A kamikaze attack typically involved a Japanese plane streaking down through bursts of antiaircraft fire and lines of tracers to crash into a ship. But it could also occur virtually without warning. That was the case on 13 December 1944 when a lone Japanese Zeke unexpectedly appeared out of a low-hanging cloud and slammed into the USS Nashville (CL-43).
The cruiser, having left Leyte Gulf the previous day, was helping escort an invasion convoy to the Philippine Island of Mindoro, where she was to serve as command ship. On board were the operation's Navy and Army commanders and their staffs. Transporting high-ranking officers was a familiar task for the ship; she had carried General Douglas MacArthur to several Pacific invasions.