Second World War: Balloon Bomb

Balloon bombs were a little known Japanese tactic during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

Sometime late in the Second World War, probably in January 1945, I was living in Bolivar, Missouri. I got up late one night to check the fire in a big coal stove. It was very cold outside, probably around zero. A light snow was being carried on the northwest wind. 

As I went through the dark room, I saw a flash of light through a southwest window. I thought to myself, "That's funny, I've seen lightning in a snowstorm before, but never when it was so cold."

I never thought any more about it, even the next day when Dad, who had been staying out at the farm some distance west of town, came in with a story about an explosion he had seen and heard to the south the night before. He swore it was a bomb.

I thought, "Why would anybody waste a bomb on a frozen Missouri cow pasture?" There was no sound of planes, though, and nothing more was said about it, not even when stories came around about remnants of a Japanese balloon being found farther east.

It wasn't until after the War, when I was reading about the Japanese launching balloons carrying bombs over the United States, that it dawned on me that I had seen one exploding.

Since there was no report of damage, the bomb probably exploded in the air, and the wind carried the balloon farther to the southeast.

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