Japan's WWII targets in US

During a discussion of the Simpsons movie premiere being shown in Springfield, Vermont, this one guy says he used to live near there. He went on to say that during WWII, the town was “6th or 7th” on Japan’s list of US places to bomb due to the machine industry in the area.

That got me wondering. Is it actually known whether Japan had an actual hit list? Or did US folk decide which areas Japan was most likley to bomb? And which is it, 6th or 7th? What is the top five?

How the hell would the Japanese get planes over VT? They must’ve been really optimistic about how the war was gonna shake out.

#1: Perl Harbor :slight_smile:

People near the east coast (and even in the midwest) were much more worried about Germany than Japan.

That sounds really unlikely.
Just based on the distance from Japan to Vermont. Even if the Japanese had invaded and conquered Hawaii, and then the West Cost of the USA, they would still have been too far away for any Japanese bomber of 1941 to have reached Vermont.

And as I recall, the Japanese strategy was to quickly seize various areas in the Pacific and SE Asia area, and become the leading nation in that vicinity. By doing this quickly, and occupying and reinforcing those areas, they would make it too hard for the USA to take them back, and they thought we would reach a negotiated peace settlement that would leave them in control of much of that territory. Japan never seriously tried to invade & occupy either Australia or the Hawaiian Islands. They were focused on a quick win, and knew the facts of the production capability of American industry vs. Japans. I seriously doubt any Japanese war planner ever contemplated an extended war strategy that would have Japanese bombers going into Vermont!

Doesn’t pass the common sense test.

The Japanese sent balloons with explosives to the West coast. Vermont seems kind of far. :slight_smile:

That’s what I figured. Japan would have to practically wipe out the country before worrying about dropping anything in the northeast US. But what if the guy is mixed up, and he meant Germany? Is there an official hit list for Germany? Wouldn’t they go after all the naval shipyards before going further inland?

What is realistic? Vermont was 60th or 70th?

Heh, wikipedia entry for Springfield VT:

cite is: Wayne G. Broehl, Jr., Precision Valley: The Machine Tool Companies of Springfield, Vermont. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1959) p. 184, citing W. Storrs Lee, The Green Mountains of Vermont (New York: Henry Hold & Company, Inc., 1949) p.76.

Doesn’t say Japanese, however, though VT is a long flight from Germany as well.

Of course we all know that during the Cold War Springfield was designated as a “Nuclear Whipping Boy” target by NATO for allied calibration of nuclear bombs in the event of a first strike against the Soviets.

An I-boat took a few shots at the west coast with its deck gun. But that doesn’t really count as a bombing raid.

Say what?

Actually, there were two such incidents, I believe. One was the shelling of an oil refinery in California and the second was of Ft. Stevens, Oregon near the mouth of the Columbia. There was also an actual bombing: a float plane launched from a Japanese sub dropped a couple incendiary bombs near Brookings, Oregon. They failed to set the forest ablaze.

No one was killed in any of these attacks. At Ft Stevens, all the shells missed hitting any of the shore batteries. The batteries didn’t return fire because of an error by the range detector operator who mistakenly calculated the sub was out of range.

Japanese attack on Ellwood refinery

On looking these up on Wikipedia ([url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacks_on_United_States_territory_in_North_America_during_World_War_II for those interested), it seems there was an attack on a lighthouse on Vancouver Island the day before the attack on Ft Stevens. I was unaware of that before now. Also, despite the title of the Wiki page, Vancouver Island is not US territory.

There were also some similar incidents on the East Coast and in the Caribbean involving German U-boats. I don’t know much of the details but there’s stuff about them in the Wiki page linked above.

Are you sure that wasn’t just L. Ron Hubbard?

From a Simpson’s episode.

I believe Malodorous was refering to a Simpsons episode where Bart and friends are given temporary control of the local games store. Or was it the video parlor? Something like that. Anyway, they discover the owner’s secret stash of videos, one of which details the military’s secret plans for Springfield, as disclosedby Malodorous.
I screwed up the Wiki link in my last post. Try


I see what you did there.

At least some of those bombs made it all the way to Michigan. Had the Japanese launched a lot more of them, it’s plausible that some few might have reached Vermont.

($_ = “Perl Harbor”) =~ s/e/ea/;

IIRC, one of the primary targets for Japan as the Panama Canal. Again, from memory they were developing special subs with air craft on board and heavy hitting bombs (or maybe torpedoes) to disable the locks.

So, I’d put those at the top of the primary list (unless I’m mis-remembering things…I’d have to go with them above Springfield Vermont at a minimum :)).


These lists of bombing attacks may also have some basis in FBI lists of what the FBI felt were important sites that might be victims of sabotage, secret agent style. Not just direct military attack.

In ww1, some German sympathiser placed home made explosives in some cargo ships that docked in New York, IIRC.

Not Ice cream, but Cone-Blanchard