ACUFO index -> Home 

Cette page en françaisCliquez!


ACUFO is my comprehensive catalogue of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO catalogue is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

Previous case Next case >

Hamburg, Germany, on December 18, 1943:

Case number:



Didier Serres, a former French journalist, published his first of three books on UFOs in 1970, entitled "Le Livre Noir des Soucoupes Volantes", under the pseudonym "Henry Durrant".

In that book, in a section on the Foo Fighters of World War II, he claimed that German pilots also saw unidentified flying objects, believing them to be secret weapons of the Allies. He describes some cases, including... of them mentions an object reported successively by the bases of Helgoland, Hamburg, Wittenberg, Neustrelitz, on December 18, 1943. The timing between these bases gives it an average speed greater than 3,000 km/h. It was observed above Hamburg by a patrol of two Focke-Wulf 190 fighters, at 12,000 m, around 11:15 a.m. The object was "a cylindrical body, shell-shaped at the front, a large hole at the back with a panel; it appeared to be composed of a large number of rings, the surface of which appeared convex." Reported on land, followed for a few kilometers, it disappeared at high speed.

Citing other "UFO cases" in Germany during WWII, Durrant then claimed that the German pilots' observations had led to the creation by the Nazis of a special office for the study of UFO sightings called "Sonderbüro 13" leading a project study codenamed “Uranus”.

Durrant provided no source at all for any of his claims about UFO sightings and studies in nazi Germany; but what he told was later told by other authors in several French UFO books.

In 1979, French ufologist Thierry Pinvidic, in his book "Le Noeud Gordien ou la Fantastique Histoire des ovni", discussed about "certain fantastic stories circulate about German secret weapons, and "UFOs" allegedly observed by certain authorities of the 3rd Reich" and alleged studies on this subject by experts from the Peenemüde base. He cites this case, without giving a source, then curiously approaches the idea that one claims it was the Nazis themselves who would have built a "V-7" flying saucer, an idea that he refutes with the good arguments that we know elsewhere.

He then explained how he tried to contact German authorities in this field, such as Professor Hermann Oberth, pioneer of the German rocket program during WWII, and others, all explaining that they had heard nothing about UFO reports or UFO studies by the Germans during WWII.

In the quarterly ufology magazine OVNI-Présence No 27 of September 1983, Thierry Pinvidic explained that Durrant had invented the story of "Sonderbüro No. 13" and only admitted it after Pinvidic's "investigation in Germany." Pinvidic explained that Durrant told him that he made up these stories as a "copycat trap" to fool ufologists "who, as usual, repeat information without verifying it."


Temporal data:

Date: December 18, 1943
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1970
Reporting delay: 3 decades.

Geographical data:

Country: Germany
State/Department: Hamburg
City: Hamburg

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Many.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: UFO book Henry Durrant.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Flies fast.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Sensors: [X] Visual: 2 pilots, many others.
[N/A] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: DD
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 2 MG 131 12.7 mm machine guns, 4 MG 151/20 20 mm cannons.
Reliability 1-3: 1
Strangeness 1-3: 3
ACUFO: Hoax by UFO books author Henry Durrant.


[Réf. hdt1:] HENRY DURRANT:

Other reports exist: one of them mentions an object reported successively by the bases of Helgoland, Hamburg, Wittenberg, Neustrelitz, on December 18, 1943. The timing between these bases gives it an average speed greater than 3,000 km/h. It was observed above Hamburg by a patrol of two Focké-Wulf 190 fighters, at 12,000 m, around 11:15 a.m. The object was "a cylindrical body, shell-shaped at the front, a large hole at the back with a panel; it appeared to be composed of a large number of rings, the surface of which appeared convex." Reported on land, followed for a few kilometers, it disappeared at high speed.


