Henry Stevens' highly informative book Hitler’s Flying Saucers: A Guide to German Flying Discs of the Second World War, is a thorough and systematic documentation of various Nazi secret aeronautical projects of the final stages of the Second World War. However, there are some parts of the book which deal with some of the more ‘hypothetical’ elements of the possible propulsion systems for some of these saucers and while some theories are quite plausible and convincing, others such as the ‘free energy’ Schappeller Device, are probably stretching credulity and it would have been better perhaps in this instance to have stuck to what is demonstrably known and documented rather than delving into more arcane and fringe areas of so called pseudo-science; if only to put Hitler’s flying saucer programme on a more historically sound and documented basis and remove it from the classification of ‘conspiracy theories’ which it seems relegated to, to this day.
In his book he refers to several documented newspaper reports marking the first reference in the press to the term: ‘flying saucers’. The first report referring to ‘flying saucers’ appeared in 1947 in the November 9th edition of the Denver Post, some months after several documented UFO sighting across America.
The article is entitled ‘Spies Bid for Franco’s Weapons’ with a subtitle which reads ‘Agents Ascribe ‘Flying Saucers’ the New Rocket’ and reports a potentially fascinating story about an unnamed ‘European spy organisation’ successfully smuggling blueprints for advanced weapons out of Spain which had been designed by three unnamed German scientists. One of the weapons is described as ‘an electromagnetic rocket’ which, it is claimed, is “responsible for the ‘flying saucers’ seen over the North American continent last summer..”
Another article he refers to is an edition of the Los Angeles newspaper The Mirror dated March 24 1950 quoting Italian engineer, Professor Guiseppe Belluzzo who makes a matter-of-fact report about the development of flying discs. Belluzzo who was formerly Minister of National Economy and later, Education Minister in Mussolini’s government was quoted after a spate of sightings in the continental United States:
“There is nothing supernatural or Martian about flying discs…but they are simply rational application of recent technique.” He also said:
“Some great power is launching discs to study them.”
At this time there was growing curiosity following the Roswell and Aztec retrievals of crashed saucers and the release in 1950 of the first American feature film to feature flying saucers. What is interesting is that film does not try to make out that the saucers come from space but that the saucer is an invention of an American scientist. The plot revolves around a race against the Russians to be able to gain this technology while a communist turn-coat attempts to sell the saucer to the Soviets.
It is interesting that at the earliest stage in the UFO controversy there were independent attempts to get the truth out, however one can assume that, as the arms-race against the Russians heated up it became necessary to be more guarded about the nature of the development of American aeronautical technology and for this reason the cover of ‘aliens from space’ what created by various sponsored science fiction writers and Hollywood producers who were deployed in this propaganda effort to sell the possibility of visitors from space to the American public.
The article, apparently quoting Belluzo from an article from Italy’s Giornale d’Italia, whom the article credits with the building of the first steam turbine in Italy in 1905, states quite plainly:
“..types of flying discs were designed and studied in Germany and Italy as early as 1942.”
He was also interviewed for the March 30 edition of Der Spiegel in 1950 where he said that in the early 1940’s, flying saucers were produced in the BMW factory Prague where scientists such as Klaus Habermohl, himself and Walter Miete, who was also part of the V2 project, worked on flying disc projects following Schriever’s work.
"… Rudolph Schriever, who says engineers throughout the world experimented in the early 1940s with flying saucers, is willing to build one for the United States in six to nine months. The 40-year-old Prague University graduate said he made blueprints for such a machine, which he calls a flying top, before Germany’s collapse and that the blueprints were stolen from his laboratory. He says the machine would be capable of 2,600mph with a radius of 4,000 miles, Schriever is a US Army driver at Bremerhaven."
According to the Henry Steven’s book the earliest designs for flying saucers in World War 2 are by aeronautical engineer Rudolf Schriever who was mentioned in the 1950 Der Speigel article, and these designs were dated to 1941 and first flown and tested in 1942. Schriever developed a flying saucer which used a jet-engine, a technology which had been in existence since Frank Whittle built the first jet-engine in England in April 1937.Two years later in Germany Erich Warstiz piloted the world’s first jet aircraft the Heinkel He 178, which was limited to speeds of 372 miles per hour, somewhat slower than the Messerschmitt 109, and had a combat time of little more than 10 minutes. For these reasons it was not a success, however in 1944 the Germans built the Messerschmitt Me 262 which was effectively the world’s first jet-fighter.
A few years later, on page 148 of an edition of Popular Science magazine from October 1955 in an article entitled: “Giant Pie Cooked Up by Frenchman is Latest Flying Saucer” French aircraft engineer Rene Couzinet is shown standing aside the Couzinet RC-360: a flying saucer shaped aircraft 27 feet in diameter, resting on three landing stuts. The article describes him as ‘making a bid for the flying saucer trade’ which is an interesting thing to say and seems to infer that there might be a commercial interest in designing saucers, presumably for secret government and covert military programmes.
The article quotes Couzinet on the method of propulsion: “The engines will spin the upper and lower discs in opposite directions and whirl the craft on its way.” Perhaps it was a secret which he was supposed to have kept because tragically, on 16th December 1956, he and his wife Gilberte apparently committed suicide in Paris barely a year later.
What is noteworthy here, apart from the fact that Couzinet was apparently trying to break into the potentially lucrative ‘saucer business’ as inferred in the article, or the suspicious double suicide not long after the publication of this article, is the spinning element of the flying saucer Couzinet designed. This is something which had been observed and reported in many UFO phenomena subsequently.