Japanese Sub attacks Oilfield

Shelling of Ellwood field at Santa Barbara, California, created mass hysteria and the “Battle of Los Angeles.”


Soon after the start of World War II, a Japanese submarine attacked a refinery and oilfield near Los Angeles. It was the first attack of the war on the continental United States. About two dozen rounds were fired, causing little damage, but the shelling led to the largest mass sighting of UFOs in American history. 

Japanese submarine shells oilfield headline from Santa Barbara News

A February 1942 Imperial Japanese Navy submarine’s shelling of a California refinery caused little damage but created invasion (and UFO) hysteria in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy Goleta Valley Historical Society.

At sunset on February 23, 1942, Commander Kozo Nishino of the Imperial Japanese Navy and his I-17 submarine lurked 1,000 yards off the California coast. It was less than three months since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles residents were tense. (more…)