(From WIKIPEDIA) The Battle of Los Angeles is the name given by contemporary news agencies to a sighting of one or more unidentified flying objects which took place from late February 24 to early February 25, 1942 in which eyewitness reports of an unknown object or objects over Los Angeles, California, triggered a massive anti-aircraft artillery barrage. The Los Angeles incident occurred less than three months after America's entry into World War II as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Initially the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it was later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon or psychological warfare technique, staged for the benefit of coastal industrial sites, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects allegedly remains "unknown".Prior to the incident in Los Angeles, the Ellwood shelling, in which the Japanese submarine I-17 surfaced and fired on an oil production facility near Santa Barbara, had occurred on February 23, 1942. Reports indicated that afterwards the submarine was heading south, the general direction of Los Angeles.
Unidentified objects were reported over Los Angeles during the night of February 24 and the early morning hours of February 25, 1942. Air raid sirens were sounded throughout Los Angeles County at 2:25 a.m. and a total blackout was ordered. Thousands of air raid wardens were summoned to their positions.
At 3:16 a.m. on February 25, the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells into the air at the object(s); over 1400 shells would eventually be fired . Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but their aircraft remained grounded. The artillery fire continued sporadically until 4:14 a.m. The objects were said to have taken about 20 minutes to have moved from over Santa Monica to above Long Beach. The "all clear" was sounded and the blackout order lifted at 7:21 a.m.
In addition to several buildings damaged by friendly fire, three civilians were killed by the anti-aircraft fire, and another three died of heart attacks attributed to the stress of the hour-long bombardment.
The incident was front-page news along the U.S. Pacific coast, and earned some mass media coverage throughout the nation. One Los Angeles Herald Express writer who observed some of the incident insisted that several anti-aircraft shells had struck one of the objects, and he was stunned that the object had not been downed. Reporter Bill Henry of the Los Angeles Times wrote , "I was far enough away to see an object without being able to identify it ... I would be willing to bet what shekels I have that there were a number of direct hits scored on the object."Editor Peter Jenkins of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner reported, "I could clearly see the V formation of about 25 silvery planes overhead moving slowly across the sky toward Long Beach." Long Beach Police Chief J.H. McClelland said "I watched what was described as the second wave of planes from atop the seven-story Long Beach City Hall. I did not see any planes but the younger men with me said they could. An experienced Navy observer with powerful Carl Zeiss binoculars said he counted nine planes in the cone of the searchlight. He said they were silver in color. The group passed along from one battery of searchlights to another, and under fire from the anti-aircraft guns, flew from the direction of Redondo Beach and Inglewood on the land side of Fort MacArthur, and continued toward Santa Ana and Huntington Beach. Anti-aircraft fire was so heavy we could not hear the motors of the planes.
1942: Gen. Marshall's memo to Pres. Roosevelt
In 1974, due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a memorandum regarding the incident was released. Written by General George C. Marshall for President Franklin Roosevelt, and dated February 26, 1942, Marshall wrote that the "Air Raid" incident was due to "unidentified airplanes, other than American Army or Navy planes [which] were probably sighted over Los Angeles [and moved from] 'very slow' to as much as 200 mph and from elevations of 9000 to 18,000 feet." Because the objects did not seem to be part of any attack, Marshall speculated that the craft might have been commercial airplanes used as a sort of psychological warfare campaign to generate panic. This very likely was the Chief of Staff report cited by Secretary of War Stimson in his press statement the same day.
1942: Questionable Marshall/Roosevelt memo of incident as UFO event
A top secret document of questioned authenticity (see Majestic 12), dated March 5, 1942, from Gen. Marshall to President Roosevelt, says that the Army had supposedly recovered an unconventional craft east of Los Angeles and Rear Admiral Walter S. Anderson, chief of Naval intelligence, had also informed the War Department that the Navy had "...recovered an unidentified airplane off the coast of California... with no bearing on conventional explanation... This Headquarters has come to the determination that the mystery airplanes are in fact not earthly and according to secret intelligence sources they are in all probability of interplanetary origin." Marshall then ordered the formation of a special intelligence unit to investigate the phenomenon. This supposedly was the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU).  While the IPU seemingly did exist and investigated UFO reports in some capacity, according to the Air Force Directorate of Counterintelligence, it is unknown if it had any connection to the Los Angeles incident or even whether it existed in 1942.
