The Battle of Los Angeles

Did this really happen? Considering that the author of the article works with Art Bell I’ve got my doubts.

There was a real Battle of Los Angeles on January 9, 1847 between U.S. and Mexican forces. The Mexican forces lost and signed the Cahuenga Capitulation Treaty.

It is sometimes referred to as the Battle of La Mesa.

My mom was living in Arcadia at the time and my grandparents did tell me that they did have some blackouts back then, fearing an attack of the Japanese, but they never did say anything about aliens and anti-aircraft shells being used. So I believe the blackouts were real, but I would be skeptical of the other stuff.

Oh, the blackouts were most definately real. In fact, the “air raid wardens” became something of a running gag in WB cartoons (“Hey, you! Put out that light!”) at one point. I can see a lost weather balloon or observation balloon getting fired upon during that time, since there was a bit of hysteria in the early days of the war.

This site provides a fairly neutral account of the “attack” with a plausible (but not confirmed) version of what might have happened at the end of the page.

I will also note that the photograph that figures prominently in several web pages on the event appears, to me, to have been doctored–if it was not created as a fraud to begin with. Note the searchlight beams. Every light that reaches the object fans out to be just as wide as the target where they meet, regardless of the direction from which it appears to have originated. This is not the way that searchlightrs appear from the ground. (A bad photo does not prove anything about the story, but a doctored photo does nothing to enhance any version’s credibility.

It hsould be noted that a Japanese sub did shell some oil fields near Santa Barbara on Feb 23, 1942, the day before the Great Los Angeles “air raid”. After Pearl Harbor not even three months before, do you think the not very well trained gun crews were nervous the night of the 24th? I do.
My guess is one guy thought he saw something, and fired. Then mass hysteria took over and everybody started shooting.
no UFOs, just some untrained guys maning the guns.

It looks like it’s been poorly “enhanced” – back then, if the photo didn’t come out well, they’d retouch it by taking a pointy object to the copper printing plate, sometimes with rather cartoonish results.

Wasn’t this event, the basis for this movie ?

The ineffective shelling of the oil refinery by a Japanese submarine (in 1942) certainly was included in the movie 1941, but I suspect that it is giving both the incident and the movie too much weight to make it the basis of the film.

Blackouts and brownouts along all US coasts were in place to reduce silhoutteing of coastwise shipping against the coastal lights. On the east coast this silhouetteing made German Uboats’ job real easy.

Blackouts further inland, such as in Arcadia, were more a product of overheated imaginations than anything else. However, at the time the possiblity of air attacks was thought to be realism.

The General Dynamics factory in Pomona occupies a complex that was built there in WWII so as to be beyond the range of naval guns off the coast. The Lockheed Aircraft factory in Burbank was camouflaged with trees and other things like fake houses erected on the building roofs.

Yes, and historically accurate I might add. I particularly liked John Belushi’s touching performance of Captain Wild Bill Kelso. :smiley:

This thread reminds me of the movie I’ll Remember April, a really bad movie set in Los Angeles during WWII. The director had absolutely no concept of conflict or tension, as every tense moment would immediately be deflated by something stupid. For example:

“Son, I’ve decided your punishment, you are grounded for three weeks…” (Oh no! Who will take care of the fugitive Japanese soldier they found?!?)
“…but I’m suspending your punishment until your Japanese friend gets shipped off to Manzanar.” (Phew!)

But the worst moment came when the air raid sirens suddenly went off, and the whole family cowers in the bedroom, waiting, waiting, until…hey, it’s the all-clear! It was only a drill! WELL OF COURSE IT’S A DRILL, YOU IDIOTS! YOU’RE IN FUCKING LOS ANGELES!! I mean, compare that with the scene in Hope and Glory where the English family is hiding under the stairs, counting the seconds between bomb explosions, and realizing the next one will either hit their house or the cantankerous old lady next door…

Yeah, but the best scene in Hope and Glory has to be where the school get’s bombed, and the kids are all dancing and cheering, with at least one of them saying, “I love Hitler!” :eek:

Actually he says, “Thank you, Adolf!” but yeah, that was a great scene. :smiley:

I’ve found a couple of apparently authentic websites confirming that the “battle” did take place, though there were never any final conclusions as to what everyone was shooting at.

The Viryual Museum of the City of San Francisco and The Los Angeles Almanac.

…and Kaiser Steel was located further inland because of this fear.

A friends mother who still lives in Santa Barbara remembered the Goleta bombardment at the time as a much more benign–“Well we all thought that it was thunder.”