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The New London Day

New London, Connecticut, DAY, 7 November 1944, page 1

New Aerial Weapons Used by Germans

PARIS (AP) - The Germans are using jet and rocket propelled planes and various other "new-fangled" gadgets against Allied night fighters, Lieut. Col. B. Johnson, Natchitoches, La., commander of a P-61 Black Widow group, said today.

"In recent nights we've counted 15 to 10 jet planes," Johnson said. "They sometimes fly in formations of four, but more often they fly alone."

Johnson described a new kind of flak which he said might be a phosphorus bomb.

"It exploded in a large ball of fire at 10,000 feet and I could see drops of fire dripping away from it," he said. "The same ball of fire exploded several times, each time at a lower altitude. The dripping process followed each explosion," he added.

The Germans also have a trick weapon which sends a dummy airplane into the paths of daylight bombers purely for a "psychological" effect.

"It looks like the tail or other part of a plane on fire, but it does not damage," Johnson said. "They merely intend it to get you excited."


New London, Connecticut, DAY, 18 December 1944, page 1

Nazis Use V-Weapon On Western Front

WITH THE U.S. NINTH ARMY IN GERMANY (AP) - The Germans have launched a new "V" weapon on the Western front and are bombarding rear areas with it by night and day.

The dispatch gave no details concerning the weapon.

The Germans have used both their V-1 and V-2 weapons - the robot bomb and the "telegraph pole" rocket bomb - against troops and areas behind the front.

Supreme headquarters in Paris last week said pilots reported seeing clusters of "silver balls" over Germany, but gave no other information. It was speculated the silver balls might be a new anti-aircraft defense or designed to interfere with Allied radio communication.


New London, Connecticut, DAY, 3 January 1945, page

'Great Balls of Fire!'

EFFIE Mae of the comic strip Muggs and Skeeter has an expression "Great balls of fire!" which she uses in moments of stress. Evidently our night fliers over Germany can well afford to use the term, too, when they encounter the latest German "secret weapon" (if that is what it is) which they are calling "foo-fighter" balls of fire. No one seems to know what the strange contrivances are, or what they are supposed to accomplish.

An American plane flies over Germany at night and suddenly, alongside one wing, a large red ball of fire appears. It maintains its position off the wing no matter what the speed, never coming closer and never fading away, apparently, until many miles have been covered. Or the "foo-fighter" ball of fire may appear as a vertical row of three lights ahead of the plane. No matter how fast the plane may travel it never quite catches up with these weird lights. Eventually they disappear as suddenly as they arrived. The third phenomenon is described as a cluster of perhaps 15 lights at some distance from the plane, which flicker on and off "like a Christmas tree". They, too, keep pace with the racing plane.

There are all kinds of speculation as to what these devices are, and what they are supposed to accomplish. One is that the effect is supposed to be largely psychological, which frankly sounds pretty far-fetched, since it has yet to be shown that any of these things can harm the plane. A more likely explanation was offered by an AP radio and science expert; he suggested that perhaps the devices are intended to interfere with radio transmission from the plane or to help the Germans operate some detection device such as radar. Still another possibility, it would seem may be that these devices, whatever they may be, are intended to act as location finders for anti-aircraft batteries. If a certain type of "foo-fighter" ball attaches itself to the flight path of a plane at night, anti-aircraft batteries might be able to plot the course of the plane much more accurately, making due allowance for the distance between the satellite and the plane than would be possible through the use of search lights.

At the moment there seems to be no explanantion as to how these things work, exactly what . The soundest theory, however, appears to be that they perhaps contain some kind of gas activated by the presence of metal in the plane and that a magnetic attraction keeps them at a pre-arranged distance from the plane but never -- the plane outrun them until the force in the contrivance is expended. One flier says he was unable to shake a "foo-fighter" at 260 miles an hour through the Rhine valley; later he "paced" one at 360 miles an hour, and still couldn't get rid of it for 20 miles.


