BBGen-MI-02-2012 - Michigan State University

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WORLD WAR II BALLOON
ATTACK ON NORTH AMERICA
Michael E. Unsworth
Michigan State University Libraries
REVENGE FOR THE
DOOLITTLE RAID
(APRIL 18 ‘42)
DEFEAT AT MIDWAY (JUNE 3-4, 1942)
COMPLICATED PLANNING
JAPAN’S POST-MIDWAY
STRATEGIC SITUATION
I-15 CLASS SUBMARINE
LAUNCHING YOKOSUKA E14Y1
("Glen”) FLOATPLANE
MILITARY TECHNICAL
RESEARCH
INSTITUTE AT NOBORITO
THE “FU-GO” WEAPON




“FU" is the thirtysecond character in
the Japanese syllabary
(alphabet).
"GO" was the
Japanese equivalent
for "Number”
"FU-GO" was Weapon
No. 32 of the Japanese
Military Scientific
Laboratory.
"FU" also happens the
first part of "FUSEN",
the Japanese word for
balloon.
TOP: TYPICAL FLIGHT PROFILE
BOTTOM: TYPICAL JET STREAM IN WINTER
A-TYPE PAPER FU-GO
Gas Release Valve & Envelope From
North Dorr, Michigan, Incident (March ‘45)
A-TYPE FU-GO CHANDELIER
U.S. NAVAL AVIATORS
EXAMINING CHANDELIER
CHANDELIER, BOMBS & SANDBAG FROM
BOUNDARY BAY, B.C. INCIDENT (APRIL '45)
CHANDELIER RELEASING
SANDBAG
NEW YORK TIMES
(MARCH 17, 1995)
PAPER MAKING
PAPER MAKING
ROOM OF FINISHED SHEETS
GLUING SHEETS TO FORM
LAMINATE PANELS
TEST INFLATION
OF FU-GO ENVELOPE
LAUNCH CREW MANHANDLING
TEST BALLOON
LAUNCH SITE WITH THREE
PADS IN OPERATION
FU-GO AIRBORNE
AFTER LAUNCH
FU-GO OVER THE PACIFIC
BATTERY BOX
ENVELOPE IN THE
PACIFIC (APRIL 17, ‘45)
“Japanese Balloon Incidents Prepared By
CAORG From Canadian And U.S. Reports,
26 April 1945”
MEXICAN RECOVERY
(MARCH 1945)
“35 m. N.W. of Whitehorse”
(Aug. 15 or 16, ‘45)
NORTH DORR, MICHIGAN
(MARCH ‘45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Responsibilities
American defense – Canada
& U.S. had control of their own
territories. Full information sharing
 U.S.:
 Military – Navy over water; Army
over land
 Civilian – F.B.I.
 North
COUNTERMEASURES:
Detection: Sunset Project (Spring ’45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Interception: Sumas, Wash.
(Feb. 21 ’45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Interception: Coal Harbour, B.C.
(Mar. 12 ’45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Interception: Coal Harbour, B.C.
(Mar. 12 ’45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Interception: Coal Harbour, B.C.
(Mar. 12 ’45)
COUNTERMEASURES:
Investigations - Newcastle, Wyoming
(Feb. 8, ’45)
INVESTIGATIONS :
Nixon, Nevada
(Mar. 29, ’45)
INVESTIGATIONS :
Glacier National Park, Mont.
(July 27, ’45)
INVESTIGATIONS :
Oxford House, Manitoba
(Mar. 12, ’45)
FOREST FIRE THREAT:
WHITEWATER, B.C. CHANDELIER
(MAY 31, 1945)
INCENDIARIES
FOREST FIRE THREAT
Majority of Discovered Balloons Had
Incendiaries
 Most of the Western U.S. & Canada Was
Forested
 Fire Danger for Jan.-Mar. Was Nonexistent
 April - September Was the Most Dangerous
Period
 Prevailing Summer Winds Might Bring More
Balloons to Canada Than to the U.S.
 Japanese Development of a Phosphorustreated Cardboard Squares (“Incendiary
Leaves”) Posed a Particular Danger

COUNTERMEASURE:
FIRE FLY PROJECT
FIRE FLY PROJECT:
555TH Parachute Infantry Battalion
ACTUAL FOREST FIRE DAMAGE
CAUSED BY BALLOONS:
None.
The Japanese ceased launching
balloons in early April 1945
THE CHEMICAL
WARFARE/BIOLOGICAL
WARFARE (CW/BW) THREAT
MOST LIKELY AGENTS:
HUMAN MALADIES
 B-Encephalitis
 Dysentery
 Rift Valley Fever  Psittacosis
 Meliodosis
 Brucellosis
Bacilli
 Plague
 Rickettsia
 Variola
Diseases
 Chemical
 Cholera
Agents
 Salmonella
 Typhoid
MOST LIKELY AGENTS:
ANIMAL MALADIES
 Rinderpest
 Foot-and-Mouth
Disease
 Contagious Pleural Pneumonia
 Fowl Plague
 Newcastle’s Disease
 Chemical Agents
Decontamination Practise
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT
THE BALLOONS CARRIED
CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL
WEAPONS
CENSORSHIP



Imposed on the U.S. and Canadian media in early
January 1945
Aggressively enforced by authorities
Reached even this comic strip “Smilin' Jack” New
York Sunday News (Aug. 5, ‘45)
SECURITY BLANKET STARTED
TO UNRAVEL ON MAY 5, 1945:
A WOMAN AND FIVE CHILDREN WERE
KILLED NEAR BLY, OREGON
ONE OF THE BIGGEST SECURITY
BREACHES :
TORONTO DAILY STAR. HOME EDITION
MAY 31, 1945
CENSORSHIP WAS THE MOST
EFFECTIVE COUNTERMEASURE:
THE JAPANESE STOPPED
THE BALLOON ATTACK IN APRIL 1945
DUE TO THE LACK OF FEEDBACK
HANFORD, WASHINGTON,
INCIDENT
MARCH 10, ‘45
JAPANESE BALLOONS
REPORTED DURING WW II
COUNTRY
Canada
United States
Mexico
At sea
TOTAL
NUMBER
78
200
2
5
285
“U.S.” BALLOONS
REPORTED DURING WW II
Oregon
Montana
Washington
Alaska
California
Idaho
S. Dakota
Wyoming
Nevada
40
32
25
24
22
8
8
8
6
Nebraska
Colorado
Iowa
Texas
Arizona
Michigan
N. Dakota
Hawaii
Kansas
5
3
3
3
2
2
2
1
1
MICHIGAN BALLOON INCIDENTS
NORTH DORR/BYRON CENTER:
February 23 '45
Property of Chris Stein:
Intersection of 146 Avenue and 21st Street
ROPE FROM BALLOON
Fein Family Farm House
RECOVERED ENVELOPE &
GAS RELEASE VALVE
ROPE & HOOKS
Don Piccard’s Balloon “Recycling”
Feb. 16, ’47 - Minneapolis
FARMINGTON:
Mar. 25/June 8 ‘45
FARMINGTON:
20951 Gill Road
FARMINGTON:
20951 Gill Road
INCENDIARIES
WHY YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT IT:
COMPETED WITH V-J DAY STORIES
WHY YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT IT:
 FEW CASUALTIES
 SAME PRINCIPLES USED FOR COLD
WAR U.S. SPY AND ANTI-CROP
WARFARE BALLOONS
FU-GO IN LITERATURE:
Liam Callanan. The Cloud Atlas
New York : Delacorte Press, c2004.
http://www.liamcallanan.com/
POSTSCRIPT: AL-QAEDA USE?
***END***
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