The Germans had made findings just as worrying [as those of the Allies in 1939-1945]. Their aviators had encountered silent, cigar-shaped aerial vehicles, about a hundred meters long. Impossible that these were Allied airships. They disappeared at supersonic speeds as soon as one approached them. On the experimental bases from which the first V 2 rockets were launched, specialists discovered to their amazement that flying discs accompanied the top-secret prototypes as they circled around. Reports, photographs, films... A special investigation office had been created, "Sonderburo No. 13". It was made up of scientists, engineers and senior officers from the Air Force. It had the same fate as the Massey commission. On both sides of no man's land, the belligerents had mutually reassured each other thanks to the osmosis of their intelligence services. These supersonic and silent machines did not belong to the arsenal of enemy secret weapons. Why worry too much about it...

[Ref. mbd1:] MICHEL BOUGARD:

The author indicates that on December 18, 1943, an unidentified cylindrical flying object passed at high altitude successively over Helgoland, Hamburg, Wittenberg and Neustrelitz. It was 11:45 a.m. and, by calculation, its speed was estimated at 6,000 km/h.


Certain fantastic stories circulate about German secret weapons, and "UFOs" allegedly observed by certain authorities of the 3rd Reich. Studies have been undertaken on this subject by experts from the Peenemüde base, it is said. The opinion of the experts involved is edifying. Let us first recall "the facts" as they are generally presented.

It is said that in 1943 reports of "unexplained flight incidents" began to pile up at the German General Staff. On December 18, 1943, for example, a sort of wingless plane was seen flying over Hamburg by two fighters on patrol at 10,000 m above Schleswig-Holstein... The chase began. The craft is quickly caught up. Metallic in appearance, it is elongated and silent. No porthole, no door is visible. Then it disappears very quickly as it goes up the course of the Elbe. Radar detection confirms visual observation made from the ground and by pilots in flight. Two hours later, watchmen from Heligoland (East Frisian Island) and naval patrol boats off the Wiese estuary confirmed the sighting to the Baltic Air Operations Office. This is the same machine flying at 3450 km/h heading to 115. 3450 km/h... in 1943! It is incredible.

The experts from Peenemüde [sic] as well as the Messerschmidt [sic] aeronautical engineer were reportedly immediately consulted. The Germans apparently took the matter very seriously. [...]


It was not until 1943 that the UFO problem was entrusted to an unofficial Luftwaffe organization.

In 1943, therefore, the German General Staff was upset.

Admiral Canaris's intelligence services quickly provide a disconcerting answer: these cannot be allied secret weapons! The allies are convinced that these are secret German weapons with which Hitler had threatened Europe. The supreme command of the Luftwaffe then set up a service permanently mobilizing three hundred experienced pilots, aeronautical engineers and numerous scientists specializing in both fluid mechanics and the resistance of materials. Called Sonder Büro No. 13 and codenamed "Uranus", this service centralizes all strange reports, studies them and attempts a rough analysis.

Created in the middle of the war, "Uranus" works in close collaboration with the German intelligence services led by Admiral Canaris, but also with the documentation services of the German Navy and the fringe networks of the Abwehr. It remained operational until the collapse of Nazism in May 1945. The archives of the "Uranus" office, recovered by the English and American military authorities, were carefully examined, and certain Luftwaffe specialists immediately attached to the Pentagon's intelligence services. The American Air Force, having inherited almost the entire file, refuses to disclose it in its entirety. "It is sometimes too disturbing," it is said... This is the kind of story that generally runs through UFO literature. There are many others. The Russians also managed to secure the assistance of certain engineers from Peenemüde, prisoners of war. They would have seized plans for secret weapons invented by the Germans.


Decided to get information directly from the sources, I wrote in 1977 to Professor Hermann Oberth, expert in astronautics and responsible for the German program during the Second World War, master of Werner Von Braun, with whom he worked at the Redstone arsenal for the account of the CAA in 1952. Hermann Oberth is generally considered the father of modern astronautics.

