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space_man_hal

WWII

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I was watching Saving Private Ryan the other day when I noticed the balloons on the beach after they had taken it. Can someone tell me what these were for? I have absolutely no idea.

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I'm just guessing but possibly recon? They are able to see from higher up? Or to prevent airplane attacks? Good question... :huh:

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Weather observation balloons most probably. Or to prevent low level air attack.

Out.

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The balloons were used for several purposes by different forces at different times. Some of the most common uses were to post them on shorelines to look out for marauding u-boats. Also, they were held to the ground by high tension wires. These wires were small, hard to see, and meant to tear the wings off of low flying aircraft. (the germans placed them around power plants for that reason.)

Just some quick info

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Were they not also used as "Beach Markers" so that ship and troops could see them from a distance for a point of reference? :huh:

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If me memory serves me correctly the only purpose those balloons had was to prevent air attacks. The same idea was used during the Battle of Britian. I can't say for sure, as my memory seems to be failing me in this the wee hour of the morning, but the thought was it would keep the planes at higher altitudes and there by making it harder to hit their targets. As we are well aware during the second world war there was no such thing as smart weapons and carpet bombing was the general rule of thumb. Precision bombing, or low level bomb runs and dive bombing itself, was in it's infant stages at the time. The balloons were unmanned so they would have been useless for looking out for marauding u-boats. Sorry bluntobject, but if you believe or know me to be wrong could you post were I might find the info you are getting? That is the only part of your post I can almost positively disagree with you on.

Stout Hearts

Warhawk

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When I think about it, I agree with you Warhawk. I know that baloons were used to keep watch out for u-boats, but the ones on the beachhead were unmanned. The observation balloons were a different type used in a different situation.

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Not sure what the US used them for...But I know that the Japanese used them against us in WWII. They attached a bomb to an altitude trigger hooked to the balloon. They would let them float over the pacific and calculated what alt. the balloon would be at when it was over the US. They would set the alt. trigger to the calculated alt. When the balloon reached the set alt., it would release the bomb. They launched a couple of these "attacks" on the mainland US, but it didn't work all that well due to wind and stuff. I think just enough(like one or two) reached the US to scare the housewifes and attract the media.

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