Louis, Missouri, POST DISPATCH, 2 January 1945, page
'Foo Fighters,' Balls Of Fire, Trail U.S. Night Flyers
Thought at First to Be Explosive, but None
as Yet Has Damaged a Plane
A UNITED STATES NIGHT FIGHTER BASE, France, Jan. 2 (AP)
- American fighter pilots engaged in night 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.
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.
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 and
can keep pace with planes flying 300 miles an hour.
Donald Meiers of Chicago, 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 appear off in the distance - like a Christmas tree
up in the air - and flicker on and off.
pilots of this Beaufighter squadron - in operation since
September, 1943 - find these fiery balls the weirdest thing
they have as yet encountered.
'foo fighter' picked me up recently at 700 feet and chased
me 20 miles down the Rhine Valley," Meiers said. "I
turned to starboard and two balls of fire turned with me.
I turned to the port side and they turned with me. We were
going 260 miles an hour and the balls were keeping right
up with us."
another occasion when a 'Foo-Fighter' picked us up, I dived
at 360 miles an hour. It kept right off our wing tips for
awhile and then zoomed into the sky."
I first saw the things, I had the horrible thought that
a German on the ground was ready to press a button and explode
them. But they didn't explode or attack us. They just seem
to follow us like will-o-the-wisps."
Associated Press report from Paris Dec. 18 said the Germans
had thrown silvery balls into the air against day raiders.
Pilots then reported they had seen these objects, both individually
and in clusters, during forays over the Reich. There was
no indication whether the "foo-fighters" and the
silvery balls were the same.)
Wallace Gould of Silver Creek, N. Y., said the lights followed
his wing tips for a while and then, in a few seconds, zoomed
20,000 feet into the air and out of sight.
Over Big Cities
pilots agreed that the balls of fire were more numerous
over large German cities.
his first experience with them, Gould said, "I thought
it was some new form of jet propulsion plane after us. But
we were very close to them and none of us saw any structure
on the fire balls."
Fritz Ringwald, staff officer from East St. Louis, Ill.,
went along on a flight after hearing the numerous reports
of the "foo-fighters."
saw lights off the right and told the pilot, who said, 'Oh,
those are lights on a hill'", Ringwald reported, adding,
"I looked in that direction a few minutes later and
then told him, "Well, that hill is considerably closer
to us now."
Ringwald, 33 years old, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred
F. Ringwald, Woodcrest, East St. Louis. Before entering
the Army in September, 1942, he was a filling station operator.
His wife, Mrs. Emily Ringwald, is a seaman second class
in the Waves and is stationed at Stillwater, Ok.