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Divine Wind

“ENEMY AIRCRAFT COMING IN ON THE STARBOARD BEAM. ALL MOUNTS COMMENCE FIRING!” As if there wasn’t enough adrenaline pumping through their exhausted bodies already, the men manning the 40mm anti-aircraft guns on the USS Hadley swing into action again. They see their targets: a pair of “Judy” dive bombers making a sharp descent directly towards them. The lead plane bursts into flames and cartwheels into the East China Sea just yards from the American destroyer, but his wingman has better luck. The plane slams into Hadley, striking her amidships, the ensuing explosion knocking the gunners from their mount and sending sprays of burning fuel cascading over the decks.

Welcome to the Battle of Okinawa, the final—and most costly—fight of World War 2. It’s April 1945, and you are the commander of one of the US Navy units supporting the Army and USMC as they battle for control of Okinawa, stepping stone to the Japanese home islands…or you are playing the commander of one of the Japanese kamikaze squadrons desperately trying to stop them…literally at any cost.

It was the last battle or World War II…and one of the costliest. Only Stalingrad saw higher casualties.

OPERATION ICEBERG, the invasion of Okinawa and the surrounding Ryukyu islands, was arguably the most complex operation undertaken in the Pacific Theater during World War II. It was the first invasion of what was considered by the Japanese to be their home islands, and the fury with which they defended their home has become the stuff of legend.

Although the ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy were all but gone by the spring of 1945, their fighting spirit was far from exhausted. Desperate to stop the American juggernaut at any cost, serious studies were made into the use of manned aircraft intentionally crashing into U.S. Navy ships, a tactic which prove far more accurate (and far more destructive) to their targets then simply attempting to hit them with air-dropped bombs or torpedoes. Thus was formed the Special Attack Corps. They were called “the divine wind,” which in Japanese is the word kamikaze.

Divine Wind attempts a fictional retelling of the events of April-May 1945, when the Special Attack Corps turned its full fury upon the ships of Task Force 58, and the American fleet supporting the invasion of Okinawa. Players will take on the role of historical commanders of American and Japanese air and naval units as they play out what was to be the last great air/naval battle of World War II.

Divine Wind is a turn-based, player-vs.-player (PvP) game using the Storium system as its basis. Each team of players will attempt to out-think, out-maneuver, and out-fight their opponent as they play a variety of strength, weakness, and asset cards representing individual ships, squadrons, and the exceptional men under their command.

To get a feel of what a Kamikaze attack was like during the Battle of Okinawa, here is a clip from NBC’s documentary series Victory At Sea, made just a few years after the war’s conclusion. Suicide For Glory captures the terror, the frenzy, the motion of a air-sea battle. Great for building you perspective, and a good aid as you formulate your moves.

A detailed description of the game concept, game mechanics, and available player positions can be found in the Player’s Guide. It’s definitely “must reading” before requesting an invitation.

Hosted and narrated by: Tacronicus Cornelius (Tacronicus)

Completed 09/29/18. Scenes played: 10

License: Community License

image source: Detail from "Kamikaze Attacks CVE Kitkun Bay" by Thomas Gerard