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Operation Tan No. 2 (Japanese: 第二次丹作戰, Dainiji Tan Sakusen) was a long-range Kamikaze mission directed at the main Allied naval fleet anchorage at Ulithi atoll in the western Pacific on March 11, 1945 during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The Japanese hoped to take the U.S. Pacific fleet by surprise and sink or damage a significant number of the fleet's aircraft carriers or other large ships.

Operation Tan No. 2
Part of the Pacific Theater of World War II
USS Randolph (CV-15) under repair.jpg
USS Randolph (CV-15) alongside a repair ship at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands on March 13, 1945, showing damage to her after flight deck resulting from the kamikaze hit on March 11.
DateMarch 11, 1945
Ulithi in the western Pacific

10°04′07″N 139°43′47″E / 10.0685°N 139.7296°E / 10.0685; 139.7296Coordinates: 10°04′07″N 139°43′47″E / 10.0685°N 139.7296°E / 10.0685; 139.7296
Result Inconclusive
 United States  Japan
Commanders and leaders
United States Raymond A. Spruance Empire of Japan Soemu Toyoda
Empire of Japan Matome Ugaki
Empire of Japan Naoto Kuromaru[1]
15 aircraft carriers[1] 2 submarines,
30 aircraft[2]
Casualties and losses
1 aircraft carrier damaged,
26 killed[1]
13 aircraft destroyed
60-70 killed[3]


The attackEdit

The Azusa Special Attack Unit (Japanese: 梓特別攻撃隊), to which were allocated twenty-four "Yokosuka P1Y1" twin-engine bombers took off from the Kanoya Air Field on Kyushu, the southernmost of the main Japanese islands. The aircraft were bound for the US naval base at Ulithi on a one way trip at the limits of their range in an attempt to destroy the Fifth Fleet carriers at anchor there. Each of the planes carried an 800 kg (1,700-pound) bomb, which they intended to deliver by crashing onto the American flight decks. A number of support aircraft and submarines were used to help guide the attackers over their long flight.

Some six of the P1Y1s suffered mechanical difficulties and had to turn back to their home base at Kanoya. Others landed at Yap island. Still others had to ditch at sea. Two of the twenty-four aircraft reached Ulithi, arriving after nightfall and achieving complete surprise. One aircraft hit the Essex class aircraft carrier USS Randolph in the stern just below the flight deck, killing 27 men and wounding 105, many of whom were watching a movie in the ship's hangar deck. The second aircraft crashed onto an access road on the small island of Sorlen, apparently mistaking the road with its nearby signal tower for a ship. There were no deaths in the attack beyond the aircraft's crew, though several U.S. servicemen were injured from debris and ignited fuel.


Randolph was repaired at the port facilities available at Ulithi and rejoined the U.S. fleet in April, 1945. She then took part in the Battle of Okinawa, where Admiral Mitscher shifted his flag to her after Kamikaze attacks successively knocked both USS Bunker Hill and USS Enterprise out of the battle.



  1. ^ a b c Hackett, Operation Tan No. 2
  2. ^ Hackett, Operation Tan No. 2, [1] Aircraft included 24 Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" with Kamikaze crews and 6 Kawanishi H8K "Emily" non-kamikaze aircraft.
  3. ^ Hackett, Operation Tan No. 2, [2] Only 10 of the "Frances" aircrew personnel survived the mission. Since "Frances" aircraft usually carried a crew of three, that means up to 62 may have died. One "Emily," which normally carries a crew of 10, was lost.


  • Hoyt, Edwin P. (1993). The Last Kamikaze. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-94067-5.
  • Jinno, Masami (2000). Azusa tokubetsu kougekitai: Bakugekiki "Ginga" sanzen kiro no kouseki (Azusa special attack unit: "Ginga" bombers' 3,000-km flight path) (in Japanese). Kojinsha.
  • Millot, Bernard (1971). Divine Thunder: The life and death of the Kamikazes. Macdonald. ISBN 0-356-03856-4.
  • Rielly, Robin L. (2010). Kamikaze Attacks of World War II : A Complete History of Japanese Suicide Strikes on American ships, by Aircraft and Other Means. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-4654-4.
  • Ugaki, Matome (1991). Fading Victory: The Diary of Admiral Matome Ugaki, 1941-1945. Masataka Chihaya (trans.). University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-3665-8.

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