Guided Missiles and UFOs:

  A Tangle of Fear - 1937-53

        By Joel Carpenter


1 May 37 - Peenemünde established by German Army as secret rocket test site


23 Mar 42 - first A4 (V-2) launch at Peenemünde

Jun 42 - Hitler approves development of V-1, Luftwaffe jet cruise missile - range ~150 miles, speed ~400 mph

3 Oct 42 - first successful V-2 flight

23 Dec 42 - first test V-1 with live engine is launched from Luftwaffe base at Peenemünde West.  350 more would be launched over Baltic during test program


15 Apr 43 - Churchill informed of intelligence on German experiments with long-range rockets

7 Jul 43 - Hitler gives V-2 super-priority

17/18 Aug 43 - Peenemünde bombed by RAF

Aug 43 - R V Jones, chief British technical intelligence expert, learns of V-1:

"On 22nd August an object had crashed in a turnip field on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic, roughly half-way between Germany and Sweden.  It was a small pilotless aircraft bearing the number V83, and it was promptly photographed by the Danish Naval Officer-in-Charge on Bornholm, Lieutenant Commander Hasager Christiansen.  He also made a sketch, and noted that the warhead was a dummy made of concrete.

At first, we were not sure what he had found.  From his sketch it was about 4 metres long, and it might have been a rather larger version of the HS 293 glider bomb that KG100 was now using against our warships in the Mediterranean.  Indeed, it turned out that this particular bomb had been released from a Heinkel III, but it was in fact a research model (the 'V' probably stood for 'Versuchs' i.e. research) of the flying bomb about which we were going to hear so much in the next few months."



11 Nov 43 - because of raids on Peenemünde, V-2 tests begin at alternate range at Blizna, SE Poland.

15 Nov 43 - the remains of a German V-1 were found at Utlängan in Karlskrona, Sweden


Mar 44 - series production of V-1 begins

May 44 - V-1 crashes close to Brösarp in Skåne, Sweden; remains relatively well-preserved

Late May 44 - V-1 intelligence shared by Sweden with Allies (since although Sweden is neutral, they feel tide of war is turning toward Allies).  British technical intel personnel allowed to examine Brösarp missile

Jun - another V-1 crashes close to Karlskrona, Sweden.  These missiles were studied with great interest by the Defence Aeronautical Experimental Institute (FFA) and the Torpedo Agency of the naval forces.  "The German missiles inspired new ways of thinking within all three branches of defence.  The Naval Forces viewed aerial torpedoes as a variant of underwater torpedoes, the Army viewed them as an alternative artillery and the Air Defence saw them as an unmanned aircraft with several possible tasks...The development of Swedish [missile-] systems started quickly after finding the German aerial torpedoes in 1943.  The first experimental missiles (aerial torpedoes) RB310 and RB311 were technically copies of the German V-1 missile. (...)  The main part of the industrial work on RB310 and RB311 was conducted by SAAB (The Swedish Aeroplanes Incorporated), who would already early 1948 found a separate office for aerial torpedoes."

Swedish reconstruction of V-1

13 Jun 44 - Stray V-2 crashes in Sweden - debris to England.

At "gräsdals gård in Knivingaryd, close to Bäckebo north of Nybro in Småland."

A4 airframe 4089, using special manual-control guidance system designed for Wasserfall AA missile.

"At first, the Swedish military didn't understand what had happened, but soon it was realized that some kind of missile had exploded at about 1500 meters height above Gräsdals gård.  The travelled distance from Peenemünde was 350 kilometers, and the aim was probably for the missile to hit ground in Bornholm, occupied by the Germans.  Peenemünde, Bornholm and Bäckebo is on a straight line.  The range of 350 kilometers, far up in Småland, was something exceptional and tells us that this was for certain a modified test rocket.  The middle section was made of wood in order not to augment the radio transmissions to and from the transmitters on board.  Probably it was manufactured in the concentration camp Dora-Mittelbau and originally painted in camouflage colours, however there is reason to believe that for this experiment, the rocket was repainted in the characteristic black and white pattern which was used to ease observation of the rocket spinning around its own vertical axis.  Most likely the fuel tank had exploded, whereby the weak warhead broke off and created a smallish crater with a diameter of 6 meters, and the main burner and the radio equipment dropped to the ground almost intact.  Presumably the warhead charge was supposed to destroy the equipment if the rocket went astray, and thus this failed because of the explosion in the fuel tank.

Too late the military realized what had happened and ordered the newspapers not to write about the rocket airburst.  It was of course too late: the Germans already knew what had happened.  The officials also ordered the local population in Gräsdal and its surroundings to immediately return all items that had been picked up on the spot as souvenirs or "useful" items.  This was partly successful, but large parts of the rocket still remained in the district.The collected parts were brought to F12 (Air Regiment 12) in Kalmar and from there to the Defence Aeronautical Experimental Institute at Bromma airport in Stockholm...  The task of examining the remains of the "aerial torpedo" was given to Henry Kjellson, an experienced aerial wreckage expert, otherwise mostly known for constructing the airplane Tummelisa and for having written some books on ancient technology in the spirit of Erich von Däniken.  Among other things he wrote a book called Seven Nights On Top Of the Cheops Pyramid, where he describes his relation to the pyramids, and in the book Technology In Prehistoric Times he joins in on the Atlantis-theory for explaining the link between the two sun-worshipping cultures in Egypt and South America.  Apart from this he interprets the prophecies of Hesekiel in Old Testament as if the prophet saw a vehicle, part airplane, part helicopter.  His conclusion from numerous unconnected pieces of induction evidence is that an advanced civilization populated Earth in the past, and was destroyed by an asteroid collision or similar about 4000 BC.  His books in this genre is read mostly by fanatic ufologists worldwide.  []

