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The Sack AS 6
The Real "Nazi Saucer?"
For decades, a rich mythology has developed around the claim that Nazi Germany's engineers secretly
developed one or more super-sophisticated saucer-shaped aircraft and unmanned disc-like missiles, and
that this technology was appropriated by the US or the Soviet Union in the post-war period. The names
Schriever, Miethe, Habermohl, Belluzzo are associated with some of these stories, and the locations of the
secret plants where these craft were allegedly built range from Prague to Stettin to shadowy underground
factories in the legendary "Nazi southern redoubt."
Typical of the unsubstantiated claims about WWII Nazi saucers is this diagram of a "V-7" which appears to be
a form of jet-powered helicopter. No real evidence of the existence of such vehicles has emerged from
Kevin McClure's outstanding analysis of these legends is presented at
But according to researchers Hans J. Ebert and Hans Justus Maier, the real creator of the "Nazi flying
saucer" - a vehicle which can be shown to have had links to the US Air Force's investigation of UFOs in the
post-WWII period - was a farmer from the Leipzig region who had an avid interest in model airplanes. His
name was Arthur Sack.
In July 1938, as Ebert and Maier explain it, Sack had entered a competition called the "First Reich-Wide
Contest for Motorized Flying Models" in Leipzig. The object of the contest was a simple closed-loop flight
from one point and back again, but in those days of primitive model control systems, most of the entrants
were unable to persuade their creations to lift off, let alone complete the course. Sack's unique contribution
was the use of a circular wing.
The rationale behind the design is unknown -- like some other circular or semicircular aircraft, such as
Snyder's Arup, it may have been initially an aesthetic whim -- but in any case the model displayed the STOL
performance characteristic of the planform. With a single tail fin and a conventional horizontal stabilizer for
pitch control, the AS 1 looked a bit more like the Arups than Zimmerman's Vought V-162. Its wing was about
four feet in diameter; it weighed about 10 pounds and was powered by a 30 cc gasoline engine. Sack and
his model might have faded into obscurity if one of the most important figures in the German military aircraft
establishment had not happened to drop in on the contest. Ernst Udet, the Generalluftzeugmeister (chief of
armaments procurement) of the Luftwaffe, was impressed by the short takeoff and landing runs of the model.
Udet (an expert pilot and maverick who would shortly become one of the most enthusiastic high level
supporters of Lippisch's Me-163 Komet rocket fighter) had been interested in STOL aircraft since Gerhard
Fieseler had developed a gangly three-seat observation craft called the Storch (Stork) to meet a 1935
Luftwaffe requirement for a light tactical reconnaissance and ground attack plane which could use very short
airstrips. The specification resulted in some interesting proposals: a helicopter-like Focke-Wulf autogyro and
a Messerschmitt design using a tilting wing. But the Storch was the hands-down winner. To achieve
extremely short takeoff and landing distances Fieseler's designers used an aerodynamic technique almost
diametrically opposed to Zimmerman's theory: the Storch's long, thin wing was a flying venetian blind,
endowed with large slats and flaps to coax the airflow into generating useful lift even at very slow speeds.
Under normal conditions, a Storch could take off in a little over 80 yards; in a strong headwind, it could
almost hover, dropping gently to a touchdown like a seagull landing on a post. Perhaps Udet, knowing of the
STOL potential of circular wings, saw the same possibilities in Sack's disk plane.
According to Maier and Ebert, Udet unofficially encouraged Sack to pursue the development of his design
for observation missions or light ground attack duty. But Sack was no Gerhard Fieseler or Charles
Zimmerman. During the course of the war he built four more models, about which little is known, and five
years would pass before he decided to make the leap to constructing a piloted, full-scale aircraft. While
there is no evidence that Sack was directly influenced by the V-173, it is interesting that he began work on
his piloted craft in late 1943, when the Flapjack's test flights were beginning. Sack enlisted the help of an
engineer from "MiMo" (Mitteldeutsche Motorenwerke, an aircraft subcontracting company located at Brandis
Airfield) to calculate structural loads and design the plane's airframe, and persuaded other Brandis
workshops to fabricate its components.
