The “Foo-Fighter” I


There are no natural flying discoidal objects in Einstein’s time-space continuum. So far as we know from declassified documents, for a great investment of time and money modern engineers could design a flying disc for subsonic speeds with a range of about 7,000 miles, but it would lack the advantages of modern aircraft. It is apparently a concept simply not worthwhile developing.

In Hitler’s Germany aeronautical designer Rudolf Schriever began design work on an unmanned flying disc on 15 July 1941. The model was completed on 2 June 1942 and made its maiden flight the following day, astonishing observers with its excellent flying qualities. It was remote-controlled and propelled by a hydrogen peroxide engine. Apparently it could take off and land vertically, but nothing further is known.

Towards the end of 1942 the Waffen-SS laboratory at Wiener Neustadt began trials with a strange ‘anti-aircraft weapon’. This project, details of which remain a top secret in Allied archives, was known as Feuerkugel and also Kugelblitz (ball of fire/ball-lightning) by the Germans. The extremely scanty information which can be gleaned about this mysterious development links it to Rudolf Schriever’s unmanned flying saucer design.

The only known official US report about the Kugelblitz states that it was an experimental anti-aircraft rocket designed by Richard Haass and developed by the Verwertungsgesellschaft Salzburg. The object sought its target automatically and was expected to enter service in January 1945. This is all they will let us know and it is a pretty terse description for an obsolete flak weapon.

A British report reviewed various documents prepared by the SS and work centres of the Henschel and Zeppelin aircraft companies, the latter towards the end of the war installed in underground factories in the Black Forest. These documents refer specifically to the propulsion unit built for the Kugelblitz by Professors Kamm and Ernst at the Kreislaufbetrieb Motor D.W. in 1943 for FFKF Stuttgart Untertürkheim. The British investigators described the principle of the motor as a recycled oxygen system. It was later abandoned in favour of the Walter turbine using hydrogen peroxide, although the documents discuss the feasibility of using both systems in a composite unit.

Therefore the sum total of knowledge about the system available from Allied archive sources is that the missile was a target seeker propelled by a Walter turbine. The remaining information usually available regarding the configuration, length, diameter, warhead, speed of climb, operational altitude and so on remain highly classified.

Renato Vesco had not seen a Kugelblitz but he had pieced together sufficient information to know that it was stabilized gyroscopically, had a missile guidance system developed by the Flugfunkforschungsanstalt of the Reichspost at Oberpfaffenhofen and a homing system. It was unmanned and rose vertically at a very fast speed. It was rumoured that it might have obtained its effect by discharging and instantaneously igniting a blue plasma “based on the firedamp gas found in coal-mines”, and most sources said it had no offensive capability at all, which would be a strange thing for a flak rocket. It had first been tried out successfully against Allied bombers over Lake Garda. Vesco said it was known as die fliegende Schildkröte – the flying turtle – to German sources, who seem unanimous that its shape resembled a turtle-shell, but that was only when it was not in motion, for in flight by day it resembled “a luminous disc spinning round its own axis” and “looked like a burning balloon” by night.

The word ‘flying saucer’ did not come into use until the term was coined by headline writers in the United States after the war and so the description “turtle-shell” gives us a certain image. On Christmas Eve 1944, over the Rhine Valley, RAF crew Flight-Lts Gibbin and Cleary were surprised by a flaming red ball that “suddenly turned into a sort of airplane whose upper half was built like a wing”. The remainder is censored. Now we begin to suspect a sinister reason for the reticence of Allied Governments to provide information about the Kugelblitz, for what sort of weapon is a fiery ball which not only has no firm shape but changes its configuration in motion?