As coinvestigators he appointed two persons: the professor of the mechanics of materials at KTH (The Royal Institute of Technology) Gunnar Boestad, and the head of the mechanics of materials department at the Defence Aeronautical Experimental Institute, Sten Luthander. June 4th the reconstruction of the rocket begun, and July 21st, just two weeks later, the three had written one piece each for the Report Concerning the Bäckebo bomb which was sent out to several military decision-makers... the German fortunes of war had been declining during 1943 after the battle of Stalingrad and the invasion of Normandy, the D-Day June 6th 1944.  So in this phase of the war, Sweden was closer tied to the allies than to Germany.  British agents were thus allowed to examine the remains of the rocket.  After a request from British scientific intelligence on behalf of R.V. Jones to bring the wreckage to Britain, Günther approved.  The civil servant of the department of foreign affairs, Sven Grafström writes:

I didn't think Günther would approve this, but he did without hesitation. Whatever you say -- he is beginning to realize where the fortunes of war are heading and slowly begins to apply his often officially declared thesis that in politics, you have to take into account the powers that be.  This thesis has certainly during the first years of the war been eagerly applied to benefit Germany, but now it really looks like he has decided that "der Endsieger" was to receive it's share.

The rocket wreckage was then put in twelve boxes and their contents were recorded by Sten Luthander.  The boxes were transported to Bromma airport, and then flown with an American C-47 Dakota to Scotland, and flown from there to London by Bernt Balchen.

- Bernt Balchen

[see 26 Nov 47] This was how Operation Big Ben started, a British project aimed at piecing together a V2-rocket from wreckage from different parts of Europe in order to get a complete image of the looks and workings of the rocket.  According to Sten Wahlström this lead to that:

(...) the scientist R.V. Jones at the British air command could create his own image of the rocket and make a sketch of its looks.  It also confirmed the conclusions he had drawn earlier during 1943 based on agent reports and aerial photographs.  The rocket was no more the figment of the brain that Lord Cherwell, the scientific advisor of Churchill, had hitherto believed it to be....

However the radio surveillance station installed in Ottenby, approved by the Swedish government, kept intercepting rocket guidance systems until Peenemünde was occupied by [Russian] troops the first days of February 1945. "


The airburst of the Backebo missile misleads the Swedes into thinking that the missile is designed to explode above the ground and disintegrate

(See 29 May 47)

Same Day - First German V-1 launches against England

1 Jul 44 - MX-543/JB-1 contract awarded to Northrop by USAAF for small flying wing cruise missile carrying two 200 lb bombs over range of 200 miles.  Propulsion by two miniature expendable GE turbojets.  Span 28 ft, weight 7000 lb, speed 425 mph. Airframe center section and wingtips fabricated from cast magnesium alloy

6 Jul 44 - last V-2 launch at Blizna, Poland.  Germans destroy site and retreat

7 Jul 44 - first German operational V-1 launch from aircraft

21 Jul 44 - Kjellson's V-2 reconstruction report, Report Concerning the Bäckebo bomb, issued to Swedish defense experts

late Jul 44 - V-1 wreckage shared with Russians by British - young engineer Vladimir Chelomei begins Soviet reverse-engineering effort.  Missile was supposedly salvaged by British divers from North Sea.  (Sharing Secrets With Stalin; Encyclopedia Astronautica)

Aug-Sept 44 - height of Allied technical intelligence cooperation re V-weapons in post-D-Day glow.  Stalin authorizes joint Soviet-British-US technical intelligence team to travel to Blizna to study German V-missile test center recently captured by Soviets.  Team gathered a ton of V-2 parts, analyzed fuels and launchers.  US delegation headed by Lt Col J A O'Mara. Team returns to west with data prior to first operational V-2 launch on England.  (Sharing Secrets With Stalin) Korolev is member of this team (Challenge to Apollo, Siddiqi)

5-6 Sept 44 - First German V-2 launches against Paris

8 Sept 44 - First German V-2 launch against London

Oct 44 - First Republic AAF MX-544/ JB-2 /(USN Loon), US reverse-engineered V-1, launched at Eglin AAF FL

19 Oct 44 - Stalin appoints Chelomei chief designer of OKB-51 (dates conflict and vary by source) and tasks with reverse-engineering of V-1 based on the British-supplied components.  Machine tools purchased in US and UK to accomplish task.  Factories 51, 122, 125 and 485 of Aviation Ministry involved

Oct-Nov 44 - "...a surveillance team of four English soldiers under the command of Lieutenant W. H. Allen was installed in Ottenby at southernmost Öland, the long island you find close to Sweden in the Baltic.  The soldiers were accommodated in the boarding-house in Näsby, and radio surveillance equipment suited for the guiding system of the Wasserfall missile was installed in a small cabin.  This is probably the first flagrant breach of Swedish neutrality during second world war, as we suddenly allowed outright military activity on Swedish territory.  Maybe this was also the reason to why the Swedish military ranks were told the British were to install and test radar equipment -- an obvious lie.  The radio surveillance was of no use against the real V-2:s, of which 80% were entirely mechanical and most definitely not radio [controlled] []

