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 Diorama Okinawa Spring 1945 ( in progress)

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Kyushu J7W


Posts : 192
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: Diorama Okinawa Spring 1945 ( in progress)    Sun Feb 19 2017, 20:35

I'm using a couple of salvaged builds from the 70's. As they are 1/72 I need a big base. Damage is the same as the other 4 I've posted. Landing gears smashed, guns broken or missing, props snapped, stabilizers broken off. Moving is rough on models.

No easy way to get an "in the air" look that I want for this particular project without some mounting poles. Sad This project will require me to try some things I've never done before. We will see how it goes.

My only experience with a diorama was helping my kids do shoe/shadow box dioramas for grade school. I help them do a WWI over the front example with my old Bachman mini planes. Basically used newspaper, flour paste, painted to look like muddy trenches, sticks and thread for barbed wire. Hung the Red Baron Triplane from the box top chasing a Sopwith Camel.

Tomorrow off to a local brick and mortar hobby shop to see if I can find some adders to tell the diorama story. Looking for some different scale items to give it contrast.

Here is the base ........ creating a painted and textured base will be involved. Lets hope I don't muck it up completely. It's a good thing I kept those wrecks for all these years, I'll have some money in this beast by the time I finish. Rolling Eyes

I wanted to try some "flying" simulation and the Hasegawa kit I found in the salvage box gave me the idea.

Data from Scalemates
Brand: Hasegawa
Product name: Mitsubishi G4M1 (Betty) w/Ohka Bomb
Product number: K2 (Also listed as JS-069)
Scale: 1:72
Type: Full kit
Includes: Plastic sprues, Waterslide decals, Clear parts
Released: 197x | Rebox (Changed box only)

The kit like the others was pretty broken up. The Betty in this case is the earlier G4M1 and in fact it was the later series that carried the Ohka, but no matter. The later series had bigger engines, some attempts at armor and self sealing fuel tanks but was a lumbering beast with the Ohka attached.

I wanted to simulate the launching of the Ohka with some smoke and flame here goes

The Ohka itself is a simple kit 2 fuselage halves, nose cap and tail fins with a pilot. It comes with a dolly and a small plaque that you can paint to go with the display. Not a lot to it, very simple, much like the real thing. I have had it displayed with my diecast on its dolly for some time.

Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka - Cherryblossom - Allied code name Baka

General characteristics

Crew: One
Length: 6.06 m (19 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 5.12 m (16 ft 9½ in)
Height: 1.16 m (3 ft 9⅓ in)
Wing area: 6 m² (64.583 ft²)
Empty weight: 440 kg (970 lb)
Loaded weight: 2,140 kg (4,718 lb)
Powerplant: 3 × Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20 rocket motors Solid propellant, 2.60 kN (587 lbf) each


Maximum speed: 804 km/h in dive (576 mph in dive)
Range: 36 km (23 mi)
Wing loading: 356.7 kg/m² (73.1 lb/ft²)
Thrust/weight: 0.38
Dive speed (3 Rocket motors at Full-Boost): 1,040 km/h (650 mph)


1,200 kg (2,646 lb) Ammonal warhead

The MXY-7 Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka was a manned flying bomb that was usually carried underneath a Mitsubishi G4M2e "Betty" Model 24J bomber to within range of its target. On release, the pilot would first glide towards the target and when close enough he would fire the Ohka's three solid-fuel rockets, one at a time or in unison and fly the missile towards the ship that he intended to destroy.

The design was conceived by Ensign Mitsuo Ohta , aided by students of the Aeronautical Research Institute at the University of Tokyo. Ohta submitted his plans to the Yokosuka research facility. The Imperial Japanese Navy decided the idea had merit and Yokosuka engineers of the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal created formal blueprints for what was to be the MXY7. The only variant which saw service was the Model 11, and it was powered by three Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20 rockets. 155 Ohka Model 11s were built at Yokosuka, and another 600 were built at the Kasumigaura Naval Air Arsenal.

The final approach was almost unstoppable because the aircraft gained high speed (650 km/h (400 mph) in level flight and 930 km/h (580 mph) or even 1,000 km/h (620 mph) in a dive). Later versions were designed to be launched from coastal air bases and caves, and even from submarines equipped with aircraft catapults, although none were actually used in this way. It appears that the operational record of Ohkas includes three ships sunk or damaged beyond repair and three other ships with significant damage. Seven US ships were damaged or sunk by Ohkas throughout the war. The USS Mannert L. Abele was the first Allied ship to be sunk by Ohka aircraft, near Okinawa on 12 April 1945.

The only operational Ohka was the Model 11. Essentially a 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) bomb with wooden wings, powered by three Type 4 Model 1 Mark 20 solid-fuel rocket motors, the Model 11 achieved great speed, but with limited range. This was problematic, as it required the slow, heavily laden mother aircraft to approach within 37 km (20 nmi; 23 mi) of the target, making them very vulnerable to defending fighters.

My first attempt at smoke and flames.

The Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka ( Cherry Blossom) was used mostly against US ships invading Okinawa, and if launched from its mothership, could be extremely effective due to its high speed in the dive. In the first two attempts to transport the Ohkas to the Phillipines and other points south, the carriers Shinano and Unryu were sunk by the US submarines USS Archer-Fish and USS Redfish.

The first mission finally took place on March 21, 1945, but American fighter planes shot down the Japanese planes carrying the ohka weapons. The mission resulted in 160 members of the unit, experienced Betty crews & 15 ohka pilots, losing their lives. Based on the failure of this large-scale ohka attack, Navy leaders decided that part of the Thunder Gods Corps would be assigned to fly special attack planes loaded with bombs. The new group, named the Kemmu Squadron, achieved relatively more success than the ohka bombs in destroying American ships, but American planes and antiaircraft fire also shot down many Kemmu Squadron fighters and bombers before they could execute their kamikaze attacks on ships.

Attacks intensified in April 1945. On 1 April 1945, six "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. At least one made a successful attack; its Ohka was thought to have hit one of the 406 mm (16 in) turrets on the battleship West Virginia, causing moderate damage. Postwar analysis indicated that no hits were recorded and that a near-miss took place. The transports Alpine, Achernar, and Tyrrell were also hit by kamikaze aircraft, but it is unclear whether any of these were Ohkas from the other "Bettys". None of the "Bettys" returned.

The US military quickly realized the danger and concentrated on extending their "defensive rings" outward to intercept the "Betty"/Ohka combination aircraft before the suicide mission could be launched. On 12 April 1945, nine "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. The destroyer Mannert L. Abele was hit, broke in two, and sank, witnessed by LSMR-189 CO James M. Stewart. Jeffers destroyed an Ohka with AA fire 45 m (50 yd) from the ship, but the resulting explosion was still powerful enough to cause extensive damage, forcing Jeffers to withdraw. The destroyer Stanly was attacked by two Ohkas. One struck above the waterline just behind the ship's bow, its charge passing completely through the hull and splashing into the sea, where it detonated underwater, causing little damage to the ship. The other Ohka narrowly missed (its pilot probably killed by anti-aircraft fire) and crashed into the sea, knocking off the Stanly '​s ensign in the process. One Betty returned. On 14 April 1945, seven "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. None returned. None of the Ohkas appeared to have been launched. Two days later, six "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. Two returned, but no Ohkas had hit their targets. Later, on 28 April 1945, four "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa at night. One returned. No hits were recorded.

May 1945 saw another series of attacks. On 4 May 1945, seven "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. One Ohka hit the bridge of a minesweeper, Shea, causing extensive damage and casualties. Gayety was also damaged by an Ohka's near miss. One "Betty" returned. On 11 May 1945, four "Bettys" attacked the US fleet off Okinawa. The destroyer Hugh W. Hadley was hit and suffered extensive damage and flooding. The vessel was judged beyond repair. On 25 May 1945, 11 "Bettys" attacked the fleet off Okinawa. Bad weather forced most of the aircraft to turn back, and none of the others hit targets.

On 22 June 1945, six "Bettys" attacked the fleet. Two returned, but no hits were recorded. Postwar analysis concluded that the Ohka's impact was negligible, since no US Navy capital ships had been hit during the attacks due to the extremely effective set of defensive tactics that were employed. The allied name Baka is from Japanese . Baka (馬鹿, ばか, or バカ) means "fool; idiot", or (as an adjectival noun) "foolish" and is the most frequently used pejorative term in the Japanese language.

Final Product - Ohka I-18 on his way

The Ohka pilots, members of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps), are honored in Japan at Ohka Park in Kashima City, the Ohka Monument in Kanoya City, the Kamakura Ohka Monument at Kenchō-ji Kamakura, and the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.
On display
Model 11: Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum, Quantico, Virginia
Model 11: Yanks Air Museum Chino, California (Ohka Number I-10)
Model 11: Planes of Fame Museum, Chino, California (Ohka Number I-18 captured at Yontan)

Another from the wreck pile.

