No doubt that
LSM-20 sank 
47 Ships Sunk by Kamikaze Aircraft
by Bill Gordon
Sources differ regarding the number of ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft during
World War II. Inoguchi (1958, 211-34) lists the names of 34 ships sunk
by kamikaze attacks, and Warner (1982, 323-34) gives the names of 57
ships sunk by special attack aircraft. However, an examination of other
historical records indicates that both of these two lists do not have the
correct number of ships sunk by kamikaze. This web page lists the names of the
47 ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft.
The list of 57 ships in Warner (1982, 323-34) has ten ships that
should not be included:
- Sonoma (ATO-12) (ocean tug) on Oct. 24, 1944 - Despite being
included on both Inoguchi's and Warner's lists of ships sunk by kamikaze
aircraft, Sonoma should be excluded since she was sunk even before
the Navy's Kamikaze Special Attack Corps squadrons carried out their first successful
suicide attacks on October 25, 1945. Japanese records (e.g., Tokkotai
Senbotsusha 1990, 130-312) do not include any Navy or Army special attack
pilots who died on October 24, 1944. Some accounts state that the attack on
Sonoma was made by a kamikaze plane, but others do not specify this
. Stern (2010, 37-8) argues convincingly that
this attack was most likely not a planned kamikaze attack since no Betty
bombers, the plane type that crashed into Sonoma, were part of
special attack squadrons by this date.
- LCI(L)-1065 (landing craft, infantry (large)) on Oct. 24, 1944 -
The reasons for excluding this sinking from the list of ships sunk by
kamikaze aircraft are much the same as those for Sonoma (ATO-12)
above. Warner states that the attack on LCI(L)-1065 was made by a
kamikaze plane, but other sources do not specify this
. Warner (1982, 93-4) states that a Sally
(Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber) hit LCI(L)-1065, but the first Army
special attack squadron members did not carry out suicide attacks until
November 5, 1944 (Osuo 2005, 189).
- LCT-1075 (landing craft, tank) on Dec. 10, 1944 - The LCT
Group 66 War Diary Entry for 10-11 December 1944 
aircraft attacked ships in area. LCT 1075, alongside Liberty Ship MARCUS
DALY, was hit by an enemy plane that dived into the side of the SS MARCUS
DALY and was deflected onto the LCT 1075. Plane crashed on deck of LCT 1075,
exploding and setting LCT on fire. . . . LCT 1075 towed to beach after fire
was extinguished." The photo below shows the heavily damaged LCT-1075
after being towed to the beach .
- Palmer (minesweeper) on Jan. 7, 1945 - This ship sank after
being hit by two bombs dropped from a Japanese twin-engine bomber (Dictionary of American Naval Fighting
- Hovey (minesweeper) on Jan. 7, 1945 - The Dictionary of
American Naval Fighting Ships gives the following account: "At 0450,
one plane flying low to the water came in from the starboard quarter passing
ahead of Hovey. A few moments later another plane coming from the
port beam was put on fire by Chandler. This plane passed very low
over Hovey and crashed on the starboard beam. At 0455, the instant
the burning plane crashed, Hovey was struck by a torpedo on her
starboard side in the after engineroom. Lights and power were lost
instantly. The stern remained nearly level and sinking to the top of the
after deck house, the bow listed 40 degrees to starboard and rose out of the
water, the ship breaking in half. Two minutes later the bow listed to 90
degrees, rose vertically and rapidly sank in 54 fathoms of water, suffering
24 killed in addition to 24 more men who were survivors from Long and
Brooke." This account emphasizes the torpedo
rather than the kamikaze crash when describing the reason for the ship's
sinking. The Naval Historical Center (2007) has the following description
for Hovey, "sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft in
Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 6 January 1945." There is no
mention of a kamikaze plane playing a role in the sinking of the ship.
- LSM-318 on Jan. 16, 1945 - This ship is also listed by Warner on Dec. 7,
1944, so this duplicate listing should not be included.
