Operation Ten-Go: April 6 - June 22, 1945
The last Japanese naval offensive during World War II began on April 6, 1945. Named "Operation Ten-Go", the operation was the attempt to drive out the Allied forces at Okinawa, utilizing Kamikazes as the weapon in ten different attacks. The enemy gave the name, Kikusui, to the Kamikaze attacks, which means "floating chrysanthemums" in Japanese. To support the attacks, the Japanese battleship Yamato, along with light cruiser Yahagi and eight destroyers, were sent to complete the destruction began by the suicidal missions. On April 7, Task Force 58, commanded by Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, USN, attacked the Japanese First Division Attack Force (Yamato's fleet) through the East China Sea towards Okinawa. Task Force planes sank Yamato and light cruiser Yahagi, west-southwest of Kagoshima, Japan, and destroyer Asashimo in the East China Sea. Destroyers Hamakaze and Isokaze were sunk 150 miles southwest of Nagasaki and Kasumi in the East China Sea. The task force also damaged the destroyers Suzutsuki, Hatsushimo, Yukikaze, and Fuyuzuki in the East China Sea. For the concentrated Kamikaze attacks, three additional attacks took place in April, with four in May, then two in June, resulting in the loss and damage of numerous U.S. Navy ships. Overall, about 1,900 Kamikaze attacks occurred during the Okinawa Campaign.
Image: 80-G-324441: Operation Ten-Go, April-June 1945. USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24). Splash resulting from crash of Japanese "Zero" aircraft while off Okinawa, Japan, April 6, 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
The National Museum of the U.S. Navy has a Kamikaze plane fragment that hit USS Sterett (DD-407) on display within the "In Harm's Way: Pacific" exhibit area. To view the artifact, please click here.