PROJECT 1947

UFO REPORTS - 1944

 

On the way out, I found a phone booth and called Splitt.  [Orville Splitt, Pentagon Public Relations magazine section]

"Foo fighters?" he said.  "Sure, I remember those stories.  You think those are your flying saucers?"

I could hear him snicker.

"Just checking angles," I said.  "Didn't the Eighth Air Force investigate the foo fighters?"

"Yes, and they found nothing to back up the pilots' yarns.  Just war nerves, apparently."

"How about a look at the Intelligence report?" I asked.

"Wait a minute."  Splitt was gone for twice that time, then he came back.  "Sorry, it's classified."

"If all this stuff is bunk, why keep the lid on it?" I demanded.  I was getting sore again.

"Look, Don," said Splitt, "I don't make the rules."

"Sure, I know – sorry," I said.




Flying Saucers Are Real by Donald E. Keyhoe, Fawcett Publications, Inc. 1950, New York, page 36






 
The American homefront was not exempt from strange things in the sky.  On the banks of the Clinch River at Oak Ridge, Tenn., a huge, black, windowless building, 525 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 75 feet high, was constructed in record 70 days.  In the middle of September, 1944, this structure, a gaseous diffusion plant began operations.  This unusual factory was designed to prepare sufficient quantities of fissionable material for the United States' most important secret weapon: the atomic bomb.  Shortly after the plant started operations the area had a very odd visitor:

“...about dusk on a September evening in 1944 a Mr. Nelson in the company of two other Oak Ridge workers, A.C. Butler and Albert Profitt, were driving from Oliver Springs into Oak Ridge.  At a point about two miles out of Oliver a strange object showed up about fifty feet in front of the car and at about the height of the windshield.  Nelson said it was glossy white in color, and the reflected light had a dimension of about thirty feet long and four feet wide.  When Nelson eased the car up to the object, it moved slowly away, and when he stopped the car, it also stopped.  Nelson claims that he called people out from a house by the roadside to see what they were observing, and they were as dumbfounded at the sight as the three men were.

“Finally, after Nelson had moved forward and stopped again several times, the light rose high into the air and disappeared over Black Oak Ridge.  The men reported the incident to the superintendent of schools, and the FBI was contacted in Knoxville.  Nelson said that at first the FBI was very interested in the report but then they seemed to lose interest in it completely.  He assumed that they found out that the object was some sort of secret weapon being developed at Oak Ridge and so it was no longer of any interest to them.”




Source:  Loren Gross' manuscript, “The Mystery of Unidentified Flying Objects—A Prelude 1896-1949, September 1971” (revised in 1973), quoting an account from Lorenzen, Coral and Jim, UFOs the Whole Story, New York, The New American Library, 1962, page 23-24, reproduced with permission.

PROJECT 1947 Comment: The FBI figures in a number of early UFO reports.  Besides this Oak Ridge event, a 1945 Minnesota incident was supposedly reported to them and another by a reporter from the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal in October 1946.  These incidents do not figure in the UFO documents released by the FBI and indicate some possible areas for further research.






The Allies were not the only ones puzzled.

The Axis forces were encountering similar phenomena:

“It was a September night in 1944.  Somewhere near Epinal in the French province of Lorraine, Private Immel and 500 other German soldiers were dug in, waiting for the Allied advance.

Suddenly, Immel saw an object hovering nearby.  There was neither light nor sound.

‘It was silver-white, like dull aluminium,’ recalled Immel ... ‘It stopped a few feet from the ground, above some railroad tracks near us...  It was round and about 6 fert in diameter.  But as it got closer the shape changed to oval.  I raised my rifle and fired.  As soon as the bullet struok it, it flared up into the brightest sunlight I'd ever seen.

‘Every one of the 500 men in my company opened fire on the ball of light.  However, the next morning, when we searched the area, we found nothing.’ ”

One of Germany's Axis partners, Romania, also had a visit from a strange aerial object:

“On a summer day in 1944, engineer George Zmeuranu was near the Vage [Vega] refinery, Ploiesti, immediately following a bomb raid and 'one of the oil tanks was burning...'