- Dickerson (high-speed transport) on Apr. 2, 1945 - Although
hit by a kamikaze on Apr. 2, 1945, the heavily damaged ship was towed back
to Kerama Retto to salvage items from the ship. On Apr. 4, the unsalvageable
ship was towed from Kerama Retto and then sunk on purpose by American ships (Dictionary of
American Naval Fighting Ships; Warner 1982, 186-7).
- LST-447 on Apr. 9, 1945 - This ship is also listed by Warner on Apr. 6, 1945,
so this duplicate listing should not be included.
- LCT-876 on Apr. 9, 1945 - On Apr. 3, 1945, a kamikaze plane struck
(landing craft, tank) while aboard LST-599 (landing ship, tank) at
anchor in Kerama Retto. The photo below shows the scene after the kamikaze
There is no indication that
LCT-876 sank as a direct result of the kamikaze attack .
- Braine (destroyer) on May 27-29, 1945 - A kamikaze plane hit
on May 27, 1945, and the destroyer suffered heavy damage. However, the ship
survived the war and was transferred to Argentina in 1971 (Dictionary of
American Naval Fighting Ships).
The following is a list of the 47 ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft. This has been obtained from the
Warner less the ten ships above that should not have been included. The 47 ships have been
compared to the listings of ships sunk at the web sites of the Naval Historical Center
(2007) and the American Merchant Marine at War (2007). Exceptions have been explained in the
Notes section at the bottom of this web page.
||St. Lo (CVE-63) (escort carrier) 
||Abner Read (DD-526) (destroyer)
||SC-744 (submarine chaser)
||LSM-20 (landing ship, medium)
||Mahan (DD-364) (destroyer)
||LSM-318 (landing ship, medium)
||Ward (APD-16) (high-speed transport)
||William S. Ladd (Liberty cargo ship)
||PT-323 (motor torpedo boat)
||Reid (DD-369) (destroyer)
||LST-472 (landing ship, tank)
||LST-738 (landing ship, tank)
||PT-300 (motor torpedo boat)
||LST-460 (landing ship, tank)
||LST-749 (landing ship, tank)
||John Burke (Liberty cargo ship)
||Porcupine (IX-126) (auxiliary tanker)
||Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) (escort carrier)
||Lewis L. Dyche (Liberty cargo ship)
||Long (DMS-12) (high-speed minesweeper)
||Bismark Sea (CVE-21) (escort carrier)
||Bush (DD-529) (destroyer)
||Colhoun (DD-801) (destroyer)
||Emmons (DMS-22) (high-speed minesweeper)
||Hobbs Victory (cargo ship)
||Logan Victory (cargo ship)
||LST-447 (landing ship, tank) 
||Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) (destroyer)
||LCS(L)(3)-33 (landing craft, support (large) (Mk. III))
||Pringle (DD-477) (destroyer)
||Swallow (AM-65) (minesweeper)
||LCS(L)(3)-15 (landing craft, support (large) (Mk.
||Canada Victory (cargo ship)
||Little (DD-803) (destroyer)
||LSM(R)-195 (landing ship, medium (rocket))
||Morrison (DD-560) (destroyer)
||Luce (DD-522) (destroyer)
||LSM(R)-190 (landing ship, medium (rocket))
||LSM(R)-194 (landing ship, medium (rocket))
||Bates (APD-47) (high-speed transport)
||LSM-135 (landing ship, medium)
||Drexler (DD-741) (destroyer)
||William D. Porter (DD-579) (destroyer)
||Twiggs (DD-591) (destroyer)
||LSM-59 (landing ship, medium)
||Barry (APD-29) (high-speed transport) 
||Callaghan (DD-792) (destroyer) 
The list of 34 ships in Inoguchi (1958, 211-34) has several
problems. First, even though the summary on page 234 shows a total of 34 ships
sunk, there are only 32 ship names listed from pages 211 to 232. There are only
30 ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft, since two ships on the list were sunk by
other suicide weapons (i.e., PC-1129 by suicide boat on Jan. 31, 1945; destroyer
escort Underhill by kaiten on July 24, 1945). The source used
by Inoguchi for ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft was the United
States Naval Chronology, World War II (1955) prepared by the Naval History Division, Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations, Navy Department. However, even though this source includes
LSTs (327 ft. length), 10 smaller landing ships and landing craft (i.e., LCI(L),
LCS(L), LSM, and LSM(R) with lengths between 158 and 203 ft.) have not been included in Inoguchi's list since the United
States Naval Chronology, World War II does not mention these smaller ships.
