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Thread: Japanese Balloon Bombs

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    LauraA's Avatar
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    Default Japanese Balloon Bombs

    We watched "History Detectives" on PBS last night. They were investigating Japanese Balloon Bombs used during WW2 to carry explosives and incendiary devices to the western United States. I'd never heard of them before and what I found interesting was the fact that many of the devices were never recovered and could still be laying around somewhere in any of the little explored parts of the western states. Wouldn't that be an interesting find!? (of course, they could still be armed and explosive so it's best not to touch 'em if you do happen to find one.)
    Here's a couple of stories I found about them.



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    Never, ever play around with old ordnance. Some folks may have been raised with a gun in their hand, but very few with ordnance in hand.
    I remember an older fellow who bought a grenade at a garage sale here in Tucson. He was driving back to his place when he realized that it was smoking in the bed of his pick up truck. Without thinking or a moment's hesitation, he pulled into a gas station on Grant and 1st to use the pay phone to call 911. To make a long story short, the TPD had to detonate it.
    You might think it's safe, but can you really determine that without blowing yourself to kingdom come?
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

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    I once found a weather balloon testing thing-a-ma-jig while out hiking. Had a return to sender card on it, via the Nevada Test Site.

    Was a foam box like container full of sensors and such, nothing real exciting. But considering I found it 50 miles or so from it's launch site was cool.


    As for your bombs, I saw a show where on night soon after Pearl during WWII they launched a group of weather balloons out of Southern Cali and the sky watchers over Hollywood spotted them and they began to fire AA guns into the sky at them, fearing it was a Japanese attack. Seems someone forgot to mention they were doing some
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    ... when he realized that it was smoking in the bed of his pick up truck. .... he pulled into a gas station
    Ummmm, could you move that smokin' truck away from this here 320,000 gallons of gasoline??? Just an idea, mind
    "Those were great old days. Everthing is very quiet now, isn't it?" Elfego Baca

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    LOL gravel.

    It's very possible to find the old balloons and ordinance in the Pacific NW. The Japanese read about the great Tillamook Burn fire(s) of 1933, and 1936, and they got the idea that they could do a great amount of damage to the timber of Western States. The Tillamook Burn of '33 caused billions in damage and lost old-growth wood.

    Lumber was a great part of the war effort, they used it to build the city of Vanport so Liberty Ships could be built in Portland and Vancouver.

    Destroying lumber would have been a great blow to our war effort, but the Japanese didn't realize how much it rained in the Pacific NW, and they sent the balloons over in winter.

    Every once in a while, people find one in Oregon. In Washington, they are still looking for the parachute of D.B. Cooper.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.B._Cooper

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravelrash View Post
    Ummmm, could you move that smokin' truck away from this here 320,000 gallons of gasoline??? Just an idea, mind




    Now that's what I call good ad-lib comedy, Pete.

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    Brother in-law found a simular device in the high desert of California while sand buggy driving. Some type of equipment from NASA measuring atmophere at high altitudes. It had a return address with the postage paid...all he had to do is drop it in the mailbx at Randsburg, calif...an interesting semi-ghost town in its own right off of highway 395. Interesting story!

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    Haha Gravelrash! Some folks are not the brightest or the best when it comes to quick thinking!
    "Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas."

    H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsarevna View Post
    LOL gravel.

    It's very possible to find the old balloons and ordinance in the Pacific NW. The Japanese read about the great Tillamook Burn fire(s) of 1933, and 1936, and they got the idea that they could do a great amount of damage to the timber of Western States. The Tillamook Burn of '33 caused billions in damage and lost old-growth wood.

    Lumber was a great part of the war effort, they used it to build the city of Vanport so Liberty Ships could be built in Portland and Vancouver.

    Destroying lumber would have been a great blow to our war effort, but the Japanese didn't realize how much it rained in the Pacific NW, and they sent the balloons over in winter.

    Every once in a while, people find one in Oregon. In Washington, they are still looking for the parachute of D.B. Cooper.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.B._Cooper
    D/a/mn, but you know STUFF!
    I read about Cooper some time back, following an arcane trail I picked up at Ghosttowns.com (no surprises there), so this was a good update. In your debt, again!
    "Those were great old days. Everthing is very quiet now, isn't it?" Elfego Baca

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Never, ever play around with old ordnance. Some folks may have been raised with a gun in their hand, but very few with ordnance in hand.
    I remember an older fellow who bought a grenade at a garage sale here in Tucson. He was driving back to his place when he realized that it was smoking in the bed of his pick up truck. Without thinking or a moment's hesitation, he pulled into a gas station on Grant and 1st to use the pay phone to call 911. To make a long story short, the TPD had to detonate it.
    You might think it's safe, but can you really determine that without blowing yourself to kingdom come?
    check out this recent article about an ordnance self-professed "expert", and pay note to what he was doing with it in his driveway

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/...n4068515.shtml

    just not worth collecting stuff like this in the first place

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