Japanese FU-GO Balloon Bombs in Michigan


Michigan Aviation Archeology
On November 4th, 1944 a United States Navy patrol craft spotted something odd floating on the sea 66 miles southwest of San Pedro, California. When the object was hauled on board, it was found to be a rubberized-silk balloon.

The Japanese called the balloon weapons Fu-Go (“Fu” being the first character of the Japanese word for balloon). They were assembled by hand, usually by schoolgirls, constructed of mulberry paper, glued together with potato flour and filled with hydrogen. The thirty-three foot diameter balloons carried an aluminum ring (about three feet across) suspended from the balloon with nineteen shroud lines. On board the ring was a control and ballast system consisting of thirty-two, 7-10 pound sandbags and the bomb load. The typical maximum loading was one fifteen kilogram high explosive bomb or one twelve kilogram incendiary along with four five-kilogram incendiary bombs.