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Foo Fighters:

The Speier, November 1944, Foo Fighter incident:

The case:

The primary source seems to be the famous article of 1945 by Jo Chamberlin [cha] on foo fighters, which says:

"But a few nights later [end of November, 1944], Lt. Henry Giblin, of Santa Rosa, California, pilot, and Lt. Walter Cleary, of Worcester, Massachusetts, radar-observer, were flying at 1,000 feet altitude when they saw a huge red light 1,000 feet above them, moving at 200 miles per hour. As the observation was made on an early winter evening, the men decided that perhaps they had eaten something at chow that didn't agree with them and did not rush to report their experience."

This version of the story had been republished many times since, such as in "Fortean Studies" N.7.

During World War II, Renato Vesco was a very young aircraft engineer, and after the war he wrote articles and books about secret German weapons [ves]. According to a text that appears on several websites, he indicates:

"On November 27, 1944, a B-27 of the United States Air Force [sic], returning from a raid on Speyer, West Germany, encountered a huge, orange colored light moving upward at an estimated speed of 500 mph. When the pilots reported, sector radar had reported negatively, because nothing had registered on the screen."

The same story is seemingly told in the French ufology magazine "Phenomena"[phe], the bulletin of the defunct group "SOS-OVNIS" with additional details that it was 08:26, a huge orange sphere, at an altitude of 450 meters and the crew is described as a "fighter crew" rather than a bomber's crew.

In Dominique Weinstein's catalogue [wei], the case appears with the same date and location, as that of a huge orange sphere seen at midnight by a USAAF P-70 fighter of the 415th night fighters squadron.

W.A. Harbinson [har] provides other details, indicating that the witnesses were pilots Henry Giblin and Walter Cleary, who stated that on the night of November 27, 1944, they had been harassed in the vicinity of Speyer by "an enormous burning light" that was flying above their aircraft at about 250 miles per hour.

An anonymous website indicates that on November 27, 1944 in Speyer, Germany, "a large red fireball flew parallel to the fighter plane of Lts. Henry Giblin and Walter Cleary. They tried evasive maneuvers, but the craft was able to mirror their movements. After a time, the craft accelerated off above the maximum altitude of the fighter."

A British website says that on November 27, 1944 while in the vicinity of Speyer, at an altitude of 1,000 feet, Lt. H. Giblin and Observer W. Cleary were tailed by an enormous burning light which flew above the plane at a speed of more than 200 mph.


The plane could not have been a Martin B-27 since this aircraft was only a project and was abandoned in 1940, no prototype being built. This puts doubt on the version of the sighting by Renato Vesco, who also incorrectly refers to the United States Air Force (USAF) that was actually formed in 1947 while the US air forces were names US Army Air Force (USAAF) then. While there are many better documented foo fighters cases, this one might be invented, or more likely, a mix-up of other cases. Renato Vesco has unwillingly become a hero for "nazi saucers" cultists, and is claimed to be an "expert" who has worked on such projects, but the truth is he was too young at the time to hold any such position, he did not work for the Germans, and he makes a blatant mistake here by telling that the plane was a Martin B-27.

On the contrary, Jo Chamberlin's version is very probably totally accurate. Chamberlin lists other foo fighter sightings by the 415th Night fighter Squadron, and I found out that they are generally supported by official records.

Other sources mention the P-70 Havoc nightfighter, a somehow inefficient converted bomber and trainer, that had a battery of forward-firing guns, and a single hand-held machine gun in the dorsal position that was later replaced by a two-gun Martin turret. But the P-70 was very ineffective, and had been replaced by British made Bristol Beaufighters at the 415th NFS early in 1944. The plane could thus have been a Beaufighter. The Beaufighters also proved rather ineffective, and by the summer of 1944, there were being replaced by the much more effective Northrop P-61 Black Widow.

Jacket badge of the US 415th night fighters squadron, showing the British Bristol Beaufighter plane they used.

So the correct event very likely goes like this:

Towards the end of November, 1944, Lt. Henry Giblin, of Santa Rosa, California, pilot, and Lt. Walter Cleary, of Worcester, Massachusetts, radar-observer were flying a P-70 on training mission or a Beaufighter or a P-61 in combat mission at 1,000 feet altitude when they saw a huge red light 1,000 feet above them, moving at 200 miles per hour. The men thought they had visions or did not dare to look like fools and reported the sighting only after other pilots of that same unit reported several other foo fighters sightings, and this is why it does not appear on the 415th war diaries.

What the huge red light above them could have been is impossible to say as the case stands now due to lack of data. It does obviously did not fly faster than a plane can, no exotic maneuver is reported, no pursuit, no dogfight, no exotic shape.


The '*' indicates sources that I own or checked, the '?' indicates sources that I have not been able to read yet.

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This page was last updated on June 2, 2006.