Kamikaze Attacks of World War II and Their Defense in Modern War
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Kamikaze Attacks of World War II and Their Defense in Modern War

The Kamikaze attacks commenced as a desperate measure during World War II. However these attacks can take place in a modern war as well. The US navy has thus installed latest ship defense systems against such Kamikaze and low flying attacks. These will be tested in a war with Iran

The situation in the Strait of Hormuz is tense and the US 5th fleet is in proximity for battle there. There is every chance that  Iran would in case of war carry out  kamikaze attacks on US Ships. Kamikaze is the use of an aircraft to intentionally fly into an enemy target. The US first encountered this type of attack in November 12th 1944.  A US troop carrier anchored in Dulag Harbor, Philippine Islands was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze attack.

The attack killed and wounded 189 men on the ship. These were men of the U.S. 5th Air Force, 345th Bomb Group and they were being transported by the Navy to the Philippines. The Kamikaze was one of the most feared and effective weapons used during World War II against the U.S. Navy.

.The United States Navy decided on emergency measures to protect their ships from Kamikaze attacks.  As the frequency of attacks increased in late 1944, the US Navy put a high priority on destroying Japanese land based aircraft that could stage attacks on their fleet. They also greatly strengthened   their air defenses on all of their combat vessels. This action reduced the devastating effect of future attacks.

The Kamikaze attacks though confined to World War II made US planners aware that similar attacks could take place in a modern war. In 1981 the Navy installed a CIWS (Close in Weapon System) on the ships.  This weapon system consists of a combination of radars, computers and multiple barrel raid fire guns. The guns are 20mm caliber Gatling guns and are mounted on a rotating platform. The CIWS is also referred to as "Sea Whiz".  It is designed as a last ditch; close in weapon system to neutralize  low flying cruise missiles / aircraft aimed at attacking the ship. Reports suggest that in active fleet tests the weapon system is very effective at downing any incoming missile or low flying suicide aircraft.  . These guns have a high rate of fire but the ammunition also gets exhausted very fast.

The US navy deployed the CIWS systems on its ships, yet the USS Stark was hit by a missile in 1987 during the Iraq-Iran war. Later it was learnt that the CIWS was not operational on the ship when it was attacked. This technology can be very effective in protecting the fleet at sea.  In a narrow battle area like the Strait of Hormuz this technology will come in handy against missile and suicide attacks by Iran and its supporters like al Qaeda and Hamas.

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