In Remembrance: The Battle of Los Angeles
by Jeff Krause
On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States was thrust wholeheartedly into World War 2. The whole country was on heightened alert and still reeling from the massive attack when another event occurred just two months later. Around 7:00 PM on February 23rd, 1942, a Japanese submarine, I-17 Captained by Commander Kozo Nishino, surfaced just offshore opposite the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara, California. Fifteen minutes later the crew opened fire using the subs deck gun, aiming for the Richfield Oil storage tanks. The shells missed their intended target and only destroyed an oil derrick and a pump house, while the Ellwood Pier and a catwalk only suffered minor damage.
According to the History.com website it all started "when naval intelligence instructed units on the California coast to steel themselves for a potential Japanese attack. All remained calm for the next few hours, but shortly after 2 a.m. on February 25, military radar picked up what appeared to be an enemy contact some 120 miles west of Los Angeles. Air raid sirens sounded and a citywide blackout was put into effect. Within minutes, troops had manned anti-aircraft guns and begun sweeping the skies with searchlights."
Although over 1,400 artillery shells and thousands of .50 caliber rounds were fired at the object the only known damage was on the ground. As daylight dawned the next day the effects of the barrage became apparent when reports of shrapnel damage came flooding in.