As some of you may remember, my history degree is actually in the cultural and political history of WWII Europe. This means I can tell you what the average German thought of WWII as well as what the British and French were doing to combat Nazism and add a dash of what the Soviets thought of Hitler and Germans as a whole, and on a good day, I can remember details about the Battle of Stalingrad and other important battles. Which is why I didn’t get a career related to my degree… I didn’t want to teach and I couldn’t figure out what else to do with said history degree.
Writing novels is more in line with my passions anyway and it allows me to disseminate a little history to the masses who read my books and blog posts. WWII is generally thought of only in terms of Nazis. Don’t get me wrong, Nazis and the Holocaust were the most important parts of it, but it was also filled with head scratching moments for various reasons. This post will touch on some of those head scratching moments.
We’ll start with pre-War moments. In 1937, a UFO reportedly crashed in northern Germany and the wreckage was recovered by the Nazi government. This would lead to two things during the war, A) the funnelling of money into a top secret project called Die Glocke and B) Nazis developing the jet engine.
Hitler got the plans for Die Glocke from a medium involved in the Vril Society, a secret society that concentrated on spiritualism. Hitler himself was very interested in the paranormal and his right hand man, Himmler married a woman who proclaimed to be a medium. Despite massive funding and having the top scientists of Nazi Germany working on Die Glocke, the project would ultimately fail and the weapon to end the war would never take shape. Some think the weapon was a flying saucer, others think it had something to do with radioactivity.
However, it was while working on Die Glocke that Nazi Germany perfected the jet engine and by the final years of the war, Nazi Germany had the most advanced air force on the planet. Despite these advancements in aeronautics, ultimately, even the jet planes of Nazi Germany were no match for the tenacity of certain members of the US and Royal Air Force and experienced daredevil pilots would ultimately decide air combat battles in the favor of the Allied Forces in the European theater. So, the jet engine was created thanks to a theoretical UFO crash, Hitler and Himmler’s interest in the paranormal, and accident.
However, this would not be the only UFO encounter during WWII that would gain some notoriety. Foo Fighters would quickly join the lexicon of WWII. Seen by hundreds of air servicemen during WWII from every country to put up an airplane during it, they were either described as metal balls or glowing balls of light that often shadowed aircraft. There are dozens of photos taken from planes of Foo Fighters. Although, that hasn’t helped us figure out what they are and we haven’t had sightings of them since the end of WWII. One reportedly shadowed the Enola Gay for a short time on it’s fated flight to Japan.
The final one happened in the US. After the massacre at Pearl Harbor, many cities on the Pacific Coast had huge military installations put near them. The goal was to not be hit by another Pearl Harbor. Several of these installations even noticed the horrible balloon bombs Japan tried to send to the US (only one actually arrived on the mainland and while it did kill 2, it wasn’t very effective). A few things collided to make the perfect storm that would become known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
The first attack of the mainland US took place the day before the Battle of Los Angeles. February 22, 1942 (two and a half months after Pearl Harbor) a Japanese submarine surfaced off the coast of Santa Barbara, California and proceeded to launch artillery shells at the US. Unfortunately for the Japanese, they didn’t have their location correct and they ended up firing hundreds of shells on an oil field and refinery. There were no casualties and only minimal damage done.
Los Angeles was on the brink of panic, because it was obvious a Japanese submarine was just off the coast and it had disappeared from radar and it had attempted to bomb LA and failed. Records show the submarine did think it was bombing LA when it bombed the oil field in Santa Barbara. So in that respect, the panic of the Angelenos was justified. On the night of February 23, 1942 a contact did appear on radar that appeared to be a plane nearing Los Angeles. Battle stations were put on alert. People began reporting to emergency services they could see strange lights over the ocean heading towards the city. It didn’t take long for the radar contact to disappear, as it flew over Los Angeles air space. More people began to call emergency services about the lights that they reported had now disappeared.
The order was given to fire at the unknown craft. And all Hell broke loose. Military installations around Los Angeles fired hundreds of thousands of rounds. There is a famous photo of search lights scanning the black sky as heavy artillery rounds can be seen exploding in the area search lights are aimed at. Angelenos were told to head inside, pull down their curtains, and snuggle with loved ones. It is the only time a blackout order has been issued in the US.
The following morning, Angelenos could pick up the spent casings from the artillery rounds from their yards and streets. In the days and weeks that followed, the army stated several times that the alert was real and not a drill or the invention of an overactive imagination. If there was a craft, it either wasn’t hit by any of the rounds or it wasn’t reported as downed. And it holds the record for the only air battle to happen over mainland US. More shells were fired in the Battle of Los Angeles than by US forces in Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Los Angeles would actually lead the US to invest significant resources into research of radar technology to improve it. Germany and the US weren’t the only places where UFOs played a role in WWII, there was one report that surfaced in 1995 (after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991) that claimed several members of the Soviet army’s upper echelon took note of a UFO a few days before they recaptured the city of Stalingrad and that they found the weakness in the German defenses of the city, as a result of their encounter with the UFO.
As a side note, these all predate Roswell (1947) and the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting (also 1947) both of which “started the UFOlogy movement.”