"At 0144 an SCR-268 picked up an unidentifiable aerial target 120 miles west of Los Angeles...well tracked by radar."
History of the 4th AA Command, Western Defense Command,
January 9 1942 -July 1, 1945, Chapter V Defense Operations on the West Coast.
(3)Par 5, App B, Doc 29 (Conference Report, 25 Feb 42)
In the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, a diligent, albeit sleepy-eyed military crew, like they always did every night, were manning the equipment and scopes of a secret radar site tucked into the bluffs and hills along an isolated section of the California coastline. Typical of the site, nothing ever happened, at least that was not routinely boring. However, on this night, at 0144 AM in the morning something changed. They picked up an unidentified aerial target on a south to east trajectory out over the Pacific exhibiting if nothing else, an exceedingly high rate of speed, an object that a few years later would be construed as a UFO or flying saucer. However, when the object was sighted it was wartime and a whole different set of perils were tantamount.
Sixteen minutes later, after receiving data from two additional radar sites down it's path, the object was backtracked to a confirmed position 120 miles west of, and quickly closing in on, the city of Los Angeles. At 2:15 AM Los Angeles area anti-aircraft batteries were put on Green Alert --- ready to fire --- and at 2:21 AM the regional controller ordered a blackout. Then, several minutes shy of passing into the city of Santa Monica's air space and the path of the waiting anti-aircraft guns, the object vanished. Nineteen minutes later residents of the Pacific Palisades and the surrounding area observed a huge airborne object east of them rising up over the Santa Monica Mountains from out of the north. At 3:06 AM at least four of the Santa Monica area anti-aircraft batteries turned inland toward the object and started firing out over the city following it's track toward Baldwin Hills, and suddenly "the air over Los Angeles erupted like a volcano." Thus began the Battle of Los Angeles.
No matter how scathed or unscathed the region ended during that pre-dawn battle with an unidentified marauder, two months earlier, Christmas day, 1941, the Los Angeles area came within seconds of another major attack --- only by the same instigators as Pearl Harbor, the Japanese. While the proposed Christmas day attack would not have approached anything near the massive destruction of the Hawaiian raid, the psychological damage would have been devastating, and for sure the physical damage would have been a great deal worse than anything the later Battle of L.A. left behind.
The two events were not related. History has revealed all the workings behind the unfulfilled Christmas day attack by the Japanese and the reasons behind its last minute cancellation. However, nothing but speculation has surfaced trying to resolve the mystery surrounding the giant unidentified object that was seen by thousands that had the ability to withstand several hours of continous pounding from anti-aircraft shells, all the while staying aloft and seemingly escaping without damage. The mystery continues to remain because after the war, although the Japanese admitted responsibility for a number of hostile acts against the United States along the Pacific coast, they insisted they had absolutely no hand whatsoever in any of the events, major or minor, that led up to or transpired over Los Angeles on February 25, 1942.
The Japanese efforts they DID admit to all started on December 14, 1941, seven days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) ordered a number of submarines to the west coast of the United States to attack shipping.
The Imperial General Headquarters issued an expanded set of orders over the head of the IJN to also initiate attacks against the continental mainland, i.e., shell and/or bomb the U.S. West Coast. To meet the immediacy of those orders --- with no traditional warships remotely in the pipeline or close by --- Vice Admiral Shimizu issued a detailed order for the submarines already dispatched to the area to comply. Those submarines, all aircraft equipped, were the I-9, I-10, I-15, I-17, I-19, I-21, I-23, I-25 and I-26. Shimizu's orders were for each of the submarines to fire 30 shells on Christmas night, December 25, 1941, into high profile targets along the Pacific coast. To underscore the level of importance the Japanese high command put into the successful execution of the plan, one of the submarines, the I-9, even carried a Rear Admiral.