7 Dec 44 - First flight of JB-1 at Eglin (Northrop Flying Wings)

Dec 44 - Chelomei-designed Soviet V-1 copies (10X or 10Ch) begin flight testing in launches from Pe-8 bomber aircraft, since catapult launch ramps had yet to be copied

Dec 44 - Northrop proposes redesigning JB-1 as JB-1B, to use single V-1 pulsejet engine housed in cast magnesium fuselage with integral explosive compartments adjacent engine


15 Jan 45 - last German V-1 launch from airplane

18 Jan 45 - Chelomei 10X full production ordered

late Jan 45 - Spaatz reports that Blizna joint tech intel mission had been of "inestimable value." (Sharing Secrets With Stalin)

Early 45 - initial Chelomei 10X ready for operational use in air-launched form but decision made not to carry out attacks due to inaccuracy and risk to launch pilots [?] (The V-1 and its Soviet Successors)

14 Feb 45 - last V-2 test at Peenemünde

17 Feb 45 - Peenemünde evacuated (Wegener, Peenemünde Wind Tunnels) (May not be correct)

19 Feb 45 - JB-1 redesignated JB-10

25 Mar 45 - first known use of rocket-powered Kamikaze aircraft Ohka by Japanese against US ship

27 Mar 45 - last V-2 strikes England

29 Mar 45 - last V-1 strikes England

end of Mar 45 - Chelomei 10X in production at rate of 15 per day (The V-1 and its Soviet Successors)

6 Apr 45 - JB-10 flights begin at Eglin - using single V-1 pulsejet

12 Apr 45 - US destroyer Mannert L. Abele sunk by Ohka kamikaze rocket plane

Apr 45 - USN CNO establishes Project DERBY at Pt Mugu, CA, to train personnel in launching of JB-2 Loon V-1 copy

Apr 45 - Chelomei 10X long-range test flights begin at test range in Uzbekistan, from Tashkent to Syr Darya (The V-1 and its Soviet Successors)

5 May 45 - Peenemünde occupied by Soviets. Americans had been there first (Siddiqi)

24 May 45 - first team of Soviet experts flies to Berlin to begin to inspect German rocket installations.  Studies Nordhausen, arrives at Peenemünde by end of month (Siddiqi)

5 Jun 45 - first successful JB-2 flight, Wendover AAF Utah [?]
Plans supposedly in place to use JB-2s during Operation OLYMPIC, the invasion of Japan

Jul 45 - "Institute Rabe" set up by Soviets at Bleicherode, von Braun's former headquarters, near Nordhausen (just across border of Soviet zone from Gottingen), under Boris Chertok, to coordinate recovery of rocket components, documents, personnel.  Eventually it will have about 1000 personnel, half Soviet, half German workers, plus about 50-60 Peenemünde veterans (Harford, quoting Chertok, in Korolev)

25 Jul 45 - Pobedonostsev sent to Institute Rabe

Aug 45 - 63 10X missiles have been launched in Uzbekistan range (The V-1 and its Soviet Successors)

9 Aug 45 - Soviets send "Special Technical Commission" on rocket exploitation ("OTK" - under Chief Artillery Directorate) to eastern zone of Germany under great secrecy to set up recovery effort (Siddiqi)

8 Sept 45 - Sergei Korolev flies to Berlin to become deputy head of OTK. Rocket engine designer Glushko arrives soon (Siddiqi)

mid Sept 45 - Helmutt Groettrup moves to Bleicherode to work with Institute Rabe as senior former Peenemünde rocket scientist under Soviet control. Had been a senior deputy in guidance and control group under Steinhoff (Siddiqi)

3-15 Oct 45 - Operation Backfire: at Cuxhaven, on North Sea coast north of Bremen. British reconstruct and launch three V-2s using German technicians. Soviet representatives invited to observe 15 Oct launch - Korolev, Pobedonostsev, Glushko. Korolev is excluded from actual launch area by senior US officer present. Von Karman observes on US side

early fall 45 - "Operation Ost" established to lure more capable rocket experts to Soviet zone (Siddiqi)

Nov 45 - US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics study for "High-Altitude Test Vehicle" single-stage-to-orbit satellite rocket using hydrogen fuel


7 Jan 46 - first launch of USN Loon V-1 copy at Pt Mugu, marks beginning of Navy cruise missile development leading to Regulus ship-launched cruise missile

Jan 46 - JB-10 canceled

24 Jan 46 - UN General Assembly creates UN Atomic Energy Commission

9 Feb 46 - Strident Stalin speech rattles West with statement that communism and capitalism cannot coexist.  Stalin commits 5-year plan to "preparing USSR for any eventuality."  One of Forrestal's colleagues calls speech "Declaration of WWIII."