Mitsubishi G4M (long designation: Mitsubishi Navy Type 1 attack bomber: Allied code name Betty

The G4M was designed for a long range and high speed at the time of its introduction. Consequently, several weight-saving measures were incorporated into the design, such as dispensing with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor, which caused Allied fighter pilots to give it derisive nicknames such as "the one-shot lighter", "the flying Zippo" and "the flying cigar" because of their tendency to explode or catch on fire from any slight damage to the wing fuel tanks after being hit by aerial machine gun fire or ground-based anti-aircraft fire. Similarly, pilots of the Imperial Japanese Navy despairingly called the G4M the "type one lighter", the "flying lighter" and the "hamaki" ("cigar"). This was partially due to the fact that on many occasions, the G4M was used for low-altitude torpedo attacks on ships during which their performance advantages were negated. The G4M was frequently shot down by anti-aircraft artillery fire, and even by small arms. The G4M's relatively large size made it an easy gunnery target, and the predictable approach path required for a torpedo run made for a generally easy interception by Allied fighter aircraft.

Repairs on this one included broken off props, perspex, antennae, closing the landing gear doors as the gear was smashed up. Finding the mg's. the crew deck had broken loose and the crew had fallen out. Cleaned it with soapy water and wiped it gently down. The decals held up. I guess being in a dark closed box for many years did not hurt.

When used for medium- to high-altitude bombing against stationary land targets like supply depots, seaports or airfields, "ease of interception" was another matter entirely. Using its long range and high speed, the G4M could appear from any direction, and then it could be gone before any fighters intercepted them. The 20 mm cannon in its tail turret was much heavier armament than was commonly carried by bombers of either side, making aerial attacks from the rear quite dangerous for the Allied fighter aircraft. Sometimes, assuming they did not catch fire after being hit in the wings by flak from the ground or by machine gun bullets from enemy fighters, G4Ms also proved to be able to remain airborne despite being badly damaged. For example, after the attack of the 751 Kōkūtai (air group) on the USS Chicago (CA-29) during the Battle of Rennell Island, three out of four surviving aircraft (of the original eleven) returned despite flying with only one engine.

Specifications (G4M1, Model 11)

General characteristics
Crew: 7 (main-pilot, co-pilot, navigator/bombardier/nose gunner, captain/top turret gunner, radio operator/waist gunner, engine mechanic/waist gunner, tail gunner)

Length: 19.97 m (65 ft 6¼ in)
Wingspan: 24.89 m (81 ft 7¾ in)
Height: 4.9 m (16 ft 1 in (in a horizontal position))
Empty weight: 6,741 kg (14,860 lb)
Loaded weight: 9,500 kg (20,944 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 12,860 kg (28,350 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Mitsubishi MK4A-11 "Kasei" 14 cylinder radial engines, 1,141 kW (1,530 hp) each

Maximum speed: 428 km/h (230 knots, 265 mph)
Range: 2,852 km, one way (1,540 nmi, 1,771 mi, one way (overloaded: 5,040 km (2721 nmi, 3,132 mi))[N 2])
Service ceiling: 8,500 m (27,890 ft)
Rate of climb: 550 m/min (1,800 ft/min)

Guns: 1× 20 mm Type 99 cannon (tail turret), 4× 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun (nose turret ×1, waist positions ×2, top turret ×1)
Bombs: 1× 858 kg (1,892 lb) Type 91 Kai-3 (improved model 3) aerial torpedo or 1× 800 kg (1,764 lb) bomb or 4× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs

G4M1 Model 11: 1172 examples (including prototypes)
G4M2 models 22, 22 Ko and 22 Otsu: 429 examples
G4M2a, models 24, 24 Ko, 24 Otsu, 24 Hei, and 24 Tei: 713 examples
G4M3 models 34 Ko, 34 Otsu, and 34 Hei: 91 examples
G6M1: 30 examples
Total production of all versions: 2,435 examples

The drawings helped me realize my front/ nose Mg was installed upside down, but the opening in the model was far too high and it matched the box art so I left it as is. Smile

The G4M was similar in performance and missions to other contemporary twin-engine bombers such as the German Heinkel He 111 and the American North American B-25 Mitchell. These were all commonly used in anti-ship roles. The G4M Model 11 was prominent in attacks on Allied shipping from 1941 to early 1944, but after that it became increasingly easy prey for Allied fighters.

The G4M's baptism of fire occurred on 13 September 1940 in Mainland China, when 27 "Bettys" and Mitsubishi C5Ms of 1st Rengo tai (a mixed force including elements of the Kanoya and Kizarazu tai) departed from Taipei, Omura, and Jeju City to attack Hankow. The bombers and the reconnaissance aircraft were escorted by 13 A6M Zeros of 12th[clarification needed] Kōkūtai led by the IJN lieutenant, Saburo Shindo. A similar operation occurred in May 1941. In December 1941, 107 G4Ms based on Formosa of 1st tai and Kanoya Kōkūtai belonging to the 21st Koku Sentai (air flotilla) crossed the Luzon Strait en route to bombing the Philippines, and this was the beginning of the large-scale invasion of the islands of the Southwest Pacific Theater.
IJN aviators pressed home a torpedo attack against American ships off Guadalcanal on 8 August 1942, suffering heavy losses.

The plane in photo above and at extreme low-level (approximately five meters) was flown by Jun Takahashi, who was still alive in 2013. Crashed G4M1 floating at Tulagi 8 August 1942

As a torpedo bomber, the G4M's most notable use was in the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse off the eastern coast of British Malaya on 10 December 1941. The G4Ms carried out the attacks along with the older Japanese bombers, the Mitsubishi G3M "Nells" which were doing high-level bombing runs. The battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse were the first two large capital ships to be sunk exclusively by air attacks during a war, while in open waters. The bomber crews were from the Kanoya Air Group of Kanoya Kōkūtai (751 Ku), Genzan Air Group of Genzan Kōkūtai (753 Ku), and the Mihoro Air Group of Mihoro Kōkūtai (701 Ku), trained in torpedo attacks at an altitude of less than 10 metres (30 ft), and in long-range over-ocean navigation, so they could attack naval targets moving quickly at sea. Nine G4Ms participated in the long range bombing raid of Katherine, Northern Territory, on 22 March 1942 (the deepest inland attack on Australian territory during the war at over 200 miles from the coast). G4Ms later carried out an extended series of attacks against U.S. Navy and Allied ships, as well as on land targets during the six-month-long Battle of Guadalcanal (in the Solomon Islands) in late 1942.

Repairs completed and possible set up being checked out. I decided to paint the base a navy blue to reflect the ocean. I picked up those acrylic artists paints at hobby lobby that Mike uses . Very inexpensive alternatives, thanks for that tip Mike. . The laminated wood base had a bit of a sheen to it and I realize now I probably should have washed it. The paint goes down and covers well, but is very easily scratched.

On 8 August 1942, during the second day of the U.S. Marines landing on Guadalcanal, IJNAF's 23 G4M1s conducted a torpedo attack against American ships at Lunga Point, Guadalcanal. A total of 18 of the attacking G4M1s were shot down, due to very heavy anti-aircraft fire, and air attacks from Grumman F4F Wildcat fighters based on three American aircraft carriers. In all 18 Japanese crews – approximately 120 aviators– were missing at the beginning of August 1942. More than 100 Japanese G4M1s and their best pilots and crews (with no replacements or substitutes available) were shot down during the numerous subsequent battles on and near Guadalcanal (August to October 1942). In the two days of the Battle of Rennell Island, 29 and 30 January 1943, 10 out of 43 Japanese G4M1s were shot down during night torpedo attacks, all by U.S. Navy anti-aircraft fire. About 70 Japanese aviators, including Lieutenant Commander Higai, were killed during that battle.

Probably the best-known incident involving a G4M during the war was the attack resulting in the death of Isoroku Yamamoto. The G4M with tail number T1-323 – which was carrying the Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto – was attacked and shot down by Lockheed P-38 Lightnings from the 339th Fighter Squadron of the 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force, USAAF on 18 April 1943.

The G4M Model 11 was replaced by the Models 22,22a/b,24a/b,25,26 and 27 from June 1943 onward, giving service in New Guinea, the Solomons, and the South Pacific area, in defense of the Marianas and finally in Okinawa. There were up armored and gunned with some limited form of self sealing fuel tanks but wiht the Ohka already degrading speed it made hem even more of a sitting duck if sent in with out adequate air cover. The first mission in March of 1945 saw the entire Betty unit wiped out to a man. On the US carriers the pilots reported some sort of odd attachment to these planes. USN intelligence at the time ascribed them to a copy of the German V1 that was being expected.

Other G4Ms received field modifications resulting in the Model 24j which carried the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Model 11 suicide flying bombs beginning on 21 March 1945, with disastrous results as related above due to extensive Allied fighter opposition. 711th Attack Squadron of he 721st Naval Air group was an experienced unit who's commander argued against the use of the Ohka. The unit was wiped out existing from 15 November 1944–5 May 1945.

