Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Jet stream - Wikipedia

Unpowered aerial attack

Near the end of World War II, from late 1944 until early 1945 the Japanese Fu-Go balloon bomb a type of fire balloon was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean to reach the west coast of Canada and the United States. They were relatively ineffective as weapons, but they were used in one of the few attacks on North America during World War II, causing six deaths and a small amount of damage.[42] However, the Japanese were world leaders in biological weapons research at this time. Unit 731 had killed many hundreds of thousands of people in China with biological weapons, developed by conducting experiments on live human subjects that were as appalling as those conducted by Nazi Germany in Jewish concentration camps. The Japanese Imperial Army's Noborito Institute cultivated anthrax and plague Yersinia pestis; furthermore, it produced enough cowpox viruses to infect the entire United States.[43] The deployment of these biological weapons on fire balloons was planned in 1944.[44] The Emperor Hirohito did not permit deployment of biological weapons on the basis of a report of President Staff Officer Umezu on October 25, 1944. Consequently, biological warfare using Fu-Go balloons was not implemented.[45]

Between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese Navy launched over 9,000 fire balloons toward North America. Carried by the recently discovered Pacific jet stream, they were to sail over the Pacific Ocean and land in North America, where the Japanese hoped they would start forest fires and cause other damage. About three hundred were reported as reaching North America, but little damage was caused.

Near Bly, Oregon, six people (five children and a woman) became the only deaths due to an enemy balloon bomb attack in the United States when a balloon bomb exploded.[43] The site is marked by a stone monument at the Mitchell Recreation Area in the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

A fire balloon is also considered to be a possible cause of the third fire in the Tillamook Burn in Oregon. One member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion died while responding to a fire in the Umpqua National Forest near Roseburg, Oregon, on August 6, 1945; other casualties of the 555th were two fractures and 20 other injuries.

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