- Josef Stalin

21 Feb 46 - Von Braun Peenemünde Paperclip team arrives at Ft Bliss, TX (Encyclopedia Astronautica)

22 Feb 46 - The charge d'affaires of the US embassy in Moscow, George Kennan, is asked by the State Department to prepare an analysis of the new attitude of the Kremlin.  He responds on February 22 with an eight thousand word telegram describing Soviet Marxism as a "fig leaf" for a cruel dictatorship bent on the overthrow of western democratic capitalism.  To Kennan, there seemed little prospect of reaching a "modus vivendi" with the USSR, which would use all its resources to subvert the west from within by means of underground elements controlled from Moscow.  The "Long Telegram" caused an uproar in Washington.  Forrestal made it required reading for senior military officers; even Truman got a copy


George Kennan - from an unused Time magazine cover intended for July 1947, when the "X Article" was published


Truman Library

5 Mar 46 - Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech

- Winston Churchill

15 Mar 46 - US V-2 launches begin at White Sands

5-9 Apr 46 - USS Missouri arrives in Istanbul in first US show of strength in Mediterranean.  Capt Roscoe Hillenkoetter is commander.

Apr 46 - North American Aircraft receives USAAF contract for MX-770, 175-500 mile supersonic cruise missile based on Peenemünde A9 winged V-2 concepts.  Walter Riedel is consultant to program
Riedel is founding member of early CSI-LA UFO group

2 May 46 - Douglas Aircraft RAND Div issues "Preliminary Design for World-Circling Spaceship" study for USAAF

24 May 46 - Dagens Nyheter: Two night watchmen in Landskrona-Pasten sight "wingless, cigar-shaped body of dimensions of a small airplane, which at regular intervals spurted bunches of sparks from its tail."  Estimated altitude at only 100 meters and moving at "ordinary airplane speed" to southwest.

25 May 46 - Sighting of odd object near Orebro, Sweden

26 May 46 - Dagens Nyheter: "Even if reports of a wingless aircraft spurting fire over Landscrona are to be treated with a certain reserve, it is very possible that what people saw were V-1 bombs fired by the Russians from some experimental station on the Baltic Coast.  This statement was made by an air expert, to whom 'Dagens Nyheter' submitted the reports in yesterday's telegrams.  The experts state that the whole of Germany has been fine-combed by the occupying powers for robot bomb material and experiments are being carried out zealously.  Just as with the Germans, a number of projectiles went on courses not intended (the Backebo bomb belongs to these), bombs from the Continent can naturally now land in or make short-cuts over Sweden.  The observations made by the inhabitants of Landscrona, namely that the sparks from the tail come at intervals, agrees with the V-1 bomb's manner of operation.  It is true that the witnesses have given the length of the projectiles now seen as considerably less than the V-1 bomb's 6-7 metres but it is easy to err on such points.  Of all parties interested in robot bombs, the Americans appear to have come farthest.  While the war was still on, they began examining an example of the V-1 which fell in London without exploding.  Whilst the German V-1s had a radius of about 240km. and a speed of 550 km. per hour, the Americans have attained a speed of more than 700 km. for the projectile and a considerably longer range than the Germans.  Finally, it remains to report that a chauffeur in Huddinge saw a shining projectile at 12 o'clock at night on Friday/Saturday and he considered that it could not have been either an aircraft or a meteor.  When he spoke of the matter, he had not heard of what happened in Landscrona so he could not have been influenced by it."  (quoted in PRO Air Intelligence files)

28 May 46 - Morgon-Tidningen: "It is not only in Landskrona and Gavle that fireballs and lighted [?word missing] without wings are seen. Also from Karlskrona and Halsingborg are similar observations reported, and many persons in the Stockholm area stated to the MT that they saw the same phenomenon in Huddings and Hagalund.  No one really knows what is going on.  One guess is of experiments with secret weapons, but aviation experts think that in such a case it is curious that no sound is reported in connection with the observations - long range bombing practice gives off noise."

1 Jun 46 - Morgon-Tdningen: "It seems as if the mysterious flier, which was observed in Osternarks at the beginning of the week, was not altogether an illusion. Yesterday the same thing was reported in fact in Katrineholm. An object which can be compared to a silver-glistening rocket, in the shape of a giant cigar, was noticed in the east on the horizon. The time was 11:43 a.m. in the morning. The 'ghost airplane' had no hint of wings, but on the other hand some thought it that had the semblance of a stabilizer or the like. It traveled very rapidly through the air and many observers pointed out that not even the fastest fighter plane would be able to keep pace. A light rumble was heard, near the object after it had made a turn toward the west, in a diving continued trip toward the south....The projectile, or whatever it might be, was as long as an ordinary training plane and went at 300 meters altitude..."

1 Jun 46 - Aftonbladet: "Helsingfors, Saturday. Mysterious objects, considered to be some kind of peculiar 'meteors' or some new V-bomb being tested, have flown over Helsingfors. The mysterious wingless projectiles, which fly on a north-east--south-west course, appear to have their 'bases' somewhere north of Lake Ladoga. The objects flew over Helsingfors last week, on Friday night."  (quoted in PRO Air Intelligence files)

1 Jun 46 - "SECRET From: Air Attache, Stockholm, To: Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) Air Ministry (A.I. 1) Subject: Flying missiles observed over Sweden. 1. [cites news articles] 2. Both myself and members of my staff have discussed the above reports with representatives of the Swedish Air Force, who, although interested, are as yet unable to confirm the observations officially, but they have agreed to pass on to us any information that may be of interest. 3. All press cuttings on this subject will be translated and despatched to you the day following publication. [signed] Simpson, Group Captain, Air Attache" (PRO AIR 40/441 file)