On December 22, 1941, three days before the attack was to be pulled off, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the Commander in Chief, Combined Fleet, postponed the Christmas night attack until December 27th apparently because on that same day, the 22nd, the Japanese Combined Fleet Intelligence Bureau intercepted transmissions that seemed to impy three U.S. battleships, the Mississippi, New Mexico and the Idaho, were steaming toward the west coast. Vice Admiral Shimizu redirected the I-9 which was on orders to Panama from Oregon, I-17, I-19 and the I-25 to rendezvous in an area considered safe some distance off the southern California coast near Mexico to coordinate plans to intercept and engage the battleships reported to be arriving in Los Angeles December 25th. The intelligence proved faulty and efforts returned to the original shelling orders --- only this time having THREE subs out of a total of nine concentrated right on top of the Los Angeles strike zone instead of being dispersed individually up and down all along the length of the coast. The I-9, and most likely joined by the I-10, continued south toward Panama possibly taking on fuel and fresh supplies at the La Palma Secret Base hewed out of the jungle-like estuaries by the Japanese along Mexico's southern Pacific Coast in the state of Chiapas. On Christmas day, December 25th, one of the three remaining submarines, the I-19, taking up a position in the narrow channel between Santa Catalina Island and the mainland just off Point Fermin near San Pedro, and possibly leaning rogue or breaking rank, torpedoed and damaged the unarmed U.S. freighter Absaroka. Although the Absaroka settled up to her main deck within minutes and abandoned, the crew reboarded her and a Navy tug towed her to a strip of sand below Fort MacArthur and beached. Such a blatant attack a mile off Point Fermin within eyesight of the Naval shipyards on Terminal Island and on Christmas day besides, set off a whole slew of concerns and heightened alerts by the Americans and possibly undermined the potential outcome of an attack by the Japanese on the 27th.
As for the submarines, all four primed for the December 27th attack were aircraft equipped. The I-19 was said to be carrying a Type 96 Watanabe E9W1 "Slim" Floatplane with a range of 550 miles and a top speed of 186 MPH and a two person crew. It carried one fixed forward-firing .308 machine gun and one flexible rear-firing .308 machine gun and two bombs. The I-17 and the I-25 were carrying the Yokosuka E14Y Floatplane with a range of 550 miles and top speed of 150 MPH. The E14Y carried a two person crew: the pilot and an observer, with the observer sitting aft of the pilot manning a .308 rear mounted machine gun. It also had the capability of carrying two to four bombs or one torpedo. Even though on the surface of things it would appear that utilizing the planes would allow for a much better ability to select specific targets and inflict greater damage over a longer range and farther inland than the deck guns on the submarines they were NOT designated within the orders as an integral part of the operational plans.
There were two major weaknesses to their use. One was the logistics of launching the plane, followed then its retrieval. While in a land attack mode the submarine had to be close enough to the coastline for the deck guns to be effective, yet still be positioned in such a way to beat a hasty retreat into deep enough water to submerge quickly in order to allow sufficient coverage of its movements and/or protection from depth charges. Launching a plane too close to shore presented problems to above-surface-exposure, which meant in a practical sense, to launch would require the sub to be some distance back because of the time needed to make the plane airworthy such as unfolding of wings, etc. On retrieval just the opposite would be true, especially at night where location lights would be needed. In any case, making the submarine a sitting duck.
At the very last minute on the same day of the rescheduled December 27th "land-attack" the Japanese General Staff totally rescinded the order, the official party line being that the shelling of densely populated areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco would result in potentially heavy civilian losses and possibly even heavier retaliation by the Americans. Vice Admiral Shimizu canceled the attack within moments of the bombardment. Which brings us to the second weakness. Radar. Once the planes were in the air they would be susceptible to exposure by radar, as too the subs would quickly become susceptible IF someone smart enough began backtracking where the planes came from. If not a suicide mission the planes would eventually have to return to their mothership. All anybody would have to do is wait. Even though the attack contingent was formidable being four boats strong, they represented nearly half of the total Japanese resources on the Pacific coast. The powers that be, regardless of party line, were reluctant to commit the use of the airplanes in an attack on Los Angeles because of radar, inturn making vulnerable their submarines.
By the end of December 1941, the Japanese submarines operating off the West Coast were low on fuel and provisions, and were ordered back to their bases in Kwajalein the Marshall Islands, to resupply and refuel.
THE I-15, TYPICAL OF THE AIRCRAFT EQUIPPED TYPE B-1 JAPANESE SUBS
The question is, what does any on the above have to do with the Battle of Los Angeles? Everything. The Japanese were reluctant to commit half of their Pacific coast resourses in an attack on L.A. in a big part, because of radar. The huge object that swept in over Los Angeles the night of the battle showed no concerns. To wit:
"Radars picked up an unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles."
