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Fugo Balloons

A strange footnote to WWII history is the tale of the Japanese Fugo Bombing Balloons:

It is estimated that about 9,000 of the balloons were launched by Japan between November, 1944 and April, 1945, but it is believed that less than 500 of them actually reached U.S. territory, with most of the rest self-destructing over, or falling into, the sea. Of those that did reach land, some were seen exploding in the air and others were found on the ground in remote areas, usually with the bomb loads missing but occasionally with some bombs still attached. The balloons reached Alaska, Canada, Mexico and 16 U.S. states, travelling as far east as Michigan and Texas. Most of the balloons were sighted or found in British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon, California, and Montana. Several minor forest fires, in California and Oregon, were possibly caused by the balloons, but this was never completely verified.
Sadly, the balloons, while largely ineffectual, did claim some victims:
A woman and five children, on a church picnic, were killed in a remote area near Bly, Oregon, after they discovered 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 U.S mainland from enemy attack during World War II.



This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2005 1:04 AM.

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