‘Then I (Zmeuranu) noticed a pointed object coming from the north,...It was yellow...but with a whitish tail which, when it met the clouds of smoke, seemed to shorten and vibrate in a strange way.’

(The object) traveled at a high rate of speed.  Over the burning refinery it turned, stopped momentarily, then ziggagged (sic) toward the north and disappeared.”

Source:  Flying Saucer Review Volume 15 #1, page 3.





 
Stockholm, Sweden  Stockholms-Tidningen - 2 November, 1944

A light phenomenon of especially remarkable nature was observed around 6:00 in the evening, on Wednesday [November 1], in the vicinity of Stallarholmen, east of Strangnas.  Karl Adamsson, an electrician, was bicycling north on a road toward Overselo Church, when he suddenly observed a flashing light which repeated several times.

A grove of trees stood in his way, and when he came around that, the flashing ceased.  Instead, he saw at great height a kind of “fireball,” which shone with a dull golden light.  It came from the southeast at a very great speed.  He saw it move toward the northwest a little more than half a mile, whereupon the ball stopped and hung motionless in the air.

In a few seconds it continued, but this time back in the direction it had come from.  When it had covered a stretch of about a third of a mile, it stopped once again and remained motionless for about five minutes, during which it continously shed a rain of sparks.  The light gradually diminished and in the end completely disappeared.

What the whole thing may have been no one has been able to figure out.  Several persons noticed the phenomenon.



Extract from: "From the Archives (2): UFO Phenomena in the Fall of 1944, by Anders Liljegren/AFU, translated into English by A. Liljegren, page 2.





 
New York, NY  New York Times - 14 December, 1944

Floating Mystery Ball
Is New Nazi Air Weapon

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, Allied Expeditionary Force; Dec. 13 – A new German weapon has made its appearance on the western air front, it was disclosed today.

Airmen of the American Air Force report that they are encountering silver colored spheres in the air over German territory.  The Spheres are encountered either singly or in clusters.  Sometimes they are semi-translucent.





SUPREME HEADQUARTERS, Dec. 13 (Reuter)–The Germans have produced a “secret” weapon in keeping with the Christmas season.

The new device, apparently an air defense weapon, resembles the huge glass balls that adorn Christmas trees.

There was no information available as to what holds them up like stars in the sky, what is in them, or what their purpose is supposed to be.





Stars and Stripes  (European Edition) - 16 December, 1944

‘Xmas Bulbs’ in Nazi Skies
New German Secret Weapon?

The Nazis inadvertently keeping in the Yuletide spirit, have produced a new secret weapon, apparently for air defense, resembling the huge multi-colored glass balls used to decorate Christmas trees.

These transparent spheres, colored silver and other shades, hang in the air either singly or in clusters.  No information has been revealed as to what holds them up like stars in the sky, what they contain, or what their purpose is supposed [to be.]

[They have been] seen several times floating over German-held territory.

Despite the new “secret” weapon there won’t be a “Merry” Christmas in the Reich this year.  Instead, according to German radio, “Christmas this year must be marked by hard work.”  Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler nevertheless assured the Nazis that “this war will end in victory for us.”  Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Nazi chief of staff, warned the Wehrmacht to continue giving the Hitler [salute.]





 
The following letter was retyped by AAF Intelligence from the handwritten original from Mr Casimir J. Bidas, who had been a Gunner with the 783rd Bomb Squadron of the 465th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force in Europe during WW II.  Some of the names were incorrectly transcribed and have been corrected using the resources of the 783rd Bomb Squadron website:
http://www.783rd.org/index.html




134-14 - 97th Ave.       
Richmond Hill, New York


July 6, 1947                 


            War Department
            Attn: Army Air Forces
            Washington. D. C.



Gentlemen:

    After reading an article about the flying discs which appeared in the paper recently, I decided to write this letter.

My first acquaintance with it was during the war when I served as a gunner on a B24 in the Fifteenth Air Force.  In the latter part of the year 1944, coming from a mission over Europe this matter was seen by several of our crew members.  This was reported after the mission to the S2, during interrogation and written in the report.

