BBC History Revealed
THE RED BARON SHOOTS DOWN A FLYING SAUCER
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.