The Army Air Forces in World War II
U.S. Government Printing Office
Although at the time the Japanese had a major concern with radar, many people right up to this day have an even bigger problem with the whole radar aspect of the Battle of L.A. incident. They think it is a total weak link in the events as they have been reported. Many question the validity of there being any sort of operational radar so early on the war in the first place. If so, they ask, was there any in the L.A. area? If there was, with present day reports saying how rudimentary and ineffective the equipment was, how was it they were able to read as far out as 120 miles? If they did, how could it be done with any amount of accuracy, at least to such a point that any reading could be confirmed with certainty? All valid questions, but what about answers.
First, in those days there were basically only two operational radar systems or modifications of same of any note in general use, the SCR-268 and the SCR-270. Depending on placement, the SCR-268 had a range of 22 miles and the SCR-270, 120 miles. The "depending on placement" caveat has to do with obstructions in the path of the sweep, altitude above sea level, etc. For example, taking in consideration the curvature of the earth, the range of the SCR-270 if placed at sea level is 110 miles if the target is at an altitude of 25,000 feet. The unit has the potential ability to extend the range if it was placed significantly above sea level, or if the target was above 25,000 feet.
It was a SCR-270 that was being operated by a training crew that first detected the approach of Japanese aircraft more than a half hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The planes were detected approaching Oahu at 7:02 AM Hawaiian Time at a distance of 130 miles. The attack on Pearl Harbor is usually given as 7:48 AM, 46 minutes later. The radar site was located high up on the northern tip of the island, and, even though it was a training site and not online at full operational status, it WAS in operation in 1941 and it DID detect incoming aircraft 130 miles out.
Not even two months after the cancelled December 27th attack on Los Angeles when, at 7:15 PM on February 23, 1942, one of the four sub attack L.A. quartet, the I-17, continuing an effort to carry out the Imperial General Headquarters orders to initiate attacks against the U.S. mainland, shelled the Ellwood oil fields near the town of Goleta, 12 miles north of Santa Barbara, California. Approximately four months after that, on the nights of June 21-22, 1942, another submarine borne attack occured against U.S. soil, only not in California, but Oregon. This time it was the I-25, also a part of the cancelled attack. She unleashed 17 rounds from her deck gun toward Fort Stevens, a military installation initially constructed to guard the mouth of the Columbia River. Then, on November 9, 1942, taking advantage of a radar gap of over 400 miles that existed along the coast between Fort Bragg, California and Cape Perpetua, Oregon, the I-25 launched another attack, only this time from the air, to wit the following from the source as linked:
"On Wednesday morning, September 9, 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-25 surfaced west of Cape Blanco and launched a small seaplane piloted by Chief Flying Officer Nobuo Fujita. Fujita flew southeast over the Oregon coast, dropping incendiary bombs on Mount Emily, 10 miles northeast of Brookings.
"After Fujita's bombing run on Mount Emily, the I-25 came under attack by U.S. Army Air Corps aircraft, forcing the submarine to seek refuge on the ocean floor off Port Orford. The American attacks were unsuccessful, and Fujita was able to launch an additional bombing sortie three weeks later. Shortly after this sortie, the submarine sank the SS Camden, the SS Larry Doheny, and the Soviet (Russian) submarine L-16."(source)
The Japanese had been probing U.S. radar capability up and down the Pacific coast at least since the attack on Pearl Harbor and had a pretty good handle on where radar coverage was effective and where it was weak or nonexistent. That is why there was such a difference between the Ellwood oilfield attack, the Mt. Emily airborne attack, and no attack at all against Los Angeles December 27th. Even though the submarine that attacked the oilfields near Santa Barbara was aircraft equipped the plane was not launched because the Japanese as well as the sub captain knew that the radar along that section of the coast was at least adequate. So too, those involved with the Mt. Emily attack were well aware, as did their superiors higher up the chain, that a "radar gap" existed between Fort Bragg and Cape Perpetua allowing aircraft penetration. They just needed to test it.
Why? Because by the summer of 1942 the Japanese high command had developed a plan to set afire as much of the forested area of the Pacific Northwest as possible. By doing so, and leaving enough tracks that it was deliberately initiated through a direct attack, they hoped to draw a higher rate of attention to defense of the west coast --- in turn causing the U.S. Navy to reposition its Pacific fleet closer to the mainland. The I-25 was ordered to undertake a test mission and provided with six incendiary bombs for doing so.
At the time, although the U.S. had plans to put into place radar sites all up and down the Pacific coast, the heaviest concentration was in four general areas, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego --- mostly to ensure protection of the growing wartime aircraft production or matters affecting the fleet in those locations. Although the northern most radar site in California would soon be constructed near the outlet of the Klamath River, it was nowhere near completion if even started. The forested area between Fort Bragg and Cape Perpetua was just not considered a high priority, hence the "radar gap." The thing is, even though it now seems apparent the Japanese knew where the strongest radar coverage was or was not, most of the specific operational radar installation locations themselves were secret, at least to the wider general public.