Also, Inoguchi's list excludes 6 cargo ships of the U.S. Merchant
Marine included in the list on this web page. The following four ships make up the remainder of the
difference between this web page's list and Inoguchi's list:
- Sonoma (ATO-12) (ocean tug) on Oct. 24, 1944 - A Japanese aircraft
crashed into this ship prior to the first successful suicide attacks by
special attack squadrons on October 25, 1944, so this web page does not
include this ship as having been sunk by kamikaze aircraft.
- PT-300 on Dec. 18, 1944 - Inoguchi does include PT-323,
which was sunk by a kamikaze plane on Dec. 10, 1944. However, PT-300
was excluded even though the United States Naval Chronology, World War II
states the ship was sunk by a suicide plane on Dec. 18, 1944. This may have
just been an oversight by the authors when compiling the list.
Interestingly, the United States Naval Chronology, World War II
mentions the sinking of the PT-300 and PT-323 motor torpedo
boats, only 80 ft. in length,
even though no reference is made to the sinking of much larger landing ships
and landing craft with lengths between 158 and 203 ft.
- Twiggs (destroyer) on June 16, 1945 - The Naval Historical
Center listing states that Twiggs was sunk by a kamikaze aircraft
after being torpedoed. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
describes the sinking as follows: "On 16 June, Twiggs was on
radar picket duty off Senaga Shima in
the western fire support area.
At 2030, a single, low-flying plane dropped a torpedo
which hit Twiggs on her port side, exploding her
number 2 magazine. The plane then circled and completed
its kamikaze mission in a suicide crash. The explosion enveloped the
destroyer in flame; and, within an hour, she sank. Despite the hazard of
exploding ammunition from the blazing Twiggs,
188 survivors were rescued
from the oily waters. Among the 152 dead and
missing was her commanding officer, Comdr. George Phillip."
- Barry (high-speed transport) on June 21, 1945 - Refer to Note
11 for description of this ship's sinking by a kamikaze aircraft.
In summary, below is the reconciliation from Inoguchi's list to this
web page's list:
||Incorrect total on page 234 of Inoguchi
||Only 32 ship names on pages 211-32
||Ships sunk by suicide weapons other than kamikaze
|| Sonoma (ATO-12) sunk before
first successful kamikaze attack
||Smaller landing ships and landing craft
||Barry (high-speed transport)
||Total on this web page
In compiling a list of ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft, certain assumptions
must be made. Different assumptions will lead to slightly different numbers. The
assumptions used for this web page list include the following:
- Not Sunk Intentionally After Reaching Shore - For example, Dickerson (high-speed transport)
has not been included on this page's list since the ship, heavily damaged by
a kamikaze plane on April 2, 1945, was sunk on
purpose by American ships two days after the battle. The ship had already
reached shore at Kerama Retto, and the decision was made to tow the ship out
to sea to be intentionally sunk on April 4, 1945 (Dictionary of
American Naval Fighting Ships). Any ship damaged beyond repair by
kamikaze aircraft but not sunk before reaching shore has not been
included in this web page's list.