Finished product. [/size]

At 9:45 A.M. on March 21, Admiral Ugaki gave the order to launch the first joint Thunder Gods assault, even though they would be unsupported by any other kamikaze sorties. Lieutenant-Commander Nonaka the Betty unit commander who contested the value of he Ohka in the face of US are superiority bluntly ignored his superior's orders to stand aside and after selecting his best pilots he joined the fleet commanders in the traditional farewell ceremony with the Thunder Gods and bomber crews. The 18 bombers of this first flight only had 60 fighters to escort them, half of whom aborted due to engine troubles. Once the entire flight disappeared over the horizon, nothing more was heard until later that evening when two damaged zeros returned. The main flight had been intercepted by more than 50 American fighters and broken up while still 60 miles from the nearest carrier group. The entire formation was overwhelmed and within ten minutes all the Betty Bombers had either been shot down or forced to jettison their Ohkas in an attempt to escape. Nonaka was last seen flying wingtip to wingtip with three other bombers in a steep dive away from the fight. Nothing more was ever heard from any of the bomber crews or Nonaka.

There was good cause for the celebration that night on board the American carriers. They had decisively defeated a flight of obviously special bombers carrying some sort of winged "gizmos" lashed to their fuselages. Whatever they were, the American fleet commanders were glad they had not been allowed near any of their own aircraft carriers.

March 1945 Lt-Commander Goro Nonaka leader of he 711th G4M squadron supporting the Thunder Gods corp releases his charge.

Following the loss of Okinawa, G4Ms constituted the main weapon of the land-based Japanese naval bomber force, which consisted of 20 Kōkūtai at the end of the war, including the testing air group equipped in 1944–'45 with the latest version G4M3 Model 34 and 36 which arrived too late to have an impact on the war.

From November 1944 to January 1945, G4Ms were one of the main types of aircraft used in the Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands, and plans to use converted G4Ms to land commandos on the islands were developed in mid-1945 and cancelled only at the end of the war.

As part of the negotiations for the surrender of Japan, two demilitarized G4Ms, given the call-signs Bataan 1 and Bataan 2 were sent to Ie Shima carrying the first surrender delegations on the first leg of their flight to Manila, the Philippines. The G4Ms were painted white with green crosses, and were escorted by American P-38 Lightning fighters.

The G4M's intended successor was the Yokosuka P1Y Ginga, although because of production problems, the changeover was only begun by the time the war ended.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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Kyushu J7W


Posts : 192
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: Re: Diorama Okinawa Spring 1945 ( in progress)    Sun Feb 19 2017, 20:37

I have a 35+ year old 1/144 Jake I'm considering adding to the diorama. Have to be careful about adding too much.

Still much more to go including simulating the water and a land feature.    Found the batttleship Yamato in that hobby shop in Staunton VA.  Small scale ships can be harder to find and surprisingly expensive. This one is an odd scale at 12 inches which works out to be a 1/860 scale.  1/1200 was smaller at about 8.5 inches and the other  ship I wanted to add would have dwarfed it due to its scale availability.    This is a motorized Nichimo kit.  My kit did not come with a motor but did have the switch slot cut in the deck and the guts to mount a motor with battery contacts,  the slot needed to be filled in.   However for the size of the diorama and the low cost $10.50 with no shipping it a great find & fits the bill nicely.  It's not quite the final configuration of the Yamato as she added many more AA guns by 1945 but she is close enough.   I have another ship to build and perhaps by month end I will be finished.    

Many tiny parts from 25MM guns, searchlights, smaller direction finders , gun tubs, etc , this takes a bit longer to trim and fit, the plastic can be a bit soft and there is a bit of flash to sand away.   What I liked about this one was it could be built as a water line kit or full hull on a small display stand.   Unfortunately it did not come with its aircraft but the real Yamato carried 7 and left most of theirs behind.    


Yamato was the lead ship of the Yamato class of Imperial Japanese Navy World War II battleships. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch)  main guns. Neither ship survived the war with the . Musashi ( recently located) being sunk in the Sibyuan sea.

Named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, Yamato was designed to counter the numerically superior battleship fleet of the United States. Laid down in 1937 she was formally commissioned a week after  Pearl Harbor in 1941. Throughout 1942, she served as the flagship of the Japanese Combined Fleet, and in June 1942 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto directed the fleet from her bridge during the Battle of Midway.  Musashi took over as the Combined Fleet flagship in early 1943, and Yamato spent the rest of the year, and much of 1944, moving between the major Japanese naval bases of Truk and Kure in response to American threats. Although present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944, she played no part in the battle.

The only time Yamato fired her main guns at enemy surface targets was in October 1944, when she was sent to engage American forces invading the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. On the verge of success, the Japanese force turned back, believing they were engaging an entire US carrier fleet rather than the light escort carrier group that was all that stood between the battleship and the vulnerable troop transports.

Operation Ten-Go

On 1 January 1945, Yamato, Haruna and Nagato were transferred to the newly reactivated 1st Battleship Division. Yamato left drydock two days later for Japan's Inland Sea.  This reassignment was brief; the 1st Battleship Division was deactivated once again on 10 February and Yamato was allotted to the 1st Carrier Division. On 19 March, American carrier aircraft from Enterprise, Yorktown and Intrepid raided Kure. Although 16 warships were hit, Yamato sustained only minor damage from a number of near misses and from one bomb that struck her bridge. The intervention of a squadron of Kawanishi N1K1 "Shiden" fighters (named "George" by the Allies) flown by veteran Japanese fighter instructors prevented the raid from doing too much damage to the base and assembled ships.

Allied forces invaded Okinawa on 1 April. The Imperial Japanese Navy's response was to organize a mission code named Operation Ten-Go that would see the commitment of much of Japan's remaining surface strength. Yamato and nine escorts (the cruiser Yahagi and eight destroyers) would sail to Okinawa and, in concert with kamikaze and Okinawa-based army units, attack the Allied forces assembled on and around Okinawa. Yamato would then be beached to act as an unsinkable gun emplacement and continue to fight until destroyed. In preparation for the mission, Yamato had taken on a full stock of ammunition on 29 March. According to the Japanese plan, the ships were supposed to take aboard only enough fuel for a one way voyage to Okinawa, but additional fuel amounting to 60 percent of capacity was issued on the authority of local base commanders. Designated the "Surface Special Attack Force", the ships left Tokuyama at 15:20 on 6 April.

The Yamato's track and a remaining spare section of armor plate found in Japan post war.  The circumstances of the damage, possibly a post war test is not knows for certain. Designed to engage multiple enemy battleships simultaneously,the Yamatos were fitted with heavy armour plating described by naval historian Mark Stille as providing "an unparalleled degree of protection in surface combat".The main belt of armour along the side of the vessel was 410 millimetres (16 in) thick, with additional bulkheads 355 millimetres (14.0 in) thick beyond the main-belt.[6] Furthermore, the top hull shape was very advanced, the peculiar sideways curving effectively maximizing armor protection and structural rigidity while optimizing weight. The armour on the main-turrets surpassed even that of the main-belt, with plating 650 millimetres (26 in) thick.[6] Armor plates in both the main belt and main turrets was made of Vickers Hardened, which was a face-hardened steel armor. Deck armour—75 millimetres (3.0 in) thick—was composed of a nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy. Ballistics tests at the proving ground at Kamegabuki demonstrated the deck alloy to be superior to the homogeneous Vickers plates by 10–15%. Additional plating was designed by manipulating the chromium and nickel composition of the alloy. Higher contents of nickel allowed the plate to be rolled and bent without developing fracture properties.

The Allies had decoded their radio transmissions, learning the particulars of Operation Ten-Go.  The Surface Special Attack Force, navigating the Bungo Strait, was spotted by the American submarines Threadfin and Hackleback. Both reported Yamato 's position to the main American carrier strike force, but neither could attack because of the speed of the Japanese ships—22 knots (25 mph; 41 km/h)—and their extreme zigzagging.

The Allied forces around Okinawa began to brace for an assault. Admiral Raymond Spruance ordered six battleships already engaged in shore bombardment in the sector to prepare for surface action against Yamato.

The battleships of TG 54.1 - Gunfire Support Group
CTG RAdm Morton L. Deyo landing support , New Mexico, New York, Colorado, Texas, West Virginia ( pictured),  Maryland, Nevada , Tennessee, Idaho, Arkansas,     Several of these ships took damage for kamakaze , shore battery counter fire ans conventional bombing.

These orders were countermanded in favor of strikes from Admiral Marc Mitscher's aircraft carriers, but as a contingency the battleships together with seven cruisers and twenty one destroyers were sent to interdict the Japanese force before it could reach the vulnerable transports and landing craft.

Yamato 's crew were at general quarters and ready for anti-aircraft action by dawn on 7 April. The first Allied aircraft made contact with the Surface Special Attack Force at 08:23; two flying boats arrived soon thereafter, and for the next five hours, Yamato fired Common Type 3 or Beehive (3 Shiki tsûjôdan) shells at the Allied seaplanes, but could not prevent them from shadowing the force. Yamato obtained her first radar contact with aircraft at 10:00; an hour later, American F6F Hellcat fighters appeared overhead to deal with any Japanese aircraft that might appear. None did.

