Today a battle didn’t happen.
It was late at night in Los Angeles on February 24, 1942, and the city (and entire country) was on edge. The Japanese had recently blown up much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, kicked General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines (leaving 75,000 American troops there to participate in the Bataan Death March a few months later), and destroyed the few ships the British had based in Singapore. With its armed forces effectively neutralized, Americans still found ways to fight back, most notably rounding up hundreds of Japanese Americans within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor and locking them in camps that would become home to 110,000 suspected sympathizers.
So when the air raid sirens went off shortly after dinner, things seemed to be going from bad to worse. Blinking lights were reported hovering over defense industry plants. A large unidentified object was reported approaching LA from the west soon after midnight, then 25 planes were seen directly over the city. Anti-aircraft batteries went ballistic, literally, firing almost 1,500 rounds into the nighttime sky while residents reported via telephone and shortwave seeing a variety of lights, swarms, and objects careening above them. By daybreak there were no downed planes or missiles, though a few folks had been killed by stray antiaircraft fire (or had fatal heart attacks due to fright). The official government conclusion was that the Battle of Los Angeles had been prompted by an errant weather balloon, the same sort that would go on to fuel speculation of alien landings in Roswell and other locations.
How is it that something that lots of people saw were seen by nobody?