For example, although we know now that a radar installation was set up and operational at Cape Perpetua during WW II, it was really not known until declassified documents were released well after the war. The same is true regarding operational radar stations all along the Oregon coast, including installations at Tillamook, Siletz Bay, Cape Arago and Cape Sebastian. According to the Pearl Harbor 1946 Congressional Investigation those installations operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fact that there was a secret SCR-270B radar unit operating from Cape Perpetua during WW II was not even known until recently. To this day the exact location of the Cape Perpetua radar site is still not known.
Again, what has all of that have to do with the Battle of L.A.? Well, for one thing, what was true regarding the radar installations all along the Oregon coast, that is, that they were secret, was true for the Los Angeles region as well. Although a few of the more apparent installations may have been known in the greater Los Angeles basin area, the majority of the lesser sites strung out along the coast from Fort Bragg to the Mexican border were not known, and like the Cape Perpetua site, any exact location is still not known.
Even though the Japanese were apparently unconcerned about launching aircraft in the radar gap along the Oregon coast they were hesitant to penetrate the L.A. area radar. Apparently the Battle of L.A. object had little concern, even as it was "picked up" 120 miles out. But what radar picked it up that far out? Two things are in play here. First, if you notice in the quote part way back up the page --- as found in the official U.S. Government Printing Office multi-volumn set The Army Air Forces in World War II --- the specific use of the word as "Radars" by the author. The word radar is written specifically in the plural rather than presented in the singular. Why? Because the object was picked up by more than one radar site. The use of the word "radars" meaning more than one, as well as "120 miles west of Los Angeles" and a SCR-268 being the type of radar used, although written over and over in a million ways, emmantes from a single source:
"At 0144 an SCR-268 (3-T-4) picked up an unidentifiable aerial target (confirmed by two 270s); at 0200 there appeared on the Information Center's Operation Board an unidentified "target 120 miles west of Los Angeles...well tracked by radar, by 1st Lt Kenneth R. Martin."
History of the 4th AA Command, Western Defense Command,
January 9 1942 -July 1, 1945, Chapter V Defense Operations on the West Coast.
(3)Par 5, App B, Doc 29 (Conference Report, 25 Feb 42)
Battle of L.A. lore has it, and is comfirmed as much from the above source, that the first radar contact with the unknown object was done by a SCR-268. That is where critics usually aim their barbs because the operational range of a SCR-268 is only 22 miles. If such was the case, how was it able to detect an incoming object 120 miles out? The mistake is either misinterpreting what is said or reading into the sentence something that is not there. It has to do with the location of the operational radar site in question. By the end of December 1941 there were 10 sites along the Pacific coast in operation. By the end of May 1942 there were 25 and by late June 1943 there were 38 up and running out of a planned network of 72 proposed stations (65 of which were actually built) stretching all along the Pacific coast from the Canadian border into Baja Mexico. Of the early sites, the heaviest concentration was for the protection of Los Angeles, of which one was one of the original 10 to 25 sites in operation that initially picked up the object 120 miles out. The mistake is in thinking that SCR-268 site was located in Los Angeles proper. It was not. Actually it was located along a cliff-side overlook on land that would soon become Camp Cooke (later Vandenburg AFB) between Point Sal and Point Purisima, 25 or so miles directly center-west of a north-south line drawn between the city of Santa Maria and Lompoc. The site had a clean unobstructed radar sweep over the open Pacific for its entire 22 mile range --- and, like the Cape Perpetua site --- it was classified and its exact specific location is still not known with any amount of reliability to this day (some say it was not along the coastal bluffs, but on the upper slopes or summit of Mt. Lospe, others say it was closer to Point Conception). The two 270s that confirmed the 268 were most likely "around the corner" east and south of Point Conception, with one probably on one of the Channel Islands and the other south along the coast toward Goleta, neither with very much or any overlapping of the 268.