New London, Connecticut, DAY, 3 January 1945, page 10

Nazi Balls of Fire Race Along with U.S. Night Raiders

A UNITED STATES NIGHT FIGHTER BASE, France (AP) - American fighter pilots engaged in flying night intruder missions over Germany report the Nazis have come up with a new "secret weapon" - mysterious balls of fire which race along beside their planes for miles like will o' the wisps..

Yank pilots have dubbed them "foo fighters," and at first thought they might explode, but so far there is no indication that any planes have been damaged by them.

Some pilots have expressed belief that the "foo fighter" was designed strictly as a psychological weapon. Intelligence reports seem to indicate that it is radio-controlled from the ground and can keep pace with planes flying 300 miles per hour.

Lieut. Donald Meiers of Chicago, Ill., said there are three types of "foo fighters" - red balls of fire that fly along at wing tip; a vertical row of three balls of fire which fly in front of the planes, and a group of about 15 lights which follow the plane at a distance, flickering on and off.

_______

INTERFERENCE ATTEMPT

Floating and plane-following balls in fire-like color, added to the silver globes encountered over the German lines by American airmen, might not be as mysterious as would seem in cabled dispatches, C. E. Butterfield AP radio editor, says.

This is just a guess but on the little information available, the colored and glowing globes might well be added elements in attempts to interfere with radio signals and radar detection.

While dispatches hint that they are radio controlled, the fact that they travel along with a plane or stay a certain distance ahead would tend toward the belief that they instead are magnetic. Thus the metal of a plane would attract them, at the same time holding them at a distance. Radio control from the ground or another plane would not permit such apparent accuracy in control.

The glow, coupled with the possible magnetic action, might come from the type of gas they contain to aid in their electrical qualities and to add to their buoyancy.


New London, Connecticut, DAY, 20 August 1945, page 1

New German Weapons Revealed

WITH BRITISH FORCES IN GERMANY (AP) - The Germans were experimenting with huge bazookas as field artillery and aircraft cannon when the war ended and had perfected a new defense system against bombers.

The fantastic weapons which Hitler had for a last try for victory were taken off the secret list today by a team of American and British technicians.

Germany had made great strides perfecting guns without recoil. They were based on the bazooka principle of eliminating recoil through ejection of gases from the rear of the barrel.

Several giant bazookas with 11-inch bors were found. These could have been used as artillery pieces or mounted on large aircraft. Shells weighed about a half ton and had terrific penetrating power. The weapon was designed primarily for air attacks on the thick hides of battleships.

A monstrous cannon of this type was found on the channel coast trained toward London. Gases could hurl shells 120 miles. At intervals inside the huge barrel were booster points, through which charges of gas could be introduced to increase shell velocity. There was no indication the terror weapon ever was used. The Germans in anxiety to get it mounted misjudged the angle of elevation, greatly reducing the range for which it was intended.

Defense Against Bombers

The defense against bombers was by use of planes which American fighters called "foo fighters." These were tiny jet-propelled craft which were "buttoned" to the base of steel poles and shot vertically into the air at the tremendous speed of rockets. Pilots inside guided the planes at 550 miles an hour, intercepting bomber formations with sprays of rocket shells fired from the noses of the craft.

After the pilot had used his two minutes of fuel, he pulled a lever and was catapulted out to float to safety by parachute. Simultaneously, the tail of the plane dropped off, releasing another parachute which brought the craft gently to earth where the Germans could salvage the jet units. Chains of stations for these jet craft were stationed all along the bombers' routes.

Another German weapon was the spider bomb - a winged missile fired from planes and electrically guided to targets by a thread of wire attached to the bomb and the parent craft. Some spider bombs were operated as much as 15 miles from the parent plane, allowing the pilot to remain at a safe distance while attacking bomber formations.

For submarine warfare, the Germans developed a super-speed U-boat powered by ingolene, the powerful propellant used in V2 rocket bombs. The submarines attained high underwater speed.

They perfected a "splash bullet" which was used against troops with a deadly and horrible effect.

 
 
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