Vesco did not seem very clear on what was the difference between the Flying Turtle and the Feuerkugel “ball of fire”, and from his attempt to describe how the former worked it is evident that one became the other in flight. Clearly he must have suspected that something extraordinary happened once the Flying Turtle was in the air and ascending, but, being a scientist whose book set out to prove that there is a terrestrial explanation for all UFOs, couldn’t quite go so far as to say so. By some mechanism which nobody appears able to explain, the unmanned, remote-controlled Kugelblitz changed its shape from turtle to sphere, developed a “bright halo” supposedly by ionization of the atmosphere, became invulnerable and acquired the unusual ability to hover motionless. The Flying Turtle was alleged to have within its protective shell a number of Klystron tubes, the purpose of which must have been for them to home in on enemy aircraft radar. Klystron is nowadays also used in microwave ovens to generate an intense and concentrated local microwave field for cooking purposes and, applied to a suitable surface at a particular frequency, it could excite the surrounding air sufficiently to generate the ‘halo’-like plasma, so at least the effect is possible.

A classified enquiry was set up by Lt-General Massey in 1943 in Britain to investigate reports by Allied pilots of harassment from ‘balls of fire’ during operations over Europe. It is believed that the objects were filmed for British Intelligence in high definition on several occasions, although no photos have ever been released. In 1946 a team of British investigators, assisted by Dr Ernst Westermann, a director of Speyer at Saarbrücken, was appointed to report on the German ‘Foo-fighters’, as they were nicknamed, but nothing was ever published. A typical report was submitted by B. C. Lumsden, the pilot of a Hurricane interceptor, who had left England early one evening in December 1942:

“At about 2000 hrs over the mouth of the Somme I saw two steadily climbing orange lights, moving less slowly than tracer flak. I did a full turn and saw the lights astern and to port, but they now appeared larger and brighter. At 7000 feet they stopped climbing and stayed level. I did some more full turns but the objects hung behind me. I nose-dived to 4000 feet and the lights kept the same relative position in pursuit. Finally they descended about 1000 feet below me until I levelled out, at which point they climbed again and resumed pursuit. The two lights seemed to maintain an even distance from each other and varied only slightly in relative height from time to time. One always remained a bit lower than the other. Once my speed reached 260 mph I was gradually able to outdistance them.”

It seemed to be the purpose of these mysterious objects to fly in parallel formation with the reporting aircraft and hover at wingtips. USAF pilot Wendell C. Stevens remembers:

“They were a greyish-green or red-orange colour. They would approach to within about five metres from the aircraft and stay there. They could not be shaken off nor shot down.”

Initially pilots were reluctant to submit reports for fear of ridicule or grounding for psychiatric reasons, but eventually there were hundreds of sightings, and it would seem that between November 1944 and January 1945 every pilot in the American 415th Night Fighter Squadron had seen the phenomenon at least once.

Lts David McFalls and Edward Baker, veterans of the squadron, stated that at 1800 hrs on 22 December 1944 at an altitude of 10,000 feet over Hagenau in the Lorraine area they observed two large orange glows ascending towards them:

“Upon reaching our altitude the objects levelled off and stayed on our tail. I went into a steep dive and the glows followed in sharp precision. I banked as sharply as I dared and the objects followed. For two minutes the lights stalked me through several intricate maneouvres, peeled off under perfect control, then blinked out.”

In a heavily censored Associated Press release of 13 December 1944, which was nine days before the Hagenau sighting, Allied pilots reported seeing over the Reich “mysterious silvery balls” which just “floated in the air” singly and in clusters. B-17 pilot Charles Ogden, who had seen them over Germany, described them as “crystal balls, about the size of a basketball” which would approach to within 300 feet of the bomber formation and then “seem to become magnetized and fly alongside”. After a while they would “peel off like a plane and leave”. Although seen mostly at night, some airmen reported them during daylight hours. Another 415th Squadron pilot said,

“… the lights would tail the aircraft for a few moments before streaking away. They never showed up on radar but experienced crews discounted explanations such as reflections, St Elmo’s fire and flares, all of which were easily recognizable.”

