Nazi UFO (German: Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Geräte, VRIL, Kugelblitz, Andromeda-Geräte, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffen or ironically Reichsflugscheiben) refers to claims of advanced aircraft or spacecraft Nazi Germany attempted to develop prior to and during World War II. Some believe that ex-Nazi or possibly American scientists continue to develop new flying saucers in secret underground bunkers in the New Swabia region of Antarctica, South America or the United States. The probably fictional craft appear in science fiction, conspiracy theory, and underground comic books, although there are more than a few documentaries on the subject available through video sharing services.
While there is no credible evidence to support the theory of Nazi spacecraft, the stories are often associated with esoteric Nazism; an ideology that supposes the unlikely possibility of Nazi restoration by supernatural or paranormal means. Consequently all but the most plausible accounts of actual spacecraft are generally held to be religious, political and scientific heresy.
These accounts were likely inspired by historical German development of specialized engines such as Viktor Schauberger’s “Repulsine” around the time of WWII. (right photo: Viktor Schauberger)
Nazi UFO tales and myths very often conform largely to documented history on the following points:
* Nazi Germany claimed the territory of New Swabia in Antarctica, sent an expedition there in 1938, and planned others.
* Nazi Germany conducted research into advanced propulsion technology, including rocketry, Viktor Schauberger’s engine research, flying wing craft and the Arthur Sack A.S.6 experimental “flying disc”.
* Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were discovered to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.
The earliest non-fiction assertion of Nazi flying saucers appears to have been an article which appeared in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale d’Italia in early 1950. Written by Professor Giuseppe Belluzzo, an Italian scientist and a former Italian Minister of National Economy under the Mussolini regime, it claimed that “types of flying discs were designed and studied in Germany and Italy as early as 1942”. Belluzzo also expressed the opinion that “some great power is launching discs to study them”.
The same month, German engineer Rudolf Schriever gave an interview to German news magazine Der Spiegel in which he claimed that he had designed a craft powered by a circular plane of rotating turbine blades 49 ft (15 m) in diameter (left picture – click to enlarge). He said that the project had been developed by him and his team at BMW’s Prague works until April 1945, when he fled Czechoslovakia. His designs for the disk and a model were stolen from his workshop in Bremerhaven-Lehe in 1948 and he was convinced that Czech agents had built his craft for “a foreign power”. In a separate interview with Der Spiegel in October 1952 he said that the plans were stolen from a farm he was hiding in near Regen on 14 May 1945. There are other discrepancies between the two interviews that add to the confusion.
In 1953, when Avro Canada announced that it was developing the VZ-9-AV Avrocar, a circular jet aircraft with an estimated speed of 1,500 mph (2,400 km/h), German engineer Georg Klein claimed that such designs had been developed during the Third Reich. Klein identified two types of supposed German flying disks:
* A non-rotating disk developed at Breslau by V-2 rocket engineer Richard Miethe, which was captured by the Soviets, while Miethe fled to the US via France, and ended up working for Avro.
* A disk developed by Rudolf Schriever and Klaus Habermohl at Prague, which consisted of a ring of moving turbine blades around a fixed cockpit. Klein claimed that he had witnessed this craft’s first manned flight on 14 February 1945, when it managed to climb to 12,400 m (41,000 ft) in 3 minutes and attained a speed of 2,200 km/h (1,400 mph) in level flight.
Aeronautical engineer Roy Fedden remarked that the only craft that could approach the capabilities attributed to flying saucers were those being designed by the Germans towards the end of the war. Fedden (who was also chief of the technical mission to Germany for the Ministry of Aircraft Production) stated in 1945:
“I have seen enough of their designs and production plans to realize that if they (the Germans) had managed to prolong the war some months longer, we would have been confronted with a set of entirely new and deadly developments in air warfare.”
Fedden also added that the Germans were working on a number of very unusual aeronautical projects, though he did not elaborate upon his statement.
