Battle of Los Angeles - UFO or what?

Hello all, sorry if this has been posted before but I can’t search as a guest. I looked through the first four pages of GQ, though, and couldn’t find anything in the archives.

I’ve been hearing about the “Battle of LA” for a while. When I first heard about it I thought the guy was referring to the Rodney King riots, but apparently not. The story goes that a UFO appeared over LA in 1942 and was peppered with AA fire for over an hour before disappearing. Reports seem to be conflicting, though, and to the best of my knowledge this was before the whole UFO craze so maybe it didn’t get the attention then that it would today.

Here’s Wikipedia’s take on it:

So what’s the deal here? Was it aliens or a government conspiracy or what?

I vote “what”.

The term “UFO” stands for “Unidentified Flying Object”

Early 1942 was a scant few days after Pearl Harbor, & everybody had “Invasion Jitters”–they all thought the Japanese would wade ashore & invade.

However, the wartime mindset hadn’t sunk in well. Blackout conditions, mandated by law, were violated. Radio stations were rather careless, still broadcasting, live, call-in shows, which could have been used to send coded messages by enemy spies.

That “UFO” was simply unidentified! It could have been a military patrol, flying off course. It could have been a cloud! Or anything! The anti-aircraft boys were so scared, they’d have shot Santa Claus.

My money is on a drunk, flying his private plane, & ignoring the wartime regs. He’s lucky that nobody knew what happened, or they’d have tossed his kiester in slam, but quick!

Quite possibly a panicky reaction to this which was real and only one day previous to the Battle of Los Angeles.

For non-Californians, Goleta is just west of Santa Barbara and about 60 miles west (approx. 285[sup]o[/sup] true. WEST not NORTH, do you read me?) of Los Angles

And it’s Los Angeles. Do you read me?

The number of famous UFO sightings that are centered in areas with high military activity never ceases to amaze me.

Area 51, sightings around bases in England. It goes on and on.

For many, the conclusion seems obvious: Aliens are really attracted to military bases that have fancy planes and things.

As Dave pointed out, the night before there really was an attack by a Japanese submarine on Goleta.
In addition the night of the 24th Naval intellegence issued an warning that an attack could come in the next 10 hours.
an alert was called at 7:18PM and lifted at 11:23 PM. A second alert was sounded at 2:15 AM and the anticraft batteries were put on Green alert ready to fire.
All that and more from here
The upshot is that the primitive radar of the day picked up something, or thought they did. The guns were told to be ready to fire. A gunner thought he saw something and opened fire. Then it went downhill from there as everybody else opened fire, panic breeds panic as everybody thought that this was Pearl Harbor version 2.0