrey Firsov /
  • "World War II Japan Aircraft." /ABOUT. Doroshkevich /
  • "Encyclopedia of Military Equipment" / Aerospace Publising /

August 16, 2018

From a letter to the kamikaze: "I want to die like flowers falling in spring, because I am the sakura flower of Japan."
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August 16, 2018

Now the Japanese are talking about 81 sunken American ships and 195 damaged, the US Air Force website writes about 34 sunken ships after kamikaze strikes, 368 damaged and 4900 dead sailors.
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As we can see, the difference in counting is huge, different researchers give different numbers.

13.08.2018

櫻花 - translation into Japanese in Latin letters - Sakurahana - translation into Russian - cherry blossom, which is essentially a sakura.
The sakura flower is deeply symbolic in Japanese culture, its bloom, extreme beauty and the speedy death of flowers is often compared to human mortality. For kamikaze suicide bombers, such a symbol seems to be very suitable ...