The Japanese decided to leave most of their ship based seaplanes behind as they had no chance in such a battle and were more of a fire hazard if on board.   Yamato kept two and launched them to do a sweep for submarines then back to Ibusuki air base on Kyushu   before the USN attacked.      It makes you wonder what became of those pilots.   The Yaghai was about to launch their float plane when the USN attacked. It went down with the ship.    The Aichi E13A (Allied reporting name: "Jake").  Used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) from 1941 to 1945. numerically the most important float plane of the IJN, it could carry a crew of three and a bomb load of 250 kg (550 lb). The Navy designation was "Navy Type Zero Reconnaissance Seaplane"  There was a special attack flying group called "Dai 12 Koku Sentai 2-za Suitei-tai (the Two-seater Floatplane Recon. Air Troops, 12th Air Division)". 12th Air Division (Radm. Jojima) that belonged to 5th Air Fleet (Vadm. Ugaki).
It is apparent that there was an "official" floatplane Kamikaze group in 1945. On a monument in Kanoya City, you can find the names of all the "official" seaplane Kamikaze pilots.  Its very possible the surviving Yamato crews were lost in these units.
 I built these in the late 60's or  70's as well to supplement the Bachman Mini Planes I was  collecting at the time.   Must be 1/144 scale.  I'll try to incorporate it into the diorama.  

The Jake was used for ASR and ASW . In the ASW role it seems to have been credited with the assist or direct sinking of several US submarines, including Amberjack, Grampus,  and perhaps a British vessel.  

UPDATE ....Information found would indicate the Yamato and Yahagi Jakes eventually flew their own missions.  

Due to lack of regular bombers and fighters, the Japanese Navy resorted to even seaplanes for kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa from April to June 1945. These seaplanes sortied from the base in Ibusuki in the far south of the island of Kyushu.

War survivors and local citizens provided funds to build a monument in 1971 to honor the young men who died from Ibusuki Naval Air Base. The monument has the following inscription (translated to English):

   Can you believe it? This bright, calm Tara Beach was once the southernmost air base in mainland Japan. Young men full of emotion in obsolete seaplanes loaded with bomb and fuel for one way took off day after day from this sea with nobody to see them off in order to confront the American fleet off the Ryukyu Islands. Eventually the number of special attack corps members who did not return reached 82, and over 100 other men at the base died in enemy attacks . We devote this monument in prayer for repose of their souls.

The word "seaplanes" in the above inscription is literally "seaplanes wearing geta (wooden clogs)," a poetic reference to the plane's floats. The phrase "with nobody to see them off" refers to the base's extreme secrecy, so people other than base personnel did not see the kamikaze pilots off on their final mission.

Three types of Navy seaplanes were used in kamikaze sorties from Ibusuki: Kawanishi E7K Alf Type 94 Reconnaissance Biplane-Seaplane (24 planes, 51 men),
Aichi E13A Jake Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane (4 planes, 11 men), pretty much the sent off complement from the Yamato and Yahagi.  
Mitsubishi F1M Pete Type 0 Observation Bi-plane Seaplane (16 planes, 25 men) .

The first two types normally had a crew of three men, but most of these planes flew with only two men on their kamikaze missions. The last type had a usual crew of two, but several of these planes flew with a single pilot.

The Ibusuki Naval Air Base Remembrance Monument, located beneath the towering rocky cliffs of Uomidake, faces Nishikie Bay. The monument stands on a small hill directly above a concrete tunnel used as an air-raid shelter during the war.

Among special attack force monuments located throughout Japan, this monument not only has one of the most beautiful locations but also excels in the presentation of historical information. At the beginning of the path leading from the main road to the monument, a map shows a layout of the air base during the war. A glass-covered display board near the monument provides photos and explanations of six types of seaplanes used at Ibusuki Naval Air Base. The inside of an outdoor storage cabinet to the right of the monument contains several historical photos of the base and a free 12-page color brochure explaining the history of the air base and the monument site.

An annual memorial service is held on May 27 to remember the young men of Ibusuki Naval Air Base who died in World War II.

   Crew: 3/[4]
   Length: 11.31 m (37 ft 1 in)
   Wingspan: 14.50 m (47 ft 7 in)
   Height: 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in)
   Wing area: 36.0 m² (387 ft²)
   Empty weight: 2,642 kg (5,825 lb)
   Loaded weight: 3,640 kg (8,025 lb)
   Max. takeoff weight: 4,000 kg (8,800 lb)
   Powerplant: 1 × Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 14-cylinder air-cooled twin-row radial engine, 810 kW (1,080 hp)


   Maximum speed: 375 km/h (234 mph)
   Range: 2,100 km (1,300 mi)
   Service ceiling: 8,700 m (28,500 ft)

   Guns: only 1× flexible, rearward-firing 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 92 machine gun for observer
   Bombs: 250 kg (551 lb) of bombs

The cruiser Yahagi breaks up as she sinks. It appears that by this point in time her bow had been blown off by a torpedo.

Note her Jake float plane visible in the water near the center of the photo. One of the two planes was sent home after the ship navigated out of the Inland Sea. The second one suffered engine problems so her pilot got his final wish to participate, and die, in her final mission.   Notes on this can be found in the book A glorious Way to die. by Russel Spur.   He was able to interview survivors of the mission.

At about 12:30, 280 bomber and torpedo bomber aircraft arrived over the Japanese force. Asashimo, which had earlier fallen out of formation due to engine trouble, was caught and sunk by a detachment of aircraft from San Jacinto. The Surface Special Attack Force increased speed to 24 knots (28 mph; 44 km/h), and following standard Japanese anti-aircraft defensive measures, the destroyers began circling Yamato. The first aircraft swooped in to attack at 12:37. Yahagi turned and raced away at 35 knots (40 mph; 65 km/h) in an attempt to draw off some of the attackers; it drew off only an insignificant number. Yamato was not hit for four minutes, but at 12:41 two bombs obliterated two of her triple 25 mm anti-aircraft mounts and blew a hole in the deck. A third bomb then destroyed her radar room and the starboard aft 127 mm mount. At 12:46, another two bombs struck the battleship's port side, one slightly ahead of the aft 155 mm centreline turret and the other right on top of the gun. These caused a great deal of damage to the turret and its magazines; only one man survived.  At 12:45 a single torpedo struck Yamato far forward on her port side, sending extreme shocks throughout the ship. Because many of the ship's survivors were later killed by strafing or were trapped when Yamato sank, the details are uncertain, but authors Garzke and Dulin record that little damage was caused. Shortly afterward, up to three more torpedoes struck Yamato. Two impacts, on the port side near the engine room and on one of the boiler rooms, are confirmed; the third is disputed but is regarded by Garzke and Dulin as probable because it would explain the reported flooding in Yamato 's auxiliary steering room. The attack ended around 12:47, leaving the battleship listing 5–6° to port; counter flooding—deliberately flooding compartments on the other side of the ship—reduced the list to 1°. One boiler room had been disabled, slightly reducing Yamato 's top speed, and strafing had incapacitated many of the gun crews who manned Yamato 's unprotected 25 mm anti-aircraft weapons, sharply curtailing their effectiveness.  


The second attack started just before 13:00. In a coordinated strike, dive bombers flew high overhead to begin their runs while torpedo bombers approached from all directions at just above sea level. Overwhelmed by the number of targets, the battleship's anti-aircraft guns were less than effective, and the Japanese tried desperate measures to break up the attack. Yamato 's main guns were loaded with Beehive shells fused to explode one second after firing—a mere 1,000 m (3,300 ft) from the ship—but this had little effect. Three or four torpedoes struck the battleship on the port side, and one to starboard. Three hits, close together on the port side, are confirmed: one struck a fireroom that had been hit earlier, one impacted a different fire room, and the third hit the hull adjacent to a previously damaged outboard engine room, increasing the water that had already been flowing into that space and possibly causing flooding in nearby locations. The fourth, unconfirmed, hit may have struck aft of the third; Garzke and Dulin believe this would explain the rapid flooding that reportedly occurred in that location. This attack left Yamato in a perilous position, listing 15–18° to port. Counter flooding all of the remaining starboard void spaces lessened this to 10°, but further correction would have required either repairs or flooding the starboard engine and fire rooms. Although the battleship was in no danger of sinking at this point, the list meant that the main battery was unable to fire and her maximum speed was limited to 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph).

The third and most damaging attack developed at about 13:40. At least four bombs hit the ship's superstructure and caused heavy casualties among her 25 mm anti-aircraft gun crews. Many near misses drove in her outer plating, partially compromising her defense against torpedoes. Most serious were four more torpedo impacts. Three exploded on the port side, increasing water intake into the port inner engine room and flooding yet another fire room and the steering gear room. With the auxiliary steering room already underwater, the ship lost all maneuverability and became stuck in a starboard turn. The fourth torpedo most likely hit the starboard outer engine room which, along with three other rooms on the starboard side, was in the process of being counter flooded to reduce the port list. The torpedo strike greatly increased the rate of water intake, trapping many crewmen before they could escape.

