Kamikaze attack (top left) on USS Missouri (BB-63), 11 April 1945
The kamikaze strikes spiked from April to June 1945, becoming a central and highly organised part of the last gasp Japanese defence. Waves of planes were sent in – some 1,500 all told – as the Americans landed. The US Navy suffered heavy losses including at least 30 warships sunk or disabled – but there were also near misses. On April 11, a low-flying kamikaze crashed into the side of battleship USS Missouri, its spinning wing causing a fire but only minor damage.