Jun 46 - Chance Vought receives contract for USN supersonic ramjet cruise missile (PA-6) (Regulus: The Forgotten Weapon)

Jun 46 - AEC [Manhattan Engineer District] Div of Reactor Development requests Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab study feasibility of nuclear missile propulsion (NASA Historical Databook, Vol II: Programs and Projects 1959-1968 - Linda Neuman Ezel, Washington: NASA, 1988)

4 Jun 46 - Aftonbladet: Fireball event in Denmark. Copenhagen, Tuesday. The mysterious rockets, which during the past few days have been seen over Sweden, have now even appeared over Denmark.  The other day, a similar phenomenon was observed at Sonderjylland and a farmer in the Ringsted neighborhood on Sjalland reported that one day at 3.30 a.m. he saw a shining object in the sky. He called his wife and both of them were able to follow it with their eyes for a long time. At first they thought it was a comet but explained that it moved too slowly to be that. On two occasions a tail of sparks was observed behind the object."  (PRO Air 40/1441 files)

9 Jun 46 - "Light phenomena" seen above Sala, Sweden, Helsinki.  Helsinki object left glowing smoke trail and rumbling thunder

10 Jun 46 - Lt Gen Hoyt Vandenberg succeeds Adm Sidney Souers as DCI

- Lt Gen Hoyt Vandenberg

10 Jun 46 - "V-2" roars over Tammerfors, western Finland. London Daily Mail correspondent writes that "unidentified luminous body" giving off smoke was seen approaching from Baltic, turning and retracing course

12 Jun 46 - Morgon-Tidningen: "A sky phenomenon of the same sort as was observed yesterday has occurred over Eskilstuna. The observation is reported by an engineer who flies daily and must be thought of as a reliable observer.  'I had just put out the light and stood by my window when in the half-darkness I was able to see something come out of a cloud, related the engineer.  The bomb, if it really was such, passed west of the city in a northward direction.  It seemed as if it was on a descending course at close to a 30-degree angle...and in such a case ought to have fallen down somewhere in the area, probably going out north over Hugelata. It could not have been any of our new jet planes, which have a continuous exhaust and thereby look like true rockets.  The later V-weapons did the same, but the first had intermittent exhaust." [object had intermittent exhaust]

12 Jun 46 - Swedish defense staff orders all military personnel to report unusual observations to headquarters, requests mil attaches in Norway and Denmark collect reports from those countries

14 Jun 46 - Bernard Baruch speech before UN Atomic Energy Commission on atomic control ("Baruch Plan") -

"We are here to make a choice between the quick and the dead ... We must elect world peace or world destruction..."

"As U.S. representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, he proposed a radical plan to put atomic weapons under strict U.N. control. The United States was at the time the only nuclear power in the world, and had recently demonstrated the horrifying potential of nuclear weapons by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II. Under the so-called Baruch Plan, the United States would relinquish its atomic monopoly in favor of the creation of a new United Nations Atomic Development Authority, which would become the sole body in the world that could legally possess nuclear arms. Baruch and his supporters in the U.S. government hoped that such a move would head off what they anticipated to be a deadly nuclear arms race with other powers in the world, namely the USSR."

15 Jun 46 - Swedish ambassador to USSR, Staffan Söderblom, meets with Stalin, brings up Raoul Wallenberg (probably held by the Soviets), but is said to have irritated Stalin by discussing no substantive issues.

24 June 46 - Maj Hamill, US Army Ordnance, receives urgent message from Intelligence Department for von Braun: "It seems that the War Department wanted an immediate evaluation of the German rocket technicians left in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany and how long it might take such experts to perfect an intercontinental missile."

On June 24, 1946, Major Hamill received a confidential memorandum from the Pentagon in which he was asked to obtain from von Braun the answers to some disturbing questions, such as von Braun's estimate of the capabilities of the rocket men in the Soviet Zone and how long it might take them to complete work on such long-term projects as the A-9, A-10, and A-11 intercontinental missiles. Hamill transmitted eleven pages of von Braun's answers to the War Department, including this response to the question that most disturbed Military Intelligence:

There is no doubt that the bulk of the most capable members of the Peenemünde group are in the United States now.  There are, however, many very good former Peenemünde experts working for the Russians too. In the opinion of Professor von Braun the two most capable of these men...are: Dipl. Ing. Helmut Grottrup...and Engineer Martin.  These two men are, according to the best available information, in charge of the Russian project - new development projects (Grottrup) and A-4 manufacture in Nordhausen (Martin).

As regards future developments such as A-9, A-10, and A-11 Grottrup is to be a very able and clever leader of a development group...Compared with the situation found by the German group in the U.S. he has the advantage of having almost complete test stands and a complete production plant, which can easily be set going with the available number of trained members of these plants... Many of these people were familiar with the general outline of the new projects A-9, A-10, and A-11. Prof. von Braun says in this connection, "I am convinced, without trying to hide the light of our Fort Bliss group under a bushel, that Grottrup will be able to build up gradually a capable group out of former Peenemünde people that can successfully continue these developments for the Russians."

