A GERMAN-JAPANESE DISC?
NAKAJIMA SUBARU/MITSUBISHI MATSURABOSHI?
By Rob Arndt
In the span of a few mere minutes on the morning of February 25, 1942 all of southern California was scanning the skies watching in disbelief as intense searchlight beams converged on an unknown disc aircraft of huge diameter. Although a blackout was in effect tens of thousands of people turned on their lights and ran into the streets to catch the unfolding battle. Air Wardens did their best to control the mobs but the battle raged for some time and was quite intense.
The 37th Coastal Artillery Battery opened up with 12 lb shells firing multiple volleys at the slow moving disc that seemed to just hang in the air despite being hit by hundreds of rounds.
The barrage lasted more than thirty minutes with 1,430 shells fired. These caused the deaths of six civilians on the ground and damaged hundreds of dwellings, businesses, and littered the streets as hundreds of thousands of terrified citizen onlookers feared another
Image enhancements reveal disc form and approx. diameter of between
At first the volley fire of the coastal artillery gave the impression of waves of aircraft but soon it became apparent that once the searchlights were coordinated onto the object it was one craft - described as a type of flying magic lantern.
The object itself was glowing and was not physically damaged by earlier attempts by USAAF fighters to down it nor the thousands of shells fired at it.
Even as the Battle of L.A. died down the object continued on its course, traveling 20 miles in 30 minutes at very low speed (40 mph), giving the impression of an aerostat. It disappeared from view after passing
Key eyewitness testimony came from a female volunteer Air Warden named Katie who described the object as a huge round slow moving craft glowing pale orange. She is the best source of reliable information because she was the first to get a clear view of the craft before the 37th Coastal Artillery Battery opened up.
Not living far from
Testimony from the masses of people on the street claimed everything from waves of Japanese aircraft, to balloons, to dirigibles. The hysteria of that early morning encounter seems to have taken its toll.
Lone disc aircraft caught in the searchlights
But fortunately the L.A. Times took photos of the incident and from the negatives the lone disc is clearly seen in the searchlights.
Now comes the inevitable question of where did the disc originate from? Since only
It is believed that these weapons were received and operated by Mitsubishi and Nakajima for both the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. The Japanese through diplomatic channels and technical advisors in
Subaru Motors Logo, showing the
Nakajima is reputed to have unofficially named one of their craft Subaru which translates as the 7 stars of the Pleiades. Like their German counterparts, the Japanese launched these weapons in clusters for attack.
The Pleiades are a cluster of stars, luminous objects. Postwar Subaru Motors came from Nakajima and the stars emblem is still there today - mere coincidence?
Most Japanese wartime aircraft were named after dragons, mountains, winds, clouds, lightning, birds, trees and flowers. Just five were named after stars, predominantly by
Nakajima J-IN-1 Gekko (Moonlight) night fighters
The Western Seven Sisters of the Pleiades to the right,
a.k.a. Japanese Subaru or Matsuraboshi (Six Stars)
But none of the star designations weredescribed as luminous. Nakajima must have had a motive for naming this very secret aircraft after the Pleiades. Perhaps from German influence. Like the Vril fascination with Aldebaran, the Pleiades also sit in the Taurus Constellation. Another coincidence?
So this 1942 mystery disc might have been an earlier experimental German-Japanese model, possibly built by Nakajima. Exact dimensions of a Feuerball are not known since the fire halos they created distorted any attempt at judging their accurate size, but some were reported as very large luminous objects, according to the 20th and 21st Bomber Commands.
The people of
Although of different configuration and not luminous, the Hopeh Province mystery disc was also slow moving, suggesting a recon role or flight test.
The reasonable fear of unconventional weapons became a reality later in the war in the form of the Japanese Intercontinental FUGO balloon bombs which carried incendiaries (instead of bio agents) which started several fires in the US and killed a family in Oregon when one of its members tampered with explosives from the balloon.
These fire attacks were put out by the 555th Parachute Infantry Division a.k.a. the Triple Nickles- a special all-Negro smoke-jumper unit operating under Operation Firefly to keep the fire weapon information suppressed from 1944-1945.
The Japanese launched over 9,000 of these balloons which were in crude form the first intercontinental weapons. They too were slow moving and only perhaps 1,000 actually made it to the
As for the 1942 objects flown over the
Perhaps we will never know what the luminous objects were but
10-15-1948; Fusuoka, JA Witnesses: pilot Halter and radar operator Hemphill of a P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter. Up to six objects tracked on radar, only one seen visually. Dull or dark object shaped like a dirigible with a flat bottom and clipped tail end. Six seen on radar separately Pilot attempted to close on visual object, but it dove away fast.
10-15-1948; Fusuoka, JA
Witnesses: pilot Halter and radar operator Hemphill of a P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter. Up to six objects tracked on radar, only one seen visually. Dull or dark object shaped like a dirigible with a flat bottom and clipped tail end. Six seen on radar separately Pilot attempted to close on visual object, but it dove away fast.