Monday, August 7, 2017

WWII Attacks on US Soil...NO Way! Plus giveaway!



It was easy for American's to feel safe during World War II. After all, there was a vast ocean that separated us from our enemies and the war that raged on in Europe. But our false security would soon turn to fear and then panic as the vulnerability of the US was exposed and the long reaching arm of the Axis Powers emerge. 

February 23, 1942
So where did the enemies of the United States attack? Surprisingly on both coasts. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor seven Japanese submarines spent the next few weeks patrolling our western coast. The U.S. Navy had two  encounters with the Axis Power before the submarines headed back to safe waters. But not before the Japanese had sank two merchant ships and damaged six others. 


The Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-17 would return to America's West Coast and her waters for one more attack. The submarine was over 365 feet long and carried 17 torpedoes plus a 14cm/40 Naval gun. On February 23, 1942, Nishino captained the I-17 up the Santa Barbara Channel, surfaced, and then used his deck gun to fire 16 shells on Ellwood Oil Field, a large storage facility outside of Santa Barbara. Nishino then took the I-17 beneath the water and disappeared into the ocean. 

Only minor damage was incurred to the oil field. A pump house and one oil derrick were destroyed in the shelling. This was the first shelling of the Continental US and sent a panic through the nation. We weren't as safe as we thought.

June 21, 1942
Interestingly, one could say we led the Japanese to our back door on this June morning. A group of fishing vessels maneuvered their way around the mine fields and unbeknownst to them were trailed by the Japanese I-25 submarine which made its way to the mouth of the Columbia river.  

Surfacing just before midnight near the Civil War Army base, Fort Stevens, the submarine used its deck gun to fire 17 rounds onto the base. Because of the time of the raid, darkness worked to the American's advantage. The Fort Commander chose not to return fire, realizing that doing so would reveal their position. Because of his wise decision the Japanese attack was unsuccessful. The only damage incurred was to a nearby baseball field.


September 9, 1942
It was an early morning raid by the Japanese. The I-25 submarine surfaced and rolled out a small float boat. The pilot, Fujita, climbed aboard his Yokosuki E14s plane with his crewman and two 176 pound incendiary bombs strapped beneath the wings. Fujita flew the plane along the Oregon coast looking for his target of forestry, hoping to start large fires with his bombs. The tall trees were easy to spot and he flew his plane in at 500 feet, released the bombs, circled one time to see if they'd started a fire and then headed back out to his submarine. 


Unhappy with the results, Fujita returned on September 29th, only this time at midnight. Choosing to fly 50 miles west of Cape Blanco along the Oregon Coast, Fujita dropped his bombs once again in the tall trees of the forest. Satisfied with the red glow below, he returned to his submarine having completed his last mission of bombing on US soil.

However, after daylight a crew of forest rangers were sent out searching for the area and were unsuccessful at finding any smoke or remains of debris from the bombs. To this day they have not been found.

May 5, 1945
The United States and Canada had been familiar with the Japanese fire balloons since 1944 when the Axis Power began releasing the first of its 9000 balloons. The balloons were made of rubberized silk or paper, were filled with 19,000 cubic feet of hydrogen, and were approximately 33 feet in diameter. One might call the balloons smart balloons, for they had barometer operated valves that released hydrogen if the balloon gained too much altitude and dropped sandbags if it flew too low. Of the 9000 balloons released it is known that 342 made their way to the United States.


The balloons silently floated along the jet stream, making their way across the pacific to the mainland of the United States. The military balloons were a byproduct of an atmospheric experiment done by the Axis Power. While mapping out air currents with measuring instruments in the balloons, the researches discovered the strong air current that made its way across the Pacific at around 30,000 ft. 



The only combat fatalities every known on the United States mainland were caused by these balloons. A minister, his pregnant wife, who was a Sunday School teacher, and five 13 and 14 year old students were traveling on a mountainous road headed to a picnic when the pregnant woman became sick. Her husband pulled over and began talking to a road crew about fishing conditions as she and the students walked away. They were about 100 feet away when she yelled back, "Look what I found, dear."
Immediately there was an explosion, twigs, branches, dust, and even logs flew through the air. The crew and her husband ran to them to find all five students dead as well as his wife and unborn child. 

The idea behind the balloons were in hopes they would drop over a city or in a heavily wooded area, causing a fire. But other than the tragic deaths mentioned above, the balloons were unsuccessful. One hit a power line and temporarily caused a blackout at a nuclear weapons facility in Hanford, Washington. But power was quickly restored. Most fell or were shot down with little damage. Some maps show balloons reaching as far as Nebraska while others show two balloons traveling as far as Michigan.

How about you? Were you aware that the US mainland had seen combat during WWII? Do you think that would have frightened you if you were living during that time? Does that make you feel more vulnerable as a country now that you know that our soils have been breached?

GIVEAWAY: 
Answer one of the questions above for a chance to win choice of my books and choice of format, including my new release novella and the audible version of Sword of Forgiveness. 



Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. 



Penelope Beatty made up her mind long ago she would live and die a Scottish warrior not a wife. But when nearly all her clan is killed and she is betrayed, she loathes doing the unthinkable, but must seek the help of an Englishman who owed her father his life.


Thomas Godfrey never married, but when a Scottish warrior lass shows up needing his aid, he finds her both annoying and irresistible. But the last thing he wants is to marry a woman who fights alongside him. If he was going to marry—which he isn’t—it would be to a soft, submissive woman. But when the Lady Brithwin meets the Scottish lass, she’s sure she’s found the perfect match for Thomas and nothing is going to stop her from seeing a summer wedding.

