The Untold Story of the Battle of Los Angeles
It could only happen in Hollywood!
by Dirk Vander Ploeg
In the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, the sleep of two million Americans, in the vicinity of Los Angeles, California, was interrupted by the sound of air raid sirens and anti aircraft fire.
|Spotlights highlight and Anti-aircraft fire at unknown object over Los Angeles
Groggy residents awakened by the high pitched warnings and the almost ceaseless firings of artillery were rewarded with a light show that made the night into day.
Thousands of U.S. Army anti-aircraft searchlights flooded the skies searching for attacking aircraft. They rapidly crisscrossed the black void desperately hoping their beams would pierce the black veil and disclose the enemy planes.
Only weeks after the surprise Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the country was not prepared for another sneak attack as the events of the morning would reveal.
Air raid wardens stopped cars and insisted lights be extinguished and home window shades drawn. Neighborhoods and streets were now darkened, denying the enemy easily lit targets. Overhead, silently, a glowing object was moving slowing as air craft batteries focused by spotlights began took aim.
Katie, a young woman that had volunteered to be an air raid warden received a phone call from her district supervisor. The supervisor notified her of the alert and then asked if she had seen an object in the sky that was very close to her home. Without hesitation she went to the window and looked into the sky. "It was huge! It was just enormous! And it was practically right over my house. I had never seen anything like it in my life!" she said. "It was just hovering there in the sky and hardly moving at all." "It was a lovely pale orange and about the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. I could see it perfectly because it was very close. It was big!"
Katie added that the anti-aircraft searchlights had completely surrounded the object. "They sent fighter planes up and I watched them in groups approach it and then turn away. There were shooting at it but it didn't seem to matter." Katie states that U.S. fighter planes did attack the object. "It was like the Fourth of July but much louder. They were firing like crazy but they couldn't touch it." "I'll never forget what a magnificent sight it was. Just marvelous. And what a georgeous color!", said Katie.
With lights off, residents were now able to witness what was to be known as the "Battle of Los Angeles".
It was a scene often depicted in future Hollywood science fiction movies. The "War of the Worlds" seems eerily familiar as U.S. military personnel bombard the space invaders with hundreds of artillery shells, bathed in brilliant light from an array of searchlights.
The 37th Coast Artillery Brigade's antiaircraft batteries began firing at 3:08 a.m. and ceased at 4:14 a.m. In total nearly 2000 12.8 pound artillery shells were fired into the night sky at an undisclosed and seemingly indestructible object. The all clear siren was heard at 7:21 a.m. and the citizenry exhaled a collective sigh of relief. They had survived!
The question as yet unanswered, the elephant in the room, is who or what had attacked?
Newspaper reports were scarce. Government and military officials often gave conflicting statements to the press. Local resident witnesses were not interviewed or the information they gave not deemed credible by the news agencies. The only mention of the event in the Los Angeles Times was a brief article of page one which started with the headline: "Chilly Throng Watches Shells Bursting in Sky". The article written by Marvin Miles went on to describe "explosions stabbing the darkness like tiny bursting stars" and "searchlight beams poking long crisscross fingers across the night sky" and so on. The article did not mention an unknown object or enemy planes.
Initial reports cited witnesses seeing formations of warplanes overhead resulting in dogfights between enemy and U.S. fighter planes. Still others reported seeing flares falling from the sky.
A naval intelligence warning indicated an attack was expected within the next 10 hours. Various radar stations picked up an unidentified object 120 miles west of Los Angeles.
Immediately following the blackout the information center was inundated with phone calls from patriotic citizens reporting enemy planes in the sky.
A coast artillery colonel spotted 25 planes at 12,000 feet over Los Angeles and others saw a balloon carrying red flares hovering over Santa Monica.
The military stated that no U.S. aircraft were in the air. Stories of dogfights were erroneous. Officials explained that because of its limited number of aerial assets, the planes had remained grounded, until identified enemy planes could be located and verified.
The Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox announced at a February 25 press conference that there was no evidence of enemy planes and that the raid was simply a "false alarm". The Fourth Air Force believed that there had been no enemy planes over Los Angeles.
Finally the Army issued the War Department report which indicated that between one and five unidentified objects had flown over L.A. These objects were believed to be Japanese.
Its interesting to note that at the conclusion of World War II, the Japanese claimed that they did not send aircraft and did not attack Los Angeles or Southern California in February 1942!
Non-military witnesses, some using binoculars, describe a large orange object that moved slowly over the coast between Santa Monica and Long Beach. The object traveled the twenty miles in approximately 30 minutes and then disappeared!
An employee of the Los Angeles Herald Express said that he was certain many of the artillery shells had hit their target - but had had no effect. The photograph above seemingly shows the unknown object, caught in the web of searchlights.
Recently, a gentleman from Texas, a G-rated comic no less, claims to have a possible explantion for the event. He states that he is in contact with a member of a race of beings commonly referred to as the Grays. These creatures are approximately four feet four inches tall, gray in color, have large almond-shaped eyes, small nose and mouth and have a slight frame. They have been portrayed in Hollywood films including "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
These beings say that they originated on earth some 300,000 years ago. They describe this time as before Adam. They insist that they are terrestrial, of the earth, and take exception to being called extraterrestrial.
They claim responsibility for the majority of UFO sightings as they are constantily monitoring this planet. According to them it was one of their ships that was the cause of the excitement on the morning of February 25, 1942. They state that the civil defense fired at least 1000 antiaircraft rounds but that their craft was undamaged.
Is it possible that after 64 years the mystery of the "Battle of Los Angeles" has been solved? One could speculate as to why the UFO was floating over the greater L.A. area or why it's occupants would approach a standup comedian to tell their tale.
In true Hollywood fashion one could speculate that perhaps they were auditioning for starring roles in future Hollywood films or perhaps they were illustrating, albeit dramatically, that they were here first and as the photo above shows - here to stay!