Wednesday, January 9, 2019
That left a mark - literally
I was familiar with this World War II photograph from other sources, but only in monochrome. I was intrigued to come across a version over at Wirecutter's place that had been colorized. Click the image for a larger view.
It shows the impact mark of a kamikaze (suicide) attack by a Mitsubishi Ki-51 light bomber on the side of HMS Sussex (shown below), a heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy, in July 1945, just before the end of the war.
Fortunately, being a heavy cruiser, Sussex's sides were armored against enemy shellfire, with her main belt on the side of the ship being 4½" thick. The armor stopped the light, slow attacking aircraft without allowing it to penetrate the ship's side. A smaller, less protected ship would have suffered serious damage. Sussex was probably also helped by the fact that the attacker is said to have bounced off the surface of the sea before striking the ship, which would have slowed down the aircraft considerably. As it was, it looks as if the aircraft's engine penetrated the armor belt, or at least left a very deep dent in it. I bet the people working inside the ship at that location would have gotten the shock of their lives at the sound of the impact!