Brandis is a small town a few miles southeast of Leipzig. Just east of the city was a large airfield. Flugplatz
Brandis was the location of satellite factories where components of various types of aircraft were fabricated.
Its very large runways made it ideal as a flight test and fighter base.
When Allied bombing raids threatened the crucial Leuna synthetic oil plant near Leipzig, a squadron of 600
mph Messerschmitt Me-163 rocket-powered interceptors was transferred to Brandis to provide defensive
By early 1944 the AS 6 took shape. Its circular fabric-covered wing was about 21 feet in diameter. An Argus
AS 10 engine of 240 hp -- the same type used in the Storch -- drove a single two-blade wooden propeller.
The wing was equipped with ailerons for roll control, and a large flap was set into the wing just in front of the
squat vertical fin, which was stencilled with a Swastika and the letters "AS 6/V1." A simple canopy with flat
transparencies was provided for the pilot. Stocky, non-retractable landing gear betrayed the limited
performance envelope of the machine. What the AS 6 lacked in the sophisticated drag-reducing features of
the V-173 it compensated for with brute force: it possessed fifty percent more horsepower, but weighed just
over half as much as its American counterpart.
The plane was finally ready for testing in April 1944. Sack had convinced a pilot named Baltabol, the chief
pilot for ATG, a Junkers subcontractor at the base, to try out the peculiar machine. Baltabol soon found out
that the AS 6 was poorly built and had vicious handling qualities. The little disk swerved back and forth
across the runway as he desperately tried to maintain control by alternately slamming the rudder pedals
from one stop to the other. Five times he ran the AS 6 up and down the long Brandis field, veering from side
to side. One of the overstressed landing gear struts finally snapped and brought the session to an end.
Baltabol realized that the plane was badly designed and would need to be modified to have satisfactory
On April 16, after some rework, the AS 6 was again rolled out, this time with the object of actually achieving
flight. The plane was pushed to the very end of the runway. It was dead calm; no crosswinds would
complicate steering. Baltabol opened the throttle of the Argus and the craft surged ahead. But to his
annoyance, after speeding along for a quarter mile the airplane showed no inclination to lift off. He pulled
back on the stick. In another 300 feet, it finally started to bounce. The bouncing rapidly diverged into severe
porpoising. The end of the runway loomed, and he finally aborted the run. Another attempt gave similar
results, but this time, on one of the bounces, the propeller struck the ground and shattered. The AS 6,
lacking the meticulous development of the V-173, apparently had some serious design flaw.
The swept-wing Me-163 was powered by a liquid-fuel rocket engine and had a phenomenal rate of climb.
Capable of speeds approaching Mach 1 in level flight, the Me-163 had the potential to inflict heavy damage
on US bomber raids, but its exotic and highly dangerous fuels and limited endurance reduced its
effectiveness. US and Soviet technical intelligence analysts were highly interested in the Me-163 and both
sides based early post-war interceptor projects on its technology. The designer of the radical tailless plane,
Alexander Lippisch, was one of the first technicians relocated to Wright Field under "Project Paperclip" after
The German disc plane languished at the base until the summer of 1944, when an Me-163 Komet
rocket-powered interceptor squadron, JG 400, was deployed to the base to provide cover for the Leuna
synthetic oil plant near Leipzig. Sack soon approached the unit's commander, Hauptmann Robert Olejnik,
begging him to let one of his "right stuff" pilots give the AS 6 another try. Olejnik was on the spot:
[Sack] had made contact with my pilots with the aim of winning one of them over to attempting the first
flight...and one of my best and most energetic pilots, [Oberleutnant] Franz RÃ¶ssle, [one of the five pilots
who had made the historic encounter with the US Mustangs over Merseburg], a real daredevil, had agreed to
undertake this. After days of contemplation and some hot debates with all my pilots, I finally agreed to let
RÃ¶ssle make taxying trials. Taxying trials on the runway proceeded quite well, but as soon as RÃ¶ssle
began further trials on grass, a wheel ran into a molehill [sic] and the leg was bent.
