During World War Two, the Japanese attacked the American mainland by launching a series of high altitude balloons containing explosives.
“In the small Oregon town of Lakeview, Mrs. Elsie Mitchell and five neighborhood children were killed while attempting to drag a Japanese balloon out the woods. Unbeknownst to Mitchell and the children, the balloon was armed, and it exploded soon after they began tampering with it.
They were the first and only known American civilians to be killed in the continental United States during World War Two. The U.S. government eventually gave $5,000 in compensation to Mitchell’s husband, and $3,000 each to the families of… the five slain children.” (From History Channel)
If you want to read a far more detailed and interesting article then I recommend the one linked below.
This was published in Legion: the Magazine of the The Royal Canadian Legion. This is the main veterans organization in Canada.
Debris from a Japanese incendiary balloon
(photo from Legion Magazine courtesy of Archives of Canada)
“Commencing Nov. 3, 1944, and continuing to mid-April 1945, Japan launched between 9,000 and 10,000 incendiary balloons from their home islands in an attempt to set North America’s forests alight from Alaska to California.”