Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Foo Fighters of WWII Part 1

The Second World War brought us many new discoveries, everything from The Jeep to long range super fortress bombers, from Rosie the Riveter to the Atomic Bomb, but did you know it also brought us Foo? WWII found many pilots, naval and ground troops of both the Allies and the Axis powers looking into the skies at an amazing phenomenon that has never been explained. If you think that the Foo Fighters are just a rock band started by ex-Nirvana drummer David Grohl, read on and you will see there is much more to Foo than just music.

In 1940s America a popular American cartoon character was Smokey Stover, created by famous cartoonist Bill Holman. Smokey Stover and his zany boss Chief Cash U Nutt were firemen, they drove to fires in their two-wheel fire truck known as the Foo Mobile. Smokey Stover used to say, "Where there's foo, there's fire." So when U.S. fighting men began to see the odd balls of light or shiny metal appearing in the skies above them somebody called them Foo Fighters, and the name stuck. Some others noticed that these strange objects could fly circles around our planes and began to worry that they might be new German Super Weapons and thus dubbed them kraut fireballs.

No one really knew what they were. In fact much as U.S. troops suspected they might be NAZI craft, the German Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, thought they were probably a secret weapon developed in the United States. Hitler was so concerned that he went to the extent of setting up an organization to study them. The British, suspecting that they were German, apparently created a secret group they called the "Massey Project" to study them. The mysterious Foo Fighters, whatever their cause, continued putting on their strange shows in the sky, and were enough to make witnesses forget about the life and death struggles they were engaged in , at least for a moment.

The first reported Foo Fighter sighting happened in September 1941. The witnesses were tow sailors on the deck of the Polish ship S.S. Pulaski, an old wreck of a ship which had been converted into a small British troopship. Early in the morning darkness of a clear starry night, while the ship was cruising the Indian Ocean, seaman Mar Doroba happened to look up and saw, as he later recalled, "some strange globe glowing with greenish light, about half the size of the full moon."

He called out to one of the English gunners and the two of them watched the strange light, which they estimated to be at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet, as it followed them until finally it "just disappeared" about 50 minutes later.

The next sighting reported occurred in the Timor Sea near New Guinea on Feb. 26, 1942. Aussie William J. Methorst was interview about his sighting in 1957 by Peter Norris of the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society and reported:

"While on watch for enemy aircraft just after noon, I was scanning the skies with binoculars when suddenly I saw a large illuminated disc approaching at terrific speed 4,000 or 5,000 feet above us. This object proceeded to circle high above our ship, the cruiser, Tromp, of the Royal Netherlands Navy. "After reporting it to the officers on the bridge, they were unable to identify it as any known aircraft. After keeping track of this object for about three to four hours, as it flew in big circles and at the same height, the craft suddenly veered off in a tremendous burst of speed (at about 3,000 to 3,500 miles an hour) and disappeared from sight."

United States Marine Corp sergeant Stephen J. Brickner, also had a Foo Fighter sighting:

"The sightings occurred on Aug. 12, 1942, about 10 in the morning while I was in bivouac with my squad on the island of Tulagi in the southern Solomons, west of Guadalcanal," he recalled. “It was a bright tropical morning with high banks of white, fleecy clouds. I was cleaning my rifle on the edge of my foxhole, when suddenly the air raid warning was sounded. There had been no 'Condition Red.' I immediately slid into my foxhole, with my back to the ground and my face turned up to the sky. I heard the formation before I saw it. Even then, I was puzzled by the sound. It was a mighty roar that seemed to echo in the heavens. It didn't sound at all like the 'sewing-machine' drone of the Jap formations. A few seconds later, I saw the formation of silvery objects directly overhead.

"At the time I was in a highly emotional state; it was my fifth day in combat with the Marines. It was quite easy to mistake anything in the air for Jap planes, which is what I thought these objects were. They were flying very high above the clouds, too high for a bombing run on our little island. Someone shouted in a nearby foxhole that they were Jap planes searching for our fleet. I accepted this explanation, but with a few reservations. First, the formation was huge, I would say over 150 objects were in it. Instead of the usual tight 'V' of 25 planes, this formation was in straight lines of 10 or 12 objects, one behind the other. The speed was a little faster than Jap planes, and they were soon out of sight. A few other things puzzled me: I couldn't seem to make out any wings or tails. They seemed to wobble slightly, and every time they wobbled they would shimmer brightly from the sun. Their color was like highly polished silver. No bombs were dropped, of course. All in all, it was the most awe-inspiring and yet frightening spectacle I have seen in my life."

Royal Air Force pilot B.C. Lumsden a Hurricane Interceptor pilot during WWII also had run ins with foo fighters:

In December 1942, Lumsden had taken off from England at seven p.m., heading for the French coast, using the Somme River as a navigation point. An hour later, while cruising at 7,000 feet over the mouth of the Somme, he discovered that he had company: two steadily climbing orange-colored lights, with one slightly above the other. He thought it might be tracer flak but discarded the idea when he saw how slowly the objects were moving. He did a full turn and saw the lights astern and to port but now they were larger and brighter.

At 7,000 feet they stopped climbing and stayed level with Lumsden's Hurricane. The frightened pilot executed a full turn again, only to discover that the objects had hung behind him on the turn.

Lumsden had no idea what he was seeing. All he knew was that he didn't like it. He nose-dived down to 4,000 feet and the lights followed his every maneuver, keeping their same relative position. Finally they descended about 1,000 feet below him until he leveled out, at which point they climbed again and resumed pursuit. The two lights seemed to maintain an even distance from each other and varied only slightly in relative height from time to time. One always remained a bit lower than the other.

At last, as Lumsden's speed reached 260 miles per hour, he was gradually able to outdistance the foos.

"I found it hard to make other members of the squadron believe me when I told my story," Lumsden said, "but the following night one of the squadron flight commanders in the same area had a similar experience with a green light."

From a letter published in the May 1946 issue of Amazing Stories we find the following:

"In 1942 I was on a little island outpost off the southern U.S. coast. While on duty at the observation post one clear, moonless night, I saw a brightly glowing, unidentified object, like a flare in appearance, traveling horizontally over the sea at moderate speed; I can't even guess at its size, height or distance from where I was.

"Possibly 30 seconds or a minute after my first glimpse of it, the object plummeted straight down toward the water and disappeared. I watched the area where it had vanished, and a couple of minutes later it reappeared, rising swiftly in apparently an absolute vertical line until it was out of sight."

Here is the deal, as we have said in previous posts; strange mysterious things have always been seen in our skies. Nothing new here.

So much for Foo. But who knows what may turn up in the future to alter my opinion, that’s why I invite you to keep an open mind and keep walking in this big weird world of ours!

I’m Average Joe


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