Wyoming December 07, 2019
The Strange Story About How Wyoming Was Bombed During World War II Is A Little-Known Piece Of History
If you’re a history buff, you may have heard about the time the Japanese bombed Wyoming during World War II. If this story sounds unfamiliar to you, read on, because it’s a wild tale of warfare that seldom makes the history books.
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Thermopolis is one of the most beloved towns in Wyoming, thanks to its hot springs and dinosaur discovery history. What many people don't realize, though, is that Thermopolis was bombed by the Japanese during World War II.
This story may seem stranger than fiction, and those who discovered a balloon bomb falling from the sky would probably agree.
On December 5, 1944, coal miners outside of town heard something from the skies above and saw an explosion streak across the dark sky.
When the object landed, it was discovered to be a Japanese Fu-Go Balloon Bomb. Though the Japanese launched 9,300 of these bombs, only about 300 made it to land, and the Thermopolis bomb was the first to reach the United States.
Fu-Go Balloon Bombs were experimental weapons launched by the Japanese late in 1944, destined to explore on American soil.
These massive balloons had to carry more than 1,000 pounds across the ocean, which was no easy task for technology at the time. The fact that any of them made it here, to begin with, is an impressive feat!
These complicated balloons were impressive from a technologic standpoint. They were controlled by altimeters that kept the balloon in the newly discovered jet stream until it was over America, where it would fall to the ground and detonate.
The goal of the mission was to cause panic and fear in the United States, but a media blackout meant that these landings and explosions went unreported. In fact, the Japanese only ever learned of the landing in Wyoming!
There were six casualties caused by one of the balloons when it was discovered in an Oregon forest and exploded. After that, the public was warned to stay away from the objects, but the stories were still scarce.
Landing so many balloons in America was an impressive feat because the inter-continental attack was considered impossible at the time.
In fact, these balloon attacks were the longest ranged assaults in the history of warfare, and it wasn't until 1982 (during the Falkland Islands War) that the distance was topped.
Today, the story of the Fu-Go Balloon Bombing is rarely told in Wyoming outside of Thermopolis, where it has become local folklore.
Luckily for the Wyoming miners and most Americans, the Fu-Go Balloon attacks were largely unsuccessful, and the campaign lasted just about six months.
Did you know about the Thermopolis bombing? If you love learning odd tales from the Cowboy State, take some time to read through
11 Insane Things That Happened In Wyoming You Won’t Find in History Books. Address: Thermopolis, WY 82443, USA