Picnickers, Beware

To carry the war to the North American mainland, the Japanese were launching bomb-carrying paper balloons across the Pacific. Though this was not unlike trying to murder an elephant with a handful of gravel, the balloons showed evidence of industrious planning. They were hydrogen-filled spheres 33 feet in diameter, which floated eastward at respectable speeds. But they also wandered, often sank to earth with their bombs still aboard and unexploded. The fact of their sporadic appearances over the western U.S. and Canada was, for a time, carefully suppressed. Though they occasionally startled farmers and loggers, few citizens ever saw...

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