At 14:02, the order was belatedly given to abandon ship. By this time, Yamato 's speed had dropped to 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) and her list was steadily increasing. Fires were raging out of control in some sections of the ship and alarms had begun to sound on the bridge warning of critical temperatures in the forward main battery magazines. Normal practice would have been to flood the magazines, preventing any explosion, but the pumping stations that should have performed this task had been rendered unusable by previous flooding.

At 14:05, Yahagi sank, the victim of twelve bombs and seven torpedoes. At the same time, a final flight of torpedo bombers attacked Yamato from her starboard side. Her list was now such that the torpedoes—set to a depth of 6.1 m (20 ft)—struck the bottom of her hull. The battleship continued her inexorable roll to port. By 14:20, the power went out and her remaining 25 mm anti-aircraft guns began to drop into the sea. Three minutes later, Yamato capsized. Her main 46 cm turrets fell off, and as she rolled suction was created that drew swimming crewmen back toward the ship.

When the roll reached approximately 120°, one of the two bow magazines detonated in a tremendous explosion. The resulting mushroom cloud—over 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) high—was seen 160 kilometres (99 mi) away on Kyūshū.  Yamato sank rapidly, losing an estimated 3,055 of her 3,332 crew, including fleet commander Vice-Admiral Seiichi Itō. USN aircraft strafed the survivors in the water.  The few survivors  that were recovered by the four surviving destroyers, withdrew to Japan.   The US Navy lost roughly a dozen planes but rescued some of the crews.  


From the first attack at 12:37 to the explosion at 14:23, Yamato was hit by at least eleven torpedoes and six bombs. There may have been two more torpedo and bomb hits, but this is not confirmed.   The circles on the drawing above indicate all the torpedo hits based on surviving officer reports and surveys of the wreckage.  From a dismal start at the beginning of the war the USN torpedo bombers at the end  proved to be a devastating, albeit vulnerable system.  

This kit can be a waterline model which I will utilize or full hull and displayed on a small stand.  

Wreck discovery

Because of the often confused circumstances and incomplete information regarding their sinkings, few wrecks of Japanese capital ships have been discovered and identified. Drawing on US wartime records, an expedition to the South China Sea in 1982 produced some results, but the wreckage discovered could not be clearly identified.  A second expedition returned to the site two years later, and the team's photographic and video records were later confirmed by one of the battleship's designers, Shigeru Makino to show the Yamato 's last resting place. The wreck lies 290 kilometres (180 mi) southwest of Kyushu under 340 metres (1,120 ft) of water in two main pieces; a bow section comprising the front two thirds of the ship, and a separate stern section.

The loss of the Yamato and her consorts showed the state of desperation in the Japanese high command by 1945.   No one in the operational  ranks  believed the fleet had a chance to reach Okinawa, this is why the order to provide fuel for a one way trip was ignored by lower ranks in the hopes the ship migh be able to return if they could not break through. Even the co-ordination of massed kamikaze strikes designed  to draw off the carrier fighters and bombers could not be achieved.  A successful beaching of the ship to turn it into a gun platform with no power to rotate the massive turrets  combined with  the bombing it would have been subjected to was an illusion. The high command would not have to do the fighting but driven by pride and the desire the greatest battleship in the Japanese navy not supper the ignominy of being surrendered or sunk at anchor, they sent thousands to certain death with no hope of achieving any confrontation with US forces.  

Model of the surveyed wreck at the Yamato museum Japan.  
See link.

With the cruiser Yahagi and several of the destroyers sunk, this sortie was the last for the Imperial Japanese Navy.  The rest of the units, starved of oil,  were sunk at anchor in raids lasting up to the final days of the war.   From here on out only the IJN's  remaining submarine force with the Kaiten manned torpedo would attack US forces.  

Yamato, and especially the story of her sinking, has appeared often in Japanese popular culture, such as the anime Space Battleship Yamato and the 2005 film Yamato. The appearances in popular culture usually portray the ship's last mission as a brave, selfless, but futile, symbolic effort by the participating Japanese sailors to defend their homeland. One of the reasons that the warship may have such significance in Japanese culture is that the word "Yamato" was often used as a poetic name for Japan.

What was begun at Leyte gulf and Ulithi atoll reached its crescendo at Okinawa.

The IJN I-58

The IJN I-58 was the last B-3 series type submarine to be produced though twenty-one such vessels were planned.   A submarine cruiser with extreme range and carrying a Glen observation plane in a small hanger. The I-58 came along when the IJN was being pushed back and the Navy was looking for other ways to attack the USN.  It needed large submarines to be the mother ships for a new weapon.The Kaiten manned torpedo was the  submarine forces answer.  It would go into action around the same time as the aerial Kamikaze.

As part of the theme of Okinawa April 1945 I'm adding the Kaiten as they were sent to Okinawa as well. The Kaiten crews were drawn from aircrews who had already volunteered for one way missions.  The kit is a 1/700 waterline series.   I could not find the I-58 with the hanger and config of 4 Kaiten.  Tamiya makes this kit and its a nice one.  no flash, though getting parts off the trees can be a bit tough. For $10 not too bad.  

 Being so small they are fragile.  I would have preferred in keeping with the aviation links with the ships and float planes  to have this version displayed in some manner, but its still a match to the overall theme and my first attempt at a diorama.   The submarine is a surprising tough little build, but rather detailed.  Still due to small parts its not something I would want to do again.  

See the anchor and my attempt at trying to copy the lost stern bumper guard.  I never found the darn thing. light gray on a light blue carpet and tiny to begin with.      

Class & type: Type B3 submarine

   2,140 long tons (2,174 t) surfaced
   3,688 long tons (3,747 t) submerged

Length: 108.7 m (357 ft)
Beam: 9.3 m (31 ft)
Draft: 5.19 m (17.0 ft)

   2 × Kampon Mk.22 diesel engines, 4,700 hp (3,500 kW)
   2 × Electric motors, 1,200 hp (890 kW)


   17.7 knots (33 km/h) surfaced
   6.5 knots (12 km/h) submerged


   21,000 nmi (39,000 km) at 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced
   105 nmi (194 km) at 3 kn (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) submerged

Test depth: 100 m (330 ft)
Boats & landing
craft carried: 6 × Kaiten manned torpedoes
Complement: 94 officers and men

   6 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
   19 × Type 95 torpedoes
   2 × Type 96 25mm AA guns

Aircraft carried: None but the original was a Yokusku Glen observation plane as these submarines were extreme range cruisers.      
Aviation facilities: Hangar and launching catapult for floatplane (removed May–June 1945 to facilitate carrying more Kaiten.)

Kaitens were designed to be launched from the deck of a submarine or surface ship, or from coastal installations as a coastal defense weapon. The cruiser Kitakami was equipped to launch Kaitens and took part in sea launch trials of Type 1s. In addition several destroyers of the Matsu class were also adapted to launch the weapon.

In practice, only the Type 1 craft, using the submarine delivery method, were ever used in combat. Specially equipped submarines carried two to six Kaiten, depending on their class. The Kaitens were lashed to the host vessel on wooden blocks with a narrow access tube connecting the submarine to the lower hatch of the Kaiten. This allowed the Kaiten crew to enter from the host submarine while submerged.

Kaitens had a very limited diving depth, which in turn limited the diving depth of the host submarine. This is one of several factors blamed for the very poor survival rate of submarines using them, eight submarines being lost for the sinking of only two enemy ships and damage to several others.

The kaiten was aptly described by Theodore Cook as "not so much a ship as an insertion of a human being into a very large torpedo." The guts of the beast was a standard Type-93 24" torpedo, with the mid-section elongated to create the pilot's space. He sat in a canvas chair practically on the deck of the kaiten, a crude periscope directly in front of him, and the necessary controls close to hand in the cockpit. Access to the kaiten was through hatches leading up from the sub and into the belly of the weapon. The nose assembly was packed with 3000+ pounds of high explosive; the tail section contained the propulsion unit. All in all, it was a crude, nasty way for a man to kill himself. Training was dangerous, and 15 men died in accidents, the most common being from collision with the target vessel. Although the warheads were only dummies, the impact at ramming speed was enough to not only cripple the Kaiten but also severely injure the pilot.    330 of this model were produced and there were bases all along the coast of Japan where they would sortie to attack any invasion fleets.  

Kaiten Model Type-1  
Dimensions 48'4" x 3'3" x 3'3"  
Displacement 8.3 tons  
Machinery  ......2 Type-93 torpedo motors
Depth               Submerge to 260ft
Speed       12 knots cruise 30 knots max.
Radius       78 Miles
Charge       3300 lbs
Crew                 1

  The 'normal' attack method was for a mother sub carrying from 4-6 kaitens to approach the target area, locate the target vessels, and then release her kaitens to attack at a range of between 6-7000 meters. The kaitens would close to tactical range, come to periscope depth for a brief re-targeting at around 1000 meters, make course corrections, and then dive and run at the calculated position of the target until a hit was obtained. Once launched, the pilot was on his own; regardless of the outcome of the mission there could be no return to the mother ship, which would have been submerged and not observable in any case. It is thought that many kaiten pilots, having reached the end of their fuel, and finding themselves alone in the wide expanse of the open ocean, probably self-detonated rather than face the lingering deaths that otherwise awaited them.