The most striking effect of closeness to these objects was electro-magnetic and they do not seem to have been detectable on radar. One gained the impression that they might be being handled remotely, as was reported over the Rhine Valley one evening in December 1944 when Lt Henry Gibbin and his radar observer Lt Walter Cleary sighted:

“… a huge red light 1000 feet above us (we were at 1000 feet ourselves). The object was moving at about 200 mph. At the same time other crews reported a glowing red object which shot up vertically, turned over and plunged into a steep dive. It seemed under intelligent control.”


The “Foo-Fighter” II


It was suspected that the aerobatic fireballs were a German anti-aircraft weapon to foul ignitions and interfere with radar, but if so they appeared ineffective and in any case captured German pilots also reported being harassed by them. As the fireballs did not seem to do anything very hostile except manouevre close to an aircraft, it was assumed that they represented the experimental stage of a new weapon.

After they peeled away and plunged into a steep dive, what did they do next? On 25 March 1945 elements of the Sixth Armoured Division dug in south of Darmstadt overlooking the autobahn saw:

“… six or seven bright yellow-orange circular objects approach the autobahn from the west at an altitude of about 150 feet. They were not travelling in formation but moving in the same general direction. Each had its own distinct erratic movement as if individually controlled. They were three to four feet in diameter and so bright that they illuminated trees around them. They descended slowly at about 10 mph until entering deep into the forest, where they disappeared.”

These balls of fire were also reported from the Pacific during and after the war. Author Leonard Stringfield, while piloting a 5th Air Force C-46 near Iwo Jima on 28 August 1945, described how the aircraft developed serious engine trouble when approached by:

“three unidentifiable blobs of brilliant white light, each about the size of a dime held about arm’s length. The blobs were travelling in a straight line through drifts of cloud, seemingly parallel to the C-46 and equal to its speed.”

From 1942 onwards German naval forces had large U-boat and transport bases on the coasts of Malaya, Indonesia and Singapore as well as mainland Japan, which could explain the origin of various wartime sightings in the region.

How Did the Feuerkugel Work?

In the normal course of events the British authorities were due to release the Kugelblitz/Feuerkugel papers in 1975. The failure to declassify reports about strange enemy weapons developments at the thirty-year mark is obviously a bad sign. The so-called ‘foo-fighter’ was a small German aerial machine which appeared to do nothing except change its shape in flight, after which it was invisible to radar and could not be shot down. This is a characteristic of UFOs, and as the existence of UFOs is denied by Governments in London and Washington, logically it should be perfectly harmless to release the papers.

To illustrate the similarity between UFO and Flying Turtle reports, I have selected just four examples from the hundreds of thousands of UFO reports made postwar.

(1) On the night of 12 June 1964 the police chief of Elmore, Ohio, while on patrol noticed a brilliant light, with an aura around it which extended for a quarter mile in all directions, hovering at about 2000 feet to the side of State Route 5. It was impossible to make out a distinct outline for the object, only that it was a “fuzzy ball of light with a large aura”. Together with three other officers, he kept watch. The object made towards them and as it approached it grew in brightness and size, changing from a nondescript glow into the firm form of a flying ‘V’ and passing overhead at 500 feet. While the object was quiescent and hovering it had an indistinct glowing spherical form; when it left it transformed into a wedge shape. The hypothesis in this case is that the object re-entered this dimension in order to make its departure at speed.

(2) RAF Pilot Robert Pilkington stated that while flying a Vampire-5 fighter for 601 Squadron out of North Weald, Essex, on exercise in 1952 he was vectored to intercept a multi-coloured large sausage-like object at 30,000 feet. Upon his approach it changed from a sausage into a flying saucer and left at high speed – “that is to say the human eye assumed it changed shape,” he added. The hypothesis in this case is that the object re-entered this dimension for a hasty departure.

