Japanese bombs landed all across North America, including eight in Saskatchewan, ... Seventy-one years ago this week, a balloon bomb was discovered near Moose Jaw, Sask. It was 30 ft (9.1 m) in diameter and consisted of rubberized silk. School children were drafted to paste together balloons in seven factories around Tokyo. The balloons were intended to make use of a strong current of winter air that the Japanese had discovered flowing at high altitude and speed over their country, which later became known as the jet stream. This balloon caused a short circuit in the power lines supplying electricity for the nuclear reactor cooling pumps, but backup safety devices restored power almost immediately.. A large number of the balloons that successfully reached North America failed to release their bomb loads when they arrived. A Japanese balloon bomb drifted 6,000 miles to deliver a deadly blow to a party of Sunday school picnickers in Bly, Oregon. During World War II the Japanese built some nine thousand hydrogen-filled, paper balloons to carry small bombs to North America, hoping to set fires and inflict casualties. When the balloon descended below 30,000 ft (9.1 km), it electrically fired a charge to cut loose sandbags. Japanese Balloon Bomb (U.S. Air Force) Upon tending his garden, John T. Cook of Gill Road found something that looked like a “new tin can as the material had a bright metallic finish,” according to a declassified Security and Intelligence Division report on the incident. From November 1944 to April 1945, Japan's Special Balloon Regiment launched 9,000 high altitude balloons loaded with bombs over the Pacific Ocean. One of World War 2’s best-kept secrets was that of the Japanese balloon bombs, the first weapon ever deployed with intercontinental range. There were two explosions; the boys were killed immediately, and Elsie died as Archie used his hands to extinguish the fire on her clothing.  Japanese balloon bomb.Source-Wikipedia.  Perhaps as a result, the Japanese only learned of one bomb's reaching Wyoming, landing and failing to explode. The best time to launch was just after the passing of a high-pressure front, and wind conditions were most suitable for several hours prior to the onshore breezes at sunrise. The influx of military personnel, equipment, and tactics shaped how the United States Forest Service approached fire suppression in the post War period.. Additional launches followed in quick succession. Eight were found in the 1940s, three in the 1950s, and two in the 1960s. Another dashed to the nearby telephone office, where Cora Conner was running the town’s two-line exchange that day. He was too late. Throughout the years, Japan’s balloon bombs have continued to be discovered. The Doolittle Raid, although limited in destruction, was an effective psychological ploy, proving that American forces had the capability to strike the Japanese homeland. Each war weapon consisted of a balloon envelope 30 feet in diameter, weighing 150 pounds, and a volume of 19,000 cubic feet. The type B balloons were sent first and mainly used for meteorological purposes. The concept was the brainchild of the Imperial Japanese Army's Ninth Army's Number Nine Research Laboratory, under Major General Sueyoshi Kusaba, with work performed by Technical Major Teiji Takada and his colleagues. The deaths occurred when the victims decided to touch the balloon, thus causing it to explode. I mean, it's basically an intercontinental ballistic missile. With no evidence of any effect, General Kusaba was ordered to cease operations in April 1945, believing that the mission had been a total fiasco. These men were stationed at critical points for use in fire-fighting missions. Everyone piled into the Mitchells’ automobile and rode to the secluded area, where Mitchell dropped off his wife and the other picnickers as he parked the car. The balloon bomb, though seemingly a passive weapon, provided the Japanese with an effective method of bringing the war to American shores without expending enormous amounts of manpower and materiel. A Japanese Fu-Go balloon with bombs attached found near Bigelow, Kansas, on February 23, 1945. Webber, Bert, 1992, Silent Siege III: Japanese Attacks on North America in World War II: Webb Research Group, Medford, 398 p. There are dozens of interesting websites describing the Japanese balloon bombs. A DVD of "On a Wind and a Prayer" is available at Amazon.com. Amazing that the Japanese knew about the prevailing air currents and the US did not. Working with the Military Intelligence Service, the researchers