I asked Professor Oberth for any details and references relating to possible work carried out on the subject of UFOs by the Peenemüde experts. Mentioning the case of Kummersdorf's observation before Goebbels, I asked for possible confirmation. I sought to obtain references to documents from Admiral Canaris's intelligence services proving that these could not be allied secret weapons. I asked Hermann Oberth about the destination of the Sonder Büro documents after the Second World War. Finally knowing that the German Democratic Republic is currently undertaking a study on the question of UFOs at the Stralsund base, I wanted to know whether he had heard of the existence of particular documents and if he could tell me about them, communicate references. I received the following response dated October 18, 1976:

Dear Sir,

Unfortunately I cannot answer your questions. During the years 1941-43 while I worked at the Peenemüde base, there was never any question of UFO in the services with which I was in contact. The code name "Uranus" is also unknown to me.

I first heard about UFOs in 1953. Mr. Heinz Grësser, president of the Peenemüde alumni association, can possibly help you with this.

With my best regards Hermann Oberth

followed the address of Heinz Grosser, whom I obviously contacted as soon as possible, submitting the same list of questions to him. On December 14, 1976, Madame Sallar, secretary of Heinz Grosser, sent me the following letter:

Dear Sir,

We thank you for your kind letter of November 8, 1976.

Unfortunately, it is extraordinarily difficult for us to answer your questions.

The subject of UFOs is not among our usual concerns. We haven't yet gathered any further details on this... etc...

After telling me that she would try to find out more, and that it was in my interest to contact the DDR about the research undertaken in Stralsund, Mrs. Sallar declared herself sorry not to be able to help me further. However, she said, "we are ready to clarify this matter in our literary circle. We will let you know the results, but you will have to wait another three months at least."

Having received no response, I sent another letter to this circle on May 2, 1977. This time, Heinz Grosser himself replied:

Dear Mr. Pinvidic,

Thank you very much for your letter of May 2, 1977.

Regarding your questions: no response could be provided by the members of this circle. No one can provide any clarification.

The secret weapons of the allies are as unknown to us as UFOs.

On the other hand, all the experts who were in Peenemüde in 1944 had already left Kummersdorf six years ago. Also the alleged sighting of Goebbels and the 200 authorities in Kummersdorf is not known to us. We are saddened not to be able to provide you with further details on what you require.

With best regards, Heinz Grôsser

If the Kummersdorf event had taken place, the Peenemüde experts would have been among the first informed and the Reich would have demanded numerous and precise comments from them. This is not the case. The myth of the "German experimental UFO weapon" must be destroyed. On June 13, 1977 Hermann Oberth confided to me that his opinion on UFOs had never changed. He still considers them extra-terrestrial spaceships...



Cheating is, for example [...] it is again Durrant inventing the story of Sonderburo No. 13 of the Luftwaffe and who only admitted it after my investigation in Germany. He narrowly escaped by claiming that he had set up this hoax to trap ufologists who, as usual, repeat information without verifying it. One gets by as best one can, and I even have serious doubts on this subject which I will come back to one day. In any case, everyone who has read "Les dossiers des S.V." but have not read "Le noeud gordien" will continue to take the thing at face value, as several authors happily did who happily repeated Durrant.

[Réf. hdt2:] "HENRI DURRANT":

Henry Durrant responds

Mr. the Editor-in-Chief, No. 27 of September 1983, of "OVNI-Presence" reached me this morning, and I thank you very much for it. I note, in the article "amateurism..." signed by Mr. Pinvidic Thierry, the following passage (pp. 7 and 8):

"Cheating is ... again Durrant inventing the story of Sonderburo No. 13 of the Luftwaffe and only admitting it after my investigation in Germany. He got away with it correctly by claiming that he had set up this hoax to trap ufologists who, as usual, repeat information without verifying it. One gets away with it as best one can, and I even have serious doubts on this subject to which I will come back one day. In any case, all those who have read "Les dossiers des S.V." but did not read "Le noeud gordien" will continue to take the thing at face value, as several authors happily did who happily copied Durrant."