In 1959, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, editor of the U.S.A.F.’s Project Blue Book wrote:
“When WWII ended, the Germans had several radical types of aircraft and guided missiles under development. The majority were in the most preliminary stages, but they were the only known craft that could even approach the performance of objects reported to UFO observers.”
Morning of the Magicians
Main article: Le Matin des Magiciens
Le Matin des Magiciens, a 1967 book by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, made many spectacular claims about the Vril Society of Berlin.(left: Vril Society logo). Several years later writers, including Jan van Helsing, Norbert-Jürgen Ratthofer, and Vladimir Terziski, have built on their work, connecting the Vril Society with UFOs. Among their claims, they imply that the society may have made contact with an alien race and dedicated itself to creating spacecraft to reach the aliens. In partnership with the Thule Society and the Nazi Party, the Vril Society developed a series of flying disc prototypes. With the Nazi defeat, the society allegedly retreated to a base in Antarctica and vanished.
Terziski, a Bulgarian engineer who bills himself as president of the American Academy of Dissident Sciences, claims that the Germans collaborated in their advanced craft research with Axis powers Italy and Japan, and continued their space effort after the war from a base in New Swabia. He alleges that Germans may have landed on the Moon as early as 1942 and established an underground base there. Terziski relates that when Russians and Americans secretly landed on the moon in the 1950s they stayed at this still-operating base. According to Terziski, “there is atmosphere, water and vegetation on the Moon,” which NASA conceals to exclude the third world from moon exploration. Terziski has been accused of fabricating his video and photographic evidence.
Ernst Zündel’s marketing ploy
Main article: Zündel: Nazi UFOs-Antarctica
When German Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel started Samisdat Publishers in the 1970s, he initially catered to the UFOlogy community, which was then at its peak of public acceptance. His books claimed that flying saucers were Nazi secret weapons launched from an underground base in Antarctica, from which the Nazis hoped to conquer the world and possibly the planets. Zündel also sold (for $9999) seats on an exploration team to locate the polar entrance to the hollow earth. Some who interviewed Zündel claim that he privately admitted it was a deliberate hoax to build publicity for Samisdat, although he still defended it as late as 2002.
Miguel Serrano’s book
In 1978 Miguel Serrano, a Chilean diplomat and Nazi sympathizer, published The Golden Band, in which he claimed that Adolf Hitler was an avatar of Vishnu and was at that time communing with Hyperborean gods in an underground Antarctic base in New Swabia. Serrano predicted that Hitler would lead a fleet of UFOs from the base to establish the Fourth Reich. In popular culture, this alleged UFO fleet is referred to as the Nazi flying saucers from Antarctica.
Flying saucers and the Third reich
Hitler and the Third Reich led Europe into a decade of terror in the first half of the 20th century that culminated in World War II. Technology played a greater part in that war than in past conflicts and the Germans developed an amazing array of secret weapons in a short time. Were flying discs part of the Luftwaffe arsenal? And if so, was this secret looted and used by the Allied victors after the war? More than any war before it, World War II was the war of secret weapons. A few of these advances, like the American atomic bomb and the British ability to crack the German communication ciphers may have actually tipped the outcome of the conflict. The Axis powers also had their secrets and many of the most clandestine German war-time technical advances are now well known.
German Secret Weapons
Hitler’s forces flew the first military jet, the German Heinkel 178, in 1939. In 1943 the Germans also deployed the only jet fighter to go into regular service during the war: The Messerschmitt 262. This ME-262 could easily overtake the fastest Allied aircraft and only Hitler’s misguided orders that the planes be outfitted as bombers instead of defensive fighters saved Allied aircraft from devastating casualties.
Cruise missiles, a staple of current advanced arsenals, were also first used by the Third Reich during the war. V-1 flying bombs were launched from German-held territories across the channel into England. The “buzz bombs,” as they were sometimes called because of the sound of their impulse jet engines, could outrun most Allied aircraft, making the V-1’s almost impossible to stop. The V-1’s weakness was its guidance system (a problem solved in modern cruise missiles by the use of computer-controlled radar). Because it couldn’t hit a pinpoint target, the V-1 could only be used to cause random terror and not zero in on truly important military assets.
