At 2:15 A.M. on the morning of February 25, 1942, the lights of Los Angeles, California were blacked out by order of the United States Army. Spotlights began to arc across the sky and members of the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began to fire antiaircraft guns into the sky. In the two hours that followed, 1,400 anti-aircraft shells from many coast artillery batteries would burst over the Los Angeles area in clear view of the approximately two million people that resided in and around the City of Angeles. Later that morning, the newspapers began to report on what would come to be known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
Those are the facts and they are undeniable! But these are also the facts!!!
- On February 23, 1942, the Imperial Japanese submarine I-17 bombarded the Ellwood Oil Field in Santa Barbara, California, which is north of L.A.; Because of this action, the military and civilian lookouts were put on high alert and tensions were very high.
- Lt. General John Dewitt of the 14th Interceptor Air Command ordered a cease fire at 2:21 a.m., but communication between the gun batteries was slow and artillery fire could be heard until 4 a.m. Fourteen hundred antiaircraft shells were fired on February 25, 1942. This translates to 11 shells per minute for nearly two hours with the majority being fired before 3 A.M. Six people died as a result of the bombardment, with untold numbers of injured and thousands of dollars worth of damage caused by the “Battle”; HOWEVER, no aircraft of any kind was shot down.
- The 14th Interceptor Air Command was put on high alert, but according to the Army and Navy, the unit was never put into the air; HOWEVER, witnesses clearly saw U.S. airplanes in the air around L.A. that morning. Accounts range from five to twenty five aircraft that appeared to be in pursuit of the “object”, but none reported any aircraft fire.
- U.S. military radar operators reported the presence of an unknown aircraft or object during the height of the “Battle” around 2:30 a.m.; HOWEVER, the object or aircraft was plotted at 120 miles west of L.A. moving south down the coastline toward San Diego.
- On February 25th the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox held a press conference in which he stated that there was not an object or enemy plane over L.A., and that U.S. planes were not pursuing the object. He went on to say that the entire incident was a case of “war nerves”. The Los Angeles area newspapers that covered the story began to accuse the military of a cover-up. Witnesses clearly saw an object and U.S. warplanes over the skies of L.A.; THEREFORE, the U.S. military WAS covering up the incident but it should be remembered that the mainland of the United States had been attacked only two days earlier by the Japanese Navy. It would have, and inevitably did cause a panic if Californians believed that they were under attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy!
- The Los Angeles Times ran a story on February 26th which chronicled the “Battle” and included the famous photograph of the height of the battle. The published photo shows an object illuminated by eight to nine searchlights with a dozen antiaircraft shells exploding in the sky around the object. Film footage of the height of the “Battle” also surfaced that month in the form of a newsreel. The Battle of Los Angeles of February 25, 1942 was so compelling that the Los Angeles Times reran the story and photo on October 29th, 1945; HOWEVER, a Los Angeles Times article that was written in March of 2011, by Scott Harrison, seems to have uncovered an ugly truth regarding the photo of the “Battle”. Simon Elliot, a researcher at the Department of Special Collections at U.C.L.A. uncovered the original photos and negatives in the L.A. Times Photographic Archive, which is held at U.C.L.A. Following extensive analysis of the collection, it has been proven that the photo was retouched at the L.A. Times prior to being published on February 26, 1942. Furthermore, the photograph was retouched again when it was reprinted in the 1945 article.
- An extensive study of the eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Los Angeles, by StrangeHistory.org, discovered that dozens of people in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Torrance, Long Beach and Huntington Beach clearly saw an “object” in the skies over L.A. that morning. Many saw U.S. military aircraft patrolling the skies over Southern California; HOWEVER, the eyewitness accounts of the “object” vary. Of twelve witness accounts analyzed, the size and shape of the object do not match. Descriptions of the “object” have it measuring 16 to 80 feet long, bell shaped, oblong and even round in shape and moving at 10 to 200 miles per hour. The aircraft that were seen that morning were, without question, warplanes of the 14th Interceptor Air Command however, descriptions of the groupings of planes also seem to vary from witness to witness from 5 planes to formations of 25 planes.
“....we were convinced that it was a “Jap” reconnaissance plane,....” Scott Littleton, witness
StrangeHistory.org Theory – Douglas/North America reported to the 14th Interceptor Air Command (Army) that one of their barrage balloons had become untethered from its mooring in El Segundo, Calf., shortly after dark on February 24th. At 7:18 P.M., Naval Intelligence issued a warning as flares and lights had been seen near defense plants in the area. It was later revealed that Douglas was trying to find its balloon.
At 2:15 A.M. on the 25th, a balloon with lights was reported near Culver City by civilians, police and military lookouts. A blackout of L.A. and surrounding areas was ordered and the 37th Coast Artillery was ordered to fire on the balloon. Other gun batteries began to join in on the firing as all coast artillery batteries had been put on high alert. At 2:21 A.M., General Dewitt, realizing that the situation had escalated to an unexpected level, ordered the cease fire, however, because of slow communications, the firing continued.
The balloon, aka the “object”, would continue to be seen until 3:30 A.M. and sporadic firing could be heard until 4 A.M. On the day of the 25th, Secretary Knox, realizing the mistakes that had been made in the communications between Douglas/North America, local officials, the Army and civilian gun batteries and Naval Intelligence, called the incident a “false alarm”. Newspapers claimed that a cover-up had been perpetrated.
Nearly seventy years later technology proves that the object in the film reel was smoke from the anti-aircraft fire and the photo of the “object” was unclear at best, and retouched by the Los Angeles Times.
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