This was a bit out of the ordinary at the time to believe, and many arguments arose as to the fact that it could be a wing tank jettisoned from a fighter escort, however the men said it was not of this nature.

Later possibilities arose that it was "chaff" being dispersed from the aircraft.  The answer was given that this object so called a disc was from 15 to 20 feet in diameter and of silvery substance as given in the report by Sgt. Bantktt [Puckett] and S/Sgt Diulrooney [Mulrooney].

Should these records still be available this matter could be confirmed. It was the 55th wing 465th Bomb Grp and 783 Sqd under the name of Lt Harold - Thornersnew [Shoener].

I was on Lt Thornersnew's [Shoener's] crew until he was killed on Jan 20, 1945 with those who witnessed the so called flying disc, and I am one of the three original crew members left.

As I have previously mentioned, this matter coulld be confirmed in those S2 reports.  The exact date is not known, however one of the following dates is the time when the disc was seen:

10-12-44 11-6-44 12-19-44
10-13-44 11-18-44 12-20-44
10-16-44 11-20-44 12-27-44
10-20-44 12-6-44 12-29-44
11-1-44 12-11-44  
11-4-44 12-15-44  



Sincerely yours,

/s/ Casimir Bidas


NOTE; Unable to decipher proper name correctly - [illegible]









New York, NY  New York Times - 21 December, 1944

BERLIN'S DEVICE FUTILE

Silver Spheres Above City Have No Effect


Special to The NEW YORK TIMES.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20—No “detectable effects” have been noted from the mysterious “silver balls” that American pilots recently reported were floating over Berlin, an official Army Air Forces spokesman said today.

The objects were described as silver, or silver-covered, but the AAF does not know whether they are metal, the spokesman said.  He added that the descriptions had been contained in newspaper reports and that headquarters here had had no reports from the theatre.





 
Newsweek Magazine - 25 December, 1944

The Silver Spheres Puzzle

A massive assault by the United States Army Air Force based in Britain and Italy last week brought the air war in Europe to a new peak of [illegible word] and technique.  At a season when bad weather ordinarily reduces air activity, the Eighth, and Fifteenth Air Forces surpassed all previous records and in a single day sent 2,100 heavy bombers and 1,150 fighters against the Reich.

From Britain, 1,600 heavies, escorted by 800 fighters flew in five waves stretching over 300 miles.  They were manned by 16,800 airmen: they carried 4,000 tons of explosives and incendiaries.  Once over Germany, in cloudy weather that grounded the Luftwaffe and required Americans to use electronic bombing devices, the Fortresses attacked rail yards at Frankfurt and Giessen; the Liberators bombed rail yards at Hanau.  From the south the Fifteenth's heavy bombers hit Moosbierbaum oil refinery near Vienna.

But though German defense was limited to anti-aircraft fire, the German was still ready for battle, still ingenious in defense.  Dispatches heavily censored by Supreme Headquarters revealed that American pilots have recently encountered a new phenomenon over Germany: glittering Christmas tree ornaments.  Sometimes translucent, floating single or in clusters, the balls are presumably a new form of aerial interference.  Recalling the Americans and Germans use of tinfoil strips dropped by attacking planes to confuse Radar instruments on the ground, Hanson Baldwin, military analyst of the New York Times, made this educated guess on the new German weapon.

“The new 'silver spheres' might represent...the reverse of this idea.  Such spheres drifting about in the sky, might interfere with and confuse the radar in attacking planes, thus making 'blind' bombing impossible, or far more inaccurate than it normally is.”





 
Stars and Stripes - 28 December, 1944



TAKE IT FROM HERE

By Ed Clark


OVER GERMANY, CHRISTMAS EVE, 1944 — The three-quarter moon was brightly cold in mid-heaven, a sort of icy floodlight for the frozen ground below.  It gave just enough light to outline the night fighter as she revved up on the runway before taking off into the sharp contrasts of bright glare and dark shadow.  The pilot looked over his ship before clambering aboard.  He was 1st Lt. George R. Schrock, Willoughby, Ohio, tall, lean and young, but a veteran of many lone missions into the night.  Everything looked all right.  He didn't have any small talk, not even for his navigator, 2nd Lt. Edmon J. Kantack, from Greenleaf, Kansas.

