Richard Miethe, Saucer Designer - Did he exist?
Richard Miethe was said to be lead designer of the engines for a German turbojet-powered flying saucer. Skeptics says he did not exist, there being no confirmation of his existence aside from with Lusar's book and a 1952 interview in France-Soir . However that interview, when read in its entirety, is convincing and has several obscure details of his postwar service in Egypt that are verified by other sources. Before further discussion, take the time to read this translation of the complete article:
France-Soir, Saturday June 7, 1952:
German Engineer Richard Miethe Affirms to France-Soir: "If flying saucers exist, it is the V7 which I built in 1944, the engines of which the Russians seized at Breslau "
TEL-AVIV, June (special to "France-Soir") A group of German experts on "V-weapons", who were working for the Egyptian government in the manufacture of radio-controlled missiles, were very recently expelled by the authorities of Cairo. These specialists of the Physikalische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (PAG), headed by Dr. Kurt Füllner and Mr. Herman Plitzken, had refused to deliver, after the completion of their work, their secret plans to Egypt.
After several unfruitful attempts, the authorities confiscated all the goods and the personal effects of the German scientists and refused to pay them the arrears of their wages as long as they refused to deliver the documents.
A short time thereafter, the police made it known to some of the Germans that they had no legal right to be in Egypt, Germany not yet having diplomatic relations. The team leaders returned at once to Hamburg, where they charged a lawyer with raising a protest at the United Nations against Egypt for "swindle and ill treatment".
A chemist of the organization, Doctor Erich Stoetzer, and a secretary, Miss Helga Wiegels, were arrested, shackled by the hands, led through Cairo, and threatened with a camel-whip. Miss Wiegels was maltreated and beaten by Egyptian soldiers, who tried to force her to reveal the whereabouts of the plans. Doctor Stötzer and Miss Wiegels were finally expelled last month, after having spent nine days in prison.
Some of these experts, who collaborated to one degree or another in the manufacture of these rockets, fled to Tel-Aviv. One of them is Doctor Richard Miethe, 40 years old, ex-colonel and scientist for the Third Reich, and aeronautical engineer. A few days before the German surrender, Doctor Miethe managed to escape the front by aircraft. He joined the Arab Legion in Addis-Ababa and Cairo, where many Nazi senior officers are currently residing (including many under Allied death sentences).
Doctor Miethe claims to have worked, from April 1943, as the head of a group of technicians of the Tenth Reich Army, in Essen, Stettin and Dortmund, where the principal research for German secret weapons was carried out. The first V-1 and V-2's were delivered from these factories.
For seven years, Dr. Miethe has sought to reconstruct the plans of an exceptional machine which he built with six other engineers (of which three have died and the other three are being held by the Russians beyond the Urals). In his opinion, it is this apparatus which the press persists in calling "flying saucers":
The engines of the weapons which I designed in Germany, in collaboration with other engineers, were taken by the Soviet troops from the underground arsenals at Breslau.
One of the engines was intended for a supersonic helicopter. The appearance of this apparatus, at a distance of several thousand meters, could, without magnifying glasses, more or less to resemble the saucer of a set of table ware. In fact, a helicopter is very different, in its structure as well as its form.
To describe it in common terms, this apparatus has the exact shape of an Olympic discus, an immense metal disc of circular form, with a diameter is approximately forty-two meters. More than twenty months of experiments, continually revised designs, and extremely complicated studies of gyroscopy and innumerable tests, which resulted in the death of 18 pilots, were necessary to build these machines.
The problem was that of finding the ideal aerodynamic form that could break the sound barrier, and easily transport bombs to ranges of over 20,000 km, guided by radio and radar, and driven by means of a compressed gas based on helium. 22 cubic meters this gas were enough to maintain an average of sixteen hours of flight.
The principle of propulsion was, roughly speaking, that of the jet, but instead of two, or four, or eight turbines, the apparatus uses twelve of them, laid out at equal distances inside a moving metal ring, turning around the central mass. There are neither visible flames nor smoke, because the gases coming from combustion are recovered by an extremely clever compression system, discovered in 1938 by a British engineer.
The first conclusive flights were accomplished above the Baltic, three days exactly after the beginning of the offensive by von Runstedt in the Belgian Ardennes, and with greatest success. But it was only when Patton's army succeeded in crossing the Rhine that Hitler, warned by Marshal Keitel of the long range of this apparatus, which we had by then named the V-7, decided to undertake mass production in the underground factories of the south of Germany.
A copy of the plans was in the personal files of Keitel at Bad-Gandersheim, in the Harz Mountains, close to Hanover. At the time of their advance into this area, the Americans were advised of the existence of these military secrets and tore apart the castle from cellar to roof. They at least could have recovered their expenses, but did not discover, in the walled cellars, tens of thousands of boxes of silk stockings.
The Russians were luckier, getting their hands on the engines, and capturing three of my colleagues. I therefore assert, that if flying saucers are in the skies, they were built in Germany, as developed under my orders, and probably reproduced by Germans in chains in Soviet captivity.
This account has been belittled on the Internet for technical inaccuracies in general by those that never read the whole thing. But consider:
• There was a German project in Egypt, just as described in the article. Consider the following chronology from the article "Ballistic missile development in Egypt" by Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr, in Jane's Intelligence Review, October 1992, pages 452-458:
1951: As part of the program to modernize Egypt's military in the wake of defeat in the 1947-49 war with Israel, Egyptian Premier Mustafa Nahas initiates a program to build military rockets in Egypt. Egypt contracts German armaments expert Dr. Wilhelm Voss to oversee the program and hires a firm owned by Herr Füllner that employs several German rocket experts. The experts begin developing a small rocket, probably solid fueled, with a range of several kilometers.