(McGovern: Crossbow and Overcast)

24 June 46 - Sec Navy Forrestal leaves Washington to begin round-the-world tour. (The Forrestal Diaries)

26 Jun 46 - "Report from Finland, dated 26 June 1946, bearing an F-3 evaluation, states that a V-bomb was observed recently over Helsinki. The bomb was believed to have been launched from the Porkkala area which is located 20 miles southwest of Helsinki on the Baltic seacoast. Recent maps indicate that this area is territory which belongs to Russia although it is a portion of the Finnish mainland." (cited in (S) "Memorandum for Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Subject: Reports of "Rocket Sightings Over the Scandinavian Countries," 19 July 46) (see 10 Feb 47)

1 Jul 46- Crossroads Able, Bikini - the fourth US nuclear detonation - a Fat Man bomb dropped by a B-29 of USAAF 509th Bomb Wing. Forrestal views it.


1 Jul 46 - NYTimes - "US OUTLINES AIMS IN TRIESTE DISPUTE" - Paris conference of "Big Powers" over Italy-Yugoslavia border dispute - US resists Molotov's line

- V. Molotov

1 Jul 46 - North American Aircraft issues report "A Preliminary Study on the Use of Nuclear Power In Rocket Missiles" for MX-770/NA-704 supersonic cruise missile program (NASA Historical Databook, Vol II)

2 Jul 46 - NYTimes - Trieste - "American troops were stoned tonight when they broke up an attack by an angry mob of Italians on the communist party headquarters here, as a series of new riots broke out in this strike-paralyzed city claimed by both Italy and Yugoslavia." Paris compromise ends Ital-Yugo border dispute

8 Jul 46 - approximately 30 "Ghost Rocket" (GR) sightings had been reported to Swedish Defense Staff

9 Jul 46 - GR photographed from air surveillance tower 80 km W of Vasteras by photographer Eric Reutersward. [see 6 Aug 46] Other major sightings made this day. Fragments collected from impact at Njurunda

Njurunda fragments

Svenska Dagbladet, 11 July: "The area is secluded, about 3 km from Bjorkovagen.  One of the summer cabins...belongs to airline pilot Torvald Linden, who, when the 'meteor' came, had some visiting neighbors around a coffee table outside the cabin....  The projectile gave off a blinding light. It was indeed so bright that the sun's rays happened to dim.  The projectile was quite low its highest speed at 50 meters per second. It descended at a 40-degree dive angle and fell into the sand, yet without any immediate report.  At a distance of only 20 meters lay some young girls and bathers, and they saw how the sand spurted up.  After some time we found the crater, which however was rather modest in size (couple of decimeters deep and a meter in diameter.)  Spread all around was discovered thus a mass left by they mysterious sky-projectile.  It mostly looked like porous slag of various colors -- from burned yellow to black.  Some small bits were in powdered form, and when they were taken in the hands, they began to smart as if from lye...."

Sent to Defense Staff's Air Defense Division. Sundsvall air base press officer Capt R Westlin: "The projectile clearly produced a high temperature and the remains of the same were very hot when found.  The slag produced by the projectile was burned black."

10-11 Jul 46 - several daylight and evening sightings of very bright meteor-like phenomena in different parts of Sweden

10 July 46 - Svenska Dagbladet: journalist finds at Njurunda a "rust-colored, porous little thing, which bore a very plain mark which was situated next to some cylinder-like object.  While the rust-colored bit's surface was uneven and porous like all other samples of the find, this bit had in its center a semicircular-shaped hole, and it appeared as if this bit was pressed against it until it broke through the surface."  Cylinder was 20-30 mm diameter.  Military took over the samples.

10 July 46 - RAF Air Attache, Stockholm, to ACAS(I), Air Ministry - Subject: Flying Missiles Observed over Sweden - This may or may not be more "chaff for the wheat" but the following was obtained from a Finnish news correspondent working for Associated Press. This man has been very helpful in the past and spent much of the war in London. For the past few months he has been in Finland where he was following up the "Flying Missiles" reports from a news angle. He states that he considers the probable experimental base to be near Riga, in Latvia. He has sources recently arrived from Estonia and they all confirm that the general direction is from this part of the world. For what it is worth, I believe the above to be his genuine opinion after many enquiries. He will let me know if he obtains anything further. Simpson Group Captain, Air Attache. (PRO AIR 40/1441)

11 July 46 - Svenska Dagbladet: "Tests on the remnants of the projectile were referred on Wednesday to Dr. B Backlund, at the Cellulsalialageta Investigational Laboratory [??check] at Kubikenborg [Kubikenborg Aluminum AB, Sundsvall, a large aluminum plant on the coast just east of city of Sundsvall, about 10 km north of Njurunda]....At first he gathered a bit of gray-white loose material under the microscope from a piece of paper or film fragment, which appeared to be divided up into squares something like a checkers or chessboard. The paper or film coating was only a quarter-millimeter in surface. That the material in question was not of any celestial origin we can establish at once, said Dr. Backlund. It looked most nearly like carbon carbide which was exposed to weathering. It was somewhat more gray in color than other pieces of the find.  When Dr. Backlund picked at the object a little piece of paper of about a quarter-millimeter in size came off and under a magnifying glass it appeared that the paper was checkered almost like a checkerboard with white squares with black bottoms.  The squares were microscopic but very regular and it was all like a kind of screen which is used in electrotyping.  Here it must be a question of an object which was not exposed to any exceptionally high temperature."