All of the officers and men associated with the day-to-day operation of the site are either dead, in their 90s, or sitting on top of their 90s. Since none of them have come forward that I know of, the exact physical spot that the SCR-268 sat on the ground may never be known. However, the fact that it existed and its general location north of and quite some distance west of Los Angeles along the coast not far from Santa Maria IS known (see below). Adding that distance to the 268's 22 mile range, put the object well beyond 120 miles from Los Angeles. However, the 0144 radar reading does not include any distance reference, it simply says at 0144 it picked up an unidentifiable aerial target. It was what appeared (i.e., posted) on the Information Center's Operation Board at 0200, sixteen minutes AFTER the 0144 report, that read an unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles...well tracked by radar. The following reported by Major Milton E. Durham from the same source as the last quote above:
Durham says "as the target approached from the Santa Maria area, still well tracked." Santa Maria is north of Lompoc, the SCR-268 site was west of both cities centered about half way between them, right on the coast. The 268 picked up the aerial target a 0144. Durham says it approached from the Santa Maria area, meaning the 268 radar sweep painted the object somewhere slightly northwest of itself within it's range over the Pacific. The 120 miles west of Los Angeles came from the difference in time of when the object was reported, 0144, and the sixteen minute later posting on the Information Center's Operation Board. Even though the 268 site picked up the object further out than that from Los Angeles initially, the message appearing on the board took into consideration the difference in travel time of the object over that sixteen minute period as tracked by the two confirming SRC-270 sites.
In 1983 the U.S. Government Printing Office released a multi-volume set titled The Army Air Forces in World War II, edited by Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate. In Volume I, Chapter III, Section 8, page 283, there is found what is nothing short of an official confirmation to the above scenario although elaborated, their quote below, cited as coming the Fourth Air Force Historical Study III-2, p. 31:
"Radars picked up an unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles. Antiaircraft batteries were alerted at 0215 and were put on Green Alert 'ready to fire' a few minutes later. The AAF kept its pursuit planes on the ground, preferring to await indications of the scale and direction of any attack before committing its limited fighter force. Radars tracked the approaching target to within a few miles of the coast, and at 0221 the regional controller ordered a blackout. Thereafter the information center was flooded with reports of 'enemy planes,' even though the mysterious object tracked in from sea seems to have vanished."
According to the Fourth Air Force Historical Study III-2 thus cited, the mysterious object, after being tracked since 0144 over the ocean west of Santa Maria all the way around Point Conception moving toward Los Angeles, suddenly just "vanished." Exploring how the object could have simply vanished after such strong radar results, UFO Over L.A. suggests it reduced it's speed to a near crawl some 50 miles out, turning inland somewhere near Point Dume:
"Scattered eyewittness accounts from years later pick up the object apparently dropping down into the radar shadow by hugging the mostly unpopulated ridge-line along the north side of the Santa Monica mountains in an easterly direction. It then turned south in the gap in the mountains around Sepulveda Boulevard and Mullholland Drive coming in BEHIND the aimed direction of the majority of the anti-aircraft guns and any possible radar or long range listening devices. In a continuing steeply angled climb out of the Santa Monica mountains the object curved slightly to the east around and well above the 511 foot altitude of Baldwin Hills in what appeared to be a concerted effort to stay away from all the potential aircraft and armament associated with Mines Field (now LAX). The object turned westward toward the ocean coming out over the aircraft manufacturing plants near the El Segundo tank farm, then, dropping altitude, south along the coast."
The huge airborne object could have easily been out over the channel paralleling the string of lights sprinkled vaguely along the edge of the coastline from Santa Barbara toward the huge concentration of bright lights emmanating from the city of Los Angeles. When the blackout occured and the whole area suddenly went dark, like hearing a rattlesnake in the bushes, quickly or automatically changing directions may have been simply part of a survival mode. One eyewitness, William "Bill" Stout, a sailor stationed at Point Hueneme and Point Mugu near Ventura, California, was in the process of putting a spare tire on his car after getting a flat late at night near the small community of Agoura just east into the Santa Monica mountains from Point Dume. When he was done he was sat beside the road for a couple of minutes having a cigarette when a huge gigantic flying thing not much higher than the tops of the trees that looked like an upsidedown life raft --- and not making a sound, but all the while blocking out a good portion of the night sky and most of the stars --- slowly crossed overhead curving toward the east after coming out of a more south southwest direction.
A second eyewitness, C. Scott Littleton, who observed the object pass right past his house just beyond the surfline along the Strand in Hermosa Beach writes:
"I have pretty well determined the craft’s path before it appeared in the sky over Hermosa Beach. It was initially observed by several residents of the Pacific Palisades rising over the Santa Monica Mountains around 2:45 a.m. From there, it seems to have moved southeast across Santa Monica and West L.A. in the direction of the Baldwin Hills, which separate Culver City from Inglewood and the flatlands to the south.