The destroyer Colhoun, sunk on April 6, 1945, has
been included on this web page's list even though she was intentionally sunk
by another destroyer. The Dictionary of
American Naval Fighting Ships provides the following description of Colhoun's sinking, "Heavy
listing, uncontrolled flooding, and fires made it impossible to save her and
she was sunk by gunfire from Cassin
Young." In this case, the four kamikaze planes that crashed into Colhoun
caused the ship's sinking, and Cassin Young's gunfire just sped up
the inevitable sinking. In another example, five kamikaze aircraft hit the
high-speed minesweeper Emmons (DMS-22) on April 6, 1945. Afterward,
the abandoned ship with uncontrolled fires was drifting toward enemy
territory, so the decision was made to have the ship intentionally sunk by
the high-speed minesweeper Ellyson (DMS-19) in the early morning
hours of April 7, 1945 (Billingsley 2005, 372-4). Emmons has been
included on this web page's list since the ship sank prior to reaching
- Primary Reason For Sinking Was Kamikaze Aircraft - In the case
of the sinking of the minesweeper Hovey on Jan. 7, 1945, a judgment was needed to determine whether or not
the primary reason for the ship's sinking was a kamikaze hit. The reasoning
for excluding Hovey from this web page's list of ships sunk by
kamikaze aircraft can be found in number 5. of the listing of eight ships that should be excluded from Warner's list of ships sunk by kamikaze
aircraft (near top of web
A plane did not actually have to hit a ship in order to be
included on this web page's list of ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft. For
example, William D. Porter sank without any plane directly hitting the
destroyer as described in the following account from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:
On 10 June 1945, William D. Porter fell victim to a unique though
fatal kamikaze attack. At 0815 that morning, an obsolete
"Val" dive-bomber dropped unheralded
out of the clouds and made straight for the warship. The destroyer managed to
evade the suicide plane, and it
splashed down close aboard her. Somehow,
the explosive-laden plane ended up directly beneath
William D. Porter before it exploded. Suddenly, the
warship was lifted out of the water and then dropped
back again. She lost power and suffered broken steam lines. A number of fires
also broke out. For three hours, her
crew struggled courageously to put out the fires, repair the damage, and
keep the ship afloat. The crew's efforts,
however, availed nought; and, 12 minutes after
the order to abandon ship went out, William D. Porter heeled
over to starboard and sank by the stern. Miraculously, her crew suffered no
- Aircraft May or May Not Have Been Part of Special Attack Squadron (Tokkotai)
- The Japanese Navy and Army designated special
attack squadrons (tokkotai) to carry out suicide attacks against
enemy ships. Japanese listings of Navy kamikaze special attack pilots and Army special
attack pilots who died only include someone who had been designated as a
member of a special attack squadron prior to taking off. However, Americans
generally consider a kamikaze to include any aircraft that hit a ship,
regardless of whether or not the Japanese military had officially designated
the aircraft as part of a special attack squadron.
The destroyer Twiggs is one example where this web page lists a ship
that sunk on a day when the Japanese did not have any special attack
squadron members who died. Twiggs sank on June 16, 1945, but Japanese records do not mention the death of any special attack pilot
on this date. The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
describes the sinking as follows: "At 2030, a single, low-flying plane dropped a torpedo
which hit Twiggs on her port side, exploding her
number 2 magazine. The plane then circled and completed
its kamikaze mission in a suicide crash." This account seems to
indicate a torpedo bomber pilot may have decided on his own to crash into
the ship after dropping a torpedo, even though the plane had not been
officially assigned to a special attack squadron.
On or After Date of Successful Attack by Organized Special Attack Squadron - Vice Admiral
Takijiro Ohnishi formed the first kamikaze special attack squadron in the early morning of
October 20, 1944 (Inoguchi 1958, 13), but the first successful suicide
attacks by special attack squadrons did not take place until October 25, 1944
(Inoguchi 1958, 57-60; Stern 2010, 39-53; Yasunobu 1972, 58-60). Therefore, no individually motivated
aerial suicide attacks before October 25, 1944, have been considered for inclusion
in this web page's
Sonoma (ATO-12) and LCI(L)-1065, sunk after being
struck by Japanese planes on October 24, 1944, are two examples where this web page does
not include the ships as having been sunk by kamikaze aircraft since the
sinkings took place one day prior to the first successful suicide attacks by
special attack squadrons.
