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Pilot reports

Zuiderzee, March 25, 1942:

Note: the following case file is not intended as a presentation of a convincing or reliable case per se. This document is part of a particular project on pilots aerial sightings I am working on.

In "Le Livre Noir des Soucoupes Volantes" (The Black Book of Flying saucers) [dur], Henri Durrant indicates that on March 25, 1942, commander-pilot Roman Sobinski returned from a bombing mission above Essen in the Ruhr, Germany. When their plane passed above Zuiderzee in the north of Holland, his tail gunner reported seeing a luminous disc of orange color which followed them. After various manoeuvers to get rid of the disc, order was given to shoot. The gunner fired at the object and several projectiles seemed to penetrate in the luminous circle, but without result, although the object was withing good range, indicated as being of 150 meters approximately. Finally the flying disc "disappears at high speed." The author does not give a source for this account, which in turn is reproduced on a number of websites, generally without indicated sources.

A web article [mar] indicates that on March 25, 1942, around midnight, an RAF bomber was passing over the Zuider Zee in Holland after a raid on Essen in Germany. Its tail gunner noticed that the plane was being followed by a luminous orange sphere. He reported it to the pilot, who also saw it. When the object approached to within 100 to 200 yards of the aircraft the gunner opened fire, apparently hitting it but with no visible effect. Shortly afterwards the light shot off at great speed. The author does not indicate a source.

Another web article [we2] says that on March 25, 1942 in the Zuiderzee, "lieutenant Roman Sabinski, bomber pilot of the 301th RAF squadron, saw ashes on its return of an attack "on the German city [Essen?], around 24.00 a round discoidal object. The object followed its bomber and remained approximately five minutes at the plane above the Zuiderzee. The [tail gunner?], who had discovered the object first, got the command to fire from Sabinski. The [?] was found several times, but without impact. The object glowed orangeish, was on an altitude of approximately 4500 meters and remained approximately 100 to 200 meters from the bomber. The speed of the object was evaluated as approximately 300 kilometers per hour. The object disappeared suddenly with a speed estimated as of 1600 kilometers per hour."

The author of the page indicates several source: Gordon Creighton, "Foo Fighters", FSR, march/april, 1962 [cre]; Henry Durrant [dur],; and Roberto Pinotti, "Visitatori dallo Spazio", p. 36 [pin], Paijmans, Kosmisch Netwerk, hs. 5, pp. 98-99 [pai].

Adolf Schneider [sch] writes that Second Lieutenant Roman Sobinski, later commander of a bomber of the 301th RAF Squadron, reported the sighting of a round disk on 25 March 1942, which followed the bomber around midnight on the return flight of a bomb attack on Essen about 5 minutes over the Zuidersee in Holland. They first saw phenomenon as it approached the airplane, and Sobinski gave the order to fire at will. The disk was obviously hit several times, but showed no effect however.

The object was of a orange glowing, was at an altitude of approximately 4500 meters and was between 100 to 200 meters away from the airplane. Its speed was estimated as approximately 300 km/h. It disappeared suddenly at a speed estimated as of 1600 km/h in the distance. Schneider indicates that his source is "Creighton 1962", it seems to me that this is the closest second hand account of Creighton's story. Other accounts have minor deformations and less data.

A large number of slightly deformed versions appear on the web internationaly, without sources. One deformation is that Sobinski is refered to as "commandant-pilote" on most French websites. But "Commandant" could be translated both as commanding officer or Major, hence ambiguities. He was probably Second Lieutenant, pilot, and in command of the plane. The second deformation is that such accounts say that the bullets enter the UFO; a deformation of the UFO being "obviously hit", which does not necessarily mean that the bullets were seen entering the UFO. The last deformation is caused by traditional silly formulation in old UFO literature: the object is said to "disappear" or even later to "volatilize", but this unlikely means that it "disappeared", but that it was quickly lost from sight at a speed estimated as of 1600 km/h. Another deformation is by Durrant who says Sobinski was of the 301th bomber squad whereas Creighton seemingly said he was in this unit later. There is also the usual ambiguity on the shape description, variously indicated as disc, round, sphere.

The next step in an evaluation of this case would be to check the exact text by Gordon Creighton in FSR [cre] and in particular to check if he provides more original sources.

Another step would be to check RAF flight logs in the U-K. National Archives. The date and time, destination and mission are known, the commanding officer's name is known, the unit is very likely a polish RAF unit.

Sources:

Sources with a "*" are those I checked; source with "?" are those I do not have (any help appreciated).

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