"Several residents who lived just north of the Baldwin Hills saw it clearly. From their reports, it was round with a slight hump in the middle. A woman named Katie, who observed it from the window of her home, stated that it was huge, elliptical in shape, and suffused with a brilliant, orange glow."
After the object moved southeast across Santa Monica and West L.A. passing east of Baldwin Hills it circled west toward El Segundo. Reaching the coast it turned south passing in front of Littleton's house. It continued along the coast in a southerly direction turning inland near Redondo Beach. Littleton, the avowed specialist on the Battle of Los Angeles, speaking now of a third witness picking up the trail of the object south of him over Redondo Beach, writes:
"However, we can now tentatively pick it up over Redondo. Another possible eyewitness, who claims to have lived in Redondo Beach has recently come to my attention. He --- I've yet to discover his name --- says that he recalls watching the craft descend as it passed slowly over his family home on Irena Street(actually Lucia Street), which is about a mile back from the ocean. The man also claims that his father at first thought it was coming in for a landing, perhaps at the nearby Lomita airstrip, and that the latter and several neighbors jumped into a pickup truck and tried to follow the object. But apparently it soon regained altitude and passed over the Palos Verdes Hills to the south (actually between Palos Verdes on the west and Signal Hill on the east). (source)
Littleton, although willing to use the observance of the object by the Redondo Beach resident in his own works because they substantiate his observations, has a tendency to overlay the observations with a wisp of skepticism --- primarily aimed at the Redondo Beach man himself. However, in an article about the Redondo madam Fifie Malouf, the following paragraph, wherein a conversation between two ex-marines and one of Malouf's associates in Malouf's Happy Hour Cafe circa 1946 or so, offers up a similar observation to that of the Redondo Beach resident, and of which would have happened only minutes before because of the closeness in proximity of the two locations and that of the observers:
"In August 1942 he was on Tulagi Island, a short distance southwest of Guadalcanal when he and a bunch of other marines observed some sort of flying objects that were different than anything he had ever seen. He said they were round and nearly flat, shaped almost like an upside down tin pie plate, with no wings or fuselage, glistening with a silver sheen. With that one of the women butted in and told the ex-marine that was nothing because one night in February 1942 right there on the Strand a huge, giant object, as big as a locomotive, came in off the ocean and flew right over the top of the Happy Hour Cafe and the apartments. She had heard a ruckus going on outside, sirens, guns firing, all kinds of stuff, so she went out on to the Strand only to see this "thing" a few hundred feet above the beach slowly glide overhead off the ocean, not making a sound and, because of its length, taking forever to pass over."
The Happy Hour Cafe was located on the beach-level corner of one of the apartments owned by Malouf, along with several others, at 300-400 The Strand, Redondo Beach --- between the Edison steamplant and the Redondo pier --- the exact place the object is said to have flown over (none of the buildings in question along the Strand or that portion of the Strand exits today, first wiped out by powerful storms in 1953, and later to be torn out for redevelopment).
A fourth eyewitness, or fifth if you count the woman in the Happy Hour Cafe, observed the object some distance inland from Redondo Beach as it passed overhead turning to the south after coming toward him face on from out of a west-northwest direction. The eyewitness, Albert Nozaki, who would go on to get an Oscar nomination for his art direction in the 1953 science fiction movie, The War of the Worlds, was helping a friend guard his agriculture fields overnight from vandals that had been destroying his crops. In the dark early morning hours Nozaki walked out into the middle of the fields basically just to stretch his legs. The following is how it is reported what he saw:
"(A)pproaching him well above the fields from the west, silhouetted against the slightly lighter night sky, was a fairly huge dark airborne object coming straight toward him at a fairly quick pace. At first it seemed as though it would take a path off to the right of where he was standing, but before it reached him it just barely began turning flatly toward the south, almost as in a controlled drift. By then he was just under the edge of the object as it went over him with the center off to his left, continuing its turn and eventually disappearing in the southern night sky while all the time gaining altitude. It was huge, dark, very long and wide with no lights or signs of windows. Although it did not have protruding wings like an airplane, the object's outside edges ominously curved down."
