Suicide weapon

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Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka, a weapon especially designed for a suicide attack
A suicide vest with ball bearings

A suicide weapon is a weapon or object that is used in a suicide attack, typically based on explosives.[citation needed]


Suicide weapons have been used both in conventional warfare, as well as in terrorism.[citation needed]

Moro Muslims who performed suicide attacks were called mag-sabil, and the suicide attacks were known as Parang-sabil. The Spanish called them juramentado. The idea of the juramentado was considered part of Jihad in the Moro's Islamic religion. During an attack, a Juramentado would throw themselves at their targets and kill them with bladed weapons such as Barongs and Kris until they themselves were killed. The Moros performed juramentado suicide attacks against the Spanish in the Spanish–Moro conflict, the Americans in the Moro Rebellion, and against the Japanese in World War II.[1] The Moro Juramentados aimed their attacks specifically against their enemies, and not non-Muslims in general. They launched suicide attacks on the Japanese, Spanish, Americans and Filipinos, but did not attack the non-Muslim Chinese since the Chinese were not considered enemies of the Moro people.[2][3][4][5][6] The Japanese responded to these suicide attacks by massacring all the relatives of the attacker.[7]

In the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese used suicide bombing against the Japanese with explosive vests. Chinese troops strapped explosives like grenade packs or dynamite to their bodies and threw themselves under Japanese tanks to blow them up.[8] This tactic was used during the Battle of Shanghai, where a Chinese suicide bomber stopped a Japanese tank column by exploding himself beneath the lead tank,[9] and at the Battle of Taierzhuang where dynamite and grenades were strapped on by Chinese troops who rushed at Japanese tanks and blew themselves up.[10][11][12][13][14] During one incident at Taierzhuang, Chinese suicide bombers obliterated four Japanese tanks with grenade bundles.[15][16] The Pacific War of World War II bore witness to the Japanese Kamikaze suicide attack pilots. Late in the war, as the tide turned against Japan, Kamikaze pilots were deployed to attempt to crash their aircraft into American ships in the Pacific. The Japanese even developed specialized aircraft for the tactic, such as the Yokosuka Ohka flying bomb.[17] A successful Kamikaze attack would both kill the plane's pilot and sink the target ship. Related tactics included the Kaiten suicide minisub, a human torpedo which a single Japanese pilot would steer into an Allied ship.[18]

Certain aircraft built or projected for the Luftwaffe during the time of the Allied bombing before the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War II, such as the Bachem Ba 349, Fliegende Panzerfaust, Sombold So 344, Zeppelin Rammer or the Blohm & Voss BV 40 are sometimes listed as suicide weapons.[19] However, they were not intended as such, even though the chances of survival would have been very limited for the pilots of such dangerous artifacts.[20] In those dire years Nazi authorities even considered to use selbstopfer (suicide) planes such as the Messerschmitt Me 328 and the Fieseler 103.[21]

During the Cold War, it was argued[by whom?] that the doctrine of mutual assured destruction turned nuclear weapons into suicide weapons. The idea of a Doomsday weapon took this to its logical extreme.[citation needed]

Political groups using suicide weapons in the post-Cold War era include mainly outfits affiliated to Islamic terrorism,[22] among which even children have been used in order to escape detection when carrying out suicide attacks.[23] However, non-Islamic groups, such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also have been prone to use suicide weapons.[24] Today, the most common suicide weapons used to carry out terrorist attacks are car bombs or truck bombs, as well as antipersonnel bombs carried by a single person. Suicide bombers strap explosives, often covered with nails, screws, or other items intended to act as fragments, to their bodies or otherwise carry them into populated areas and detonate them. The Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka are known for having made high-profile use of this method in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Similar methods have been also used by Palestinian terrorist groups in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among others.

Kamikaze attacks were mimicked in the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which a group of mostly Saudi terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon by flying hijacked civilian aircraft into them. It was the first time in history that civilian airliners filled with fuel were used as a weapon against targets of such magnitude.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federspiel, Howard M. (2007). Sultans, Shamans, and Saints: Islam and Muslims in Southeast Asia (illustrated ed.). University of Hawaii Press. p. 125. ISBN 0-8248-3052-0. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Roces, Alfredo R. Filipino Heritage: The Spanish Colonial period (Late 19th Century): The awakening. Volume 7 of Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation, Alfredo R. Roces. Lahing Pilipino Publishing. p. 1702. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Roces, Alfredo R. (1978). Filipino Heritage: The Spanish colonial period (late 19th century). Volume 7 of Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation. Lahing Pilipino Pub. ; [Manila]. p. 1702. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Filipinas, Volume 11, Issues 117-128. Filipinas Pub. 2002. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Gowing, Peter G., ed. (1988). Understanding Islam and Muslims in the Philippines (illustrated ed.). New Day Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 9711003864. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië, Volume 129. Contributor Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Netherlands). M. Nijhoff. 1973. p. 111. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Amler, Dds Mel (2008). Midnight on Mindanao: Wartime Remembances 1945–1946. iUniverse. pp. 47–8. ISBN 0-595-63260-2. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Schaedler, Luc (Accepted in Autumn Semester 2007 On the Recommendation of Prof. Dr. Michael Oppitz). Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet: Literary, Historical, and Oral Sources for a Documentary Film (PDF) (Thesis Presented to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zurich For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy). University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts. p. 518. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010/09. Retrieved 24 April 2014.  Check date values in: |archivedate=, |date= (help)
  9. ^ Harmsen, Peter (2013). Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze (illustrated ed.). Casemate. p. 112. ISBN 161200167X. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Chinese Tank Forces and Battles before 1949". TANKS! e-Magazine (#4). Summer 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  11. ^ Xin Hui (1-8-2002). "Xinhui Presents: Chinese Tank Forces and Battles before 1949:". Newsletter 1-8-2002 Articles. Retrieved 2 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Ong, Siew Chew (2005). China Condensed: 5000 Years of History & Culture (illustrated ed.). Marshall Cavendish. p. 94. ISBN 9812610677. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Olsen, Lance (2012). Taierzhuang 1938 – Stalingrad 1942. Numistamp (Clear Mind Publishing). ISBN 978-0-9838435-9-7. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "STORM OVER TAIERZHUANG 1938 PLAYER’S AID SHEET" (PDF). Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  15. ^ International Press Correspondence, Volume 18. Richard Neumann. 1938. p. 447. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Epstein, Israel (1939). The people's war. V. Gollancz. p. 172. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Francillon, Ph.D., René J. "Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" and Ohka Bomb" Aircraft in Profile, Vol. 9. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1971. ISBN 0-85383-018-5.
  18. ^ World War II in the Pacific - Japanese Suicide Attacks at Sea
  19. ^ German Suicidal Aircraft
  20. ^ Sombold So 344. Das "Rammschussjäger" Projekt22. Januar 1944
  21. ^ Ulrich Albrecht: Artefakte des Fanatismus; Technik und nationalsozialistische Ideologie in der Endphase des Dritten Reiches
  22. ^ Explaining Suicide Terrorism: A Review Essay
  23. ^ Child Bombers Terror's Newest Weapon
  24. ^ Tamil Tigers: Suicide Bombing Innovators
  25. ^ Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

External links[edit]