The kaiten was a cantankerous weapon at best; the air was filtered by sodium peroxide stored in the pilot's compartment. fast, difficult to control, it was prone to uncontrollable dives, broaching, and other accidents. Furthermore, it suffered from a number of mechanical problems, including salt water leakage into the control space when the mother sub was submerged, and a tendency to catch fire from oil leaks and explosions caused by ingress of water into the torpedo engine. These were never fully eliminated during the weapon's active service. Owing to these difficulties, its value as a weapon was probably inferior to a normal Type-93 torpedo. However, the kaiten did have the added virtue of being able to make multiple runs at a target; the pilot who missed once could reacquire his target and attack again. On the whole, though, they were a miserable failure, and their war record certainly did not justify the expenditure of over a hundred kaiten pilot's lives during the last months of the war.

The submarine was laid down on 26 December 1942 at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, and launched on 30 June 1943. During construction her 14 cm/40 11th Year Type naval gun was removed, making room for four Kaiten manned suicide torpedoes. The submarine was completed on 7 September 1944 and command was given to Kaigun Shōsa (Lieutenant Commander) Mochitsura Hashimoto. Hashimoto had the distinction of being the only enemy combatant called to testify against a USN ships captain  who was court-martialed for the loss of his ship in war time.  

I-58 was assigned to the Sixth Fleet's Submarine Squadron 11 for training in the Inland Sea before being assigned to the 15th Submarine Division on 4 December 1944. A few days later she was assigned to the Kongo ("Diamond") group, with I-36, I-47, I-48, I-53 and I-56, to launch Kaiten attacks on five different U.S. fleet anchorages. I-58 was assigned to attack Apra Harbor, Guam

Attack on Guam

After a week of exercises I-58 took on fuel, provisions and torpedoes, and embarked four Kaiten and their crews, before departing Kure with I-36 on 31 December 1944. Between 03:10 and 03:27 on 12 January 1945, eleven miles west of Apra, she launched all four Kaiten. The last Kaiten detonated immediately after launching, but at 05:30, as I-58 was leaving the area, she observed two pillars of smoke. She arrived at back at Kure on 22 January 1945 and was credited with sinking an escort carrier and a large oiler but the attack was not successful.

Operation Tan No.2  

After the American invasion of Iwo Jima in February 1945, I-58 and I-36 joined the Shimbu group formed to counterattack American forces. She departed Kure on 1 March carrying four Kaiten. On the 7th the operation was cancelled, and two days later she was redirected to the area west of Okinotorishima to support Operation Tan No. 2, an air attack on the anchorage at Ulithi. The submarine jettisoned two Kaiten and proceeded at full speed. On 11 March I-58 was stationed off Okinotorishima to act as a radio relay ship for 24 Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" twin-engined kamikaze bombers. Only six aircraft reached Ulithi, and one crashed into the carrier USS Randolph.

Operation Ten-Go

After returning to Kure for further training, I-58 was attached to the Tatara group, with I-44, I-47 and I-56, formed to attack American shipping anchored off Okinawa as part of Operation Ten-Go.  

31 March 1945: The Fifth Kaiten Mission:
I-58, I-44, I-47 and I-56 are in the "TATARA" group formed to attack American shipping anchored off Okinawa. I-58 arrives at Otsujima to embark kaiten, then departs for Hikari.

1 April 1945: American Operation "ICEBERG" - The Invasion of Okinawa:
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's Fifth Fleet, including more than 40 aircraft carriers, 18 battleships, 200 destroyers and over 1,000 support ships surround Okinawa. LtGen Simon B. Buckner Jr's Tenth Army (7th, 77th, 96th Infantry and 1st, 6th Marine divisions) makes amphibious landings and begins the battle to take the island from LtGen Ushijima Mitsuru's 32nd Army defenders.

That same day, I-58 departs Hikari for Okinawa with the TATARA group.

4 April 1945:
At daybreak, I-58's Type 13 radar picks up an approaching aircraft. Hashimoto dives immediately.

5 April 1945:
I-58 is forced to dive by aircraft many times.

6 April 1945:
In addition to American aircraft, the weather is bad, the navigator has trouble getting a fix on I-58's exact position and her batteries are almost depleted. Hashimoto surfaces in daylight, but a flying boat appears almost immediately. I-58 is forced to dive and later many more times in the day, but she finally arrives off Amami-Oshima, albeit behind schedule.

7 April 1945: Operation "TEN-1-GO"- The Surface Special Attack Unit's Sortie to Okinawa:
I-58 is ordered to penetrate the invasion fleet anchorage on the west coast of Okinawa and to launch its kaitens there to support the attack by battleship YAMATO. Later that day, Hashimoto receives a signal about the sinking of YAMATO.

8 April 1945:
Early in the morning, when I-58 is proceeding to the Okinawa, area, her lookouts sight a Martin PBM-3 "Mariner" seaplane that had not been picked up by her radar. Hashimoto crash-dives.

10 April 1945:
Hashimoto reports that he is unable to break through the American ASW defenses from the western direction. He heads towards Kyushu to recharge the batteries.

11 April 1945:
After recharging her batteries, I-58 heads back to Okinawan waters. The submarine is spotted by aircraft repeatedly, but manages to escape each time.

14 April 1945:
At 2320, LtCdr Hashimoto again reports about the ASW defenses. Vice Admiral Miwa redirects I-58 to an area between Okinawa and Guam to attack enemy communications there.

17 April 1945:
At 2355 (JST), the Sixth Fleet HQ cancels all operations of the Tatara group.

21 April 1945:
I-58 is ordered to return to Kure.

In May 1945 the submarine was sent to Kure Navy Yard to refit. Her aircraft catapult and hangar were removed, enabling her to carry six Kaiten. She was also fitted with a snorkel. On 22 June 162 B-29s of the U.S. Twentieth Air Force bombed Kure. I-58 was undamaged, although there were several near-misses.

Attack on Wild Hunter and Lowry

I-58 was then attached to the Tamon group with I-47, I-53, I-363, I-366 and I-367, and on the evening of 18 July she sailed for an area east of the Philippines. On 28 July, 300 miles north of Palau, I-58 sighted the 6,214-ton cargo ship Wild Hunter, escorted by the destroyer Lowry (DD-770). Two Kaiten were launched, but Wild Hunter sighted a periscope, opened fire with her 3-inch gun, and the periscope disappeared. The Lowry rammed and sank the other Kaiten, receiving minor damage. Aboard I-58, two explosions were heard, but a rain squall prevented any visual verification. The submarine eventually surfaced, but detected no ships on radar, and reported both as sunk.

Sinking of Indianapolis

The torpedo room of the I-58

At 23:00 on 29 July 1945 I-58 surfaced 250 miles north of Palau and headed south. Shortly afterwards the navigation officer Lt. Tanaka spotted a ship approaching from the east, making 12 knots and not zigzagging. Lt.Cdr. Hashimoto (incorrectly) identified the target as an Idaho-class battleship. She was in fact the heavy cruiser Indianapolis (CA-35), and had sailed from Guam for Leyte the previous day, after having delivered parts and nuclear material for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs to Tinian from San Francisco. Indianapolis was not equipped with sonar or hydrophones, or provided with a destroyer escort

I-58 submerged and prepared to attack with Type 95 torpedoes. After maneuvering into position, at 23:26 (JST) the submarine fired a spread of six torpedoes at 2-second intervals. At 23:35, Lt.Cdr Hashimoto observed three equally spaced hits on the cruisers starboard side. The ship stopped, listed to starboard, and was down by the bow, but Hashimoto decided to attack again and dived to 100 feet to open the range and reload torpedo tubes. While the submarine was submerged, at 00:27 on 30 July, Indianapolis capsized and sank. When I-58 made a periscope check, the target was gone. The submarine surfaced, and departed the area at full speed, heading north while recharging batteries, leaving the crew of the Indianapolis stranded for over 3 days in shark infested waters.

Hashimoto reported the attack and the report was decoded,  but no one believed it and many of the Indy's crew died as a result of the errors made by the command structure during the ensuing days.  Captain McVay was tried and found guilty of negligence.  MAny believed him to be a scapegoat.   Hashimoto was called to testify and said that zig zagging would have made no difference but felt his testimony was being ignored and could not understand why the US navy would even conduct such a trial.     Though the conviction was later overturned Mc Vay would kill himself years later.  

