Timeline of Events
On February 25 1942 in Los Angeles, California, air raid sirens began going off at around 2:25 AM and a county wide blackout occured. At 3:16 AM the U.S. military began firing artillery at Unidentified Flying Objects. This fire lasted until 4:14 AM as the objects moved from Santa Monica to Long Beach. At 7:21 AM the aircraft had left and the all clear was given. It is believed that at least one of the objects was hit but continued to fly. 6 people died as a result of the bombardment, 3 from direct hits and 3 from stress induced heart attacks.
Cover Up The government reported that the hour long bombardment was simply a "false alarm". The media immediately wondered why the U.S. Navy would waste a 12.8 pound artillery for an hour, killing 3 directly, if there was nothing there.
Aftermath The press reported the incident the next day and some extraordinary images of converging searchlights converging over the city were printed. No one at the time talked about UFOs. The Japanese were the prime suspects. Some speculated that the aircraft might have been launched from a nearby submarine. Secretary of the Navy Knox was quoted as saying that the whole thing was a false alarm caused by “jittery nerves”. The local Air Force, however, maintained that there had indeed been anomalous aircraft in the sky that night.
It was only in later years that the Battle of Los Angeles, as it came to be called, was regarded as a precursor to the UFO phenomenon. Photographs of the night's events were studied and some claimed to be able to detect a classic flying saucer shape illuminated in the searchlights' beams.