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Did you know that the Japanese actually DID bomb the United States?



Toward the end of the war Japanese school kids went to school for half a day.
The remainder of their day was spent fabricating "made from Mulberry root" large paper weather balloons.

They made about 10,000 total.

As many as 1,000 may have actually made it into the United States. Only 300+ were ever documented.

Some still may be out there and could still explode.

Each balloon was furnished with 2 incendiary bombs and one explosive bomb.

It was all kept TOP SECRET and out of the media back then because the government did not want any news to get back to Japan that the Fugos were actually reaching the U.S.

They were afraid that if the Japanese knew that the bombs were actually reaching the Continental U.S. that they would start equipping them with nerve gas or possibly biological.

These were floated on the Gulf Stream to the U.S.

New one on me as I am a Post WWII guy.
There was a really interesting show on last night. History Detective.

There were only ever 6 domestic casualties/deaths from the Japanese Balloon Bombs. A Ministers Wife & five children that found a downed "dud" balloon and did not know what it was.
They tried to move it and it exploded killing all.

Here is a link for you.
Fugos

They were actually pretty doggone ingenious.

"The balloon bombs were released from Japan in the winter months when the jet stream is the strongest. They popped up to altitude (20,000 to 40,000 ft.) and if they were lucky into the stream. They traveled along in an easterly direction crossing the Pacific at around 200 mph in the jet stream. In daytime they would ride at the maximum altitude but as time wore on they would sink. At night they would collect dew and become heavy. Below a set height the altimeter would cause a set of blow plugs (charges that released the ballast) to fire releasing the sand bag ballast. The lost of weight would cause the balloon to pop back up to altitude. This continued till all the sand bags were gone. The last ballast was the armament. Thermite bombs were armed and dropped in the last positions on the ring. Anti-personnel bombs were also used. After all the ballast was gone a picric acid block blew up destroying the gondola. A fuse was lit that was connected to a charge on the balloon itself. The hydrogen and air mixture burned the balloon envelope up as a large orange fireball."
 

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There were only ever 6 domestic casualties/deaths from the Japanese Balloon Bombs. A Ministers Wife & five children that found a downed "dud" balloon and did not know what it was.
They tried to move it and it exploded killing all.


I am an EOD guy. Was asked to research this subject in about 1974 for a newspaper in the northwest. This is one of the incidents that I found out about.

The Rev. Archie Mitchell was on an outing with his pregnant wife, Elsie, and five local youngsters when they found the odd-looking balloon. He “watched in horror” when it exploded as Elsie and the children dragged it out of the woods.
On This Day: Japanese WWII ?Balloon Bomb? Kills 6 in Oregon
 

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Not a WWII vet either, but I knew. It's mentioned in some of the better history books. I think the ones that made it here landed in Oregon and/or Washington.
 

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Yep, knew it. And WE tested the idea of incendiary, booby-trapped bats (flying mammals) heading in the other direction to set their paper-screened urban homes ablaze.
 

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My dad was living in Merrill, Oregon at the time. The entire city was under a blackout. The local fire department brought out a huge searchlight and parked it right in front of Dad's house, and began scanning the sky for the balloons.

Dad rightly reasoned that if there were Japanese bombers instead of balloons, the searchlight would be targetted, and the house would likely be hit also.

He was aware there were several balloons found. It may not have been publicized much, but he would never believe the balloons were not there.
 

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Related to this....during WW2, the US experimented with 'bat bombs'....They were to be used against the Japanese.

It was a casing in which hundreds of bats , which had a small incendiary device attached, would be put in & dropped on major Japanese cities. The Japanese used a lot of wood & paper in their buildings & the thought was these bats would set fire to the cities. In the fake city they tested them on out west....it actually worked!
 

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I knew about it.

yeah ive heard about it, the japanese also occupied islands in alaska also, but where eventually ran out. Aleutian Islands Campaign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
& the U.S. government handed out 30.06 rifles and rounds to Eskimos (Inuit) in case of invasion.

Off topic note, after WW2 the military desided to see what happened to the rifles and ammo. Most assumed the tribes used them in hunting. They found out they had not. They found by using a 30.06 the bears / moose would run or charge. A well placed .22 (I believe in the lungs) was far more effective. They would react to it as if it were a bite and die after a while, unaware they had been mortally injured.

Not saying it is how I firearm hunt, just stating what the Eskimos tribes stated at the time.
 

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The balloon bombs were meant to destroy timber, a war materiel, and cause terror.

Some black troops were stationed there to be firefighters.

--I just picked this info up somewhere, no cite
 

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Yep, knew it. And WE tested the idea of incendiary, booby-trapped bats (flying mammals) heading in the other direction to set their paper-screened urban homes ablaze.
Now that was funny (now) since we ended up burning our own building(s) down when some of the "testees" escaped!

Thinking about it I'm surprised that there hasn't been a History Channel program about this. :confused:
 

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This is good history info!!
 

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Now that was funny (now) since we ended up burning our own building(s) down when some of the "testees" escaped!

Thinking about it I'm surprised that there hasn't been a History Channel program about this. :confused:
There has been! I can't remember what exactly it was called....something like....'Strange Weapons of WW2'.....
 

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Yeah I remember seeing the episode about the incendiary bombs and our bat bombs,we did burn down a few houses when some bats escaped the test area
 

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Quite a number landed in Canada. Japan also shelled a lighthouse in Canada. there was 49,000 US troops in Prince Rupert for awhile, one cove is named Sourdough cove after them.
 

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Also, a sub shelled an oil refinery down in California. No damage.
That's not surprising. Look up how many ships were sunk by the German's within eyesight of the East coast! They used the lights of our cities as back light to spot shipping. Didn't hear much about the Japanese doing much of that though.
 

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Since I was born in 73 I'm obviously not a WWII vet, but this is very interesting.

Lately I have been amazed at the level in which the World involves thier children in preparing for war. Did we do that back then as well or are we different in this aspect with all the other ways we are different?
 
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