Without claiming the right of reply (our relations are excellent), although having been cited by name, I ask you to kindly publish this corrective text, in extenso, in your very next issue no. 28. Mr. Pinvidic Thierry actually asked me for information on the Sonderburo Nr. 13 of the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, by telephone and AFTER the release of his very interesting book "Le noeud gordien" (For confirmation, see GEPO-Information, n° 29, January-March 1983); So I did not have to admit that it was a hoax, Mr. Pinvidic Thierry not having played the investigating judge that day; I simply explained to him that it was a trap for copiers or looters, and I explained to him the origins: my past difficulties, with less than honest colleagues (I'm summarizing!), regarding translations of articles, when I was a professional journalist, years ago.

Mr. Pinvidic Thierry acted "as several authors happily did who happily copied Durrant", although he too published the same story in conditional mode (I reread his text) (!). If Mr. Pinvidic Thierry had telephoned me BEFORE the publication of his book, he would have been aware of the trap, would not have fallen into it, and would have spared himself the trouble of practicing conditional cheating himself, which would is more serious; because it was by ignoring the details that I provided him that he was able to allow himself to accuse me of cheating and claim that "I narrowly escaped by pretexting that..."

Mr. Pinvidic Thierry says he carried out an investigation in Germany. Very good. The result of this having been negative, a double question arises: did he investigate, to verify information, BEFORE writing his book, and, in this case, why does he use the conditional instead of frankly denouncing "cheating"?

Did he investigate AFTER the release of “The Gordian Knot”? As he does not specify this, I would like to point out to him that: 1) Investigating BEFORE without taking into account the result is aberrant, and that 2) investigating AFTER is investigating too late. (2) Mr. Pinvidic Thierry is not very sure of his references: it is not the "Dossiers des S.V." (3) (title he writes falsely), but from the "Livre Noir des Soucoupes Volantes" where Sonderburo Nr. 13 is mentioned on p. 81.

The trap had therefore been set since 1970, and it took thirteen long years for Mr. Pinvidic Thierry to decide to write about it... perhaps also because the first list of looters began to spread and that this tickle him? I can't believe it.

To this first argument confirming my good faith, I will add another proof: the list, as up to date as possible, of "those who happily copied". Am I going to make so many enemies? What does it matter! as the other said: "Molto nemici? Molto onore!". Your readers will then be able to verify two elements passed over in silence by Mr. Pinvidic Thierry: 1) the dates of publication of the books cited prove that I did not wait for the release of "le noeud gordien" to "barely escape in claiming that..."; 2) readers who have the works cited will only have to refer to the pages indicated to ensure that I am telling the truth. Mr. Editor-in-Chief, you absolutely must forgive me for the sweet habit I have, that of always providing others with the possibility of controlling me. Not everyone can do it!

To the brief mention of Sonderbüro Nr. 13 that I made in 1970, one author adds Admiral Canaris (in 1977), another adds 300 confirmed pilots (in 1979)(5), and we arrived at the Führer himself (conversation of 09.10.1982): in psychoanalysis, this progressively additive phenomenon is called "Ulysses' lie". So, if I had a slightly devious mind, I could deny the entire and exclusive authorship of my copycat trap. Because I could consider that my looter trap has been so perfected and embellished by the copiers themselves, that I now have complete freedom to throw this screaming baby away with the dirty water of his bath. But why should I avoid this responsibility, since it has the advantage of revealing so much joy to us?

In UFOLOGIE-CONTACT n°8, from the ex-SPEPSE, Mr. Pinvidic Thierry expressed a completely different opinion, with regard to Durrant, than that of today; it is true that the first partial list of copiers was not in circulation. In psychoanalysis, how could we define such a reversal?

Conflating a "copycat trap" with dishonesty has never been a serious procedure; it's at most an old trick of a crooked politician. On the other hand, ah! how I would have liked to see at least as much "vigor" shown towards copiers; My disappointment is great, because I haven't read anything about it yet. In morality, what is it called?