For further reading, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Los_AngelesArticle by B J Booth,
About Dot Com:
"It was just hovering there in the sky and hardly moving at all. It was a lovely pale orange and about the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. I could see it perfectly because it was very close. It was big!"
"It was like the Fourth of July but much louder. They were firing like crazy but they couldn't touch it."
"I'll never forget what a magnificent sight it was. Just marvelous. And what a gorgeous color!" she said.FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES, VISIT:
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ARTICLE FROM TIME MAGAZINE
15 January 1945
Their descriptions of the apparition varied, but they agreed that the mysterious flares stuck close to their planes and appeared to follow them at high speed for miles. One pilot said that a foo-fighter, appearing as red balls off his wing tips, stuck with him until he dove at 360 miles an hour; then the balls zoomed up into the sky.
Skeptical scientists, baffled by the whole affair, were inclined to dismiss the fireballs as an illusion, perhaps an afterimage of light which remained in the pilots' eyes after they had been dazzled by flak bursts.
But front-line correspondents and armchair experts had a Buck Rogers field day. They solemnly guessed: 1) that the balls of fire were radio-controlled (an obvious absurdity, since they could not be synchronized with a plane's movements by remote control); 2) that they were created by "electrical induction of some sort"; 3) that they were attracted to a plane by magnetism.
The correspondents further guessed that foo-fighters were intended: 1) to dazzle pilots; 2) to serve as aiming points for antiaircraft gunners; 3) to interfere with a plane's radar; 4) to cut a plane's ignition, thus stop its engine in midair.
Some scientists suggested another possibility: that the fireballs were nothing more than St. Elmo's Fire, a reddish, brushlike discharge of atmospheric electricity which has often been seen near the tips of church steeples, ships' masts and yardarms. It often appears at a plane's wing tips.
ARTICLE FROM WIKIPEDIA
The first sightings occurred in November 1944, when pilots flying over Germany by night reported seeing fast-moving round glowing objects following their aircraft. The objects were variously described as fiery, and glowing red, white, or orange. Some pilots described them as resembling Christmas tree lights and reported that they seemed to toy with the aircraft, making wild turns before simply vanishing. Pilots and aircrew reported that the objects flew formation with their aircraft and behaved as if under intelligent control, but never displayed hostile behavior. However, they could not be outmaneuvered or shot down. The phenomenon was so widespread that the lights earned a name - in the European Theater of Operations they were often called "kraut fireballs" but for the most part called "foo-fighters".
The military took the sightings seriously, suspecting that the mysterious sightings might be secret German weapons, but further investigation revealed that German and Japanese pilots had reported similar sightings. In its 15 January 1945 edition TIME magazine carried a story entitled "Foo-Fighter", in which it reported that the "balls of fire" had been following USAAF night fighters for over a month, and that the pilots had named it the "foo-fighter". According to TIME, descriptions of the phenomena varied, but the pilots agreed that the mysterious lights followed their aircraft closely at high speed. Some scientists at the time rationalized the sightings as an illusion probably caused by afterimages of dazzle caused by flak bursts, while others suggested St. Elmo's Fire as an explanation. The "balls of fire" phenomenon reported from the Pacific Theater of Operations differed somewhat from the foo fighters reported from Europe; the "ball of fire" resembled a large burning sphere which "just hung in the sky", though it was reported to sometimes follow aircraft. On one occasion, the gunner of a B-29 aircraft managed to hit one with gunfire, causing it to break up into several large pieces which fell on buildings below and set them on fire. As with the European foo fighters, no aircraft was reported as having been attacked by a "ball of fire."