Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Return to the Sky

I woke up in the middle of the night with the Hitchcock style backwards scream. At first I couldn't remember what I had been dreaming, but then I turned and saw the book next to me. Ah yes, the horrors of the Kaiten. The manned suicide torpedo as described by David Mitchell in the excellent novel Number9Dream.

Towards the end of WW2 the Japanese were losing the war, so in what one can only describe as utter desperation they established the Japanese Special Attack Units, which basically consisted of 18-20 year-old men/boys who volunteered (!) for suicide missions.
The Kaiten was the underwater equivalent of the kamikaze plane. Kaiten translates literally as 'Return to the sky'.
The concept was simple. Place a mentally stable (important) young man inside a 9 meter torpedo and lock it from the outside. Deploy it from a submarine and let the young man steer the torpedo of death right into the side of a ship thus detonating the 300kg warhead and doing some serious damage.

Imagine that. What a nightmare.

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