The following sources also give numbers of total ships sunk by kamikaze
- Lambert (1997, 6) - 56 ships sunk
- Nagatsuka (1973, 205-12) - 49 ships sunk
- Yasunobu (1972, 171) - 49 ships sunk
- Ozawa (1983, 91) - 47 ships sunk
- Tokkou: Kyokugen no tatakai no subete (2007, 54) - 40 ships sunk
Lambert, Ozawa, and Tokkou: Kyokugen no tatakai no subete do not give ship names or
dates included in the total numbers, so it is not possible to reconcile their totals with
the list of ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft on this web page. Although Ozawa
also comes up with 47 ships sunk, it is not certain whether he arrived at the
same total as this web page by including the same ships.
Both Nagatsuka and Yasunobu come up with 49 ships sunk by
kamikaze aircraft, but the details they provide differ from the ship types and dates
on this web page. Nagatsuka (1973, 205-12) lists ship types sunk by date,
but his list excludes 14 ships listed above and includes 16 additional ships
based on a comparison of dates and ship types between the two lists. If
destroyers are considered as an example, Nagatsuka excludes Twiggs (June
16, 1945) and Callaghan (July 29, 1945), but he includes seven other
destroyers that never sank on the following dates: December 30, 1944; May 1, May
9 (2 ships), May 24, May 25, and May 27, 1945.
Yasunobu (1972, 171) only gives ship totals by type without dates of sinking.
These ship totals differ from the totals of ship types on this web
||This Web Page
|Landing ship or craft
|Tanker or ammunition ship
Total Sunk by Kamikaze
The analysis on this web page shows that two well-known sources (i.e.,
Inoguchi 1958, Warner 1982) do not have a correct listing or total of ships sunk
by kamikaze aircraft. The total of 47 ships sunk has the most support, but
different assumptions and criteria used to determine ships sunk by kamikaze
aircraft can result in slight differences in the total number.
1. Photo source: NavSource
(June 8, 2007).
2. The Naval Historical Center listing states that
USS Sonoma was sunk by Japanese aircraft on October 24, 1944, but there
is no mention of kamikaze. However, Inoguchi (1958, 211) includes Sonoma
in his listing of ships sunk by kamikaze aircraft. His source was the United
States Naval Chronology, World War II (1955), which has the following
account that specifies that attack was made by a kamikaze plane
(June 8, 2007):
U.S. freighter Augustus Thomas, anchored in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, is
attacked by a Japanese plane. The ship's Armed Guard gunfire sets the aircraft
ablaze but the kamikaze presses home his attack, a wing striking the stack of
the nearby tug Sonoma (ATO-12) before it crashes the freighter's
starboard side. The bombs detonate in the water between the two ships, and the
exploding suicider sets Sonoma afire. There are no casualties on board Augustus
Thomas (41-man merchant complement, 27-man Armed Guard and 480 troop
passengers), which is subsequently beached by tugs Chowanoc (ATF-100) and
Whippoorwill (ATO-169). Sonoma subsequently sinks off Dio Island,
The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships has the following
account, which does not state specifically whether or not the Japanese bomber
was a kamikaze:
On the morning of the 24th, she opened
fire on several enemy planes with her starboard guns.
As she cast off from merchant freighter Augustus Thomas, next to whom she
had been moored, a flaming enemy
bomber crashed Sonoma on the starboard
side amidships. Two explosions followed immediately,
and she began taking water at an alarming rate. LCI-72 and Chickasaw
(ATF-83) came alongside the stricken
tug, extinguished the fires on her starboard side,
and removed casualties. Chickasaw then made an unsuccessful
attempt to beach her on Dio Island. That afternoon,
Sonoma sank in 18 feet of water off Dio Island.
