Japanese attempt to send balloon bombs in the United States.
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Japanese Balloon Attack Almost Interrupted Building First Atomic Bombs
On March 10, 1945, five months before World War II ended in mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese accidentally came close to ending production of the radioactive materials needed for the atomic bombs -- using paper balloons. One of the thousands of bomb-carrying balloons they launched into the jet stream toward North America knocked out electricity for a moment to the plutonium processing plant in Hanford, Washington. Had it not been for conservative engineering, the attack might have succeeded in stopping production.
Winds of war: Japan`s balloon bombs took the Pacific battle to American soil
The fūsen bakudan were high-altitude explosive and incendiary devices that were sent over the Pacific toward North America. With no targeting system, they landed at random. The deadly payloads that fell silently from the skies above were designed to terrorize the population. Initial reports fueled speculation that Japanese forces were landing on the continental U.S. — but, soon, all news of the strange objects stopped. Japan`s balloon bombs remain little known 70 years after the end of World War II for several reasons. They were developed in strict secrecy by the Japanese military and the U.S. government also censored virtually all news reports of balloons striking its territory.
New book called Fu-Go explores WWII Japanese balloon attacks on US
Ross Coen, the author of `Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan`s Balloon Bomb Attack on America,` answered a few questions. "When we think about the history of WWII we often picture the U.S. as being protected by the Atlantic on one side and the Pacific on the other. And that`s largely true; the U.S. escaped the devastation that was visited upon cities and people around the world. But this weapon, the Japanese balloon bomb, represented the first time in history that an army on one continent attacked its enemy on another continent by means of a free-traveling unmanned vehicle. It was ineffective as a weapon, a total failure, but it ushered in a new era of warfare that within just a couple decades would be refined by the Cold War superpowers to include nuclear-armed rockets."
The Japanese harnessed air currents to create the first intercontinental weapons - balloons
Balloon bombs aimed to be the silent WWII assassins. Hitching a ride on a jet stream, these weapons from Japan could float across the Pacific Ocean to their marks in North America. In the 1940s, the Japanese were mapping out air currents, and the researchers noticed that a strong air current traveled across the Pacific at about 30,000 feet. Using that knowledge, in 1944 the Japanese military made what many experts consider the first intercontinental weapon system: explosive devices attached to paper balloons that were buoyed across the ocean by a jet stream.
On Paper Wings documentary explores the Japanese balloon bombs and women
"On Paper Wings" documentary tells about the lives of Oregonians caught in the crossfire of World War II and the healing that took place 40 years later. Japan's secret weapon, the balloon bomb project, enrolled Japanese schoolgirls as workers. The balloon bombs were intended to hit the mainland U.S., and though the Japanese launched thousands, schoolgirls had no idea the project was working. The U.S. military censored the media, asking that reports of the mysterious explosions not be circulated. After the war 4 Japanese women learned of the deaths that had been caused by the balloon bomb project - and they felt obliged to apologize.
Japanese World War II balloons brought death in 1945
On May 5, 1945, Archie Mitchell and his wife took 5 children on an outing in the woods near Bly, Oregon. A large deflated balloon dangled from a tree. One of the group pulled it, setting off a fragmentation bomb, killing everyone except Archie. They became the only casualties of a Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland, their tombstones noting: "Killed by enemy balloon bomb." From November 1944 to April 1945 9,000 balloons were launched by the Japanese into westerly winds, carrying anti-personnel or incendiary bombs over the North Pacific Ocean. About 1,000 "Fu-Go" balloons made the trip, and 300 confirmed landings or sightings were recorded.
World War II 'balloon bomb' part found - Japanese secret weapon
A key part of a "balloon bomb," a secret weapon used by Imperial Japanese Army to attack the U.S. mainland during World War II, was discovered and is to be presented to a national science museum in Ueno Ward. The part, an altitude maintenance device, is owned by Seiko Sakurai. Most parts of the weapon, except for the balloons themselves, have been discovered. The planned donation will give clues into understanding a weapon developed in the closing days of the war. Over 9,000 were launched between fall 1944 and April 1945. The only damage the weapon caused was 6 people killed in Oregon.
War on American Soil - Paper balloon bombers of World War II
Even before the war the US was infiltrated by German and Japanese spy networks, but more damage came from German U-boats, which raised havoc with American ships off the East Coast. On the west coast the Japanese attempted to build upon their Pearl Harbor gains with submarine shelling attacks on California targets: One Japanese sub succeeded in assembling a small float plane off the California coast, which dropped incendiary bombs. Then Japan invaded the Aleutian Island of Attu in Alaska in 1942. And From the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945 9,000 unmanned balloons carrying bombs were launched from Japan to US.
Japanese balloon bombs and counteract unit - Untold WWII story (Article no longer available from the original source)
John Edward Salyer fought a secret enemy - one much of the nation knew nothing about until well after World War Two had ended. Japan launched over 9,000 high altitude balloons, each outfitted with a set of anti-personnel and incendiary bombs, to be carried by the jet stream over the North American continent. Salyer became part of the top-secret program to counteract the threat. He was given a new codebook before each flight, with which he could transmit the location of each found balloon - often discovered above 30,000 feet, out of range of the B-24 guns, so he would call in jet fighters.
Under Attack: World War II Balloon Bombs Dropped on U.S. (Article no longer available from the original source)
In one of the best-kept secrets of WWII, bombs were dropped on the mainland U.S., by Japanese hydrogen balloons. The federal government enlisted the help of media in keeping quiet about the shrapnel-filled balloon bombs. According to declassified documents, 9,000 balloons were sent, beginning in late 1944. Most didn't survive the 3-4 day journey but 285 did reach the U.S. At least 22 reached California and 40 dropped in Oregon. Most were found in the Northwest but at least one was recovered as far east as Michigan. After the war, newsreel film taken on the island of Honshu, one of 3 secret launch sites in Japan, described the balloon bomb attack.
Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons on American Soil
In Nov 1944, the Japanese began launching bomb-carrying balloons, which travelled across the Pacific Ocean to North America. It was hoped that the balloons would start forest fires and cause general panic. The payload consisted of 36 sand-filled paper bags for use as ballast, 4 incendiary bombs and 1 33-pound anti-personnel bomb. Tragic event occurred on May 5, 1945. A woman and 5 children were killed in a remote area near Bly, Oregon, after they found a downed balloon with a bomb still attached, and one of them moved the bomb, causing it to explode. These deaths were the only known fatalities on the US mainland from enemy attack during World War II.