By 1945 Allied forces were knocking on Japan's front door. As the Empire's military grew increasingly desperate, it began to focus on eliminating the Allies' willingness to fight—by intentionally crashing manned aircraft in kamikaze attacks. And for pilots aboard one breed of these notorious flying coffin, the MXY-7 Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka, death wasn't the last resort, it was the only one.
Conceived by Ensign Mitsuo Ohta of the 405th Kokutai and developed at the University of Tokyo's Aeronautical Research Institute, the MXY-7 Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka ("Cherry Blossom") wasn't so much an airplane as 1,200 kg bomb with wings and a cockpit. These single-seat suicide machines measured 20 feet long with a nearly 17-foot wingspan and weighed just 4,700 pounds when loaded. They were constructed of wood over an aluminum frame. A trio of Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20 rocket motors, each blowing 587 pound-feet of thrust could speed a pilot to his demise at up to 576 mph but only for about 23 miles.