The AS 6, a flawed and now crippled anomaly, was a very low priority project in the hectic closing months of
the European war. In all probability it was dragged to some out of the way corner of the base and
As the war ground on, German aircraft firms had fewer and fewer safe refuges to test new aircraft. Bombing
raids and the progress of the Allied fronts forced Junkers to transfer some of its experimental aircraft to
Brandis. About the time the Me 163 unit arrived at the base, Junkers was beginning experiments with a
transonic jet test bed called the Ju 287 V1, the world's first forward-swept-wing bomber. On August 16, the
big bomber thundered off the Brandis runway for the first time. One of the strangest looking airplanes ever
built, it had two jet engines mounted in pods on either side of the nose, two more under the wings, and fixed
landing gear enclosed in gigantic fairings. While testing progressed, construction of two more prototypes-
the Ju 287 V2, and the definitive six-engine production version, Ju 287 V3, began at the base.
Ju 287 V1 in flight near Brandis
Horten H 9 V1 glider
By early 1945, the inevitable end was closing in on Nazi Germany. Crushed between the Americans and
British on the West and the Soviets on the East, pounded night and day by air assaults, the Reich was
quickly consuming its last reserves of critical resources. To JG 400, this meant that supplies of the special
liquid fuels for its Komets were dwindling to a trickle. In desperation, the Luftwaffe hatched a plan to reequip
the squadron with the Gotha 229 production version of the Horten H 9 turbojet flying wing interceptor. For
training and familiarization, some Horten H 7 two-engine trainers and the H 9 V1 glider prototype were
shipped to Brandis. But time was running out. In mid-April US troops overran the Gotha factory and
discovered a handful of the half-finished Horten fighters. The heavily defended Leuna chemical plant was
captured on the 16th; Leipzig fell on the 19th. By high-level prearrangement, US forces would hold at the
Elbe river and await the arrival of the Red Army from the east. Brandis would be reached first by the
Americans. It was April 20th -- Hitler's last birthday -- when units of the US Army's 9th Armored Division
entered Brandis. There were still pockets of heavy resistance in the area, and they rolled cautiously into the
giant airbase, wary of hidden surprises. They must have been amazed at the aeronautical wonderland they
found. The retreating Germans had hastily sabotaged many of the planes, but enough remained intact to
give the GIs a hint of what had been accomplished. More than a hundred Komets had been delivered to the
base. Many rested under camouflage netting in the surrounding woods. Railroad tank cars designed for
exotic rocket fuels sat on sidings. In the Junkers shops, the soldiers discovered the half-completed Ju 287s,
with their strange, forward-angled wings. In another hangar, surrounded by demolished Me 163s, the
partially disassembled Horten H 9 V1 stood on jackstands. Other Horten flying wings were parked nearby.
The Americans had little time for sightseeing. A few pictures were taken: anonymous young GIs gawking in
awe at Buck Rogers flying machines.
The front moved on, pushing east. The US Army's V Corps met Red Army units at Torgau, on the Elbe, on
the 25th. Did the US Army discover a small disk-shaped airplane at Brandis? Unfortunately, the fate of the
AS 6 remains a mystery. Maier and Ebert mention a report that a small yellow disk-winged airplane was seen
at a military airfield in Munich in the autumn of 1944, but there is no way of knowing whether it was the AS 6,
some completely unrelated project, or just a rumor. The first public revelation of the existence of the AS 6 did
not come until 1973, in spite of decades of flying saucer publicity and the fact that many of the Komet pilots
had thoroughly documented their activities at Brandis. When photographs of the AS 6 finally surfaced nearly
thirty years after the war, it would be through these former JG 400 pilots.