March 1952: Having achieved some progress in the design of a tactical rocket, Egypt begins considering production of a longer-range guided missile. However … difficulty in acquiring high-quality steel, propellants and fuses, cause the delay of the guided rocket program and the eventual cancellation of the tactical rocket program. Tests of the rocket developed for Egypt by Herr Füllner's firm are unsatisfactory, and Egypt proposes that the firm be put under government control. Herr Füllner refuses and is forced to leave the country along with some of the German experts.
July 1952: General Muhammad Naguib seizes power from King Farouk
Late 1952: Naguib appoints Wilhem Voss as director of the Central Planning Board and chief advisor to the Ministry of War. Voss hires Dr. Rolf Engel as the senior German expert … and he becomes a dominant force. Wolfgang Pilz and Paul Görcke, a German electronics expert, also join ….
This backs up the Miethe article as regards dates and corroborates Füllner as the director of the project, and Füllner's falling out with the Egyptians.
The 20,000 km range seems ludicrous, but consider the gigantic size of the disc - 42 m. The Avro Silverbug, which seems to be a subscale version of the concept, had a diameter of 8.9 m. This had a vertical takeoff weight of 13,150 kilograms. Assuming the same wing loading, a 42 m version of the Avro design would have had a weight of nearly 300 metric tons - the same magnitude as the subsonic postwar B-52 or supersonic B-70, which did indeed approach this range. 16 hours of flight would indicate an average speed of 1250 kph, indicating subsonic cruise with a supersonic dash over the target.
The use of helium gas in the engines makes no sense - as a fuel. But the Avro design was dependent on an air bearing, and the USAF Silverbug report noted that "A ground supply of compressed air applied to air bearing will be used when starting the engine". The gas might be related to this; or it may refer to a pneumatic supply necessary for the air bearings of the gyroscopic navigation platform referred to earlier in the same sentence.
So there is nothing historically or technically absurd in this account.
But what happened to Miethe? Lusar and Internet Nazi saucer lore say he wound up in Canada, working on the Silverbug. On 15 July 1959, a UFO New York newsletter ridiculed the Canadian Avro saucer story and reported that personal contact with Avro indicated that they knew nothing about a Miethe. But given that the project was so secret that it was not declassified until 1995, such a denial would not be surprising… In any case Avro went under in the 1960's, with many of its staff being hired by NASA to work on the Apollo program.
In modern Germany those bearing this name are heavily concentrated on the easternmost border, particularly around Gorlitz. This is interesting, since this is the closest current German town to Breslau, in modern Poland. Something else shows a connection between the Miethe name and the formerly German town…?
The Miethe Legend
In Projekt UFO, W.A. Harbinson asserts that, of the 'rocket scientists' involved in flying disc development:
…at the close of the war, Walter Miethe went to the US with Wernher von Braun, Dornberger, and hundreds of other members of the Peenemünde rocket programme . . . Miethe, though initially working under Wernher von Braun for the United States' first rocket centre in the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, joined the A.V. Roe (AVRO-Canada) aircraft company in Malton, Ontario, reportedly to continue work on disc-shaped aircraft, or flying saucers just as Habermohl was thought to be doing with the Russians.
These assertions, presumably based on Lusar's, seem to have led to the development of an impressive, but entirely false, history for the elusive Miethe, covering many years.
Tim Matthews, in his book UFO Revelation, refers to the
…three years of painstaking research by UK astronomy, aviation and photographic specialist Bill Rose, which included on-site research in Germany, Canada and the USA . . he was able to discover that Dr Walter Miethe who all sources agree was involved with Schriever, Klaus Habermohl and Guiseppe Belluzzo (an Italian engineer) had been the director of the saucer programme at two facilities located outside Prague. In May 1945, after testing of the prototype had taken place, both Miethe and Schriever were able to flee in the direction of allied forces.
Rose learned not only that test-flights had taken place but that there was film footage of them … Rose was shown some stills taken from the original 16mm film and, given his expert photo-technical background, concluded, after careful consideration, that this was probably real and historical footage …
We know a little more about Dr Miethe. One of the important pieces of information came in the form of a rare group photograph showing various young German scientists in 1933. The photograph shows Werner von Braun and Walter Miethe (or Richard Miethe – different sources mention different first names). It would seem that these two knew each other well.
Rose and Matthews claimed that Miethe worked with von Braun in 1933, and that the photo provided by the person who responded to an advert Rose had placed showed them together with other rocket scientists in that year. Fortunately, this is a well-researched and well-recorded period of history, and it should be no more difficult to find records of Miethe than it is that of von Braun. Indeed, von Braun was born in 1912 and if Miethe was 40 in 1952, they should have been absolute contemporaries. The Rocket and the Reich by Michael J Neufeld covers this period, and von Braun's activities, in detail, as well as detailing rocket and 'secret weapon' development right through to the end of the war. Yet it makes no mention at all of Miethe (Walter or Richard), Habermohl, Schriever, or Belluzzo, Klein or Klaas. Nor, for that matter, does Philip Henshall in Vengeance - Hitler's Nuclear Weapon Fact or Fiction, which covers a similar range in rather less detail.