Japanese Paper Bombs
After hearing about the hydrogen paper balloon bombs in class I had to look into this. It sounds just as fictional as a lawn chair with balloons attached to it or the house in UP a recent cartoon where a house is uplifted by thousands of helium balloons. As it turns out this really did happen and not only hit the US but parts of Canada and Mexico. “Although only 285 of the 9,000 bomb-laden balloons the Japanese launched were documented to have reach North America, experts believe that probably close to 1,000 made it across the Pacific.”1 This is much higher than I would have imagined and travel time was only about a day to go from Japan through the wind stream to the United States. Once the United States found out and recovered them the sand contents in the weights used was analysed and it was then narrowed down to originating from Japan. This is still so bazaar to me that they would even attempt this, I mean granted the balloons are a little more structurally sound than I imagined, it still sounds just as helpful in war as a wishing well that promises to fix marital problems. Once the United States figured out the origin they bombed the area confirming the hydrogen plants were destroyed but Japan had already stopped because they had no way to know if they were even hitting their mark. As mentioned in class only one incident resulted in death, however the person was also dragging it because they didn’t know what it was. This is mostly due to the fact that the US kept it under wraps up until this point. The incredible part is that the people who died were given war compensation after the war. Just overall unbelievable, here are a few pictures and if you want to see more follow the link bellow.
Some of these balloons make it as far as Iowa as shown in the map above though most hit upper California, Washington, and Idaho.
1, 2, 3) Rogers, Dr. J David. “Japanese Vengenance Balloon Bombs of World War II – J. David Rogers.” Japanese Vengenance Balloon Bombs of World War II – J. David Rogers. Accessed February 20, 2015. http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/forensic_geology/Japenese vengenance bombs new.htm.