11 Jul 46, 6 PM - (S) State Dept incoming telegram fm Stockholm, State Dept official Christian M. Ravndal: "For some weeks there have been numerous reports of strange rocket like missiles being seen in Swedish and Finnish skies. During past few days reports of such subjects being seen have greatly increased. Member of Legation saw one Tuesday afternoon. One landed on beach near Stockholm same afternoon without causing any damage and according to press fragments are now being studied by military authorities. Local scientist on first inspection stated it contained organic substance resembling carbide. Defense staff last night issued communique listing various places where missiles had been observed and urging public to report all mysterious sound and light phenomena. Press this afternoon announces one such missile fell in Stockholm suburb 2:30 this afternoon. Missile observed by member Legation made no sound and seemed to be falling rapidly to earth when observed. No sound of explosion followed however. Military Attaché is investigating through Swedish channels and has been promised results Swedish observations. Swedes profess ignorance as to origin, character or purpose of missiles but state definitely they are not launched by Swedes. Eyewitness reports state missiles come in from southerly direction proceeding to northwest. Six units Atlantic fleet under Admiral Hewitt arrived Stockholm this morning. If missiles are of Soviet origin as generally believed (some reports say they are launched from Estonia), purpose might be political to intimidate Swedes in connection with Soviet pressure on Sweden being built up in connection with current loan negotiations or to offset supposed increase in our military prestige in Sweden resulting from the naval visit and recent Bikini tests or both. Soviet political pressure on Sweden in connection with Baltic refugees here has, as recently reported to Dept, been considerably stepped up. RAVNDAL"

12 Jul 46 - London Daily Telegraph - "For some weeks a fair number of 'ghost rockets' going from south-east to north-west have been reported from various parts of the eastern coast of Sweden. Eye witnesses say that they look like glowing balls and are followed by a tail of smoke more or less visible. So many reports cannot be put down to pure imagination in the matter. As there is no definite evidence that the phenomena are of meteoric origin, there is growing suspicion that they are a new kind of radio-controlled V-weapon on which experiments are carried out."


15 Jul 46 - First of twelve meetings of special Ghost Rocket committee at Swedish Royal Air Administration, chaired by Air Commodore Bengt Jacobsson. Members included Air Director Henry Kjellson [see 13 June 44], Air Engineer Eric Malmberg, FRA Executive Officer Olof Kempe, Air Director Karl Gustav Noren, Maj Nils Alghren (head of Air Defense section of Air Staff), Martin Fehrm (head of FOA telecommunication div), and Karl-Arvid Norlin, head of Air Administration material division. 38 members total.  [see 3 DEC] (Anders Liljegren and Clas Svahn, "Ghost Rockets and Phantom Aircraft" in Phenomenon: Forty Years of Flying Saucers, John Spencer and Hilary Evans, eds)

15 Jul 46 - London Daily Mail quotes dispatch fm Geneva which rpts strange object sighted over Rhone valley touching off conjecture that Soviets testing flying bombs over Alps. Further states that rocket missiles which have fallen in Sweden are V-weapons from Peenemünde. Claims that all sailors on Baltic run had been warned, under penalty of death, not to talk about any phenomena observed. Russia reported to be closing huge area of Baltic to all traffic. Cited in (S) "Memo for Commanding General, Army Air Forces, SUBJECT: Reports of 'Rocket' Sightings Over the Scandinavian Countries" (19 Jul 46)

16 Jul 46 - Sec Navy Forrestal arrives in Stockholm from Berlin, where he had discussions with Gen Clay on Soviet aggressiveness: "By the next morning he was playing golf with the charge and by dinnertime was back to the routine, with a formal gathering at which he discussed "the Swedish parliamentary system and the single Department of Defense with a number of eminent Swedes. The Swedes, he learned, 'are obviously uneasy about the proximity and power of Russia' and still, despite their close geographical association, felt that they did not understand the Russians." Departs for London on morning of 18th. (The Forrestal Diaries)

- James Forrestal

16 Jul 46 -("URGENT TS PIE") War Dept Incoming Classified Msg From: USMA Stockholm, Sweden To: War Dept for MILID: "Swedish Army Staff studying 300 to 400 rocket incidents Ref your WAR 94001 of 12 July. They advise: 50 points of impact observed. No evidence of radio control and Army Staff believes phenomena not radio controlled. Defense Research Institute studying fragments but key personnel on leave and report being delayed therefore. No large fragments yet found and small fragments appear to be nonferrous. Afton Bladet states Russians have established base with Staff of German scientists on Dago Island off Estonia. (Staff checking basis of this report) Staff has rather tenuous hypothesis to support this as follows: Two circular rocket courses both with radius of approximately 300 kilometers and centres respectively in the 56-57 N latitude, and 19-20 E longitude quadrangle and the 61-62 N latitude, 21-22 E longitude quadrangle with rockets launched from Dago clockwise on both courses. This theory accounts for only portion of the incidents. Staff has not yet processed all reports. Some highly placed officials believe the phenomena are Russian rocket experiments either purely for research or for War of Nerves. Staff very nervous about release of info to United States and United Kingdom for fear Russians will cry 'West Bloc'. This office urges greatest protection this information. Detailed report by next pouch also later followup on ultimate findings. End. ACTION: Gen Chamberlin INFO: Gen Spaatz, Gen Norstad, Gen Aurand"


USAAF Commanding General Carl Spaatz, far left, and Gen Lauris Norstad

Because some sightings seemed to be of objects approaching Sweden and then returning toward the Baltic, the Swedish defense staff developed a unique theory to explain the tactics: circular cruise missile courses with radius of about 300 km, centered on geographical quadrants shown, with launch site at Dago Island (Hiiumaa) and clockwise flight paths.  Even though beams had not been detected to date, other documents imply that the Swedish military suspected that Soviet ships were providing guidance control signals to the missiles.

ufx diagram

JC Comment: The "circular courses with radius of 300 km" described in the document may have an origin in post-WWII concepts on guidance systems applicable to long-range cruise missiles using known technology. In his book "Most Secret War," British technical intelligence expert R V Jones describes the German "Knickebein" and "X-Geraet" bomber navigation systems, and the somewhat similar British GEE and OBOE systems.