The German V-2 rocket was the predecessor of the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that filled the nuclear arsenals of the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. It traveled up to 225 miles at five times the speed of sound and a single hit could demolish a city block. During the war, the V-2 killed 2724 civilians and injured another 6467. Like the V-1, though, it lacked a guidance system that would have allowed it to effectively strike at important targets.
Hitler’s engineers even developed a rocket-powered fighter, the ME 163. Though it never was put into regular service, it was the first aircraft to fly faster than 600 miles an hour.
After the war, rumors surfaced that the Nazis had one more secret weapon that was still hidden: flying disc-shaped aircraft. According to these stories, some of the victorious Allied nations had plundered the German laboratories where these aircraft were being developed and secret testing of these devices explained many of the reports of flying saucers that appeared in the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950’s.
German Flying Discs
Many of the reports of Nazi flying saucers can be traced back to a book entitled German Secret Weapons of World War II written by Rudolf Lusar in the late 1950’s. Lusar had been a major in a German army technical unit during the war. His book covered many of the acknowledged advances like the V1 and V2, but also included a chapter on “Wonder Weapons.”
According to Lusar, a German aircraft designer named Rudolf Schriever, along with other engineers Habermohl, Mierth and Bellanzo (who was Italian), were working on several disc-shaped aircraft toward the end of the war. At a facility near Breslau, Poland, a group headed by Miethe constructed a prototype of a circular air vehicle 137 feet in diameter with an elongated hump on top for the cockpit. The aircraft was to be powered with “adjustable jet engines.” In Lusar’s account, the device was destroyed when the plant where it was being constructed was blown up by retreating German troops before it could be overrun by the Soviets in 1945.
At a second location just outside Prague, Czechoslovakia, according to Lusar, another group headed by Schriever and Habermohl were working on an additional disc aircraft. Diagrams included in the book show a central egg-shaped control pod surrounded by a nearly flat disc. The flat disc appears to be composed of fan blades that rotate to create lift. Ports on the lower part of the pod appear to be connected to jet engines that provide the forward propulsion.
Lusar states that the Schriever machine was tested in 1945 and supposedly reached an altitude of 12 kilometers (39,000 feet) in a little over three minutes. He continues by saying it had a top speed of 2000 kilometer an hour (1,200mph) – substantially faster than the speed of sound.
These claims seem somewhat incredible. According to conventional history, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier the X-1, an American rocket-powered plane in 1947. It seems unlikely that Schriever’s group would have been able to make such a drastic leap in performance so early and so quickly. In addition, comments from Schriever himself, who relocated to the United States after the war, indicate that any prototypes of the craft were destroyed before flight test as the Germans abandoned their facilities in the face of advancing Allied troops.
According to Lusar, the Germans’ had also developed small automated, unconventional aircraft. One version was called the Feuerball while another, capable of vertical takeoff, was referred to as the Kugelblitz. According to stories, these craft were only armed with devices designed to guide them to allied aircraft and interfere with their electronics and engines.
The Feuerball and Kugelblitz stories seem to parallel tales of “foo-fighters” told by Allied pilots during the war. Despite this, it seems unlikely that Feuerballs and Kugelblitzs were ever actually built or flown. The “foo-fighters” observed were probably some purely natural phenomena (right photo). No Allied plane ever reported being attacked or disabled by a foo-fighter and it is likely that if the Germans had invented a device capable of tracking planes as well as the foo-fighters apparently did, they would have soon armed it with more effective weapons.
Nick Cook, a respected aviation journalist for Jane’s Defense Weekly Nick looked into the claims for German flying discs in his 2001 book The Hunt for Zero Point. Cook became interested in unconventional aircraft after seeing some articles written in the 1950’s that quoted respected experts of the era, like Lawrence D. Bell (whose company designed the supersonic X-1) predicting that the next major breakthrough in aviation could be anti-gravity devices. His research led him to Lusar’s book and the stories of German flying saucers.