Warner (1982, 94) includes an account of Sonoma's sinking:
A flaming Betty, with a crew of seven, crashed amidships on the tug Sonoma
just as the little ship was casting off from a merchant freighter, the Augustus
Thomas. The Sonoma gave a heavy lurch to port, and a wave of flame
passed over the entire midship section bridge. The Sonoma lost headway,
lying dead in the flat, calm water and burning furiously. The Japanese plane had
gone straight through the deckhouse. The Sonoma sank in eighteen feet of
Warner (1982, 94) states, "The Sonoma and LCI 1065
share the dubious honor of being the first ships sunk by kamikazes in the
3. The Naval Historical Center listing states that
USS LCI(L)-1065 was sunk on October 24, 1944, but there is no
indication of the cause of sinking. Warner (1982, 93-4) provides the
following account of LCI(L)-1065's sinking:
LCI 1065, enveloped in smoke and flame and lying alongside an ammunition
ship, hit what she thought was a Sally. The big Japanese Army heavy bomber,
which carried a crew of five, dived in flames onto the ship's fantail, by some
extraordinary chance killing only one man. Major John Strake, an Australian
close ground support bombardment officer making an overnight stop on the LCI,
saw the Japanese plane coming straight for him and went overboard as the plane
crashed. The Sally sliced through the LCI, which sank within minutes.
Warner (1982, 94) states, "The Sonoma and LCI 1065
share the dubious honor of being the first ships sunk by kamikazes in the
The War Diary of Chief Pay Clerk Reese F. Lukei, who served aboard USS Freemont
APA-44, has the following account (<http://www.ussfremont.org/diary3.html>
(June 8, 2007)):
One Jap bomber shot down crashing into a US LCI-1065 causing heavy damage and
ship burned until she sank. One officer and six men killed, five men missing.
Nine severly [sic] burned survivors brought aboard APA44, one later died
The above account gives the impression that the plane did not originally plan
to crash into any ship but rather was hit by gunfire and then ended up crashing into LCI(L)-1065.
4. NavSource <http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/18/181075wd.htm>
(June 8, 2007).
5. Photo source: NavSource (June 8, 2007).
6. Photo source: NavSource (June 8, 2007).
7. The Summer 2003 issue of Flotilla,
newsletter of the LCT Flotillas of World War II, has an article on pages 12-13
that describes the kamikaze attack on LCT-876 while aboard LST-599.
There is no mention of the disposition of LCT-876, and there is no
indication that she sank as a result of the attack.
8. The Naval Historical Center listing states
that USS St. Lo was sunk by Japanese aircraft on October 25, 1944, but
there is no mention of kamikaze. However, several sources (e.g., Dictionary of American Naval Fighting
Ships; Inoguchi 1958, 59; Warner 1982, 106-8)
describe the sinking of St. Lo when a Zero carrying a bomb hit the escort
9. Warner (1982, 328) gives the date of
the sinking as April 6, 1945. However, the Naval Historical Center listing and
the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships indicate that LST-447
sank on April 7, 1945, following a kamikaze attack.
10. The Naval Historical Center listing states that
LCS(L)(3)-33 was "sunk by shore batteries off Iwo Jima, Volcano
Islands, 19 February 1945." However, the LCS(L)(3)-33 Action Report
dated 4 April 1945 describes the ship's firing at attacking Japanese planes
(Rielly 2000, 112), so the ship obviously did not sink off Iwo Jima. Rielly
(2000, 125) describes the sinking of LCS(L)(3)-33 on April 12, 1945:
LCS(L) 33 fared no better. Under attack by three kamikazes, she downed
the first one and had a close miss by the second, which took off her radio
antenna before crashing into the sea. Unfortunately, this was not to be her
day. A Val struck the starboard side of the 33, setting her on fire.
The call to abandon ship was made and the crew went into the water. Number 33
continued to circle slowly to port before she blew up and sank in front of her
One of Rielly's sources for the above account is Action Report - LCS(L)(3)-57,
Battle of Okinawa at Radar Picket Station # 1, 12 April, 1945 - 15 April, 1945.
The LCS(L)(3)-57 was at the same picket station as the LCS(L)(3)-33
on April 12, 1945.
