On the first day of the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the 6th Marine Division came across four unusual aircraft at the recently captured Yontan Airfield. These strange aircraft were only twenty feet long with a wingspan of less than seventeen feet. The small single-manned aircraft was powered by three rocket motors, carried a 2,600 lb warhead in the nose and had no landing gear.
What the Marines had found were examples of the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (or “Cherry Blossom” in Japanese) 11 manned suicide bomb. These aircraft were designed to be dropped from a Mitsubishi G4M bomber “mother ship” and then, using their great speed to avoid interception, target American naval vessels of the Okinawa invasion force. Ohkas did not see wide usage during the war and often their G4M “mother ships” were shot down well short of their targets. However, Ohkas did damage the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43) and sank the destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733) near Okinawa.
An American Air Technical Intelligence Unit examined the Ohka 11, number I-13 on Okinawa, before the aircraft was shipped to the United States for further evaluation and study in Philadelphia by a US Navy Air Material Unit. Its examinations finished, the aircraft traveled the States as part of a mobile exhibit of captured enemy weapons.