Attacks on the Mainland: Unveiling the Hidden Dangers Faced by the US During WWII

During World War II, the United States experienced attacks on its mainland that caused destruction and fear among the public. Most of the fighting, however, took place on the European continent and in the Pacific islands, far away from US soil. Despite this, Japan and Germany launched attacks on US territory, including balloon attacks and submarine bombings. These attacks exposed the vulnerabilities of the mainland and led to the need for increased measures of protection. The American public, filled with fear and paranoia, faced the repercussions of these attacks, which resulted in the internment of thousands of people of Japanese descent. Examples of attacks on the US mainland include the torpedoing of the SS Pennsylvania Sun by a German submarine off the coast of Key West, Florida, and the launching of high-altitude balloons by Japan to ignite wildfires in the western region of the country. While these attacks caused some damage, they were not fully successful in creating panic or diverting US resources from the war effort. The government controlled the news to prevent widespread fear, and the American public had to keep silent about their experiences. Despite these attacks, the United States eventually overcame the threats and took steps to protect its mainland.

A German submarine crawls under the ocean floor off the coast. Explosive balloons intended to ignite wildfires These attacks on the United States on the mainland during the Second World War brought destruction and fear. When they can’t hide

Attack on the United States – During WWII Almost all of the fighting did not take place on US soil. which joined the war after the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in December 1941, but were battlefields far away on the European continent and islands. in the pacific ocean As a result, many nations, large and small, face destruction.

Nevertheless On the mainland of this country, not all dangers were spared. Because apart from the incident at Pearl Harbor Japan and Germany launched attacks on US territory. Occasionally Although these operations which ranged from balloon attacks were full of bombs from Japan and German submarines. Hidden under the waters off the coast of North America, and mysterious objects above the skies of Los Angeles – not much would be known to those who did not live through the war. They also highlight the weaknesses of the mainland, far from the battlefields on the other side of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. and the US Army did You must take more measures to protect yourself.

Moreover, these events have also left the American public in a state of fear and paranoia. And it is because of this doubt. That led to thousands of people of Japanese descent being imprisoned in internment camps without guilt. Here are some examples of attacks on the US mainland. At a time when war was raging on a distant continent.

Supply ship SS Pennsylvania Sun It was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Key West, Florida, in July 1942. The tanker’s crew managed to get the fire under control. Before US Navy ships he will help guide him ashore Photo from the US Navy OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

Japanese balloon explosion

Between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese launched approximately 9,000 high-altitude balloons across the Pacific toward the US mainland. to burn various forests in the western region of the country

Weapons called These “fire balloons” rely on wind currents to transport them across the ocean. And they are animated by a mechanism that triggers the fuses of these balloons as they lose altitude. When they work These fuses eject the sandbags attached to the balloons, one at a time, to reduce pressure and allow them to climb again.

This process is repeated over and over. Until the whole sack was thrown away and only the grenade was still attached to the balloon. Although there were only 300 recorded finds of these weapons, this is only a fraction of all the bombs released. They had the opportunity to cause more damage than expected. Because some of these balloons have flown as far inland as Wyoming and Montana.

One of these bomb balloon attacks ended the lives of six American civilians. Such incidents This is the only time a civilian has been killed by enemy weapons on the mainland of the United States. In this war It happened on May 5, 1945, when such a weapon exploded. near Bly, Oregon, killing a pregnant woman and five children who were socializing with their church community.

However, attacks aimed at creating panic among the public Until causing the United States to divert resources for war to defend its own mainland, were not effective. Because the government is completely hiding news This forces the community that experienced this tragedy to keep their mouths shut. This is to prevent fear from spreading widely among the public.

The balloon in this photo, taken in California in 1946, is a bomb-laden balloon launched by Japan across the Pacific. to start wildfires in the western United States Photo by NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE US NAVY.
Twenty years after the bombing of Oregon in 1942, Nobuo Fujita carried out the attack. Read the news about the attack he carried out. Fujita visited Oregon as a guest of the US Chamber of Commerce. who invited him to visit the United States to send a sign of friendship PHOTO BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Danger from German submarines

Between January and June 1942, under the seas of the Atlantic Ocean. German submarines or U-boats sailed along the coasts of the United States and Canada to attack Allied supply ships.

