A fire balloon , or Fu-Go was a weapon launched by Japan during World War II. A hydrogen balloon with a load varying from a 15 kg (33 lb) antipersonnel bomb to one 12-kilogram (26 lb) incendiary bomb and four 5 kg (11 lb) incendiary devices attached, it was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and drop bombs on American and Canadian cities, forests, and farmland.
The Japanese fire balloon was the first ever weapon possessing intercontinental range (. The Japanese balloon strikes on North America were at that time the longest ranged attacks ever conducted in the history of warfare, a record which was not broken until the 1982 Operation Black Buck raids during the Falkland Islands War.
The balloons were ineffective as weapons but were used in one of the few attacks on North America during World War II.
On May 5, 1945, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded as it was being pulled from the woods by curious picnickers.
Killed in the explosion were: Elsie Mitchell, 26, wife of minister Archie E. Mitchell; Edward Engen, 13; Richard Patzke, 14; Jay Gifford, 13; Sherman Shoemaker, 11; and Joan Patzke, 13.Rev. Mitchell heard the explosion and discovered the bodies. Victims were compensated by the government. A memorial was erected at what today is called the Mitchell Recreation Area.
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