|MILITARY DOCUMENTS - 1947
HEADQUARTERS BERLIN COMMAND
APO 742, US ARMY
Subject: Horton Brothers (Flying Saucers)
To : Deputy Director
1. The Horten brothers, Reimer and Walter, are residing in Goettingen at present. However, both of them are travelling a great deal throughout the Bi-Zone. Walter at present is travelling in Bavaria in search of a suitable place of employment. It is believed that he may have contacted USAFE Head- quarters in Wiesbaden for possible evacuation to the United States under "Paper Clip". Reimer is presently studying advanced mathematics at the university of Bonn, and is about to obtain his doctor's degree. It is believed that when his studies are completed he intends to accept a teaching position at the Institute for Technology (Techniscbe Hochechule) in Braunshweig sometime in February or March 1948.
2. Both brothers are exceedingly peculiar and can be easily classified as eccentric and individualistic. Especially is this so of Reimer. He is the one who developed the theory of the flying wing and subsequently of all the models and aircrafts built by the brothers. Walter, on the other hand is the engineer who tried to put into practice the several somewhat fantastic ideas of his brother. The clash of personalities resulted in a continuous quarrel and friction between the two brothers. Reimer was always developing new ideas which would increase the speed of the aircraft or improve its maneuverability; Walter on the other hand was tearing down the fantastic ideas of his brother by practical calculations and considerations.
3. The two men worked together up to and including the "Horten VIII" a flying wing intended to be a fighter plane powered with two Hirt engines (HM-60-R) with a performance of approximately 650 horsepower each. After the "Horten VIII" was finished, one of the usual and frequent quarrels separated the two brothers temporarily. Walter went to work alone on the "Horten IX", which is a fighter plane of the flying wing design, with practically no changes from the model VIII except for the engines. Walter substituted the Hirt engines with BMW Jets of the type TL-004. The plane was made completely of plywood and was furnished with a Messerschmidt ME-109 Landing gear.
The model of this aircraft (Horten IX) was tested
extensively in the supersonic wind tunnel (Mach No. 1.0) of the aero-dynamic
testing institute (Aerodynamische Versuchsanstalt), located in Goettingen.
The tests were conducted in the late summer of 1944 under the personal
In spite of that, two Horten IX's were built and
tried out by a test pilot, Eugen (now living in Goettingen) at Rechlin
in the fall of 1944. One of the two planes, piloted by another test
pilot, developed trouble with one of the jet engines while the pilot was
trying to ascertain the maximum rate
After extensive tests, the Horten IX was accepted by the German Air Force as represented by Goering, who ordered immediate mass production. The first order went to Gothaer Waggon Fabrik, located in Gotha (Thuringia) in January 1945. Goering requested that ten planes be built immediately and that the entire factory was to concentrate and be converted to the production of the Horten IX. The firm in question received all the plans and designs of the ship. In spite of this explicit order, production of the Horten IX was never started. The technical manager of the firm, Berthold, immediately upon receipt of the plans, submitted a number of suggestions to improve the aircraft. It is believed that his intention was to eliminate the Horten brothers as inventors and to modify the ship to such an extent that it would be more his brain child than anybody else's. Numerous letters were exchanged from High Command of the German Air Force and Dr. Berthold, which finally were interrupted by the armistice in May 1945. When US troops occupied the town of Gotha, the designs of the Horten IX were kept in hiding and not handed over to American Military authorities. The original designs in possession of the Horten brothers were hidden in a salt mine in Salzdettfurt, but the model tested by Eugen was destroyed in April 1945. The original designs were recovered from Salzdettfurt by British authorities in the summer of 1945.
The Horten brothers, together with Dr. Betz, Eugen
and Dr. Stueper (the test pilot of the aerodynamic institute in Goettingen),
were invited to go to England in the late summer of 1945 where they remained
for approximately ninety days. They were interrogated and questioned
about their ideas and were given several problems to work on.
However Reimer was very unwilling to
In the spring of 1947 Walter Horten heard about the flying wing design in the United states by Northrop and decided to write Northrop for employment. He was answered in the summer of 1947 by a letter in which Northrop pointed out that he, himself, could not do anything to get him over so the States, but that he would welcome it very much if he could come to the United States and take up employment with the firm. He recommended that Walter should get in touch with USAFE Headquarters in Wiesbaden in order to obtain necessary clearance.
4. As can be seen from the above,
most of the Hortens' work took place in Western Germany. According
to our source, neither of the brothers ever had any contact with any representative
of the Soviet Air Force or any other foreign power. In spite of the
fact that Reimer is rather disgusted with the British for not offering
him a contract, it is believed very unlikely that he has approached the
Soviet authorities in order to sell out to them. The only possible
link between the Horten brothers and the Soviet authorities is the fact
that a complete set of plans and designs were hidden at the Gothaer Waggon
Fabrik and the knowledge of this is known by Dr. Berthold and a number
of other engineers. It is possible and likely that either Berthold
or any of the others having knowledge of the Horten IX
5. As far as the "flying saucer"
is concerned, a number of people were contacted in order to verify whether
or not any such design at any time was contemplated or existed in the files
of any German air research institute. The people contacted included
All the above mentioned people contacted independently and at different
times are very insistent on the fact that to their knowledge and belief
no such design ever existed nor was projected by any of the German air
research institutions. While they agree that such a design
would be highly practical and desirable, they do not know anything about
its possible realization now or in the past.
HARRY H. PRETTY
Lt Col GSC
Telephone BERLIN 44715
|Document via FOIA request to the US Army Intelligence
Presented by Project 1947