Attack on Task Group 75.19

On the morning of 9 August, 260 miles north-east of Aparri, Luzon, I-58 sighted a zigzagging "convoy of ten transports" escorted by three destroyers, and Kaiten No.'s 4 and 5 were launched. In fact the "convoy" was the hunter-killer team Task Group 75.19 led by the escort carrier Salamaua (CVE-96), carrying out anti-submarine sweeps between Leyte and Okinawa. The destroyer escort Johnnie Hutchins (DE-360) sighted and attacked Kaiten No.5 with her guns, and then attacked Kaiten No.4 with depth charges. Kaiten No.5 was sunk by fire from her 5-inch stern gun. Kaiten No.4 sighted again over an hour later and again attacked with depth charges which resulted in a violent explosion, throwing water 30 feet into the air. I-58 came to periscope depth after her hydrophones reported a distant explosion. In Hashimoto's opinion, the previously sighted destroyer had disappeared. He headed northwards to evade pursuit. The crew of Johnnie Hutchins were later awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Attack on Oak Hill and Thomas F. Nickel


Around 17:00 on 12 August 1945, 360 miles south-east of Okinawa, while I-58 was running northwards on the surface at 12 knots, her Type 3 radar detected multiple targets. Soon after ships were sighted on the horizon. The submarine dived, and at 17:16, the crew sighted what they believed to be a seaplane carrier escorted by a destroyer. In reality, the "seaplane carrier" was the dock landing ship Oak Hill (LSD-7), escorted by the Thomas F. Nickel (DE-587) en route from Okinawa to Leyte. At 18:26, Oak Hill sighted a periscope, and the Nickel attacked at flank speed. The Nickel fired depth charges, and attempted to ram, sustaining minor damage to her hull. A Kaiten broke surface astern of Oak Hill and exploded. Half an hour later the Nickel sighted another periscope astern of Oak Hill, and fired depth charges. An explosion followed, throwing a black geyser of oil and water 50 feet into the air. An oil slick was also sighted.

The end of the war

The kit strikes a nice silhouette with the Kaiten standing out and the coning tower detail.

On 18 August I-58, arrived back at Kure. On 2 September Japan surrendered. On 1 April 1946 in "Operation Road's End" I-58, stripped of all usable equipment and material, was towed from Sasebo to an area off the Goto Islands by the submarine tender Nereus (AS-17)

The Kaiten was a failure, USN ASW tactics were honed to a fine point and combined with the breaking of Japanese naval codes made any sortie by the mother ships a one way mission.  In the end, the type 93 torpedo was more effective in its traditional use vs the Kaiten conversion.  Carrying these manned torpedoes limited themother subs diving depth and maneuverability.    However launching from caves and small bays on the main islands would have created a disaster for any invasion fleet. The map below shows what the fleet would have been up against.


The scale of the sub is  1/700 while the Yamato is about 1/860 ( 12 inches) but close enough for this purpose.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.

Last edited by Kyushu J7W on Sun Feb 19 2017, 20:45; edited 1 time in total
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Kyushu J7W


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PostSubject: Re: Diorama Okinawa Spring 1945 ( in progress)    Sun Feb 19 2017, 20:38

Digging out some more of the past collection.

Finished the Yamato and the I-58 as they have links to the Okinawa April invasion.   I had all this in my head.  So with the base painted and the Ohka and Betty as the anchors I decided to sketch out what I wanted.   To all the true artists on this forum please hold the laughter Smile

I knew I wanted to simulate water, smoke , fire , and land ....... like starting and finally finishing the WWI flying boat last year I can never seem to go the easy way.  It's always biting off more than I can chew.   By using salvaged models and old collections the mix of scales presents a challenge but I'm hoping the simulation of varying altitudes with the aircraft and the sea help with that.   I will work on a land feature this evening, much to my wife's distress.   What sort of mess am I going to make while she is out this evening  and where am I going to put that thing when I'm done  she asks. Smile  I think I will put the I-58 inboard of the Yamato vs the sketch.

Several shots of the bomb carrying Kamikaze variant.   Not sure of the number as I don't see to have its box. But as you can see the profile is pretty good.

Each box had a data card.   A nice little extra but I never cut my boxes up.  

We have covered the  spec's,build and kits of the Zero pretty extensively so  I won't rehash that here.  The Ohka unit had its own dedicated escort force of skilled pilots. I'll relate a bit about them on this post.      

I'm using my Bachman Mini Planes and they were pretty true to form and paint for the most part.  Late 60's and early 70's the scales were all over the place with the prime  consideration being fitting in the box.   Each one came like this and has a plastic liner in the box holding it in place.  I can remember playing with these for hours.  I spent many many hours "grounded"  in my youth Smile

Looks like the Zero was 59 cents back in those days.  Mini-Planes encompassed everything from the first 1903 Wright Flyer to the latest wide-body jet liners. They were fragile, however, and really designed for "display" rather than heavy play. Nevertheless, the moving parts - such as spinning props, retracting undercarriage and opening bomb bays - were appealing to children of all ages. The WWI bi-planes were especially fragile, and also especially intricate and beautifully detailed.  I used one in the 80's to help my kids with a grade school WWI diorama. Used the Bristol fighter and the Triplane. Mini-Planes were  widely collected because of their affordability. Roughly 100 different types were made with some , primarily Japanese WWII types,only being sold in Japan.  There seems to be a collector base out there. My collection numbers perhaps 60 or so but the liners are missing for the most part and I never collected for resale. .

The 721st Naval Air Group (第七二一海軍航空隊 Dai Nana-Futa-Hito Kaigun Kōkūtai?) was an aircraft and airbase garrison unit of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the Pacific campaign of World War II. This air group was organised for specializes in suicide attack. Another known as God thunder Corps (Jinrai Butai).     The fighter squadrons linked to the Ohka were as follow.

305th Fighter Squadron (1 February 1945–19 August 1945)
306th Fighter Squadron (15 November 1944–19 August 1945)
307th Fighter Squadron (1 February 1945–19 August 1945)
Special Ohka figher squadron.

The Kemmu Squadron was built out of the fighter escorts.   The destruction of the first mass Ohka raid more due to poor high command planning vs its potential,  put the high command off and they decided to supplement the attacks with bomb laden Zeroes.   This cause quite a bit of consternation as so many of the Ohka pilots had 'wedded" themselves to the Ohka as they believed it could truly be a game changer.  there were open complaints of  now simply  being cannon fodder.  When asked who wanted to go to fighter bombers  and who wanted to  stay with the Ohka no matter what few hands were raised.

Regardless of this event, eventually as the newly minted pilots poured in the tactics were changed to use the Ohka in surprise vs  massed attacks and the Kemmu squadron Zeroes  as supplements to the other Kamikaze units on Kyushu.  

Other units of the 721st.

   Attack bomber Squadron (1 October 1944–14 November 1944)
       Renamed 711th Attack Squadron on 15 November 1944.
   Ohka Squadron (1 October 1944–21 August 1945)
   Suisei ( Judy) Squadron (15 November 1944–14 February 1945)
       Aircraft and airmen were moved to 722nd Naval Air Group on 15 February 1945.
   708th Attack Squadron Betty & Ohka (20 December 1944–21 August 1945) Betty & Ohka
   711th Attack Squadron Betty & Ohka(15 November 1944–5 May 1945, dissolved.)
       Aircraft and airmen were moved to the 708th Attack Squadron on 5 May 1945.

Using Elmers clear glue as it will come off the model easily if I or anyone else decide to dismantle this thing.  I will have the Zeros flying in loose formation.  

Using a couple of paper clips bent out the Kamikaze Zero on the right and the escort Zero on the left will be positioned  below the Betty / Ohka combo at lower altitude about to pass over the Yamato on its way to Okinawa.   This depicts what was to have occurred.  A massive co-ordinated strike of Kamikaze, surface and submarine units in numbers to overwhelm and saturate the American defenses.  However the Japanese Navy was so dis jointed it could not co-ordiate its attacks and the units often went in piecemeal, making them easier to destroy.    Admiral Ugaki must bear part of responsibility, as it was he who was co-ordinating the strike air units and did not provide the needed support for the Yamato and Ohka sorties.  The book,The Last Kamikaze that Edwin Hoyt wrote about him glosses over these facts.  Admiral Ugaki did fly the last mission of the war after the announced surrender, just as he said he would.  Night fighters around Okinawa assured no one got through.

The H8K2 Emily

The abilities of the average newly minted Kamikaze were limited.   The bulk of the young crews had only the most basic of skills.  Senior pilots often had these junior cadets  form up on them to lead them to the target area.    The H8K2 was used in several instances in this fashion.  

I will have my Emily breaking off to land near a nearby island after scouting ahead and locating the US Naval forces.  

The Kawanishi H8K (二式飛行艇, Nishiki Hikōtei, Type 2 Flying Boat. Commonly called as 二式大型飛行艇 Nishiki Ōgata Hikōtei, 二式大艇 Nishiki Daitei or Nishiki Taitei, Type 2 Large-sized Flying Boat) was an Imperial Japanese Navy flying boat used during World War II for maritime patrol duties. The Allied reporting name for the type was "Emily".  The improved H8K2 variant soon appeared, and its extremely heavy defensive armament earned it deep respect among Allied aircrews. It was very effective in an ASW role but there were too few to make a difference.