34 comments:

  1. I would have been frightened during that time; I had heard of the Japanese making an attack on the West coast but not the Eastern coast. Thanks for the chance to win :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

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    1. Hey Lisa,

      I had not heard of any when I ran across this information. I would have been afraid, too, as I live on the east coast!

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  2. I knew there were German subs that came close to the US coastline but i never heard about the Japanese subs. I would have been very frightened during that time as that is the area my family had finally settled in back in the early 50s.

    Than you for the opportunity to win.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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    1. Hey Cindy, That had to have been a very frightening time. Especially this being a World War. I can't imagine the fear especially coastal people felt. I wish my grandmother were alive so I could ask her about it. She was always a wealth of information.

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  3. Wow! I didn't know this. That is very scary...those "smart" balloons?! I have reservations about those drones that are all the rage now as well! If I should win the draw, please redraw a winner, unless you have a book I've not yet read!!!!

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    1. Hey Connie! I never thought about those drones. That is scary! I just have the 3 out. Working that sequel for SOF. :)

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  4. Whoa, what history in this post. I was away of our soils being attacked but not to this extent. I would been afraid at the time. It's like today--we never know who or what may hit our soils as we are approaching 9/11. Thank you for an interesting and informative post, Debbie.
    marilynridgway78 [at]gmail [dot]com

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    1. Hey Marilyn, You are so right. We just never know anymore. I think that we are on such high alert on 9/11 that they would be foolish to try to do something around that date unless it was just to show they could. But it is all in God's hands! Thank you for coming by and good luck in the drawing!

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  5. WOW, only ever heard about Pearl Harbor. Scary stuff. Rebunting@yahoo.com

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    1. Hey Robin!!! I know! It does make one feel a little less safe doesn't it? Thanks for coming by.

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  6. What a scary time. I didn't know this and what an informative post you have shared. Thank you so much! Hope you have a great day! It is for me.... today is my birthday! mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Happy Birthday, Melanie!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. It was for you. ;o) Thanks for coming by on your special day. I hop you have a blessed and wonderful birthday! Good luck in the drawing.

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  7. I have read a lot of this but it always brings a little chill every time I read it. Yup, pretty sure there would have been goose bumps on my side. But also pretty sure I would have been more interested in helping others with their fear, so wouldn't really feel my own until later.
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

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    1. Hey Lori, I was really fascinated with this when I read it. I guess when I think about WWII I think the US was safer than it was. And the balloons, that kind of blew me away (pun intended). To think the thousands of miles they traveled to get to the US. And I don't know how many made it to Canada. But that would be interesting to find out as well.

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  8. It is only in recent years that I learned about attacks here on US soil during WW2. The whole idea made me feel much less secure, even though WW 2 ended so many decades ago.

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    1. Sandy, I was really much the same way. For some reason we seemed so secluded here and that felt safe. But to learn in WWII the enemy came to our shores was a bit unsettling. Thanks for coming by!

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  9. A friend of mine who lived on Long Island during WWII says that a German Uboat landed there ... don't know if it's true ...

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    1. That's interesting, Stephanie. I'll have to look into that. I don't see why that couldn't have happened after what I read about.

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  10. How awful to learn of attacks on U.S. soil. Gives me the shivers.
    karenskrayons(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hey Karen, Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  11. I don't think I was aware of attacks on the US mainland. Kind of scary.
    susanmsj at MSN dot com

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    1. Hey Susan! Thanks for coming by. That was my exact thoughts. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  12. I had not realized that the mainland had beeen under attack during WWII. Wow. I may have been frightened if I had been living at that time.

    mindyhoung AT msn DOT com

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    1. Hey Mindy, I wonder how widely known it was or if it was kept as quiet as possible. It was a lot easier to keep things 'controlled' back then. Thanks for coming by and good luck!

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  13. We just had this discussion again this summer as the town by us received the balloon back to them finally. It was one of the Michigan spots where the balloon and bomb fell. Some kids found it and brought it home. The government confiscated it, obviously, and now this past year just gave it back to the family of the kid who originally found it. We are hoping they do a viewing of it or something. Such a cool story and so close to me!

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    1. That is so cool, Susan. See some of the info I read said Nebraska was the farthest east but then some showed MI. That is really cool to have that confirmed! Can I ask about where in MI you live? I'd be curious to know about where they went. And that is super neat that the family is getting the balloon back. He was very fortunate that he wasn't killed like the woman and the 5 teenagers.

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    2. It is Dorr, Michigan that the balloon went down. I don't remember specific details, but the kid and his friends who found it had no clue it was dangerous. I agree - that would have been horrible if it had killed them like that lady and kids! I was shocked the first time I heard that too - that a balloon came this far! Too crazy to even imagine! Apparently two of them landed in MI, but off the top of my head I don't remember where the other one was.

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    3. Yes, I read two hand landed that is so cool that you know the family! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  14. I had learned recently that we did have severalU boats close to our mainland but never knew about the balloons. Interesting article. So sorry about the people that were killed. I read the post about the balloon being returned to Michigan. Fascinating! Thanks for the review! Would love to win one of your books!

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    1. Hey Paula! Thanks for stopping by HHH. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It was very fascinating researching it. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  15. I had no idea that the mainland was breached! I wonder if my sister knew that. She's a big WWII history buff.
    Elly -Indiana-

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    1. I don't know, Elly. My dad is a huge WWII buff and he didn't know!!

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  16. Susan P Random numbers drew your number. Congratulations!!

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  17. Susan P please contact me, you didn't leave an email. debbielynnecostelloathotmaildotcom

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