California and the Second World War
The Japanese Balloon Bomb Attack at Alturas

On January 10, 1945, near the small community of Alturas in northeast California, two forest rangers spotted a Japanese bombing balloon drifting high over the nearby forests. They reported it to military authorities and an Army P-38 fighter plane was dispatched and shot it down. It descended slowly drifting over Tule Lake in sight of the Japanese Relocation Camp there, and came to earth in trees on a mountain slope 30 miles west of Alturas. The 10-meter diameter Mulberry paper balloon was recovered and found to be remarkably intact, still carrying four incendiary bombs and one high explosive bomb. It was sent to Moffett Field in Sunnyvale where it was examined, reinflated and test flown. Eventually the balloon was given to the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.


Source: World War II Sites in the United States: A Tour Guide and Directory by Richard E. Osbourne