______Not all kamikazes were conventional suicide fighters. A few of them were special-built weapons of self-destruction.
______The Baka was one of the specially-designed suicide weapons, and one of the few of this class to see action during World War II. The official Japanese Navy designation for it was MXY7 "Ohka" (Cherry Blossom), but the allies nicknamed it "Baka" (Fool). It was a rocket-powered manned missile, launched from G4M "Betty" bomber; the aircraft would glide towards its target after release and then ignite the three short-duration rocket motors in its tail. The Baka could reach a terminal speed of 600 mph if it dived on its target. It's simple construction (warhead in the nose, rockets in the tail, pilot in the middle) made it easy to build and it used little in the way of vital metal or rubber.

______The combat history of the Baka was a short one. The first attempted attack with the suicide rockets took place in March 1945 and resulted in both the Bakas and the motherships being shot down before they reached their targets. It turned out that the G4M bombers were the most vulnerable part of the weapon system and other means of delivering the rockets were in the experimentation stage when the war ended, including a catapult for submarines.

______Over 800 Baka Bombs were built before the end of the war, but only 50 were used. Nonetheless, the weapon had its successes: in April 1945 the U.S.S. Mannert L. Abele, a destroyer, was sunk by a Baka. Another destroyer and a minesweeper are damaged by the rocketplanes in the same attack and later attacks would result in significant damage to other American warships before war's end.


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