World War II was one of the bloodiest wars in world history, with mass mobilization throughout the entire world. In fact, millions of Americans went overseas to fight battles in both the European and Pacific theaters.

The United States got involved in 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor, later than most. In battle, more than 330,000 Americans were killed.

By the beginning of 1945, the German army had surrendered, which seemed to all but end the conflict. However, Japanese forces still hung on well after Germany surrendered.

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In many cases, people think that there were no attacks on the United States mainland in World War II, but there were actually a couple of different cases. Whether it was a spy ring or an attack on a military base in Oregon, there were a few times Axis forces were able to infiltrate and attack the contiguous United States.

One such event happened on a farm in Northern Colorado, but the means of which were certainly unconventional, and in many cases, have not been talked about in the aftermath of World War II.

This is the story of a Timnath farm that experienced a rare attack on United States soil at the hands of the Japanese. .

How Did the Japanese Attack the United States Mainland in 1945?

In the final days of the Second World War, the Japanese made a last ditch effort to try to attack the United States. They did so through balloons.

These were not just any surveillance balloons, they carried dangerous fire bombs. They would be lifted through the Pacific Jet Stream, and travel over 5,000 to 6000 miles to the United States.

The Japanese released these en masse, sending over 9,300 in an effort to cause destruction in the Western United States.

One of these bombs was responsible for the deaths of six people in Bly, Oregon. However, other places, such as the Swets Farm in Timnath, were also affected.

The Bombing of Swets Farm in Timnath, Colorado

Barbara Fleming, an expert on the history of Northern Colorado, recounts the incident in great detail.

It all started when the 8 year old Jack Swets was in the corral of his family’s farm. After hearing a buzzing sound, he left the corral to find a 15 foot fireball, per Fleming's account.

Not knowing what to do, he went to get the aid of his father, John Swets, who called the police. After a while, the FBI got involved.

Upon further inspection from the FBI and military intelligence, they found a crater that was 46 inches deep created by the 26 pound bomb.

At the time, many thought it was impossible for an attack on the United States mainland, but what happened at the Swets’ farm only proved it can happen here as well.

What Was the Aftermath?

Fortunately, nobody was hurt by the attack. The fire bomb only did damage to the Swets’ tractor, which was destroyed after John Swets drive it over a hidden cavern created by the bomb.

Later, Swets actually found another bomb hidden in the soil of his farm. Fortunately, it had detonated underground, causing no damage.

In terms of the impact of these balloons on the United States, the only casualties came from Bly, Oregon.

However, the United States government sought to cover up these incidents, mainly to prevent mass hysteria in the public.

This happened in Timnath, where FBI agents told local newspapers not to report the bombing.

Their main concern was not the firebombs, but the fear of biological warfare and the creation of devastating wildfires across the Western United States. Fortunately, that never happened.

In September, the war officially ended after the United States dropped two nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In general, the attack on Swets farm in Timnath did not cause too much damage, but it highlights an element of World War II that not many people in Colorado or the entire country are aware of.

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James L. Grant served as the Postmaster of Clifton. His son, Robert, was the photographer at the Daily Sentinel from the late 1930s until his retirement in 1985. James passed away in 1971, and Robert in 2000.

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