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The Battle of Los Angeles

PEARL HARBOR, HI – DECEMBER 7: The USS Arizona memorial is seen as a U.S. Marine firing detail stands at attention at the contemplation circle during a memorial service for the 69th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu on December 7, 2010 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941 a surprise military attack was conducted by aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy against the U.S. Pacific Fleet being moored in Pearl Harbor becoming a major catalyst for the United States entering World War II. In the devastating attack over 2,400 people were killed and thousands wounded, and dozens of Navy vessels with were either sunk or destroyed. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen starred in a movie called “The Final Countdown” about the USS Aircraft Carrier Nimitz going through a nasty storm at sea. The result is that the carrier was taken back in time to December 6, 1941. They were giving the opportunity for a nuclear carrier to stop the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that would occur the following day. Chester W. Nimitz, for whom the carrier was named, was also born on this date in 1885. So what does all this have to do with The Battle of Los Angeles?

February 24, 1942

After the attack on Pearl Harbor anti-aircraft artillery was placed up and down the California Coast in case the Japanese might try to attack the west coast of the United States.

One day earlier, February 23rd, a Japanese submarine had fired on Ellwood, California. It was the first and last shelling by a foreign government on North American soil. Although there was no real damage from the “Bombardment of Ellwood,” this event is credited with leading to the decision to round up Japanese-Americans and house then in interment camps.

Early in the evening of February 24th anti-aircraft began firing off the cost of Los Angeles and lasted into the following day. Those soldiers believed they had either seen or heard enemy combatants moving toward Los Angeles.

Then Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the attack a “false alarm.” Many thought this was to quell fear in the populous, but there were many who thought it might also be some kind of government cover up.

The incident was attribute to “war nerves” and a possible sighting of a weather balloon or flares from adjacent artillery bunkers.


Whatever soldiers saw flying over Los Angeles will probably never be fully explained. Those in the UFO study community are convinced that some extraterrestrial spacecraft might have been monitoring how we humans react to attack.

Was this just a fluke of nature? Some kind of “light show?” A legitimate Japanese attack? Or, little green men from Mars?

Some Final Thoughts

These are the kinds of questions that make history both interesting and exciting. Imagine going back in time to confront the Japanese with current weaponry? How would the course of history have been changed? No way to tell.

I think those soldiers manning those guns off the coast of Los Angeles might have felt the same things most of us felt when we watched the twin towers fall in New York City. We all experienced some form of “war nerves” during those very hectic days. We all wondered, “Is this the beginning or the end of these attacks?”

Remember, they had been attacked just one day previously. I think we’d all be on some form of high alert and just a little jumpy. One man’s weather balloon is another man’s E.T.

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