The Bombardment of the West Coast was a military act committed by the Japanese navy during the Pacific War, and was successful in its goal of making way for the landing force. Four major targets along the coast were fired upon: Tacoma, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. The shelling attempts on Tacoma, Alki and Wamash were foiled by two torpedo boats who sunk several Japanese battleships in the Battle of the Juan de Fuca Strait and Battle of Puget Sound. The shelling of San Francisco caused minimum damage, since the fleet didn't dare to enter the bay, where the US Fourth Pacific Fleet was still stationed (see: Battle of San Francisco). In Los Angeles, the only damage caused by the shelling was the destruction of an oil refinery, an empty school, and the east wing of city hall, with the majority of shelling concentrated at ports in Santa Monica and Long Beach on San Pedro Bay. In San Diego, the devastation was much worse, as much of the remaining fleet stationed there was sunk, and an majority of Old Town was destroyed, paving the way for the Battle of San Diego.
The shelling of these major American population centers achieved the Japanese goal of driving out civilian populations and thus causing havoc, but they were unable to strategically seize the same control of waterways in the Pacific Northwest and northern California as they were around Los Angeles, San Diego and Ensenada. However, the subsequent defeat of the Pacific Fourth Fleet at Monterey would allow for the Japanese invasion of Oregon and northern California, and the Japanese landings in southern California ensued shortly after the bombardments there.