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The World War II Photo of the Week
for 28 October 2002


Japanese Fool ...

   This photo was snapped aboard the battle-scarred LST 512, which was damaged in action at Normandy and was a major player in the 12,000-mile inland waterway tour of the 7th War Loan Bond Drive. Exhibits were mounted in the LST's hold to be viewed by millions of people between March 1945 and January 1946. This Baka Rocket Bomb exhibit is one of those. The official Japanese designation for the bomb was "Oka." which translates as Cherry-Blossom. The allies dubbed it "Baka," which was Japanese meaning "fool." The Baka Bomb was carried under a twin engine land-based Navy bomber. The pilot was locked in the cockpit, and as the mother plane approached a target the Baka left the parent airplane to make a diving attack propelled by rocket power. The 289-mph maximum gliding speed reached 405 mph when rocket-propelled. The rocket power lasted 30 seconds. Little more than a human bomb, many graduates of the Japanese Air Academy flew to their deaths in a Baka during the closing days of World War II. Note the U.S. Navy lieutenant at the controls.

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