On the night of February 25, 1942, US air defense fired thousands of projectiles on imaginary enemy. Later it turned out that this was a case of “military hysteria” but some claim it was a war of the worlds between humans and aliens.
“The air battle flares up over Los Angeles,” “Los Angeles attacked.” Inhabitants of Los Angeles greedily read such headlines on February 25, 1942. Last night they were awakened by the howling of sirens and the sounds of battle.
What happened? February 24, 1942: The armed forces of the United States were put on high alert. Three months before, the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Americans were dragged into the Second World War. The day before, a Japanese submarine fired at an oil field in Elwood, California. On February 24, naval intelligence warned of the possibility of another attack within the next 10 hours. In the evening, observers reported the appearance of luminous points in the sky. At 19 hours 18 minutes, an air alert was announced, at 22 hours 23 minutes again canceled.
Then, at 2:15 am, the radar caught an unidentified flying object in the sky west of Los Angeles. The sirens howled throughout the city. Blackout was applied, the lighting was switched off. An hour later the air defense systems opened fire. The fire lasted an hour, in total 1400 projectiles were fired into the sky.
Reports from eyewitnesses were contradictory: it was reported that there were several planes, or several hundred that flew over the city at a speed that was unusually low, then on the contrary – over 200 miles per hour.
Up to 6 dead
At 7 hours and 21 minutes the sirens announced the cancellation of the alarm. In the daylight it became clear: not one enemy bomb fell on the city. Some houses were slightly damaged by air defense fire. In addition, at least 6 victims were found died from falling shrapnel, accidents during blackouts and – at least in one case – from a heart attack caused by the event. Noone enemy aircraft was shot down, no debris was found on the ground. Just hours after the abolition of high alert, Secretary of the US Navy Frank Knox told the press that “it was a” false alarm “, the cause of which was “nervous overstrain”.
A few days later, the War Office, however, stated that there were “one to five aircrafts” over Los Angeles. These planes allegedly took off from either a secret base in Mexico or from Japanese submarines. Their goal was to find out the level of air defense or to undermine the spirit of the civilian population. This discrepancy in official data outraged the public, various theories began to emerge, the number of which has been growing up to now.
“The Case of Military Hysteria”
Already after the war, the Japanese said that they did not send any planes to California that day. In 1983, the “Office for the History of the US Air Force” concluded that it was a case of “military hysteria”, provoked, presumably, by a weather balloon. After the US air defense began firing, the fire and smoke from their own shots made it impossible for an accurate observation.
War of the worlds
According to another theory, the alarm was not announced because of the weather balloon, but because of the balls that the soldiers themselves launched. One former soldier told that they then launched balloons with metal wire to test the radar. It must have been brought back by the wind. UFOlogists still say that this was nothing but the war of the worlds between humans and extraterrestrials. That night, a photo was made, which was published by “LATimes”. While some see spotlight searchlights and exploding grenades on it, UFO fans will recognize a flying saucer on it . But the picture was very fuzzy: it must have been processed in the Times to increase the dramatic effect.
Apparently, this mystery, which entered the history of California as a “battle for Los Angeles”, will never be solved. Was this a real war of the worlds? What do you think? Die Presse