UFO in the Third Reich

Essay: UFO in the Third ReichThe idea of the Third Reich being involved with UFOs has been a topic of interest for many years. This essay will explore the theories and evidence surrounding this topic.

Firstly, it is important to understand that the Third Reich was known for its technological advancements during World War II. The development of the V-2 rocket, the first long-range ballistic missile, was a significant achievement. It is also believed that the Germans were experimenting with anti-gravity technology, which could have potentially led to the creation of UFOs.

The Nazi Bell is one of the most well-known UFO-related Third Reich tales. It was said that Nazi scientists worked on this top-secret technology throughout the war. It was allegedly a bell-shaped machine that produced an anti-gravity field using a mysterious liquid named Xerum 525. The Nazi Bell, according to certain conspiracy theories, was actually a UFO that was utilized to go across space.

Another hypothesis holds that the Germans interacted with extraterrestrial beings who gave them access to cutting-edge technology. According to some researchers, the Nazis had a covert base in Antarctica where they had access to these beings. The fact that the Germans made multiple missions to Antarctica before to the start of the war lends credence to this idea.

There isn't much hard data to back up these claims, though. Many historians and academics think that conspiracy theories are all that the rumors about UFOs in the Third Reich are. They contend that the technology available at the time was insufficiently sophisticated to produce such gadgets.



Rudolf Schriever [d. 1953]

On 30 March 1950 — less than a week after Giuseppe Belluzzo’s claims appeared in Il Giornale d’Italia — the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article titled ‘Untertassen — Sie fliegen aber doch’ [German: ‘Saucers — nevertheless, they fly’], which treated with the matter of ‘flying saucers’. In the main, the commentary dealt with the world-wide wave of sightings: ‘Von Uruguay bis zur Türkei, von Mexiko bis Österreich herrschte die Epidemie der fliegenden Scheiben’ [German: ‘from Uruguay to Turkey, from Mexico to Austria, an epidemic of flying discs held sway’] https://german-discs.net/legend.php

However, the story also included an interview with retired Flugkapitän  Rudolf Schriever, who also claimed to have developed blueprints for a circular flying machine, for the Luftwaffe, before the end of World War II. The device in question was called Flugkreisel [German: ‘flight gyro’], after the child’s toy by which it was inspired, and comprised three parts: the upper part of the gondola, with the command post and the controls, the swivelling bottom part of the gondola, and the rotating blade-disc, which — much like a helicopter — should impart movement to the device .

The blade-disc of the Schriever Flugkreisel was supposed to have a diameter of 14.4 metres. From the underside of the disc, three impulse jets were mounted on especially wide, hollow pylons, which contained their fuel. ‘The jets made the disc spin. The impression of a fiery saucer is caused by the exhaust gases. It was theoretically possible to make the disc spin at 1650 to 1800 rpm. This corresponds to a rate of climb around 100 m/sec. With a conventional fighter plane, the best that can be achieved is 25 m/sec,’ Schriever adjudged.

The three-metre long vanes were adjustable, like the blades of a normal propeller, so that they could be given a steep or shallow pitch, and take the place of elevators. ‘As soon as the disc has done its job, it stands in for the wings.’ 

Allegedly this device should have been able to attain a horizontal speed of 4200 km/h [2572 mph] .

Schriever told Der Spiegel that he began to work on his design in 1942, while he was Chefpilot at Eger, Czechoslovakia. In the fullness of time, he took his ‘statistical calculations and detail drawings’  to Prague , for evaluation and further development by a team of Czech engineers. Allegedly, Schriever worked on his design until 15 April 1945; the drawings were finished, and the self-proclaimed inventor was ready to present his documents to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium [abbrev.: RLM]. Before he could do so, though, the Russians came and Schriever was forced to flee.


This dramatic drawing accompanied the 1950 article ‘Untertassen — Sie fliegen aber doch’. It was produced by an illustrator, who worked from the description that appeared in the article. However, copies of it [see below] have been deliberately misrepresented as ‘technical drawings’ and offered as proof of the reality of the Flugkreisel.


Minus the starry reaches above and the Earth far below, one man’s ‘artist’s impression’ becomes another man’s ‘technical document’ .

Schriever was unable to show any of these documents to his interviewer, supposedly because they had been stolen from his workshop, at Luisenstraße 9, Bremerhaven–Lehe , on 4 August 1945. Fortunately, Der Spiegel was able to commission an ‘artist’s impression’, which was based on Schriever’s description of his device.

The artwork that accompanied this story presented a sectional view of Schriever’s putative Flugkreisel and indicated all of the key features that were mentioned in the interview. For all the care that was taken in its production, though, the illustration really explicates very little.

Even so, the illustration, when coupled with a few of the elements that were mentioned in Schriever’s detailed description — ‘jets made the disc spin’, ‘as soon as the disc has done its job, it stands in for the wings’  and ‘the lower part of the gondola … contained two impulse jets, to provide horizontal movement’  — strongly suggests that the Flugkreisel was supposed to be some fancy kind of autogyro.


The first successful autogyro flight occurred in 1923, when Juan de la Cierva, a Spanish engineer and aeronautical enthusiast, demonstrated his C.4 Autogiro at Cuatro Vientos  airfield, in Spain.  This flight pre-dated the first successful helicopter flight — that of the Focke Achgelis Fa 61 — by 13 years.

