By Wally Hoffman
The mission to Schweinfurt (Black Thursday) was historically tough with huge loss of planes and men, but somebody positively was out there trying to help us. Soon after we had dropped our bombs on Schweinfurt we began a shallow right turn away from the target and the black wall of flak to reform in a tight diamond combat formation. As I looked to the east I could see several groups advancing to the INITIAL POINT to begin their bomb run. I then I observed one of the most baffling incidents of my life. There I observed an enigma, which to this day still defies a suitable explanation.
I saw that the bombers of the 384th Bomb Group under a concentrated fighter attacks had turned on the initial point and began their bomb run to the target. The persistent fighter attacks suddenly ceased. I then noticed the reflection of what appeared to be circular type objects all around the bomber formation. There were absolutely no German Fighters that ordinarily seemed to swarm around and through the formations with their deadly 20-millimeter cannons. Where were they?. It was as if the 384th Bomb Group was flying in a vacuum.
I later learned the pilots and several crews in the nose and top turret reported a cluster of discs in their flight path and apparantly closing on the bombers. The discs in the clusters were silver colored. They were easily seen by the B-17 crewmembers, gliding down slowly in a uniform cluster. One Fortress closed rapidly with a cluster of these discs, however the pilot was unsuccessful in trying to evade the discs. He reported at debriefing that although his right wing went through the cluster there was absolutely no effect on the engines or the plane surfaces. The pilot further stated that one of the discs was heard to strike the tail assembly. None of the crew heard or witnessed any explosion as a result.
About twenty feet from the discs crewmembers sighted a mass of black debris of varying sizes also in clusters of about four feet. Other aircraft were observed flying through the silver discs also with no apparent damage. Other discs and debris were sighted but they were unable to determine where they had originated.
No other information on this incident has been uncovered, except that similar discs were reported again by B-17 crewmembers after the Schweinfurt Mission.
This was reported in a secret document dated October 24, 1943, to the War Office, Whitehall, and London.
World War II produced many documented phenomenon's, and I was present when something or someone stopped the slaughter by German Fighters when we couldn't.
June 6, 2000