BBC History Revealed

THE RED BARON SHOOTS DOWN A FLY­ING SAUCER

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In 1999, Ger­man Air Force ace Peter Waitzrik sen­sa­tion­ally re­vealed that the no­to­ri­ous Ger­man pi­lot Man­fred von Richthofen (known as the Red Baron) had shot a UFO out of a clear, blue sky whilst on an early morn­ing mis­sion over Western Bel­gium in the spring of 1917. Waitzrik claimed he had been fly­ing with the Baron when they sud­denly saw an ob­ject re­sem­bling an up­side-down, sil­ver­coloured, 136ft-di­am­e­ter saucer. The pi­lots as­sumed it was a new air­craft sent up by the US and without any hes­i­ta­tion the Baron opened fire on it.

The craft, he said, fell like a rock and crashed into a for­est. Look­ing down they saw two bruised and bat­tered oc­cu­pants get out of the air­craft and run away. Waitzrik stated that the pair were told never to men­tion the in­ci­dent again, and it was not un­til fly­ing saucers hit the head­lines in the late 1940s that he fi­nally con­cluded the es­cap­ing oc­cu­pants they had ob­served were aliens rather than Amer­i­can air­men.

The whole episode pro­vides a pow­er­ful im­age of the fear­less Red Baron fight­ing off a po­ten­tial alien in­va­sion wor­thy of any B-movie. How­ever, it was soon dis­cov­ered that Peter Waitzrik was an in­vented char­ac­ter and the story was a hoax.

 ??  ?? Man­fred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, was one of Ger­many’s top fighter aces of WWII, with 80 kills cred­ited to him
Man­fred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, was one of Ger­many’s top fighter aces of WWII, with 80 kills cred­ited to him

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