(3) While en route to the Iwo Jima campaign, the US battleship New York (Rear Admiral Kemp C. Christian) and her destroyer escorts sighted overhead a silver sphere “about the size of a house.”156 After some discussion on the bridge the officers agreed it must be a gigantic Japanese balloon. The optical rangefinders calculated the distance as 1700 yards and the 3-inch anti-aircraft battery opened fire. Shortly afterwards the destroyer escort also began a cannonade with their 5-inch main armament. It was found impossible to hit the strange object and eventually the group abandoned the attempt and continued with their voyage. Later the US Navy offered the usual explanation that all these warships had been firing at Venus. This is pure nonsense. Naval rangefinders are either stereoscopic or work on mathematical calculations from target triangulation. In this case it was established by measurement that the object was occupying a definite geographical location in this dimension about three miles up and the guns were ranged on it. If by some mischance the battleship’s gunnery officers had mistaken Venus, which is several hundred million miles away, for a balloon the size of a house hovering overhead, they would have been advised immediately of the fact by their data control centres. The nature of the problem being encountered by the gunnery officers, whether the projectiles were being ricocheted when they hit the target or were deflected by some sort of force field protecting it, was not mentioned by the crewmen reporting the incident. This balloon seems to have been hovering in the adjacent dimension where it would be invulnerable.

(4) The SS Naviero was an ex-Liberty freighter of the Argentine Shipping Lines. She had a cargo of explosives and gunpowder, and for that reason a very good watch was being kept. Her officers and crew were summoned on deck on the morning of 20 July 1967 off the coast of Brazil to see a powerfully glowing object in the sea not more than 15 metres away. It was cigar-shaped, 100 feet in length and had no external control surfaces or protruding parts. It made no noise and left no wake in the water. After a while it suddenly dived and headed off rapidly at very high speed. This sausage-like submersible had a measureable geographical location, was even visible optically in two media, air and water, but was not tangible enough to leave a wake.

In two of the above cases the presence of the UFO in question varied between being physical and paraphysical at different times: the other two were paraphysical throughout the encounter. It may now be becoming clearer why London and Washington will not even hypothesize the existence of UFOs for discussion. Late in 1942, at the stage of the conflict when the German leadership had accepted that the planned objectives of the war were no longer unattainable, the Waffen-SS began trying out aerial machines which acted just like the four mysterious vehicles quoted above. Who in London would want to talk about the implications of that?

The Kugelblitz/Feuerkugel was an experimental stage of the German flying disc project. What must have been learned by chasing and homing-in on Allied aircraft across another dimension over Reich and Axis Pacific airspace during 1943 and 1944 was to be put into practice aboard the real thing at a later time. Meanwhile German aeronautical engineers had worked around the clock on the project for which the Foo Fighters were the preliminary stage and next came the search for the perfect aerodynamic shape.

Germany was the world pioneer in helicopter development and in 1942 the Flettner 282 Kolibri became the first helicopter anywhere to enter operational military service. It was the most advanced orthodox helicopter development of the war. The German supersonic helicopter had a system in which the fuel was piped to combustion chambers at the rotor bladetips where it exploded, whirling the blades around at a fantastic speed.

Germany thus led the world in helicopter knowledge and design.

Within thirty months from July 1942 German aeronautical engineers designed and built several giant circular aircraft which were basically sophisticated autogyros and first flew in early 1945.

The 1919 Treaty of Versailles had so drastically restricted German aircraft production that glider flying became important for pilot training and research. The Horten brothers transformed the living room of their parents’ house into a workshop and in 1933 test-flew their first glider, Ho I, at Bonn-Hagelar. All three brothers were Luftwaffe officers and Nazi Party members. During the Battle of Britain their Ho II and Ho III designs formed part of a special glider unit for Operation Sea Lion. In 1942 at the request of the Luftwaffe they built a stronger and larger version of the Ho V to take a Schmitt-Argus pulse-jet. The variant was designated Ho VII. At about the same time as Schriever’s autogyro blueprint, they were designing a strange crescent-shaped glider, the Ho VI Parabola. Everything regarding this development was destroyed in a mysterious fire at Hellegenberg that year and we hear no more about it until 1947, when the USAF were most anxious to interview Reimar Horten, who by then had escaped to Argentina and was unfortunately incommunicado.