Battle of Los Angeles, 1942

battle of los angeles

It’s common for ufologists to date the beginning of the “modern UFO wave” to the famous Kenneth Arnold sighting of June 1947. But while Arnold’s sighting certainly marked a turning point in UFO history, it was far from the first sighting of something unusual in the sky. In early 1942, a number of unidentified lights and craft were spotted over and around the city of Los Angeles. One of these objects reportedly hovered over the city for an hour, invoking sporadic fire from multiple anti-aircraft guns, and it was even captured on photograph. The object later vanished, and its identity was never revealed, but the so-called “Battle of Los Angeles” has lived on in popular culture as a reminder of the long history of the UFO phenomenon, and as a revealing case study in the government’s handling of it before the proliferation of military intelligence agencies in the post-war era.

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