It must therefore be assumed that a considerable number are coming over. This argues against their being launched from submarines. The use of an automatic ballast release makes possible a sustained flight and the ballast release devices have been exhausted on the balloons recovered indicating that they have come a considerable distance. It seems fairly certain that the balloons are coining from Japan.
In reference a an air current moving from Japan via Hawaii to Montana at 25, feet was described.
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Reports from other sources including the B planes operating over Japan have verified the existence of strong westerly winds at that altitude. The presence of automatic ballast release equipment rules out the theory that personnel are being carried.
The great number which are apparently being sent up indicates that radiosonde is not the prime purpose. The use of an automatic ballast release to obtain a sustained flipht indicates that air raid detection or prevention is not the objective since the balloons would very quickly be carried away from the theatre of operations by air currents. Many of the components have definitely been made by mass production methods. Minor differences between the various balloons show that some production short-cuts and simplifications have been introduced indicating that manufacturing experience has developed.
There is no apparent reason why these balloons could not be produced in very large quantities. The use of a self-destructive feature in conjunction with the ballast release mechanism must have been intended to prevent the recovery of any balloons in this country. From the above considerations, it is evident that the Japanese have purposefully designed a balloon which can be produced in large quantities and which is capable of being carried across the Pacific to release incendiaries or other devices in this country.
They are probably well along in their production plans and are sending over a considerable number already.
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It is to be expected that the number will increase and that when the dry season arrives considerable damage will result unless effective countermeasures are developed. They have been identified as parts of-the standard Japanese paper balloon described in Ref. Apparently the use of a long fuze and an ignition charge on the envelope to accomplish self-destruction has been replaced by the use of a short length of fuze leading to an explosive charge on the ballast release gear.
Remains of three sand bag ballast units were identified.
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Two arming wires were found on the release gear and a length of twine, which may have carried a third. The most probable altitude for such a balloon reaching the west coast has been calculated from the ballast weight to be 55, to 45, feet. The subject material was recovered 15 miles south of Marshall. Alaska on 10 January The envelope apparently was the usual paper sphere as described in Ref. There was no evidence of the use of an ignition charge on the envelope. The number "95" was painted on in two places. A large number "26" had been written on in chalk.
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Stamped on the valve spring support was the number "". The Estacado valve was examined and found to have the number "", in the same position. The Kalispell valve, which is slightly different, had no number stamped on it, but the number "I24l" was painted on. This was inadvertently omitted from the report on the Kalispell balloon. It is possible that the four digit numbers are serial numbers while the others are to identify workmen, or for production records or some similar use. There were no rope loops on this valve. These are lower values than obtained with the Kailua and Sevastopol balloons Ref.
The number k contactor either was damaged in landing or was improperly assembled. The friction clutch between the expansion element and the contact arm is disengaged in such a fashion as to indicate improper assembly rather than subsequent damage. All of the contactors were badly corroded.
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They carried the following markings: 1 - "" in pencil 2 - "" in pencil, "8" in chalk 5 - "8" in chalk 4 - "" in pencil. The battery was the usual one cell storage battery housed inside three plastic boxes and a wood box. Apparently the calcium chloride solution is intended to act as a heat reservoir to keep the battery from getting too cold. The battery and the surrounding solution are insulated from the outside air by a double air space on the sides and top. On the bottom there are no air spaces since each box rests on the bottom of the next larger box.
The leat insulation on the bottom is therefore nil. This is of interest because the ballast release gear apparently failed to function due to a failure in the current supply. One of the two 21 trigger switches had closed and the lead from these switches to the 21 plugs was intact but neither plug had fired. Both center plugs were unfired and one should have fired during the descent when the number 1 barometric contactor closed. A test of the battery, as received, showed it to have an e.
A current of O. The filaments in the blow out plugs have resistances of 0. The failure, of the plugs to detonate even though the electrical circuit was closed may be due to either of two possibili ties l mechanical failure of some other part of the electrical system, or 2 freezing of the solution in the battery whereby its capacity becomes too low to heart the filaments. This second possibility also requires that the electrical contacts be permanently broken before the battery has a chance to thaw, otherwise the release mechanism would start working again.
Presumably the balloon could crash before the battery warmed up. The batteries received to date have had the acid spilled out.
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The release gear was identical in construction with that described in Ref. The pairs of blow-out plugs from number 21 to number 35 inclusive had not fired. Each of the unfired pairs supported a "T" shaped flat iron bracket. A hook attached to each of the brackets and the sand bags were attached to the hooks. This is the arrangement deduced in Ref. The hooks are the same peculiar shaped hooks used to attach the shrouds to the envelope. Apparently all 35 pairs were laden with sand bags only. The two blow-out plugs at the center bottom of the release mechanism also supported a "T" shaped bracket somewhat heavier than the others.
Wo attachment remained on this bracket but it is obviously intended for the cargo, perhaps an incendiary such as those from Sevastopol Ref. Attached to the bottom of the release gear were three 1-foot lengths of twine, two of which had attached steel arming wires about 15 inches long.
The bottom center blow-out plugs, which were unfired, ignite two fuzes which in the previous balloons lead to the ignition charge on the envelope. It is possible that the Japanese, having learned that the long fuze leading to an igniter on the envelope fails, have replaced it with a short fuze and a demolition charge. The ballast release gear was supported by four doubled lengths of rope leading to the four pillars of the assembly.
There was no indication that a rubber shock absorber had been used. The wiring diagram of the ballast release mechanism is the same as that of Encl. F , Ref. This diagram shows a wire leading from one of the central blow-out plugs to the first pair of trigger switches. This should be corrected to show this as a connection between the blow-out plug and the ninth pair of trigger switches.
Thus, if the fuze trains fail anytime after the ninth pair of switches is activated, a decrease in altitude by the balloon will activate the detonator in one of the central blow-out plugs resulting in the dropping of the load attached there and probably demolition of the balloon. The bag is made of the same kind of paper as the envelope of the balloon. The sand consists of a mixture of coarse, irregular shaped black and white particles and is a type that might be expected from volcanic rock of intermediate composition.
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