Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka 桜花 Special Attack Aircraft

The MXY-7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) was a manned flying bomb used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the closing stages of the Pacific War.  It was an air-launched kamikaze intended for use against Allied warships.  Construction was basic, consisting of a 2,600 pound (1,200 kg) warhead in the nose, wooden wings, and three Type 4 Model 1 rocket engines in the after fuselage.
2 -721NAGBetty
While there were several sub-types in development, the only Ohka type used operationally was the Model 11.  These were designed to be air launched, carried aloft by the G4M2 Model 24 “Betty” bomber.  The 711 Attack Squadron of the 721 Naval Air Group was one of the units tasked with launching the Ohka.  Here is a 721 NAG “Betty” with an Ohka semi-recessed into the bomb bay.
Fitting the Ohka into the bomb bay allowed the pilot to move about the bomber, only entering the Ohka when launch was imminent.  The Ohka had a nominal 23 mile (37 km) range, but until launch range was reached the heavily-laden bombers were very vulnerable to interception.  While this picture is likely of a model, it shows the carrying arrangement well.
The first Ohka attack occurred on 21MAR45 when the 721 NAG launched eighteen G4M2 carrying Ohkas against U.S. Navy Task Group 58.1 operating off Kanoya.  TG 58.1 consisted of four aircraft carriers, two battleships, and numerous cruisers and destroyers.
While the “Bettys” were escorted by over three dozen A6M5 Zero fighters, the American task group detected the Japanese raid on radar and was able to launch additional fighters to reinforce the Combat Air Patrol protecting the fleet.  In all approximately one hundred and fifty American fighters rose to oppose the Japanese.
All the Bettys were destroyed before they got within range of the U.S. fleet, and roughly half the Zero escort was lost as well.  These pictures are from the gun camera film shot by a VF-17 Hellcat operating from the USS Hornet (CV-12) that day.
On 01APR45 U.S. Marines discovered fifteen Ohka on Okinawa.  Interesting diorama material for a modeler.
In the U.S. April first is a day for practical jokes, commonly called April Fool’s Day.  The Americans dubbed the captured Ohkas “Baka” bombs, in Japanese baka means “fool”.
In the wartime color photographs of Ohkas it is very common to see the wings and / or tail planes in a lighter color than the fuselage.
The first success for the Ohka was the sinking of the Sumner-class destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) on radar picket duty off Okinawa on 12APR45.  The Abele was struck by an A6M Zero kamikaze in the after engine room and by an Ohka forward, she sank a few moments later.  In all seven American ships were hit by Ohkas, three being either sunk or damaged beyond economical repair.
The controls of the Ohka were quite basic, only a limited number of instruments were provided.  These photographs show the interior of the restored aircraft in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Dayton, Ohio.  (NMUSAF photograph)
Another view of the cockpit.  (NMUSAF photograph)
During the Second World War the USAAF operated an evaluation center for foreign aircraft and related equipment at Freeman Field near Seymour Indiana.  After the war the field hosted an open house where many of the foreign aircraft were put on static display.  This is the Ohka displayed at Freeman Field, note the color of the fuselage, and the lighter wings and tail assembly.  One of the Type 4 Model 1 rocket engines lies beside the aircraft.  In the background is a Junkers Ju-290A-9 transport.