Japan's Secret Weapons (You Tube)
The ohka, or baka-bomb, a rocket-propelled suicide craft.
A balloon bomb in flight.
The Doolittle raid is discussed.
They were so upset and angry about that raid that they accelerated the balloon bomb program. The film then goes into the history of balloon use in various wars, and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Then it says that the Japanese realized that direct attacks against the U.S. west coast were almost impossible.
It notes the warning Yamamoto had given the Emperor, that, if the war was short, he would win victory after victory, but if it started to get long, he couldn't guarantee what would happen.
Then it talks about how the U.S. began to produce literally tons of weapons, far more than the Japanese could. (Also, there was no way for the Japanese to destroy the factories; they were too far away.)
It discusses the battle for Tarawa.
It then goes into how the U.S. got supremacy in the air and sank a great part of the Japanese merchant fleet.
The battle for Saipan is covered.
It was then that the Japanese launched some 200 balloons, none of which crossed the American coastline.
October, 1944, a second generation of balloons is readied for launch.
The balloons carried fire bombs and anti-personnel bombs, along with bags of sand. If the balloon started to go below 30,000 feet, a sandbag would be dropped.
It also included a battery and a demolition charge. 1 balloon in each group had a transmitter so the Japanese could figure out how far they had gone.
In theory, the bombs would then be dropped, and the demolition bomb would destroy the balloon and any evidence of its existence. The firebombs were supposed to start massive forest fires in the U.S.
In Japan, children were put to work in the war factories.
The second wave of balloons was launched shortly after the U.S. landed on Leyte. U.S. ships recovered part of a balloon, and forest rangers were alerted to keep and eye out for any balloons.
A couple weeks later, fragments of a balloon were found in Montana.
Sand that was left in the ballast bags gave U.S. scientists an idea of where the balloons were being made and launched from.
A balloon was spotted in the air and a U.S. fighter plane managed to use the push from its propellers to push the balloon into an open area where it landed intact.
This gave the scientists just what they needed. They determined that the balloons were not accurate enough, nor carried enough explosive, to pose a serious threat. However, if they hit the forests in a dry part of the summer, fires could be started. The public was not told about the balloons.
The thing was, though, that the balloons could only reach the U.S. during the winter months. Thus, less likelihood of starting a fire. The military was worried, though, about the balloons carrying some kind of chemical or biological agent.
Then it talks about Unit 731, which developed such weapons which were used against the Chinese.
The guy who headed the program was captured by the Americans and given immunity from prosecution for helping the U.S. in its own biological/chemical warfare program.
The British considered using biological weapons during the war.
Around 1000 of 9000 balloons launched actually made landfall. The U.S. had a total censorship of the information, though, so Japan thought the program had not worked. Five children and one adult were killed when they messed with an intact balloon on the ground.
Then it talks about the U.S. firebombing of Japanese cities.
This is not a scene after the A-bomb; it is a scene after the firebombing.
Then it goes on to talk about the kamikaze.
Then it talks about the ohka.
The kaiten suicide sub. Then the film goes into talking about the defeat of Germany and how a German sub was carrying radioactive material to Japan that they could have used to make a 'dirty bomb' that could have been dropped on an American city on the West Coast. The sub never reached Japan, the war ending before it could get there.
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