11. The Naval Historical Center listing states that
Barry (APD-29) was "damaged by Kamikaze attack off Okinawa, Ryukyu
Islands, 25 May 1945, and sunk as a decoy, 21 June 1945." This description
does not make clear how Barry sank on June 21, 1945.
The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships describes the sinking
Barry was towed to the anchorage at Kerama Retto 28 May and found
too extensively damaged to warrant repair or salvage. Stripped of useful gear,
she was decommissioned 21 June 1945. Later in the day she was towed from the
harbor of Kerama Retto to be used as a decoy for the kamikazes. While under
tow she was attacked by Japanese suicide planes and sunk along with her
crewmember of fleet tug USS Lipan (ATF-85), tells the story of the
sinking of Barry by a kamikaze plane:
The USS Barry was an old four-stacker Destroyer commissioned
around 1920 and modernized and converted into a high-speed troop transport and
reclassified as an APD. It took some hits and was intentionally run up on the
beach to avoid sinking in deep water and it spent sometime just sitting there.
The High Command was experimenting with methods of defending against the
relentless kamikaze attacks by the Japanese pilots and it was decided to use
the Barry as a decoy to attract the suicide pilots. Since Barry was stripped
of all usable equipment its hulk was expendable. Lipan's divers put a soft
patch on the hull of the Barry and its interior was filled with empty sealed
5" ammo containers. It was hoped the sealed containers would act as
flotation gear and make the Barry less vulnerable to sinking from direct hits.
The Barry was fitted with remote controlled flashing lights
that looked like anti-aircraft gun muzzle flashes from the air. It also
had smudge pots placed at strategic locations and remotely controlled to
simulate stack smoke and damage from attacks. From the air it looked like a
fully operational Destroyer and it was intended to draw the kamikaze pilots to
it and away from the nearby manned vessels. The LSM contained the remote
controls for the Barry's pseudo weapons and Lipan was to tow the Barry to
simulate an underway tin can.
It didn't take long before two kamikaze planes appeared just
ten feet off the water equipped with huge bombs strapped to their belly to
create a gigantic explosion when they slammed into a vessel. To our dismay,
the first attacking Japanese plane slammed into the small LSM 59 and hit it
directly amidships. The resultant explosion blew the ship into the hereafter
and there was not one recognizable part left floating and at least sixty
sailors met their demise. We hadn't anytime to think as the second kamikaze
climbed straight up to make a dive on us and the Barry. I was a gunner on the
40mm and we gave him all we had, shooting off his wings and setting him afire.
Nevertheless, he was able to slam into the Barry and hit her right on the
We could not save her so we tried to tow her to Ie Shima.
In the middle of the night the Barry started to sink and was pulling our
old "Green Dragon" down by the stern. We had a pelican hook
rigged and a sailor hit the release and the Barry slipped from our grasp and
headed for Davy Jones' Locker.
12. The Naval Historical Center listing gives
July 28, 1945, as the date Callaghan sunk. However, Foster (2002, 302-7)
makes clear in his book on Callaghan that the kamikaze plane hit and the
ship sank in the early morning of July 29, 1945. The account by Parkin (1995,
329-30) confirms this date.
American Merchant Marine at War. 2007. Chronological List of
U.S. Ships Sunk or Damaged during 1944 and 1945. <http://www.usmm.org/sunk44.html>
(June 3, 2007).
Billingsley, Edward Baxter. 2005. The Emmons Saga: A
History of the USS Emmons (DD457-DMS22). New York: iUniverse.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. 2007. Department of the
Navy, Naval Historical Center. Web site: <http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/>
Other web site: <http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/>
(June 3, 2007).
Foster, Barry J. 2002. The Last Destroyer: The Story of the
USS Callaghan. Haverford, PA: Infinity Publishing.
Inoguchi, Rikihei, and Tadashi Nakajima, with Roger Pineau.
1958. The Divine Wind: Japan's Kamikaze Force in World War II.
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