The Soviet Zone of Occupation, defined by the leaders of the victorious Allies, swallowed up Brandis and its
remaining treasures in July 1945. Like the other Nazi aeronautical facilities that fell into Soviet hands,
Brandis was stripped clean of its equipment and aircraft. Anything useful was shipped east for study. Three
years later, someone furtively snapped a photo of an unusual jet bomber parked at the Ramenskoye
experimental flight test center outside Moscow. The blurry negative made its way into the hands of western
intelligence analysts. They were disturbed by what they saw. The futuristic jet was the Ju 287 V3. What else
had the Soviets retrieved from Brandis?
From the point of view of researchers who are attempting to flesh out the early history of the US Air Force
involvement with UFO research, what makes the Brandis episode interesting is the coexistence of a number
of Horten prototypes with the Sack "saucer" at the same base as the exotic Me-163 rocket fighters and other
experimental jet prototypes late in the war. The Horten H 9 V1 glider was a forerunner of a 600 mph jet
fighter. Intelligence personnel may have wondered if the crude Sack plane was a prototype of a jet or
rocket-powered operational version with similar high performance. From about September 1947 to late
Spring 1948, Air Force Technical intelligence and counterintelligence forces produced documents that
exhibited concerns that Horten designs had influenced the Soviets, who, it was feared, might have
developed a highly advanced flying-wing reconnaissance aircraft capable of supersonic speed and
See: The Flying Saucer EEI
The Horten H 18 strategic jet bomber concept of 1945
Kenneth Arnold with sketch of an unidentified aircraft sighted in Washington State in June 1947
Several of the Horten designs did in fact resemble early saucer reports, particularly the June 1947 Kenneth
Arnold objects. The bizarre wing geometries of the Brandis aero-menagerie might well have made the notion
of saucer-shaped experimental planes a bit easier to accept, particularly since the Soviets did base some of
their earliest postwar prototype high-speed aircraft on some of the aircraft they recovered from Brandis.
"Tourist photo" of Ju 287 V3/ prototype EF 131 in USSR. It was built by a joint Soviet/German design bureau
called OKB-1 and flown at the Zhukovsky Flight Research Institute (LII) - with a German pilot at the controls -
in 1947. Its distinctive wing shape may have attracted the attention of western observers in Moscow during
EF 140 - a Soviet improvement on the EF 131 design, now in Soviet markings, with two Soviet-designed
engines and tip tanks to combat aeroelastic divergence
Soviet forward-swept-wing transonic LL-3 rocket plane, circa 1947, designed by P V Tsybin. It was similar to
the US Bell X-1
Below is a photo that purports to show the AS 6 in a hangar at Brandis circa 1944. When the photo was first
published in the 1970s in the British journal Air Enthusiast, its authenticity was accepted by noted aerospace
historian Bill Gunston. Note that the photo has been heavily retouched -- the floor has been painted over
(the closer wheel is not circular and is smaller than the farther one) and some wing details have been
overpainted or modified. The flaps look a bit suspicious -- the aileron appears to be sagging in such a way
that if it were raised to be parallel with the wing, its tip would protrude in an inelegant way. On the other
hand, the overall look of the craft is realistic and it seems to be a full-size aircraft rather than a model.
What is of particular interest in the photo are the background details, such as the signs reading "1.
Staffeltrupp" and "Rauchen verboten" ("No Smoking") in addition to characteristic pipe and ventilation duct
The two photos below were taken at Brandis apparently on or about April 20, 1945, by units of the US Army's
9th Armored Division, and show the Horten H 9 V1 glider prototype in a disassembled state in a hangar.
(From other sources it seems that this glider was later destroyed by burning by US forces).
Note the "Rauchen verboten" sign and wall details in the background. While these may have been standard
Luftwaffe hangar details, the general similarity is striking and tends to confirm the existence of the Sack
plane at the same base as one of the Horten prototypes.
This Site Courtesy of www.ufx.org
Seven Clans of Mars
(Russian Photo of downed craft (1940-1945 and Nazi UFO Video Clip)
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