Apart from its immediate usefulness, what can the introduction of copier traps in books mean? We can respond: to sanitation (6), to the moralization of UFO "literature"; that is to say to a very specific field arising from ufology. Now, Mr. Editor-in-Chief, your readers no doubt remember, in the first part of his article "On amateurism...", Mr. Pinvidic Thierry pulls no punches (and I 'approve!) to castigate the vices of ufologists, and to try to clean up, to moralize what is not yet (fortunately!) a profession. It would therefore seem that our approaches are the same, if not similar. So why conflate a looter trap with "cheating"? In psychoanalysis, what is such a contradiction called?

Could it be because Durrant "acted" while Pinvidic only "wrote"? I can't believe it. Could it be because we cannot claim to "moralize", when we ourselves...? I can't believe it. As for deceiving the reader (The Sonderbüro Nr. 13 is neither a case nor a ufological incident), if Mr. Pinvidic Thierry knows a recipe for making an omelette without breaking eggs, it is with pleasure and profit that I will assimilate his lesson. Has life not yet taught him that, too often, between two evils he must choose the lesser?

Mr. Editor-in-Chief, let's get serious again: "Le Livre Noir des Soucoupes Volantes" contains two traps, one of which is now known; two traps also exist in "Les Dossiers des OVNI"; two traps also exist in "Premières enquêtes sur les humanoïdes extraterrestres." To the wise, hello!

There are many of us, extremely many of us, who deplore the fact that, in all UFO publications, vain controversy too often replaces fresh news, interesting information, solid documentation. Believe me, I was truly saddened to have been obliged to take up so much editorial space from you in order to re-establish the strict truth, and thus avoid the misinformation (or intoxication, as you choose) of your readers. (7)

I think I didn't abuse it, unlike some who didn't deprive themselves of it. It is in this hope that I remain, Mr. Editor-in-Chief, very cordially yours:


We then get the notes by the editor of OVNI-Présence:

Editorial notes:

(1) In fact, investigative elements are gathered in "Le noeud gordien" but are however insufficient to demonstrate the non-existence of Sonderbüro Nr 13.

(2) The investigative elements found in "Le noeud gordien" were obviously collected BEFORE publication!

(3) The exact title is "Les dossiers des O.V.N.I.".

(4) We must at least add to this list SCORNAUX Jacques and PIENS Christiane, "A la recherche des OVNI", Marabout 1976, p. 159.

(5) It is in fact Henry Durrant himself who quotes Admiral Canaris in "Le livre noir des soucoupes volantes" on page 85!!! Maybe if he reread himself, he would also discover the origin of the 300 confirmed pilots?!

(6) For sanitation, it's a failure!

(7) We learn with astonishment that Henry Durrant, as a defender of freedoms, morality, and detoxification, published two copycat traps in each of his books. Given the already long list of copiers, one might wonder how one could qualify the publication of such misleading pseudo-information. Henry Durrant proposes the term sanitation. Perhaps... If then all the authors of ufological books sanitized in the same manner, then ufology must indeed be transparent in its clarity!


This German ufologist reported that a strange object was observed on December 18, 1943, flying over the German cities of Hamburg, Wittenberg and Neustrelitz. At 11.15 a.m. two Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft from the Hamburg base were sent to scramble. The pilots noticed a cylindrical object with a pointed nose like a rocket. The object vanished at high speed.

He indicated that the source is "Durrant 1970."

He comments:

There is the rumor that the Germans had set up a special committee, called U 13, whose task it was to investigate the unknown flight objects. The French journalist Henry Durrant stated that he got former secret material from the British Intelligence Service. MUFON-CES member Adolf Schneider could not get a confirmation for that from the Study Group for Military Research (Arbeitskreis fuer Wehrforschung) in Stuttgart, and from the Federal Military Archives (Bundesmilitaerarchiv) in Freiburg. No knowledge of this special agency was had by the former Generals of the German Air Force Galland and Kammhuber.

