Talk:Battle of Los Angeles

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This Ufology related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


The fact that over 2,000 rounds were fired at the object, without bringing it down, would indicate that either it was not a balloon - I was recently reading something on airships and how they react to anti-aircraft fire. The thing is, they generally don't have a very high pressure inside them. So, if you puncture it with a bullet hole, it's not going to go "pop" like a party balloon, and in fact, won't even leak gas very quickly. It's almost as if the bullets pass right through them without a hitch. Indeed, some experiments show that these things can be quite resistant to explosions too, so nearby air-bursting shells would have just been absorbed by the skin and brushed off. So firing several thousand anti-aircraft rounds at it (assuming even a good hit ratio) would be unlikely to fell a balloon or airship - leading us to consider that it may well have been a balloon or airship. Scarlet A.pngpostate 15:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

This article is woo enough to attract the most tinfoil clad idiots. I made major changes but an edit conflict prevented me. As it stands, this article is an embarrassment to the community.--Brendiggg (talk) 16:15, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Eh? I think you 1) need to understand that it's a freshly written stub and 2) provide some specifics. As always, nothing is stopping you from editing, even edit conflicts can be overcome so that's not an excuse. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:17, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, the article's there, so go ahead and make changes. True it's our job to be rational about things, but that doesn't mean sticking our heads in the sand when there isn't a satisfactory answer. Let's see if we can come up with a plausible explanation. --PsyGremlinTala! 16:20, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
My guess would be as above, with most people saying that it can't be a balloon not being entirely aware of how difficult it can be to shoot them down. Although you'd expect the thnig to have been damanged enough to come down eventually, probably over the ocean. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:30, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
There's a mention on Wikipedia that in the early days of proper anti-aircraft defence, namely the bombings on London in 1916, inexperienced searchlight operators often illuminated clouds in a way that caused them to be mistaken for airships. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:37, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Just to play devils advocate, the thing with airships is that they are filled with hydrogen. one little spark and they go boom. I'll give you that 99.9% of UFO sighting are crap. but it wouldn't surprise me if that .1% turned out to be somthing -- (talk) 16:44, 22 September 2010 (UTC)very wierd indeed
Not really. They require the presence of enough oxygen to sustain the reaction. Stiking a match in an atmospher of near 100% is not going to set it on fire, indeed, it wouldn't even spark. Once you'd damaged the outer casing of the airship enough for air to start readily mixing, as happend with the Hindenberg, then you get the flames; which despite the high flame speed of hydrogen burning, tend to be mediated by the fact that it's nota stoichiometric mix of hydrogen and oxygen gases. So normal anti-aircraft fire, unless they carry fuel and an oxidiser (i.e., self-sustaining incendiary rounds), isn't going to set a hydrogen airship on fire that easily. Scarlet A.pngpostate 16:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Did a bit of reading on Zeppelins and it seems as if it was possible for a direct hit to not bring them down, although some were. Likewise, normal ammunition was largely ineffective and it was only the inclusion of incendiary bullets that increased the success rate. Added such to article. Thanks for the tip off on balloon behaviour. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 16:54, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Still leaves open the question of where the hell it came from. Apparently some Japanese attacks did trigger the event as an invasion scare, but I think it's still open as to what it was. Scarlet A.pngpostate 17:02, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
EC. The hit rate is also an interesting question. How big were those balloons and how high did they fly?--BobSpring is sprung! 17:04, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm still bothered by the size of the thing. Even allowing for crappy 1940s cameras and reflection off the gas bag, that's a big fuck-off thing they're illuminating, especially when you look at the shell bursts alongside. Also, weather balloons seem come in 3, 8 and 16 foot diameter sizes. --PsyGremlinПоговорите! 20:48, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, high altitude balloons tend to expand due to the drop in air pressure as you go up. Something that's only the size of a person at sea level may expand to tens of metres... but that's high altitude, not this sort of altitude. The main problem is that this is the only picture, so we can't really start suggesting what effects are going on or begin to get a clearer look. If it's lighting up clouds, it could easily make the glare so large that the white bleed in the photographic will make it look bigger than a Zeppelin. Scarlet A.pngpostate 13:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I hate to be all rational and reality-based here, but does anyone know the altitude the objects were at when fired upon? Or the maximum altitude of effective fire for the anti-aircraft guns in question? Or the accuracy of the guns in question? Because it seems like this could be a simple matter of the projectiles and their shrapnel not reaching the balloons. I know, that's probably too simple, but a simple hypothesis is usually a simple hypothesis to check, if the information I mentioned is available anywhere. I mention the accuracy of the guns because if there were any shortage of AA guns (plausible in the context), the least powerful and least accurate would be likely to be placed where there was the least danger of enemy aircraft; the most powerful and accurate ones would have been in England and aboard Navy ships headed for the islands closer to Japanese air bases.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 00:58, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Note that you are replying to four-year-old posts.
You are assuming that there were actual "objects", which is a big assumption. As the text of the article points out, the newspaper picture has been retouched, and the original shows only shell bursts and spotlight beams. It won't be the first time that stressed troops have fired at anything that moves, or they imagined to move - once shooting starts, people tend to join in even without clear targets, until some officer with a cooler head makes them stop.---ZooGuard (talk) 08:48, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm addressing the smaller question of how balloons — yes, assuming that there were actual objects and they were balloons — might fail to be shot down. I think that "they weren't hit" would be a simpler answer for the question than the complexities of balloon deflation, and until it's eliminated, the Holy Shiv of Ockham smiles upon it.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 20:31, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Old discussions elsewhere[edit]

Two threads from the BAUT forum: and There's some discussion of anti-aircraft gun effectiveness and on what can you detect with a searchlight in the sky at night.

There is also the problem that our article at the moment relies too much on, er, unreliable sources. --ZooGuard (talk) 17:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Another thread I missed the first time: Contains a link to the Above Top Secret forum, which has an interesting post: [1]--ZooGuard (talk) 17:26, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

that's cool, but[edit]

> Rigid and semi-rigid aircraft do not rely on substantial overpressure to sustain their shape, and unlike a party balloon won't necessarily "pop" and deflate immediately when punctured.

certainly, but are weather balloons rigid or semi-rigid? as far as i know they are neither, they rely on the inner pressure to keep their shape and pop when they are punctured. so, i don't buy the weather balloon hypothesis, if it was a semi-rigid or rigid airship(s), who made it/them then?

> Before and after comparisons of the notorious photo show that separate round spots of light seen where the beams converge (most likely lens flares) were modified with blobs of white paint, inadvertently creating an impression of an object "trapped" in the beams.

i've read a nice image analysis here and it seems that one of the beams behaved strangely being either distorted by or reflected from the object at the center, the flare hypothesis wouldn't explain it (talk) 06:38, 11 August 2016 (UTC)

Aliens dude. Leuders (talk)