Only continental US casualities of WWII

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by primalclaws1974, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. The only deaths of Americans on continental US soil occurred in Oregon on May 5, 1945 (incidentally, this was the wedding day of my grandparents). A Sunday school teacher and her five students investigated a downed balloon, and it exploded. All were killed. It was part of the Japanese Fu-Go campaign. After discovering jet streams, the enemy ingeniously developed balloons that could follow it and maintain its altitude on its own. Over 400 out of 9,000 balloons made it to America, and some made it all the way to Nebraska. But these were the only causalities.

    Have you heard of the Fu-Go campaign? What do you think of the ingenuity involved?
  2. R Leonard

    R Leonard Active Member

  3. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    I have indeed heard and read about the practice and the single, tragic incident that resulted in the death of the pregnant woman and the five children. I've also been in that area (Klamath County) and found it pretty country, though that is another topic.

    As to the project, it was completely ineffective from a military standpoint. There was some fears among the US brass that the Japanese might use biological weapons via this delivery vehicle, but they did not, opting to use conventional explosive and incendiary munitions.
  4. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

    That happened not too far from where I live.

    There is actually a novel about this called Cloud Atlas. It was about a man in Alaska whose task was supposed to be to figure out where these balloons were going to land. Pretty good book I'd say. Brought some attention to a subject most of us didn't really hear much about in school.
  5. It was amazing work technologically and strategically thinking. Not only were they using meteorological data that most of the world had no clue about, the balloons were very high-tech for the 1940's. I don't claim to understand it, but somehow the balloons could ballast themselves. If they went too how sandbags would fall out. If they went too low a barometric device raised them. Each balloon was 33 feet in circumference. That is a lot of material being sent across an ocean!
  6. Alexander

    Alexander Member

  7. Watson

    Watson Member

    Here are a couple interesting facts about the incident that killed 6 in Oregon. The husband of Elsye Mitchell, the woman killed in the incident was Reverend Archie Mitchell. Two years after the death of his wife he married the older sister of two of the children that were killed with his wife. He stayed with the church and in 1962 was kidnapped by communist forces in South Viet Nam. He never returned and his fate is still unknown.
    A great source for the balloon-bombs as well as other Japanese attacks on the continental US is the book "Retaliation" written by Bert Webber. It lists the locations and dates of all known balloon incidents.
    Found a picture of a balloon-bomb in my files and figured that it might be of interest to the members. japanese balloon bomb.jpg
    Diptangshu likes this.
  8. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Oh yes, what an amazing picture from your collection, really! thanks for sharing.
  9. Crazy_Niko

    Crazy_Niko New Member

    Never heard about Fu-Go(( trying to find some info
  10. Watson

    Watson Member

    There were more than 300 recorded incidents involving the balloon-bombs. They varied from the shooting down of entire units to fragments being found. Some made it as far east as Iowa and Nebraska. The last occurred when an Army ordnance detachment from Vancouver Barracks in Washington retrieved parts of one from a location near Clatskenie, Oregon during the summer of 1968.

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