The Commander of the Air Fleet 5 in Norway/North Finland and general manager for jet aircraft since February 1945 to the end of the war, and leader of development of the Heinkel jet HE-162, Carl Francke, as well as the former General Engineer of the German Air Force, Wolfram Eisenlohr, could not remember having heard anything about "U 13." The Deputy Commander of the Allied Air Forces in Central Europe until June 1976, General Wehnelt, didn't know about that agency (Schneider 1979).

The rocket scientist (a former colleague of L von Ludwiger's father, who worked together with him and W. von Braun and H. Oberth at the rocket site in Berlin-Reinickendorf in the early thirties) and former Consultant in Department VI of Counter-Intelligence headed by Colonel Schellenberg, Rudolf Engel, confirmed the existence of a special office 13, but was not informed about its task (Engel 1979). Eventually, Professor Walter from Stuttgart, who in wartime collaborated with the chief of Counter-intelligence, Admiral Canaris, knew Professor Georg Kamper, who founded the special group U 13. Walter confirmed that the members of U 13 had to investigate the enemy's new or strange weapon technology (Schneider 1979).

The physicist Dr. Sergej Kusionow in 1990 told MUFON-CES members in 1990 at a conference in Heidelberg that he has knowledge of German investigation reports concerning unknown flying objects, which are stored in Moscow, and which the Red Army had captured in WW 11. Till now it was not yet possible to get the material back to German researchers. It may be quite possible, that some of the observed luminous balls were indeed German secret weapons. The Germans, for instance, released fluorescent balloons of different sizes into the air with the intention of producing trouble between the pilots of the night fighters. They were to make the fighters leave their formation, so that the German fighters could get into it more easily.


This Belgian "skeptical" ufologist noted:

1943, December 18

GERMANY, different cities.

A report mentions an object reported successively by the bases of Helgoland, Hamburg, Wittenberg, Neustrelitz. The timing between these bases gives it an average speed greater than 3,000 km/h. It was observed above Hamburg by a patrol of two Focke-Wulf 190 fighters, at 12,000 m around 11:15 a.m. The object was a cylindrical body with a warhead at the front, a large hole at the rear with a panel. It seemed to be composed of a large number of rings, the surface of which appeared convex. Reported on land, followed for a few kilometers, it disappeared at high speed. (Henry DURRANT: "Le livre noit des S.V." – Laffont 1970 – p.84-85)

Aircraft information:

The Focke-Wulf FW-190 "Würger" was a very successful single-seater, single-engine fighter-bomber used by Germany during World War II from 1941 to 1945.




The "catalogue" of assertions by Henry Durrant, apart from the cases, boils down to:

The 4 reports he cites are "a few" of all such cases.

Durrant added that "twice" Messerchmitts Me-163 "Komet" had succeeded in filming "flying cigars." (There is no corroboration for this claim.)

Himmler, Kammler and others had witnessed the launch of an experimental rocket at Kummersdorf on February 12, 1944. (After 1938, the Kummersdorf Rocket Test Center did not launch any rockets, it was used for research on nuclear power and the study of captured enemy tanks, then the German tank "Maus". Rocket tests had been transferred to Peenemünde since 1942.)

Admiral Canaris's spies in the United Kingdom had reported that UFOs were flying over English air force bases. (This is false, the phenomena were seen by English and American pilots over France, Italy, Germany, there was no equivalent on English air force bases.)

The Sonderbüro 13 and its UFO study project "Uranus" was headed by Professor Georg Kamper. (I found no trace of this character.)

The other claims described in [tpc2] were made later by others.


Hoax by UFO books author Henry Durrant.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross November 6, 2023 Creation, [hdt1], [fgs1], [tpc1], [tpc2], [hdt2], [gvo1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 6, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross November 13, 2023 Addition [mbd1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 25, 2023 Addition [ivl1].

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on November 25, 2023.