Was it a case of “war nerves?” The mystery surrounding what was dubbed “The Battle of Los Angeles” continues. Sure, in 1983, a report by the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the whole affair to a weather balloon, but some folks still think that a UFO was involved. And the new movie “Battle: Los Angeles” makes use of that idea.

The Battle of Los Angeles, also called The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, took place on February 24th and February 25th of 1942 over the city of Los Angeles. It was a tense time in American history, and in the months following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entering WWII, few would fault an aggressive reaction to any suspected event in a West Coast city’s airspace. When the air raid sirens were sounded on the night of February 24th, a total blackout was followed by the firing of thousands of rounds on anti-aircraft shells in the night sky. According to an article available on the San Francisco museum website, several deaths were attributed to the chaos and property damage resulted from friendly fire.

Conspiracy theorists including Ufologists have put forth various theories, some pretty far-fetched. A likely explanation is the “balloon theory” and the idea that flares on such balloon may have given the wrong impression. The Japanese denied that they ever sent planes over the area, but their use of submarines capable of launching fixed wing planes has caused on-going speculation.

It seems inevitable that this interesting footnote in U.S. history would provide a jumping off point for Hollywood. And the title of “Battle: Los Angeles” is taken from the event. That big budgeted alien attack film, which my 9-year-old is totally jazzed about seeing, with Aaron Eckhart in the lead opens on March 11th. Sony has put together an informative clip reel to commemorate the Great Los Angeles Air Raid, and I’ve uploaded and posted it below.