Cook was perhaps one of the few aviation writers that was willing to take the “Legend” of German flying saucers seriously. While researching his book he visited many of the locations mentioned in German Secret Weapons of World War II. He also connected the stories of the German saucer designers to the work of a man named Victor Schauberger.
Schauberger was born in Austria in 1885 and was considered by many to be a crackpot. Schauberger himself is quoted as saying, “They call me deranged. The hope is they are right…” While his professional training was as a “forester,” Cook, after visiting the Schauberger’s grandson and examining his papers and the machinery he had constructed, concluded that Schauberger was actually more of an engineer. Schauberger believed that machines could be designed better so that they would be “going with the flow of nature” rather than against it.
One of Schauberger’s projects was to produce a flying machine, saucer shaped, that used a “vortex propulsion” system. His theory was that “if water or air is rotated into a twisting form of oscillation, known as a ‘colloidal,’ a build-up of energy results, which, with immense power, can cause levitation.”
According to some accounts, Schauberger built several models, one of which was almost five feet in diameter and was powered by a 1/20 hp electric engine. Some reports indicated that one of the models actually flew. In an echo of the story of the Schriever disc, Schauberger wrote to a friend that a full-sized prototype of one of his designs was constructed using prison labor at the Mauhausen concentration camp. This craft flew on February 19th of 1945 near Prague and obtained an altitude of 45,000 feet in only 3 minutes. The letter goes on to say the prototype was destroyed by the Nazis before it could be captured by the Allies.
After the war Schauberger moved to the United States, where some contend he worked on secret projects for the U.S. government. He died in 1958, apparently claiming his ideas had been stolen.
Cook concluded that if the stories about Schauberger’s work were true, his devices must have created an anti-gravity effect. Cook even visited a location in the remote Sudeten Mountains in Poland where antigravity experiments were supposed to have taken place using a bell-shaped device that glowed a pale blue when operating.
Advantages of Disc Aircraft
The “Legend” of German flying saucers is fascinating, but is any of it true? It certainly seems likely that there was some experimentation with the concept within the Reich, as there was in the United States. Disc-shaped aircraft have several advantages, including low stall speed and low drag, even at high speeds. The rounded shape can also lower the craft’s radar profile making it “stealthy.”
The low stall/drag of the shape would have been particularly interesting to the Germans at the end of the war. Months of bombing had reduced German runways to rubble. A saucer-shaped craft might have been able to lift off the ground with a short runway or even do a vertical-takeoff-and -landing with no runway at all.
In his book Cook concludes that Nazis flying saucer technology was appropriated by the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of the war. This suggestion is not wholly without merit, since it is now clear that US and USSR rocketry development in the 50’s and 60’s owed a lot to German scientists. These engineers, quietly brought into the United States via operation “Paperclip,” assisted the United States in its space program and its Cold War struggle against the Soviet Union. Similarly, according to author Jim Wilson in an article in Popular Mechanics in July 1997, there are records that suggest at least two people, brothers named Walter and Reimar Horten, were sought by the United States after the war because of their participation in German military saucer programs.
UFOs and Antigravity Myths
It is clear that at least some of the Nazi saucer lore developed after the war, rather than during it. In his book, UFOs: Nazi Secret Weapons? author Ernst Zundel claims that Hitler escaped at the end of the war to establish a flying saucer base in Antarctica. Zundel’s tale is connected with the discredited idea that the earth is hollow and the interior can be accessed from the polar regions. As colorful as such stories are, they are so far afield from reality that they can’t be taken seriously.
In contrast, Cook’s assertion in The Hunt for Zero Point that antigravity technology was spirited out of Germany at the end of the war doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. It is difficult to believe, however, that such advanced knowledge, if it really worked, would not have shown up in the intervening 60 years in U.S. military equipment or through the NASA space program. The ability to shield an object from gravity, if it could be done, would greatly decrease the cost and difficulty of putting objects into space.
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