AVIATION NEWS * October 14, 1946

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Russian Hail Over Scandinavia

There is nothing mythical about reports of Russian buzz bombs over Scandinavia except the claim that the missiles are meteorites. A week's intensive questioning in Denmark and Sweden justifies this conclusion.

     Determined not to contribute to world unrest or "hysteria," the Scandinavians refuse to talk officially about the phenomenon, and have kept the lid on the subject to the extent of persuading press associations to stop dispatching reports which are not officially confirmed. The Swedes have confined one writer to an institution until he could "sober up" and cease talking on this unauthorized subject.

     Talks with newspapermen, aviation officials, writers and other well informed citizens in Denmark and Sweden justify these statements.

     The bombs are coming from the old German research center of Peenemünde, seized intact by the Russians, where scientific work is still underway.

     The bombs are cigar-shaped, jet-type missiles smaller than the V-2. They had been developed by the Germans before Russian occupation but had not yet been used. They are projectiles without wings or tails, according to an eye-witness who watched one of the flame-spitting missiles for five minutes as it passed across the sky toward western Sweden about 2 o'clock one afternoon early in August.

     Some are believed to be remote controlled, and have been seen changing their course and heading eastward again like mechanical boomerangs. Actually, it is believed the Russians had no intention of permitting any of their hail to fall in Scandinavia, preferring that the missiles land in their own area for more careful observations.

     Estimates of the range of these new models run as high as 3,000 miles, with a more popular guess 2,000 miles. Numerous eye-witness reports have come from the extreme northern areas of Sweden.

     The bombs have slacked off the past few weeks, perhaps coinciding with successful progress of the Swedish-Russian trade negotiations.

     Hundreds of Swedes have seen the bombs, and reports from distant points have tallied perfectly as to description of appearance, time and trajectory. Time lag noted at progressive locations indicated clearly that the missiles were not meteorites.

     About 10 missiles have been seen plainly over Stockholm since June. Others have been reported over Sweden and Denmark. No reports have come from Finland, where strict censorship is imposed.

     About a month ago a bomb fell in Denmark, killing several persons. No other deaths have been revealed. As in Sweden, the official Danish explanation of the accident was charged up to a meteorite.

     One missile fell into a lake in Sweden. Government authorities quickly took over and dredged for the object, using some 600 military personnel. Witnesses said heavy material, well covered, was shipped out of the area during the night. Nothing has been heard of the matter since. Pointing out that August was the month of meteors, the government said the falling object probably was a natural phenomenon.

     No evidence could be obtained that anything more than minute pieces of any bomb has been found. All of the objects which have fallen have disintegrated. One witness interviewed said these fragments were of magnesium -- not the stuff of meteorites.

     Although there is no censorship in Sweden, newsmen have been requested not to disseminate material abroad which would contribute to international hysteria. This appears to be another reason that the most recent press dispatches on the subject, still emphasizing the meteorite angle, have been coming from England instead of Scandinavia.

     This writer sought an interview with one aviation writer said to be one of the best informed Swedes on the subject. A telephone call to his office revealed that he had just been sent to a sanitarium for alcoholism, after several indiscreet discussions of his experiences on field trips to study the missiles.

     A co-worker also known to be well informed, said he had been given strict instructions by the government to make no comments whatsoever.

     Several Foreign office officials in both Sweden and Denmark refused to speak on the subject, except to stress the fact that no missile had been found. "Mass hysteria" is the favorite official reason put forth by the spokesmen for these little countries which yearn so much for a peaceful world.




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