of the Military Geological Unit began microscopic and chemical examination of the sand from the sandbags to determine types and distribution of diatoms and other microscopic sea creatures, and its mineral composition. A typical balloon was equipped with five bombs, including a 33-pound antipersonnel device and several types of incendiaries. The bombs caused little damage, but their potential for destruction and fires was large. On November 3, 1944, Japan released fusen bakudan, or balloon bombs, into the Pacific jet stream.They each carried four incendiaries and one thirty-pound high-explosive bomb. They are the only World War II U.S. combat casualties in the 48 states. When the last bomb was dropped a fuse would light and ignite the hydrogen in the balloon. Japan Used These Balloons To Bomb America in World War II. Earlier this summer, World War II historian G. P. Cox posted an excellent blog entry in his blog Pacific Paratrooper about Japanese balloon bombs reaching the United States. The Navy found balloons in the ocean. The Japanese balloon bomb was a brilliant invention built to offset the loss of Japanese air power during the war in the Pacific. In February and March 1945, P-40 fighter pilots from 133 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force Western Air Command operating out of RCAF Patricia Bay (Victoria, British Columbia), intercepted and destroyed two fire balloons, On February 21, Pilot Officer E. E. Maxwell While shot down a balloon, which landed on Sumas Mountain, in Washington State. They did not want the enemy to get the idea that the balloons might be effective weapons or to have the American people start panicking. Canada and Mexico reported fire balloon sightings as well.. He was able to secure the device for investigation by the FBI and military authorities. These Japanese paper balloons are made from bright, crisp environmental paper. Japanese Balloon Bombs . The balloons,, An Associated Press story dated December 18, 1944, stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military were investigating a 33.5 foot (10.2 m) paper balloon with incendiary attachments found by a wood chopper and his father in a mountainous forested region 17 miles southwest of Kalispell, Montana, on December 11, with a very detailed description of the curious find.. The fūsen bakudan campaign was the most earnest of the attacks.  “But Saturday was a workday in our house, so we didn’t go.”. It had to be coming from Japan. It's a quirky story [of] World War II. A P-38 Lightning shot a balloon down near Santa Rosa, California; another was seen over Santa Monica; and bits of washi were found in the streets of Los Angeles. On May 5, 1945, a pregnant woman and five children were killed when they discovered a balloon bomb that had landed in the forest of Gearhart Mountain in Southern Oregon. Balloons fell into rivers, tumbled onto forest roads, and interrupted electric service when they dropped onto power lines.  They were the only people whose deaths were attributed to the balloon bombs deployed on American soil. That same day, a balloon bomb exploded in Medford, Oregon, digging a shallow crater and shooting flames 20 feet into the air. The Japanese launched their “windship weapons” from November 1944 through April 1945. Elsie Mitchell is buried in the Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, Washington. The four bombs found are over a 5.5 pound average by a total of 20.8 pounds and the sand bags recovered are under a 5.5 pound average by 17.2 pounds disregarding the last bag which weighed 6.75 pounds. By that time, it was likely over the U.S., and its ballast was expended. One of the victims was Elsie Mitchell, the minister’s pregnant wife. When detonated, the bombs might trigger massive forest fires in the northwestern United States that would divert manpower from the war effort and knock the lumber … The concept was the brainchild of the Imperial Japanese Army's Ninth Army's Number Nine Research Laboratory, under Major General Sueyoshi Kusaba, with work performed by Technical Major Teiji Takada and his colleagues. Lacking a practical means to attack the US mainland during the war, the Japanese constructed 9,000 large hydrogen balloons, attached incendiary and anti-personnel bombs to them, and set them aloft on the high-altitude […] For Americans living near the coastline, the threat of a Japanese invasion by air or sea was nothing new. , The remains of a balloon bomb were found in Lumby, British Columbia, in October 2014 and detonated by a Royal Canadian Navy ordnance disposal team.