The Battle of Los Angeles - *Audio of original news broadcast linked*

  • #26
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Who said anything about non-fragmenting rounds? One can actually see the rounds bursting in the air. Clearly they were fragmenting. What's more, many people kept fragments as mementos. They were all over the city the next morning.

I'm not arguing against flak being used, it clearly was, I'm just wondering if other rounds were used too, given that AA at the time included... well... some big bullets if you want to put it that way (which I do).

A dirct hit with either should have destroyed ANY balloon, but flak at least has a chance of bursting well off target if the altitude is at all off. Still... it is very odd... it's the only reason I'm reaching for, 'multiple balloons, suspended high above the body caught in searchlights and flashes.'

It could have been a really clever drill, but I admitted before and will again, I doubt we'll evere know. SOMETHING was there, tracked on radar, caught in searchlights, and a hell of a lot of live rounds were expended... it's a mystery to me.
 
  • #27
FlexGunship
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I understand that in 1983 the Air Force pointed towards meteorological balloons as the culprit. I don't think that's too far-fetched to believe. A weather balloon would be too high to be affected by flak guns and, during that time, I believe they were known to cause radar "ghosts" on the clouds below.

I'm kind of hunting for a source right now, and all I have is the Army's official statement about the event on Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Los_Angeles)

@Nismar: I wouldn't be so sure something was caught in the spotlights. A light hitting a spot on a cloud could create the initial illusion. Once additional lights are drawn to the area (as in the famous photo), the contrast would likely be too high against the dark sky to be able to make out anything but a disc-shape.

I kid you not when I say an ex-girlfriend called me in a panic from Taco Bell saying there was a UFO above the clouds. It was a searchlight. I can only imagine that multiple in one area would conflate the problem.
 
  • #28
Ivan Seeking
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I'm not arguing against flak being used, it clearly was, I'm just wondering if other rounds were used too, given that AA at the time included... well... some big bullets if you want to put it that way (which I do).

A dirct hit with either should have destroyed ANY balloon, but flak at least has a chance of bursting well off target if the altitude is at all off. Still... it is very odd... it's the only reason I'm reaching for, 'multiple balloons, suspended high above the body caught in searchlights and flashes.'

It could have been a really clever drill, but I admitted before and will again, I doubt we'll evere know. SOMETHING was there, tracked on radar, caught in searchlights, and a hell of a lot of live rounds were expended... it's a mystery to me.

This is one that strikes me as a genuine mystery as well. I just don't see a balloon or a blimp surviving the barrage of shells fired. Hot steel should have been flying in all directions around the object and for a good distance.

Flex, the military has offered a number of explanations. First was that people actually saw US planes. The next was the nothing was there at all. The latter explanation was rejected by at least one ranking official.

If a balloon was so high that no gun could hit it, then it would seem that no one should have seen it. Also note the angle of the lights from the Hollywood hills. Those hills are only about 1000 feet high. The target couldn't have been too high. Maccabee guesses the altitude to be about 8000 feet based on his analysis, but there is no way to know for certain.

I think the ack-ack guns were good to about 20,000 feet but haven't spotted a source for the guns in use at that time - I Don't know if that's real information or something I saw in a movie. But just by looking at the photo, altitude didn't seem to be a problem. The shells appear to be bursting at about the proper height.

Were all lights trained on a cloud with guns firing? This goes back to the suggestion that nothing was there in the first place. But that is inconsistent with testimony from the time. Keep in mind that this event lasted for thirty minutes with the track of the object clearly identified; both time and distance.
 
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  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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Note that one witness, a now retired Professor of Anthroplogy [C. Scott Littleton], states that the object was a glowing blob.

I was an eyewitness to the events of that unforgettable February morning in February of 1942. I was eight-years-old at the time, and my parents lived at 2500 Strand in Hermosa Beach, right on the beach. We thus had a grandstand seat. While my father went about his air-raid warden duties, my late mother and I watched the glowing object, which was caught in the glare of searchlights from both Palos Verdes and Malibu/Pacific/Palisades and surrounded by the puffs of ineffectual anti-aircraft fire, as it slowly flew across the ocean from northwest to southeast. It headed inland over Redondo Beach, a couple of miles to the south of our vantage point, and eventually disappeared over the eastern end of the Palos Verdes hills, what's today called Rancho Palos Verdes. The whole incident lasted, at least from our perspective, about half an hour, though we didn't time it. Like other kids in the neighborhood, I spend the next morning picking up of pieces of shrapnel on the beach; indeed, it's a wonder more people weren't injured by the stuff, as we were far from the only folks standing outside watching the action.

In any case, I don't recall seeing any truly discernable configuration, just a small, glowing, slight lozenge-shaped blob light ---a single blob. We only saw one object, not several as some witnesses later reported. At the time, we were convinced that it was a "Jap" reconnaissance plane, and that L.A. might be due for a major air-raid in the near future. Remember, this was less than three months after Pearl Harbor. But that of course never happened. Later on, we all expected "them," that is, the Military, to tell us what was really up there after the war. But that never happened, either..
http://wanderling.tripod.com/la_ufo.html
 
  • #30
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Hmmm... well the "glowing blob" idea could very well fit with a weather balloon, and tracking via RADAR without guiding shells and fusing would almost certainly fall well short... although it might look impressive. On the other hand, it seems like a rather huge mistake to make, at the cost of so many live rounds, but that's just speculation .

The clouds... this could be as Flex says it... or not. If this balloon were illuminated, it would certainly produce a diffuse "glow", and I'd imagine clouds would too. We'd need to know if the spotlights converged on a "guide" via RADAR, or if it was just flocking to one point.

One thing, you an definitely have a weather balloon WAAAAY up there, beyond the reach of flak shells, and still be visible depending on the design, or it could be tracked on RADAR and the rest was about the exploding shells and searchlights.

Given the well deserved fear at the time, and the need to cover even a simple error... I doubt we'll ever know. Truly a UFO, even if Flex's explanation is the one I... well... prefer.
 

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