All the last-minute conversation was made by the mechanic, Sgt. L. J. Belser, a Texan from the little town of San Augustine.  He wished the moon were fuller, not because he had a girl, but for the crew.  It sounded funny, he knew, but he guessed the plane was the only girl he much cared about.  He asked the pilot if he’d put up his stocking.

“No,” said Schrock, “not until after we get back.”

Nobody said “Merry Christmas.”

The battle lines were easy to find.  Thousands of feet below, gun and shell flashes brightened the moon glow.  Here and there, the ground was red with embers, the burning wrecks of buildings, farmhouses perhaps just tiny shacks, caught in the front.

The young men and their lone ship were on an intruder mission.  They were to look for enemy troop and supply movements behind the lines, to shoot up every train and truck they could find.  Christmas Eve didn't have much to do with their job.  Signals and instructions came over the radio.  The plane moved almost like a hawk, swerving and swinging, losing altitude and then picking it up again.  Sometimes, a bend of the Rhine or some canal reflected the moonlight from far below, or stretch of a road or railroad cut into the darkness of the horizons.  Far to the east, some German cities, feeling themselves too distant to bother with total blackout, glowed dully.

A little flak came up here and there, harmlessly, but otherwise the plane might have been in the middle of some desert.  Finally, the navigator ended the flight into Germany, and started back home.

Near the German side of the front, a pair of headlights suddenly gleamed brilliantly white.  The night intruder changed course, dived and came across the road almost at tree-top height, guns hammering briefly.  White fires spotted the road and the vehicle.  The intruder swooped past and lost itself in the night.  A few seconds later a cheery voice came over the radio, gave the ship landing instructions and wished the crew “Merry Christmas.”


PROJECT 1947 Comment: Material from the front in World War II was subject to censorship.  Perhaps this is why Ed Clark does not identify the unit he flew with nor the fact that he saw a foo-fighter during this flight.  The 415th Night Fighter Squadron gave Sgt Ed Clark his Christmas Eve flight, and while operational reports do not mention foo-fighter encounters on Christmas Eve, the unit history does report that the foo-fighters were active on this night.

Details of Clark's sighting only came out years later after he had returned to the US and wrote a column about his war time experiences. 





 
Seattle, Wa.  Seattle Daily Times - 29 June, 1947

Man Recounts Shooting Foo Fighter in WW II


Harre Cowe, 12538 15th Ave. N. E., recalled today that flying lights were among the unexplained mysteries of air fighting in Europe during the Second World War.

Cowe said 23 night-fighter crews in a squadron to which he was attached reported seeing the strange lights while flying over the Rhine Valley.

Lights Kept Up

“The first crew to see them noticed that the lights seemed to be flying right with the airplane," Cowe said.  “The boys didn't know what they were, and tried evasive action, but the lights seemed to stay right with them.

“The boys were afraid they'd be grounded if they reported the lights, so they kept still about them.  But the following night another crew saw the same thing and reported it.  After that, all the crews in the squadron with the exception of two had the same experience.

“Finally, one of the boys decided to shoot at one of the lights to see what would happen, and he blasted away.  There was an explosion that rocked the plane and bent the plexiglass dome on it.

“Nobody ever did offer any explanation for the lights, which the boys called 'foo fighters'.  We just set it down as something that the Germans were trying out and let it go at that.”


PROJECT 1947 Comment: The headline on the Seattle Times news item did not mention "Foo Fighters", this is a Project 1947 header.  This news story is one of several personal accounts from WW II in which the claim is made that UFOs were fired upon.  These personal accounts are supported by official documents for the same period which state that "foo-fighters" or "balls of fire" were fired upon.