So, that pretty well takes in the whole path of the object, from where Major Durham first reported it west of Santa Maria, to William "Bill" Stout's seeing it pass over his head in the mountains north of Point Dume, then onto Littleton's eyewitnessess in Pacific Palisades and his own live viewing of it in Hermosa Beach. Then on down to the "Redondo Beach man" and over to Albert Nozaki inland and southwest of the beach towns, only to disappear in the south between Signal Hill on the east and Palos Verdes to the west.
UFO OVER L.A.: THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES
FOURTH ANTI-AIRCRAFT (AA) COMMAND
IV INTERCEPTOR COMMAND
SEE AS WELL:
ROSWELL: WHAT CAUSED THE UFO CRASH?
THE GREAT 1947 SUNSPOT, ROSWELL AND CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS
ROSWELL I-BEAM HIEROGLYPHS
ROSWELL CRASH: UFO DOWN
ROSWELL: CIRCA 1947
The Dirt Before The Dig
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
The following article written without a byline by an Associated Press reporter and distributed to newspapers throughout the U.S. by the Associated Press wire service appeared in the November 1, 1945 issue of the Walla-Walla Union Bulletin as well as other newspapers. In the article, Captain Omae, Toshikazu, of the Japanese General Naval Staff, Imperial Japanese Navy, albeit quoting the wrong month, states unequivocally that the Japanese had NO part in the events over Los Angeles known as the Battle of Los Angeles:
Although the I-19 did not actually sink the Absaroka per se, the I-19 was no wuss as an attack sub, having during it's run, prior to its utimate demise November 25, 1943, racked up considrable damage and sinking of a number of vessels --- and not just unarmed freighters either. For example, on September 15, 1942, the I-19 fired a half dozen torpedoes at the aircraft carrier USS Wasp, two of which hit and sank her. The remainder of the four torpedos hit and damaged the battleship USS North Carolina as well as the destroyer USS O'Brien which sank later. See:
SUBMARINE I-19: Tabular Record of Movement
WORLD WAR II COMES TO REDONDO
The Attack on the SS Absoroka
The I-19, torpedoed and sank the Absoroka in the Santa Catalina channel less than a mile off Point Fermin in broad daylight on Christmas day of all things and within days of the planned coastal attack by the submarines. Why? A lot of it had to do with the sea facing radar and the coastal defenses. BUT, a lot of it had to do with how the Japanese were going to beat the system. After the I-19 attack all eyes were focused toward the ocean. However, other things were in the works, much bigger things. In Harbor Defenses of Los Angeles in World War II by John R. Monett, Lester Cole and Jack C. Cleland (1945) the following is found:
On December 31, 1941, the IV Interceptor Command reported that several enemy planes were believed to have landed and been hidden near the inland desert communities of Indio and Brawley in the Imperial Valley of California. They also reported that five messages in Japanese code were being sent daily between Brawley and Mexico City via short wave radio. At 12:32 PM in the afternoon of December 31, 1941, the Federal Bureau of Investigation relayed the following message:
"There is a plan for air and sea attack against San Diego, San Pedro and San Francisco, to take place about dawn either New Year’s Day or the following Sunday. It is possible the attack will be made against San Diego and San Pedro first. Expecting cooperation from aliens ashore. The air attack will be by German airmen from across the border where planes are now under cover, taking off before dawn and coming over flying high. If air forces are alert, this can be broken up before they reach their objectives. Am sending you this information for want of better channels to advise. Remember Pearl Harbor.
That potential German aerial attack in and behind the coastal radar and defense guns was nixed in the bud by the discovery of a high octane aviation fuel dump hidden in the desert on the Baja peninsula by a man and a woman who had been posing on and off as a vactioning couple throughout Mexico since before the war. The man was actually a Naval officer passing as a civilian and the woman was his wife, movie actress Rochelle Hudson, working for the Naval Intelligence Service.
