China has just introduced its first kamikaze drone model. It receives the name of CH-901, weighs nine kilos and is equipped with an explosive head. It can fly in a range of speed that goes between 14 and 140 kilometers per hour, and its purpose is offensive. Thanks to a camera he can locate his target and head towards it, causing an explosive collision.
With this prototype, the Chinese army modernized the concept of kamikazes, a name given to Japanese suicide pilots during World War II. A term, incidentally, erroneous, derived from an incorrect translation of the Americans during the contest.
The Japanese word is 神 風. But who knows the Japanese language knows that there are different ways of reading the kanji. The Americans used kamizake when the correct one would have been shipped in this case. Either way, the Japanese word means “divine wind.”
The term refers to a providential typhoon that in 1281 sank the fleet that the Mongol emperor Kublai Kahn sent to invade Japan. The Japanese interpreted that saving storm as a divine sign.
That is why, in October 1944, when the advance of American troops seemed unstoppable, the Japanese high command decided to form the first unit of suicide pilots (we will continue to call them kamikazes because, though originally incorrect, it is the term that has come to pass. Posterity).
The suicide strategy was tested for the first time in the Philippines and successfully since in the first attack the Japanese managed to sink one American aircraft carrier and damage another. That momentary triumph caused suicide units to be created all along the Pacific front.
This type of military missions was surrounded in addition to a complex ritual. The selected pilots received a gun and a katana, and a headband with the Japanese flag embroidered (it was said) by a thousand women, each of whom would have given a stitch. And, before taking off, they toasted with sake.
The last attack took place the 15 of August of 1945, hours before the emperor officially announced the surrender of Japan. Initially, there were going to be eleven planes that made this incursion, but four were damaged and could only take off seven.
It is estimated that throughout the war the Japanese were able to carry out some 2,500 suicide attacks with airplanes, succeeding in sinking 57 enemy ships, including three aircraft carriers.