 
Alexandria, Louisiana  Daily Town Talk - 20 April, 1980

UFO Sightings Aren't That Unusual; Several in Area Have Seen Them

By Richard Sharkey, Town Talk Staff Writer



[Extract:]

....Kent Courtney, 1413 Texas Ave., said he saw a UFO in 1944.  Since that time he's discovered that about one of every 20 persons he told has in turn told him of their own UFO encounter.

....Courtney spotted a UFO while he was piloting a transatlantic flight from Brazil to Africa during World War II.

“I had no interest in UFOs until a couple of them came and flew alongside of us,” Courtney explained.

All of that changed after the sighting.  Courtney, now an art gallery owner, became an avid researcher of information related to UFOs and extraterrestrial happenings.

During the 1960s, Courtney compiled a UFO scrapbook and subscribed to a newspaper clipping service to get his hands on everything reported about UFOs.  At the time he was a syndicated radio announcer and included UFO reports as a regular part of his broadcasts.

He said many World War II pilots reported seeing “bogies” or UFOs during flights.

“Pilots were amazed these little fellows were only four, five, and six feet across and they'd fly on the wingtip,” Courtney said.

“Some of them traveled as fast as 1,000 miles an hour, an unheard of speed at the time,” he said.  “Whatever they are..whoever they are, they have discovered space travel that we don't know yet.”

Courtney's sighting occurred in 1944 while he was a [sic] flying a transport place over the South Atlantic at about 10,000 feet altitude.

It was a night flight.  “We were scheduled to arrive in Africa at dawn,” Courtney recalled.  It was dark but the four cockpit pilots could see the horizon in the distance.

“Then this bright pair of lights showed up in front of us.  These lights were too far to be the lights of an airplane,” he said.

The lights sped rapidly toward the plane's nose but separated and went around just before it reached his plane, he said.

“We were just aghast and all of a sudden they were coming up from behind,” Courtney said.  “They flew alongside of us for four or five minutes.  They were within a city block of us.”

He said he didn't see a detail craft but saw bright yellowish lights from some type of craft.

When the plane touched down in Africa, Courtney and the other pilots reported the sighting.

“We were advised by the Army and Air Force to keep it to ourselves,” Courtney noted.

“The official view of the Air Force was to quell the investigation, to stop it cold.”  He said he talked with numerous World War II pilots who had seen UFOs.

Courtney isn't naive enough to believe every UFO sighting is authentic.  “For every authentic report, there would be some guys trying to get in on the publicity bandwagon.”

Asked his theory on why UFOs have never made contact with government officials, Courtney said the extraterrestrial beings are probably superior and would have nothing to gain from such an encounter.

“They are observing a lesser breed.”  Courtney said.  “Why should they bother?”





 
Bomber Paced By UFO – August 10, 1944

Capt. Alvah M. Reida, during his military flying career, was an airplane Commander on B-26's, B-24's and B-29's.  At the time of the sighting, he was based at Kharagapur, India, in the 468th Bomb Group, 792nd Squadron, XX Bomber Command. All quotes from his report, on file at NICAP).

“I was on a mission from Ceylon, bombing Palembang, Sumatra.  The date was August 10, 1944, time shortly after midnight.  There were 50 planes on the strike going in on the target at about 3 minute intervals.  My plane was the last one in on the target and the assignment was for us to bomb, then drop photo-flash bombs, attached to parachutes, make a few runs over the target area, photographing damage from the preceding planes.  The weather was broken clouds, with an overcast above us.  Our altitude was 14,000 feet, indicated air speed about 210 mph.

While in the general target area we were exposed to sporadic flak fire, but immediately after leaving this area it ceased.  At 20 or 30 minutes later the right gunner and my co-pilot reported a strange object pacing us about 500 yards off the starboard wing.  At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably 5 or 6 feet in diameter, of a very bright and intense red or orange in color.  It seemed to have a halo effect.  Something like this:



My gunner reported it coming in from about five o'clock position at our level.  It seemed to throb or vibrate constantly.  Assuming it was some kind of radio controlled object sent to pace us, I went into evasive action, changing direction constantly as much as 90 degrees and altitude about 2000 feet.  It followed every maneuver for about 8 minutes, always holding a position of about 500 yards out and about 2 o'clock in relation to the plane.  When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, up and accelerating rapidly; it disappeared in the overcast.”