Sometimes called a gyroplane, an autogyro is a type of aircraft that is supported in flight by a rotary wing [also known as a rotor]. They are distinguished from helicopters by the fact that the rotor is not powered; instead, an autogyro’s rotor is turned by its movement through the air; this aerodynamic phenomenon is called ‘autorotation’. In order to maintain a suitable airflow, however, an autogyro must be driven through the air in much the same way as a conventional aeroplane. Typically this is done by means of an airscrew although, in theory, it is possible to utilise jet engines.

This much of Schriever’s claim seems to be grounded in fact: it is possible to build a rotary-wing aircraft that relies on autorotation for lift and is propelled by jet engines.

For all that they seem to be an iffy proposition, an autogyro has several advantages over conventional aircraft. Foremost among these is the fact that they require significantly less runway for take-off and landing. In an emergency, an autogyro can even land vertically, although such a descent often results in some damage to the aircraft. 

Score two for Schriever: an autogyro certainly possesses ‘excellent take-off and landing capabilities’ 

When fitted with a ‘jump-start’ feature, an autogyro can take-off from a standing start into forward flight, accelerate in ground effect  and then climb. A ‘jump-start’ feature normally involves the attachment of a rocket or jet to the end of each rotor blade, to spin the rotor and thereby generate sufficient lift for vertical take-off; the Cierva C.30 was the first autogyro to achieve this feat successfully, on 28 October 1934 .

Score another point for Schriever: reaction engines can be mounted on the rotary wing, to give an autogyro vertical take-off capabilities.

Autogyros can also fly at lower speeds than conventional aeroplanes, without stalling, because their lift is determined by the rate at which the rotary wing spins, rather than by the forward motion of the aircraft. They cannot, however, hover, because the rotary wing is not powered; some degree of forward movement is always needed, to keep the rotor turning. 


Strike one, for Schriever: among his brave boasts was a claim that ‘the apparatus could hover for hours’ . This kind of performance would require a powered rotary wing, like that of a helicopter; and while it is admitted that the jets mounted under the blade-disc could, conceivably, be used to supply the power needed to hover, they would require one hell of a lot of fuel to do so ‘for hours’.

Schriever earns his second strike for confusing drag — or, as Der Spiegel calls it, ‘air resistance’  — and stall — the ‘production of vortices’.

The amount of lift generated by an airfoil is determined by two factors: the relative speed at which it moves through the air and the angle at which it moves through the air — the so-called angle of attack. Since the wings of a conventional aeroplane are fixed, lift can only be increased by moving the whole aircraft faster, or by increasing the angle of attack.

However, the angle of attack can be increased only so much; beyond this point, the air that passes over the wings cannot change direction quickly enough to stay in contact with the wings and lift drops, dramatically. This phenomenon — which Der Spiegel calls ‘production of vortices’ — is properly known as stall.

On the other hand, drag — which Der Spiegel calls ‘air resistance’ — is the sum of all aerodynamic forces that act in the direction of the airflow. In other words, drag opposes the motion of an object through the air.

It’s true that an autogyro is practically incapable of stalling, for which reason they can fly at lower speeds than conventional aircraft without losing lift. Their larger speed envelope  notwithstanding, autogyros also possess a significantly higher drag coefficient  than similarly-sized aeroplanes and, consequently, are not so efficient at higher speeds. 

For this reason, no autogyro could hope to match the speeds that were achieved by the faster makes of aeroplane. Which is to say that, even if Schriever’s Flugkreisel were to be propelled by two Junkers Jumo 109-004B turbo-jet engines — ‘the turbo-jets used on the recently-developed Me 262‘  — it would not be able to achieve even 870 km/h [540 mph] — the top speed that could be achieved by the Messerschmitt Me 262  — let alone 4200 km/h [2572 mph], as was so extravagantly claimed .

Strike three. If Schriever were any kind of aeronautical engineer — as the advocates of apocryphal tales about UFO in the Third Reich usually avow — he should certainly have known the difference between drag and stall. To judge by his comments in Der Spiegel, though, he had only the vaguest apprehension of these fundamental aerodynamic principles. He couldn’t even distinguish an autogyro from a helicopter.

This, of course, is not to say that he didn’t draft plans for a flying machine called the Flugkreisel. It simply means that he didn’t know what he was talking about.

So what about his meetings ‘with some representatives of foreign powers’ ? Well, there’s no reason to believe that these meetings didn’t take place. In all likelihood they did — although it seems highly probable that they were instigated by Schriever, himself, and not by the representatives.

Simply think about what it means, to gather intelligence. It means collecting every scrap of nonsense and listening to every wild claim, and then winnowing all of the reports in an effort to separate falsehood from truth — and then again, to separate the important from the trivial. Although it sounds impressive, to claim that an intelligence agency listened to an individual’s allegations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the claims were taken seriously, or even that they were true. It only means that someone listened to some stories, and took the time to make note of them.

If you still don’t see my point, then consider this: Schriever was still only a driver for the U.S. Army, after these interviews took place. Surely any Western government would have been only to eager to accept his assistance if, as he claimed, ‘the engineers from Prague [had] reproduced his Flugkreisel for another power? My guess is that he was unable to substantiate any of his claims, and that CIC-Bremerhaven dealt with them accordingly. As Fortean investigator Kevin McClure aptly put it: ‘After all, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a lorry driver.



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