Long Beach Independent EXTRA February 25, 1942, regarding the Battle of LA. Describes two unidentified “planes” which fly over an 8 hour artillery barrage, unharmed, dropping no bombs.
TWO WAVES OF PLANES SWEEP OVER CITY AS ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS ROAR
As Long Beach Citizens shivered in the pre-dawn hours of this momentous morning war with all its terrors and beauty burst over the city in full display. Two waves of unidentified enemy planes flying high and slow crossed over the entire perimeter of the Long Beach-Los Angeles war zone.
All anti-aircraft batteries in the entire area opened fire as scores of brilliant searchlights caught the mystery planes in their glare. Official reports state no plane were downed and no bombs were dropped.
The first wave of planes came over at 3:15 a.m. This was exactly 49 minutes after the city was blacked out at 2:25 a.m. Again at 4:16 a second wave came over and again all guns in the area blazed into action
Watching from a roof top vantage point it appeared as though heat lightning was flickering on the ground as the flare of the anti-aircraft batteries reflected into the moon-light, star bright sky.
No less then a minute after the guns started firing, the whispering, swishing sound of shrapnel could be heard as it dropped over the city in a deadly rain. Sparks could be noticed as the shrapnel struck on paved street surfaces.
It was a spectacle of tremendous beauty with ominous overtones of sudden death.
As the anti-aircraft shells burst in the air virtually all of them appeared to be short of their objectives. What some people thought were enemy signals and flares were found to be on investigation tracer shells fired by army batteries. These were apparently in strings of six, eight and twelve red balls of fire at a time.
Deny Plane Bagged
In spite of the heavy anti-aircraft fire, Army Defense Command flatly denied any reports of any hits or any bombs dropped in this area. However, persistent eye-witness reports were that a plane was downed at 185th street and Vermont ave. The area was roped off and spectators were not permitted to approach what appeared to be a wrecked plane.
Heavy guns at Fort MacArthur added their rumbling heavy-throated roar to the thunderous cannonading. During the action the black-out was virtually 100 percent effective save for momentary accidental lighting of homes in the confusion. These were quickly extinguished.
Today the city is in a fever of excitement and Long Beach now knows what it is to experience a raid. That no bombs were dropped was one of the incredible facts of the raid.