Capt. Reida added: “During the strike evaluation and interrogation following this mission, I made a detailed report to Intelligence, thinking it was some new type of radio controlled missile or weapon.”

Reproduced from: "NICAP: The UFO Evidence," 1964, Page 23





 
1943   or   1944


"...Was the enemy picking up some kind of ray emitted by the U-boat — infrared, heat rays, electronic rays of various kinds?  Even the most outlandish suggestions were considered.  For example, Lieutenant Hans-Helmuth Bugs, aboard the U-629, surmised that the Allies were cunningly using some sort of strange new aircraft: he reported that his vessel had been approached abeam by a flying disk that winked white, yellow and red."

Source:
      The U-boats by Douglas Botting
      Time-Life Books, Chicago, IL
      ISBN 0-8094-2675-7
      1979
      Pg. 155


No reference to the date of the sighting is given. However, based on its location in the book one would logically infer that it occurred in 1943, or more likely 1944.





 
England - September, 1944

Extract from a letter from Dr. Ted Peter, Professor of Systematic Theology at The Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to MUFON and Dr. Richard Haines 30 September, 1986:

"I have an item that I think you could stick in your file in the appropriate place.  A couple of weeks ago I appeared on the local CBS noon news to discuss UFOs and religion.  The station, KPIX Channel 5 TV in San Francisco, received a telephone call from a UFO witness which I followed up.

"His name is Jeffrey Wilks, an Englishman.  The event takes place between nine and ten o'clock on a September night in 1944.  Mr. Wilks was a lieutenant in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and was at that time a spotter for an anti-aircraft battery.  He identified it as unit 606 of the Heavy Aircraft Battery located near the regimental headquarters near Dover.  The specific night in question was the night when they bombed Burlogna*.[?]  They were watching the bombing from their position in England.  Mr. Wilks also reported that that night their anti-aircraft radar was out of commission.  Consequently, as a spotter he was particularly alert.

"Coming back from the bombing raid an RAF plane (evidently with two engines) with one engine on fire drifted overhead.  Shortly thereafter, perhaps within ten minutes, came the unknown. He described it as a long black cylinder shaped object with no wings and a red glow on the rear.  It made no noise as it approached. When it was directly overhead it turned and became completely vertical.  Then it climbed in this vertical direction at an extremely high rate of speed and disappeared into the sky in a matter of seconds.  Mr. Wilks says it was completely cloudless night and that there were more than 100 witnesses.  At this time, of course, there were no words such as 'flying saucers' or 'UFOs', so they did not have any term to designate it.

"As a spotter for the RAF, Mr. Wilks was very familiar with the V-1 bomber, which he and his troops had code named 'diver.'  He said he knew the sound, shape, and behaviour of the divers.  The unknown object which he describes here was clearly larger than a diver.  Furthermore, Mr. Wilks emphasized that it made no sound.  He also emphasizes that he knew well the German rocket planes that were being experimented with at the time.  The unknown object did not fit this category either.

"As an aside, Mr. Wilks mentioned that following the war he went into military intelligence work.  He speaks fluent German and did considerable research through interviews and other similar methods to ascertain just what the Germans were doing with their military experimentation.  I asked him if he had ever encountered the "Foo Space Fighters."  No, he said he never heard anything about them."



*September, 1944 saw sustained attacks on German positions in Boulogne, France, by allied aircraft and ground troops.  Fighting was also taking place in Bologna, Italy, but by 1944 the allies had airfields in Southern Italy which would afford more sensible landing places for damaged aircraft, rather than making the journey all the way back to England.  It seems likely, therefore, that "Burlogna" was actually Boulogne in France.

This article Mitchell Men: Medium Bombers At War: Air Force, Part 56 references one such raid on Boulogne by Canadian Mitchell Bombers.





