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Fu-Go Balloon Bomb (wikipedia.org)
42 points by Thevet on Dec 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

One of the most interesting aspects of this case, IMO, is that USGS geologists figured out that the origin of the balloons was Japan a specific region of the coast that could account for the minerals in the sample of sand. The Army Air Force looked into this area further, and destroyed the hydrogen plants they found there, which helped put an end to the project! http://web.mst.edu/~rogersda/forensic_geology/Japenese%20ven...

There's an interesting Radiolab episode on this. Highly recommended


> On March 10, 1945, one of the last paper balloons descended in the vicinity of the Manhattan Project's production facility at the Hanford Site. This balloon caused a short circuit in the power lines supplying electricity for the nuclear reactor cooling pumps, but backup safety devices restored power almost immediately.[26]

It would have been quite the win if it had caused a meltdown. That might have delayed the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki. Although perhaps enough plutonium had been produced by then.

As I understand it, Japan didn't surrender until Nagasaki got nuked. And maybe Russia would have invaded before the US managed it.

The surrender came after Nagasaki (which is a plausible reason to surrender to the US), but it also came at a time when a Russian invasion was imminent (which is also a good reason to surrender to the US - in Europe, the US army had been much gentler to civilians than the Russian one had).

True, surrendering to Russians was a bad idea.

They had quite the grudge over Leningrad.

> The Office of Censorship then sent a message to newspapers and radio stations to ask them to make no mention of balloons and balloon-bomb incidents. They did not want the enemy to get the idea that the balloons might be effective weapons or to have the American people start panicking. Cooperating with the desires of the government, the press did not publish any balloon bomb incidents.[33] Perhaps as a result, the Japanese only learned of one bomb's reaching Wyoming, landing and failing to explode.

Find this ironically interesting. The same goes for almost every new cyber attacks out there.

> The same goes for almost every new cyber attacks out there.

It does? Back when the press mostly meant a few big companies in your own country it was easier to suppress info. Now for example the US government might be able to ask CNN/Fox/NYT etc but they can't likely ask the BBC or Al Jazeera or the 1000s of news sites, bloggers, tweeters, facebookers.

The fires were fought by the all-black 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion [1], acting as on-call firefighters... they "jumped" on many of the fires to get there quickly. I read several personal stories of individual paratroopers, and their courage was impressive!


Coincidence that "fugga" in hindi and "fuggo" in gujarati mean balloon?

Apologies. It's actually "fuga" and "fugo", no hard "g"

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