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Although reports of sightings, which were eventually termed "UFOs," can be traced far back into history, students of the subject have arbitrarily placed the beginning of the modern era in the mid-1940s with the appearance of UFOs over both the European and Pacific Theaters of War. These UFOs were called by many names, all of which revealed a lack of understanding of their nature and source. To the Allies, they were "kraut fireballs" or "foo fighters," with the latter term surviving. It is believed that the Germans and Japanese saw them also.

Reports of "unexplained transparent, metallic and glowing balls" began in quantity in June, 1944, at about the same time the Allies invaded France, and Nazi Germany began launching V-1 flying bombs aimed at London, thus starting the era of unmanned missiles. Reports intensified in November 1944, not long after the first German V-2 ballistic rockets were fired at London and Paris.

Pilots and their air crews reported that the "odd things" flew in formation with their airplanes, "played tag" with them, and generally behaved as if they were under intelligent control. At no time were they said to have displayed aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, most people assumed they were an experimental enemy device being prepared for operational use. Rumors of highly advanced weapons were common at this time, fed by the awesome reality of the V1 and V2 weapons. The following are typical of the scores of "foo fighter" reports on record. Rumors persist that the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England commissioned a study on these reports, but no documentary evidence has yet been found.

On August 10, 1944 over the Indian Ocean, the co-pilot of a U.S. Army Air Force B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber reported that:

"A strange object was pacing us about 500 yards [475 m.] off the starboard wing. At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably five or six feet [1_ - 2 m.] in diameter, of a very bright and intense red or orange... it seemed to have a halo effect.

"My gunner reported it coming in from about a 5 o'clock position (right rear) 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 of about 2,000 feet [600 m.]. It followed our every maneuver for about eight minutes, always holding a position about 500 yards [475 m.] out and about 2 o'clock (right front) in relation to the plane. When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, accelerating rapidly, and disappeared into the overcast."

On December 22, 1944 over Hagenau, Germany, the pilot and radar operator of an American night fighter encountered two "large orange glows" which climbed rapidly towards them. When the pilot dove steeply and banked sharply, the objects stayed with him. The pilot stated:

"Upon reaching our altitude, they levelled off and stayed on my tail... After two minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control."23

Documents regarding foo fighter incidents are still being discovered even 50 years after the end of World War II. In 1992, researcher Barry Greenwood of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) went to the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland and located fifteen "Mission Reports" from the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, covering a period between September 1944 and April 1945. Here are two samples:

"December 22/23, 1944 - Mission 1, 17:05-18:50. Put on bogie by Blunder at 17:50 hours, had A.I. [Airborne Intercept radar] contact 4 miles range at Q-7372. Overshot and could not pick up contact again. A.I. went out and weather started closing in so returned to base. Observed 2 lights, one of which seemed to be going on and off at Q-2422.

"February 13/14, 1945 - Mission 2, 18:00-20:00. About 19:10, between Rastatt and Bishwiller, encountered lights at 3,000 feet, two sets of them, turned into them, one set went out and the other went straight up 2-3,000 feet [600 - 900 m.], then went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original position again."

Suggested explanations, both at the time and subsequently, have included prototype enemy anti-aircraft devices, St. Elmo's fire (glowing balls of static electricity) and simple misidentification of other airplanes.25

In order to accept any of the above explanations, one would have to discount the observational skills of scores of veteran combat pilots and their crew members whose very survival depended on their ability to instantly identify and react to any potential threat.



22. Clark, Jerome, and Farish, Lucius, "The Mysterious 'Foo Fighters' of World War II," 1977 UFO Annual.

23. Ibid.

24. Greenwood, Barry, "More Foo-Fighter Records Released," Just Cause, No. 33, CAUS, September 1992.

25. Chamberlain, Jo, "The Foo Fighter Mystery," The American Legion Magazine,December 1965;
Associated Press article, "Nazi Fire Balls May Be Kind of Ball Lightning," New York Herald Tribune,January 3, 1945;
other miscellaneous press reports.