I just heard some people talking the other day about the town of Timnath and "The Bomb". "Were they talking about the new WalMart that just opened?" I wondered.
"No!" they said. "The Japanese bombed Timnath during World War Two!"
"Oh sure!" I thought. Timnath, a town of around 250 people just 2 miles east of Fort Collins couldn't possibly be the Japanese idea of an effective target. "What's wrong with these folks?"
But, they were quite adamant about this "fact", so I had to give in and assume that this could very well be a Roadside Mystery that I have to at least make some effort to report.
Checking the facts is easy now that the World Wide Web is here! Checking out the Wikipedia entry for "Timnath, Colorado" we find that "During WWII Japan experimented with 'Balloon Bombs' that floated across the pacific to the U.S. The only bomb to successfully reach land was one that floated all the way to Colorado when the balloon finally popped over the Town of Timnath making it the only town on the continental United States to be bombed in WWII."
"Well, I'll be..." I thought. "I better check this out!"
After a detailed examination of declassified government documents I found the approximate location where the supposed bomb landed and with my Official Welsh Guard bomb sniffing canine Col. Duncan MaDog, we checked out Timnath ground zero:
Col. Duncan MaDog sniffing for bomb residue
The bombing of Timnath happened on March 20, 1945. Unfortunately it was such a long time ago that Duncan was not able to determine if any of the surrounding material in the area came from a Japanese bomb. Good dog anyhow. I'll promote him to Brigadier next month!
In case you find something weird in your back yard and wonder if it is a Japanese bomb, see the picture below:
A bomb that was captured in Oregon
A detailed drawing of a balloon bomb
Another drawing that looks like it's out of Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
The Japanese sent off more than 9000 balloon bombs hoping to catch the jet stream just right so that they could land in the Pacific Northwest and create all kinds of havoc in the U.S. Not much happened, apparently. Some people in Oregon were killed when they found an unexploded bomb and tried to drag it away for a souvenir. In all, about 1000 balloon bombs were recovered; 300 of them on U.S. soil.
So what about the Wiki entry about the "only town to be bombed?" Well, from what I have determined from the records, some bomb fragments were found in a farmer's field in Timnath, but many more were found in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In fact, a complete fully intact bomb assembly and balloon was found in Kirby, Wy. Heck, they found balloon bombs as far East as Detroit:
I don't get those reporters in Michigan. The word was out that we were supposed to keep the balloon bombing a secret so the Japanese wouldn't know how effective their WMD program was! I wonder if someone from Toyota saw this and got an idea.
Labels: day trips