Well, not really. This wasnâ€™t a rigid-framed dirigible airship like Count Ferdinandâ€™s England-bombing namesakes, this was just a gasbag on a journey of freedom, terrible freedom, seeking to join its brethren at Mines Field. Perhaps LA’s curious onlooker recalled the 9,000 incendiary balloons sent to America by the Japaneseâ€”though those only managed to kill six picnickers in Oregon, proving again that picnicking is a dangerous activity.
Barrage balloons were part of our air defense system, designed to thwart bombings and low-level air attacks. This one was probably Air Corps surplus, discard of a War Won, finding new use in peacetime America (like the friendly antiaircraft shell, plaything of children; see entry of April 26).