3

I have heard that Japan had used reconnaissance balloons in WWII, especially in China as the Chinese lacked air power and effective anti-air weaponry. I know that balloons - airships to be precise - were used effectively by USA in anti-submarine roles.

Did the Japanese actually use balloons in this manner? If so, what are some incidents where this was used? I have failed to find any reference online as all I find are about the balloon bombs.

3

During the siege of Corregidor the Japanese used an observation balloon for artillery spotting (14th Army Opns, II, App. VIII, pp. 37-45.)

The Japanese used an observation balloon during the siege of Singapore (see any detailed history of the siege).

At the Battle of Nomonhan (1939) the artillery had a small, independent detachment called the "Balloon Unit" that operated hydrogen-filled observation balloons for artillery spotting, apparently a very dangerous duty. (see Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939, by Alvin Coox)

No English language discussion of the use of observation balloons exists for China that I could find, but that is probably just because there were not that many English speakers involved in the battle for China. I am sure Chinese sources will describe the balloons, as the Japanese undoubtedly used them for artillery spotting throughout the war.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.