All of these devices used very narrow high-frequency radio beams to guide bombers to targets with a previously unknown degree of precision. In the "X-Geraet", transmitters in France would produce a main beam aimed at a particular city. A series of beams directed from other locations would intersect this beam over a target. A German bomber strike force would fly along the main beam until instruments detected the intersecting beams, whereupon bombs would be released. In this way, bombers could be guided to targets at night or in bad weather with very high precision - at least, unless jamming countered the beams.  The British OBOE device improved upon this technology by being a passive system that used coded pulses and repeaters to locate the bombers, which merely had to fly along a particular course which was a circle of very large radius centered on a transmitter station.  Secondary pulses would instruct the lead bomber to release its bombs at a particular precalculated location from which the bombs would fall ballistically onto the target.

Some early WWII-era long-range cruise missile guidance systems envisioned schemes similar to these devices.  Since high-accuracy internal guidance systems had yet to be developed, it was assumed that missiles would need to follow external guidance signals of some sort along a preset path and then be instructed to dive on the target when reaching the correct point in space.  Judging from the geographical coordinates for the course centers specified in the document, the southern center was probably believed to be a ship in the southern Baltic, while the northern center seems to have been in the Aland islands or possibly on the coast of Finland, portions of which were under Soviet control.

16 Jul 46 - British source C. B. Jerram in British legation Stockholm cables Foreign Office repts that he had met with Swedish Chief of Combined Intelligence.  Swedes said to be worried that the Soviets were behind phenomenon but were unwilling to publicly so state, stressing '"the vital importance of utmost secrecy and delicacy of the position regarding other nations."'  (PRO FO371/56988, quoted in David Clarke and Andy Roberts, Out of the Shadows)

18 Jul 46 - Squadron Leader Heath of Air Ministry and Maj Malone (MI10(a) - artillery and rocket intelligence, British War Office) fly to Stockholm and rushed to GR briefing at Air Ministry.  Were in civilian clothes at Swedish request.  (S) Jerram telegram to Foreign Office: "Swedes stress need for utmost secrecy and object of Mission is to be confined to selected members of British and Swedish General Staffs only."  Further Jerram cable on meeting: "Too many missiles have been observed and described to allow of explanation as meteorites."  (FO cables quoted in Clarke and Roberts)

18 [?] Jul 46 - Foreign Office paper: "Reports on Suspected V-Weapons Over The Baltic" - comprehensive summary of observations to date (Clarke and Roberts)

19 Jul 46 - Russian atomic control counter-proposal in UN. US wants to abolish Big 5 veto in atomic matters, Russia wants it kept.  Russia wants manufacture of atomic bombs to stop immediately upon ratification of international treaty, and destruction of all atomic weapons 3 weeks after

19 Jul 46 - (S) "Memo for Commanding General, Army Air Forces, SUBJECT: Reports of 'Rocket' Sightings Over the Scandinavian Countries" (cc to Gen LeMay and Partridge) - apparently based on 18 Jul British FO paper.  "For your information, the following reports of rockets or missiles in the Scandinavian area have been received in cables from military attaches and State Department representatives in foreign countries and in news dispatches..." Attached is map of possible launch sites including Porkkala, Aland Islands, Peenemünde

- Gen. LeMay

19 July memo includes this map. Dots at Sundsvall, Stockholm, Landskrona, Ystad and Bornholm Island, Sweden, apparently indicate suspected impacts. Dots at Aland Islands, Porkkala, Finland, and Peenemunde are marked with "x's" and apparently indicate suspected launch sites, per text of report.

19 Jul 46 - Lake Kolmjarv, northern Sweden - 11:45 AM - gray two-meter rocket-shaped device seen by multiple witnesses impacts lake with large waterspout and explosion. (Liljegren and Svahn)

20 Jul 46 - Swedish army team under Lt Karl-Gosta Bartoll arrives to search Lake Kolmjarv for debris. FOA engineers scan for radioactivity. Raft is constructed to aid search, which continues for two weeks. Bottom of lake is disturbed but nothing is found. Bartoll reports that "there are many indications that the Kolmjarv object disintegrated itself...the object was probably manufactured in a lightweight material, possibly a kind of magnesium alloy that would disintegrate easily, and not give indications on our instruments." (FOA Report to GR committee, Sept 1946; Svenska Dagbladet 22 July 46 - cited in Lilijgren and Svahn)

21 July 46 - Swedes reactivate wartime radars and immediately begin getting GR tracks. (cited in 22 Aug 46 Group Captain Simpson memo) (PRO Files)

British AMES 66 Mk III (SCR-615) fixed installation - type used to track the Ghost Rockets.

(176 Mhz, 85 kw p.p.)