When the operation begins These submarines managed to launch more than 100 victims to the seabed in just three months after the attack began. Worse, some ships perished shortly after they left the port. and he had to sink in the sight of the people on shore Of the losses of Confederate ships during this period, 78 ships and 1,200 commercial marine crews were sunk in North Carolina alone.

The US Navy They are unable to deal with these underwater threats. And the situation is so critical that civilians are using their own light, unarmed aircraft to patrol the offshore area. Even if they have no way. Later, some of these crews began to arm their aircraft with improvised explosive devices. and managed to sink two U-boats.

However, although the Germans were able to cause significant damage in the early stages, these attacks eventually became less frequent after the commercial ships of the United States began to travel with the transatlantic convoy. which is protected by ships and fighter planes

Two Coast Guard aircraft are flying on patrol to protect the convoy Photo by THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES.

Japanese submarine ambush

On February 23, 1942, Lieutenant Nishio Kozo, commander of the submarine I-17 of the Japanese Navy, ordered his crew to surface the waters off the coast of California. and opened fire on the Ellwood oil field. Close to Santa Barbara Although this oil field is one of the largest in the state, it does not have as many troops stationed nearby as other oil fields. in San Francisco and Los Angeles

Various news reports Newspapers from the time indicate that the attack began at around 7:50 pm A total of 16 bullets were fired, said Hilda Wheeler, who worked in a nearby family pub. Saying about this incident that “We saw these artillery shells tearing up the ground as they fell between us and the beach… At first we all thought it was firing practice, but then it we turned around and saw the dirt flying up and then we were scared to death. “

But surprisingly, only one oil rig was damaged by these bullets. which could be repaired for as little as $500 (in those days), and another man who was injured when he tried to defuse one of the unexploded shells The United States responded to the attack by sending planes to hunt them down Throughout I-17, but Nishino and the entire crew managed to escape.

However, this incident also raised fears of a catastrophic attack among Americans in the West. Various newspapers Headlines such as “Submarine attacks Ellwood oil field” and “the US mainland attacked for the first time in the war, and soon the US government began to unfairly detain more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent. and imprison these people – most of whom are American citizens. -In various concentration camps until 1945

Mysterious flying objects

A day had passed since Ellwood’s attack. Widespread concern has led to one of the strangest events ever on American soil. in this world war

At two o’clock on February 25, the US military detected an unidentified flying object heading towards the Los Angeles area. It is believed that the object may have been a plane or balloon sent by the Japanese to attack California.

Because of this, they activated the air raid alarm. and the city of Los Angeles is on high alert. A bright light was thrown into the sky to search for the object. Anti-aircraft guns opened a salvo that used more than 1,400 rounds and created a scene of chaos in the night sky and the city below. As a result, many people lost their lives in traffic accidents and heart attacks, but no enemy aircraft were shot down in this incident. And the debris, which could have come from the plane, has never been found.

This event known as the “Battle of Los Angeles” is still shrouded in obscurity today. Because even today It is still unclear what the mysterious object that appeared on the radar that night was.

Soldiers inspect damage from the attack on Fort Stevens, Oregon, by the Japanese submarine I-25, this attack on June 21, 1942, and submarine attacks on the west coast of North America. after airstrikes attacked their mainland in April of the same year. PHOTOS FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Seaplane armed with bombs

On September 9, 1942, a small seaplane began reconnaissance of a Japanese submarine. along with two 71 kilogram thermite incendiary bombs mounted under the fuselage. before heading to Oregon to help start a massive forest fire in the state. an outcome they expected would create widespread panic.

For this purpose, Nobuo Fujita, the pilot in control, The two bombs were dropped in the Emily Mountains area. Some 80.5 kilometers deep into the mainland, these bombs only managed to create small forest fires. which is only scattered throughout The rain that fell in the area dampened the forests under attack and made it difficult for fires to burn. After the attack, shrapnel was collected, said to be from Japanese weapons, and to send to the United States army.

President Roosevelt issued a cover-up order in an attempt to avoid widespread fear. But keeping secrets this time was not successful at all. Because many people have already heard the news about this event. The bombing forced the military to fly fighter jets in the area. and has caused the government to implement fire protection measures along the entire west coast of the country.

Although the United States took measures to protect itself But it could not stop the attack. Twenty days later Just after midnight on September 29, Fujita launched another attack with two firebombs. But just like the first time This attack was unsuccessful. At the time he reported seeing flames from the bomb. People in the area did not report any abnormalities at all.


Translated by Phawit Wongnimman

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