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Max Drake's OddWorld

The Battle of Los Angeles

The Battle of Los AngelesOn the night of February 24th and 25th, 1942, several unidentified flying objects were spotted in the skies above southern California, prompting an artillery assault from the US armed forces. Many explanations were put forth regarding the event, both from civilians and the military, and the ‘Battle’ has gained much attention in the circles of Ufologists. For no object was hit by the barrage of artillery and many reported that objects simply disappeared after the event – clear indication to some that the objects seen on that night were nothing short of alien craft.

On the 24th, naval intelligence warned that an attack on US soil could be expected within hours. Around ten o’clock that night, the warning was lifted, but in the early hours of the 25th, radar picked up an unidentified ‘target’ approximately 120 miles west of Los Angeles. Anti-aircraft batteries were alerted and the unidentified craft was tracked to within a few miles of the coast where it subsequently vanished. Nearing 3am on February 25th, a coast artillery colonel spotted “about 25 planes at 12,000 feet” over Los Angeles. Four anti-aircraft batteries opened fire and the airspace above Los Angeles “erupted like a volcano”.

From here, reports of the incident vary widely. Great numbers of planes in the air were reportedly observed that night – anywhere from one to several hundred were seen, ranging in altitude and speed. The mysterious craft dropped no bombs and despite reports that four were shot down, no evidence of this was forthcoming. Hollywood residents perched themselves on rooftops and hills to watch the fiery parade of UFO’s and exploding shells. The only damage sustained to the city came from some shell fragments and car accidents, initiated by a military-enforced blackout. One citizen reportedly died of heart failure amidst the excitement – the first real taste of the drama of the Second World War for most Americans.

At a press conference on the 25th, Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox explained that the incident was a false alarm and there was no evidence supporting the presence of enemy planes. For it was not initially stated by anyone that the observed craft were alien in nature. The most common belief was that the craft were either commercial airlines or Japanese planes – the fact that no bombs were dropped signified a reconnaissance mission. The Army waited a day to issue any statements, interviewing witnesses to the event and eventually arriving at the aforementioned conclusions. After the war however, the Japanese insisted that no planes had been anywhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles on the night in question.

The actions of the military were put on trial in the media with reporters expressing concern at the lack of a satisfying response to the event. If no craft were actually present and it were a case of the jitters, the confidence in the actions of military personnel was extremely troubling. If the craft were indeed flying as low as 9,000 feet (as was reported by some), why were the aircraft batteries so ineffective? And moreover, why were no American planes sent to engage the objects even though they were put on alert? The question posed was what would the response have been if the incident were not a false alarm? Was this the kind of incompetence the public could expect?

These simple facts regarding the “Battle of Los Angeles” have been the source of much speculation from those researching the global UFO phenomenon. The vanishing objects, the lack of damage or downed craft and the supposed cover-up by the military have all lent credence in the eyes of the UFO community to the version of events relating to alien visitation. There is no denying that an event took place in the skies above Los Angeles in 1942, but its explanation could be as far from the aroused speculation as the distance covered by visiting alien life-forms.

by Max Drake
(Freelance writer and artist for GritFX.)


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  1. do you know they re-inact that every year? yes they do. i live in San Pedro California. fort mac arthur is the local base here. it has been de-com’d for years now. it used to be apart of the ring of defense triton missle system here in the US.

    in the reiinactment they do not really mention the UFO stuff but they do use it as a grand time to fire off the guns and do a mock search of the sky with a bunch of BOOM BOOM.

    i always forget it happens until im sitting here eating dinner and them my cay jumps and the windows rattle out of the panes as alarms ring. like i said i live pretty close to it.

    Posted by deryke | January 12, 2009, 4:34 pm
  2. Wow, Deryke….no, I didn’t know that….spun out…
    Only the UFO nuts determine that this event included UFO’s….guess I’m a UFO nut, but I still have an open mind about everything…

    Tell me, do most residents of the area enjoy the re-enactment? Or is it an annual pain in the ass? Just an excuse for the army to fire some outdated artillery?

    Posted by Max Drake | January 12, 2009, 5:21 pm
  3. well, its one of the three major actions of the world war on the west coast. the balloon bomb in Oregon, the submarine bombing of the refineries on the beach in santa barbara, and this “sighting”. it has definate historical merit but since it is a museum, art gallery and complex of the old barrack, park honoring our sister city in Korea, and a missile site. it will be funded forever.

    as for what it was. no one really thinks it was aliens but it was something. well, maybe. radar equipment was about as good as cell phones were when they first came out.

    i personally, think it was a sea launched Japanese plane on a test recon situation that failed. they had some that launched from a subs at the surface. they made a few lone wolf attempts at the west coast.

    there is a picture of me skate boarding on the cement collar of the missile silo in the book Manz got from me. go peep it!

    Posted by deryke | January 12, 2009, 5:42 pm
  4. I’m such a sucker for this stuff. Wouldn’t mind seeing a movie about this…even with a little speculative fluff at the end…

    Posted by Wayne John | January 12, 2009, 6:53 pm
  5. The closest your gonna find is a mockumentry by spielberg “1941”

    Posted by tat2ts | January 12, 2009, 8:32 pm

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