The H8K2 was an upgrade over the H8K1, having more powerful engines, slightly revised armament, and an increase in fuel capacity. This was to be the definitive variant, with 112 produced. The H8K entered production in 1941 and first saw operational use on the night of 4 March 1942 in a second raid on Pearl Harbor. Since the target lay out of range for the flying boats, this audacious plan involved a refueling by submarine at French Frigate Shoals, some 900 km (560 mi) north-west of Hawaii, en route. Two planes from the Yokohama K333;k363;tai (Naval Air Corps) attempted to bomb Pearl Harbor, but, due to poor visibility, did not accomplish any significant damage.

I just used another  piece of wire .  Actually its an uncoiled paper clip. It's stiff enough to hold these scale aircraft. I drilled a small hole in the base, a bit of elmers and there we go.  A particularly well armed Emily on the return leg of locating the US fleet and scouting for enemy submarines.    

Six days after the second Pearl harbor raid one of the Emily's was sent on a daylight photo-recon mission of Midway Atoll. It was intercepted by radar directed Brewster Buffalo fighters of Marine Corps squadron VMF-221 and shot down. All aboard were killed including Lt. Hashizume Hisao, the lead pilot of the second Pearl Harbor raid.

H8K2s were used on a wide range of patrol, reconnaissance, bombing, and transport missions throughout the Pacific war.

Specifications (Kawanishi H8K2)

Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II

General characteristics

   Crew: 10
   Length: 28.15 m (92 ft 4 in)
   Wingspan: 38.00 m (124 ft 8 in)
   Height: 9.15 m (30 ft)
   Wing area: 160 m² (1,721 ft²)
   Empty weight: 18,380 kg (40,436 lb)
   Loaded weight: 24,500 kg (53,900 lb)
   Max. takeoff weight: 32,500 kg (71,500 lb)
   Powerplant: 4 × Mitsubishi Kasei 22 radial engines, 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) each


   Maximum speed: 465 km/h (290 mph)
   Range: 7,150 km (4,440 mi)
   Service ceiling: 8,760 m (28,740 ft)
   Rate of climb: 8.1 m/s (1,600 ft/min)
   Wing loading: 153 kg/m² (31 lb/ft²)
   Power/mass: 0.22 kW/kg (0.14 hp/lb


       5× 20 mm Type 99 cannon (one each in bow, dorsal, and tail turrets, plus one each in two waist blisters)
       5× 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 92 machine guns in fuselage hatches
   Bombs: 2× 800 kg (1,764 lb) torpedoes or 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of bombs or depth charges


   Mark VI Model 1 ASV radar

Four aircraft survived until the end of the war. One of these, an H8K2 (work number 426), was captured by U.S. forces at the end of the war and was evaluated before being eventually returned to Japan in 1979.  It has the distinction of being the first war trophy ever returned by the US.  It was on display at Tokyo's Museum of Maritime Science until 2004, when it was moved to Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima.

The submerged remains of an H8K can be found off the west coast of Saipan, where it is a popular scuba diving attraction known erroneously as the "B-29", or the "Emily". Another wrecked H8K lies in Chuuk Lagoon, Chuuk, in Micronesia. This aircraft is located off the south-western end of Dublon Island.

Starting work on the island feature....early in the game but figured put it in here to see if it works or turns out to be a bust. Using some paper mache.  Will get the materials  to make the "water"  tomorrow.  

Well paper mache ,turned out to be a bust ..even though I mixed in some white glue it turned out to be too crumbly and fell apart.  

I found some foam blocks in the basement and figured give them a shot.   Checked out the AFV tutorials and a few other sources.  Took a block and started cutting & chipping away.  Pinned the other parts and used elmers to glue them together.  Made a few small rocks for off shore and a cave that runs from once side to the other sheltered bay side. I'm chipping up the blue paint pretty badly so for  the next diorama I will keep that work for last.

The Ryukyu chain is semi tropical so you do have some greenery.  The area is a mix of volcanic and coral outcroppings.     There were some 20,000 Japanesetroops spread out on these islands leading up to Kyushu.  

I worked  this quite a bit.  I did not like the  first effort so I redid a few items.  Top shot and side views.

Tried to  make some jagged cliff faces  and smooth areas then applied some, silver ,  light gray , flat black spray  to to the rock going for some texture.  Since it is semi tropical but volcanic I added some green highlights and added a cave.  I will put a small radio/radar station on the island.  The Japanese hid Kaiten and Shinyo speedboats in caves awaiting a chance to sortie against any invasion fleets but the Navy bypassed these islands.   They were supplied by flying boats and seaplanes and contained  a labyrinth of underground facilities..   The radio stations were particularly difficult to  knock out.   George Bush Sr was shot down attacking such an installation on the island north of Iwo Jima.  he was lucky to get picked up as pilots captured there were executed and in a few cases  partially eaten by the commander who was later hanged postwar. .    

The elmers seems  to be holding up and the Zero formation workable.

Another Bachman Miniplane.  O2SU Kingfisher.   I'm using this one as a recon and ASR aircraft ,   it carried two normal bombs or depth charges.  Coming in around the islands tip, it going to surprise some landing barges the Japanese Army used to keep it outlying islands supplied and perhaps strafe the smaller Shinyo power boats coming out to join the Yamato and I-58.    Sorry  ......Can't find the box on this on.

Using elmers to glue on the wire that will be pushed into the foam. So far its seems to be holding up and can be removed later with no damage to the mini plane.  

The Vought OS2U Kingfisher was an American catapult-launched observation floatplane. It was a compact mid-wing monoplane, with a large central float and small stabilizing floats. Performance was modest, because of its light engine. The OS2U could also operate on fixed, wheeled, tail dragger landing gear.

Specifications (OS2U-3)
OS2U Kingfisher at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Data from The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft[17]

General characteristics

   Crew: Two, pilot and observer
   Length: 33 ft 10 in (10.31 m)
   Wingspan: 35 ft 11 in (10.95 m)
   Height: 15 ft 1.5 in (4.61 m)
   Wing area: 262 ft² (24 m²)
   Empty weight: 4,123 lb (1,870 kg)
   Max. takeoff weight: 6,000 lb (2,721 kg)
   Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-2 radial engine, 450 hp (336 kW)


   Maximum speed: 164 mph (264 km/h)
   Range: 805 mi (1,296 km)
   Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (3,960 m)


   Guns: 2 × .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns ( one on turret for observer )
   Bombs: 650 lb (295 kg) of bombs

The OS2U was the main shipboard observation aircraft used by the United States Navy during World War II, and 1,519 of the aircraft were built. It served on battleships and cruisers of the US Navy, with the United States Marine Corps in Marine Scouting Squadron Three (VMS-3), with the United States Coast Guard at coastal air stations, at sea with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, and with the Soviet Navy. The Royal Australian Air Force also operated a few Kingfishers from shore bases.

The Naval Aircraft Factory OS2N was the designation of the OS2U-3 aircraft built by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The OS2U first flew on 1 March 1938.

The Kingfisher was widely used as a shipboard, catapult-launched scout plane on U.S. Navy battleships, heavy cruisers and light cruisers during World War II, as well as playing a major role in support of shore bombardments and air-sea rescue. Two examples showing the plane's rescue capabilities include the recovery of World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker and his crew from the Pacific in November 1942 and Lieutenant John A. Burns' unique use of the aircraft in April 1944 to taxi airmen rescued from the Truk Lagoon to the submarine USS Tang, which was serving rescue duty near the atoll on that date. In all, LT Burns rescued 10 survivors on two trips and was awarded the Navy Cross for his efforts.

Throughout its U.S. Navy service, the OS2U and even its predecessor, the Curtiss SOC Seagull served much longer than planned, as the planned successor, the Curtiss SO3C Seamew, suffered from an insufficiently powerful engine which was a complete failure.[6] The OS2U was only slowly replaced in the latter stages of World War II with the introduction of the Curtiss SC Seahawk, the first examples reaching the U.S. Navy in October 1944.

The water simulation will have to wait for tomorrow.   I've painted in the ship wakes and island edging with some sprigs of white ( not in the current pic below) to indicate splash and foam.  Retouched all the heavily scratched blue parts of the board.  Need to get some thinner wire so I can mount a few more of the Mini Planes.   Working on the radio/radar station on the southern plateau of the island.  The Betty does not look beat up enough, not sure if I will try dirtying it up...  

So ................still more to do.  The island build up is in the post above this one.

I'm a bit worried about the water simulation.   The blue scratches so easily will the application of the silicone gel, as it's  spread pull it up?       Twisted Evil    Well I will find out tomorrow if I should not  have used a simulated laminated wood book shelf as a base.  So far except for the Yamato and I-58  I  have been using things I have had for many years and laying about the house.  Still,  between the ships ,paints , and other misc items, building a diorama can start to add up.

Doug,  next time we are  at that Dayton AF Museum WWI  fly in, I'm going to take your lead.  I think those old built kits you picked up are an even better deal now.  Having worked with some of my old wrecks to bring them back to something that satisfies me, I would not hesitate to try to bring some of these back, especially if  they were unusual subjects.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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