 
October 29, 1944 - Near Munich, Germany

This was taken from the August 1994 issue of The Raven, newsletter of the 301st BG association.  An interesting mention of a "Foo Fighter" or UFO.  Just a line but of possible interest:

The 15th AAF began night raids, calling the operation "Lone Wolf."  The (LW) after the date designates a Lone Wolf mission.

The following account by William A. Schultz, a 419th pilot, describes the use of RADAR on one af the few missions of this type flown by the 15th AAF.

Oct. 29 Mission #365 - Munich West M/Y [Marshaling Yard] (night mission)

Twelve pilots were selected from the 5th Wing (B-17s) to fly the first night mission by the U.S. Army Air Force in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.  As one of the pilots, my scheduled bomb drop was 2:15 A.M.  The crew assembled for briefing and was jeeped to our plane at 10:00 P.M., take off was 10:30.  Our twelve plane bombing intervals were approximately 15 minutes.  This nuisance raid was significant in that not only was the mission at night, but we were equipped with twelve 500 pound bombs with six instantaneous explosives and six delayed action fuses from 5 to 72 hours.  Demoralizing!

In flight, over the Adriatic, the crew test-fired our guns about 10:45 P.M.  We saw tracer flashes ahead and signaled with our scope light the proper call letters.  As we approached the north shore of the Adriatic enroute to Munich, we could see by the moonlight heavy cloud formation over the Alps.  It had to be a cold front coming down from Germany.  At 20,000 feet there was a "saddle back" in the frontal mass of clouds and we picked this to go through.  We encountered severe down drafts and lost 1000 feet of altitude in seconds, then through the opening, we encountered up drafts that made the plane rise like an elevator another 2000 feet.  As we approached Innsbruck, the IP, we were above the clouds at 26,000 feet when we encountered tracer shells coming toward our plane.  T/Sgt. Dominick Walicki, crew chief and top turret gunner yelled, "Ju-88 at 10 o'clock!" It looked like a twin engine aircraft.  We immediately dove down into the clouds.  I told the crew members to hold their fire as we had no flame dampeners on our guns and we did not wish to give our position away to other enemy aircraft that might be in the vicinity.

Note:

Our plane was equipped with a "Mickey Scope" (radar) that could "see" through the clouds.  The Mickey navigator informed me when we were over the IP and gave directions to the West Marshaling Yard at approximately 1:45 A.M.  We had broken out of the high scattered clouds when a strange phenomenon occurred.  A light blue colored ball of fire approximately three feet in diameter appeared about 40 feet off of our right wing tip.  It actually flew along with us for about 30 seconds with streams of fire trailing down, but it was too large to be a plane.  To this day, I don't know what it was.

(End of part about the "UFO").

As we approached the west side of Munich, we encountered heavy antiaircraft fire and surmised that we were too close to the German Airdrome S.W. of Munich where the Me-262s were being manufactured.  Upon encountering heavy flak, we made a sharp turn to the left to avoid the concentration.  The navigator said to take a 90 degree course to the target.  This of course put us right through the middle of the flak, but the correction was made and I related to Lt. Jess Miller, our bombardier, to keep the bomb bay doors closed until we were about one minute from the target.  The flak was intense.  We made the drop and immediately dove and banked at 45 degrees to our right, approximately 200 feet.  Our tail gunner, Sgt Orvin Larson, relayed to me the track of shell bursts, and taking evasive action, rolling 45 degrees to our left, there would be a cluster of shell fire at the point where we made the turn.  That old B-17 was creaking from the strain of doing over 200 MPH during the evasive dives.  Over the target, we were hit at the chin turret and that was disabled. The windshield in front of the pilot was cracked.  The rudder became like a sieve and my radio operator, Sgt. Stempien, had his oxygen mask hose cut by a piece of shrapnel.  Shortly after taking evasive action, the #2 engine was hit and feathered.  Sgt. Phil Smith, the right waist gunner, advised that he thought the #2 engine was on fire and this was extinguished and the prop feathered before we lost our hydraulic oil.










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