With hostilities escalating between the U.S. and Japan, to ensure against a potential attack from the air or otherwise on the mainland, a network of 72 radar stations were proposed covering the full length of the Pacific coast from the Canadian border into Baja Mexico. Of the 72 proposed sites 65 were eventually built. In addition to the previously mentioned operational stations along the Oregon coast at Tillamook, Siletz Bay, Cape Arago, Cape Sebastian and Cape Perpetua there were operational sites north of Oregon in the state of Washington, with the strongest concentration around Seattle. The northernmost California site in the network was given the designation B-71, named "Trinidad," also referred to as the "Klamath River" Station. Albeit long inactive, the Klamath River Station still exists and can actually be visited, re the following:
"The Klamath River Radar Station B-71 in Redwood National Park, California, is a rare survivor of a World War II early-warning radar station, the first step toward the more sophisticated and pioneering early-warning radar defense network. Rather than using camouflage materials, the buildings of Radar Station B-71 were constructed to resemble farm buildings to disguise their true purpose. The station consists of three buildings: a power building disguised as a farmhouse, an operations building disguised as a barn and a functional wood frame two-stall privy or outhouse, now a partially collapsed ruin. The two major buildings were constructed for the Army by a private contractor specifically for the early warning aircraft station, and consist of block walls roughly two feet thick covered with wood-framed gable roofs with wood shingle finish.(source)
As far as the southern reaches of the radar network was concerned, and unknown by most people still, there were at least three radar sites built and commanded by the U.S. Army in Mexico along the coast of Baja California to protect the southern approaches to San Diego. According to Mexican Forts known sites included Station B-92 at Punta Salispuedes, located 22 miles northwest of Ensenada (later moved to Alasitos, 36 miles south of Tiajuana); Station B-94 at Punta San Jacinto, 60 miles south of Ensenada; and Station B-97 at Punta Estrella, south of San Felipe on the Gulf of California (aka Sea of Cortez).
One day in April of 1942 when Charles Mendel McReynolds, now deceased (April 28, 2006), was about eight years old his father pulled him out of school for a couple of days to go with him on a working trip to Mexico. The following is how McReynolds recalls it:
"My dad explained that we were going to a military installation in San Felipe that had just been built, and what it did was listen for airplanes using something called 'radar.' In the last six months, the Army had built a paved road to San Felipe called the 'radar road' which made the drive south a lot easier than it had been, unlike the month-long ordeal of mud and flood up until 1942.
"What we drive on today is the 'radar road,' although it has been paved a couple of times since then.
"I may be the only person to remember driving on that stretch of road during World War II who is still alive today. I can remember, the water was right up to the road's edge in places, and my dad said that if it were not for the road, we'd have to wait for the tides to change and for the mud to dry out."(source)
The base was located at Punta Estrella just south of San Felipe. McReynolds goes on to say that the radar base was located near where the old icehouse was until recently and that he and his father were stopped from driving into the main area. About 20 soldiers came out to the barbed-wire fence and unloaded the truck in a very short time. McReynolds and his dad then turned around and headed home.
RADAR SYSTEM SCR-268
"All of the officers and men associated with the day-to-day operation of the site are either dead, in their 90s, or sitting on top of their 90s. Since none of them have come forward that I know of, the exact physical spot that the SCR-268 sat on the ground may never be known."
More than that, those who ascribe toward the possibility of the apparently impervious 800 foot-long Zeppelin-size object to being extra-terrestrial in nature should take a long look at the crew manning the radar that night. If in fact the object was of other-world design, that crew, two or three men strong and as unsung as they are, at 0144 February 25, 1942, would have been the first humans in history fully documented to have ever made contact with an alien craft. Nobody knows who they are. Nobody knows what happened to them.
One day in the late 1980s the aforementioned witness, William "Bill" Stout, saw a movie on television titled 1941. Although a comedy, in the movie the California coast was attacked by a Japanese submarine and the ensuing outcome, except for the giant airborne object, was highly similar to an experience he remembered in 1942, the incident that has since come to be called The Battle of L.A.. The thing is, when he began to tell people about what he saw nobody knew what he was talking about. Eventually his story filtered down to me and since I had seen the object as a young boy myself, I sought him out to hear what he had to say and then went to physically visit the areas he mentioned, actually driving the route.
The movie alluded to titled "1941" is thought by some to be loosely based on the events of 1942, at least it was close enough that it reminded the eyewitness of what he experienced. In the movie John Belushi plays an Army Air Force pilot, Captain Wild Bill Kelso. The plane he flys is a Curtiss-Wright P-40 Warhawk painted in the colors of a Flying Tiger. Many years after the war a P-40 being restored to full flight status by a friend played a huge role in one of the episodes in my life. The P-40 in question had escaped destruction during the bombing of Pearl Harbor because of being in a hanger at Wheeler Field in Hawaii undergoing maintenence --- only to crash several months later during a training flight. Nearly fifty years after the war my friend and some associates pulled the wreck off the mountain and restored it to flight condition. Me going by to see the restoration of the P-40 one day on a whim opened up a door to answering a question that had been nagging me since childhoood. See:
P-40 WARHAWK: PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR