Silver Orbs reported over Berlin in WWII

Mick West

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The above two clips are from the New York Times in December 1944. It's not really clear what the source of the story is, and there's no actual eyewitness accounts. But the apparent similarity to the "orbs" reported by AARO, has led some to speculate they might be alien drones.

Then, as now, there was discussion on if they might be some sort of radar countermeasure. Manson W. Baldwin of the NYT wrote at the time (On Dec 15 1944)

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Radar countermeasure balloons were used by Germany from at least 1943.

Deployed in September 1943, the Aphrodite was a three feet diameter sized balloon which floated above the surface and was anchored to the sea surface by a floating raft. The line was 50 meters long, three strips of aluminum foils were attached to the line to act as radar reflectors. The device had to be assembled on the upper deck, where the balloon was inflated with a hydrogen filled can. It had a lifespan of three to six hours after deployment.


That was not a silver ballon, but instead a balloon with strips of aluminum.

Interestingly, balloons were used as an offensive weapon by the British from 1942 to 1944, under Operation Outward.
Operation Outward was a British campaign of the Second World War that attacked Germany and German-occupied Europe with free-flying balloons. It made use of cheap, simple balloons filled with hydrogen and carrying either a trailing steel wire to damage high voltage power lines by producing a short circuit, or incendiary devices to start fires in fields, forests and heathland. A total of 99,142 Outward balloons were launched; about half carried incendiaries and half carried trailing wires.


However this seems to have ended on 4 September, 1944, so seems unlikely to be related.

Another possibility is simple barrage balloons. Although those are usually not spherical, and bombers would have been flying above barrage balloon height deliberately.

Does anyone have any other ideas?
 
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Another possibility is simple barrage balloons. Although those are usually not spherical, and bombers would have been flying above barrage balloon height deliberately.
That was my thought, but if they were to carry the steel cables typical of barrage balloons, I think they'd need to be considerably larger than the three-foot Aphrodite. Is there any mention of an approximate size?
 
Barrage balloons viewed head-on at some distance might resemble silvery spheres

e4dbd8fc8c5ea8a91e4e029dc72629e4.jpg

-Found posted by Pinterest user Kathrynne Krause [Link here] with the caption,
"my grandmother told me that barrage balloons were silvery, and I never saw it until this photo."
(Guessing, due to the large number of women and their headgear that these are British, but by no means certain).

This British barrage balloon looks sort of round (if not silvery) viewed from the front- I'm guessing German balloons were similar
05 - Copy.jpg

From "Illustrated" (formerly known as "Weekly Illustrated") magazine, August 31st 1940 in an article appropriately titled
"The Balloon Goes Up", found here https://www.fulltable.com/vts/m/mag/ill/c.htm
(a nicely illustrated article if you're into barrage balloons!)

Two images found at Alamy (stock photograph provider), each captioned
External Quote:
The Nazi propaganda image shows a light- and sound-test battery belonging to the observation artillery battalion locating enemy guns on the Western Front. Published in December 1940.
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From an image search, I found these pictures on a site intriguingly called "Psywarrior"- apparently both Britain and Germany used balloons to carry propaganda leaflets in WW2 https://www.psywarrior.com/BalloonPSYOP.html
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External Quote:
The first photo above depicts German troops with their small balloons which the caption jokingly tells us could carry five Hitler Speeches.
-From the "Psywarrior" website, link as above.

In the first years of WW2, Allied fighter planes flying from England didn't have the range to escort bomber aircraft into Germany.
In 1943, the USAAF P-47 Thunderbolt (and later the P-51 Mustang) changed this.
It was soon realised that these aircraft, as well as escorting bombers, could be ground-attack aircraft in their own right, and at low-level were much more accurate at attacking point targets (locomotives, bridges, armoured vehicles) than the bombers.
External Quote:
On 3 March 1944, the 55th Fighter Group flew their P-38s over Berlin.
(Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escort_fighter). British Mosquito light bombers had been making "nuisance" raids- some accurate- into Germany from mid-1942.
External Quote:
on 30 January 1943, the 10th anniversary of the Nazis' seizure of power, a morning Mosquito attack knocked out the main Berlin broadcasting station while Luftwaffe Chief Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was speaking, putting his speech off the air.
(Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito).

I wonder if the use of low-level point attacks by Allied aircraft, which increased in frequency and effectiveness as airstrips in Europe were taken by advancing Allied forces (and as aircraft and their payloads were developed- P-51D Mustangs, Typhoons carrying RP-3 rockets), the Germans might have used any balloons available as improvised barrage balloons.
A few tethered party balloons bobbing around near a fixed target might not be a real physical threat to a 'plane, but it would be a brave pilot who'd take the chance, I think. If balloons were used in this way (supposition on my part) I guess it's inevitable that some would go adrift... maybe unlikely. (And I haven't read of fighter pilots who flew ground attack missions ever reporting balloons being used this way).

There were party balloons in Nazi Germany (though I doubt their production had high priority in later war years),
found this on Alamy
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The caption reads,
External Quote:
"On the ""Spring Day of the German Child"", organised by the regional administration of the Berlin NSV, mothers pull their decorated prams to the meeting places where games are organised for the older children."
Weird, eh?

As well as real balloons, I guess we shouldn't rule out the possibility of Allied airmen making misidentifications or having temporary perceptual problems- many thousands of often very young men were involved in conditions of the utmost stress.

The interiors of bombers could be very cold, this can increase tearing of the eyes. And there are all the usual suspects- reflections (including on cockpit, window and turret glass), searchlight reflections on cloud or distorted by atmospheric ice crystals, sundogs, etc. etc.

It's going to be difficult to find a likely single source (if there is one) for the "silvery spheres" without more information- hopefully a photograph- I think.

Edited to add: It's just struck me that the balloon in the photo with five WW2 German soldiers looks a bit like the silvery sphere filmed by a Predator UAV over Iraq...
 
Barrage balloons viewed head-on at some distance might resemble silvery spheres

View attachment 59617
-Found posted by Pinterest user Kathrynne Krause [Link here] with the caption,
"my grandmother told me that barrage balloons were silvery, and I never saw it until this photo."
(Guessing, due to the large number of women and their headgear that these are British, but by no means certain).

This British barrage balloon looks sort of round (if not silvery) viewed from the front- I'm guessing German balloons were similar
View attachment 59620
From "Illustrated" (formerly known as "Weekly Illustrated") magazine, August 31st 1940 in an article appropriately titled
"The Balloon Goes Up", found here https://www.fulltable.com/vts/m/mag/ill/c.htm
(a nicely illustrated article if you're into barrage balloons!)
I don't recall ever seeing photos of German WW2 barrage balloons, but did find this:

External Quote:
At the beginning of World War II, there were two general types of barrage balloons in existence in Germany. Both types were egg-shaped and had four fins at the tail end: a top fin, two side fins, and a bottom fin. The top fin and two side fins were inflated with air. The bottom fin was called the steering sack and had an opening at both ends. When the balloon was up, air entered the bottom opening of the fin and made its exit through the top opening. The fins (and especially the bottom fin) served to keep the balloon in proper position with respect to the wind and air currents. When inflated, the shape of the balloon could be likened to a short fat cigar, with a tail like a Japanese goldfish. Rubber cords were fastened tightly around the outside of the inflated balloon to assist in keeping its shape and strength
https://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/german_aa/gaa10_german_antiaircraft_barrage_balloons.html
 
I don't recall ever seeing photos of German WW2 barrage balloons, but did find this:

External Quote:
At the beginning of World War II, there were two general types of barrage balloons in existence in Germany. Both types were egg-shaped and had four fins at the tail end: a top fin, two side fins, and a bottom fin. The top fin and two side fins were inflated with air. The bottom fin was called the steering sack and had an opening at both ends. When the balloon was up, air entered the bottom opening of the fin and made its exit through the top opening. The fins (and especially the bottom fin) served to keep the balloon in proper position with respect to the wind and air currents. When inflated, the shape of the balloon could be likened to a short fat cigar, with a tail like a Japanese goldfish. Rubber cords were fastened tightly around the outside of the inflated balloon to assist in keeping its shape and strength
https://www.lonesentry.com/manuals/german_aa/gaa10_german_antiaircraft_barrage_balloons.html

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu-Go_balloon_bomb#/media/File:342-FH-3B23429c_(17972344110).jpg
 
I saw your Fu-Go balloon reference earlier. I am aware the Japanese sent thousands of these paper balloon bombs toward North American. Most, if not all, were equipped with incendiary bombs hoping they would ignite forest fires in the US Northwest and Western Canada, but some made it much further east and south of those areas. I've even seen pieces of a Fu-Go at the local Museum of the US Air Force.

What I don't get is why you think Japanese balloon bombs would be flying over Berlin in 1944? Are you implying the Japanese provided the Germans with Fu-Gos? Were the Germans using them as offensive weapons (against who?) as designed by the Japanese, or that they were launched by the Germans as an anti-aircraft measure? Neither makes much sense to me, but I'd be interested in reading whatever source you have that puts these Japanese balloons in German hands.
 
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I saw your Fu-Go balloon reference earlier. I am aware the Japanese sent thousands of these paper balloon bombs toward North American. Most, if not all, were equipped with incendiary bombs hoping they would ignite forest fires in the US Northwest and Western Canada, but some made it much further east and south of those areas. I've even seen pieces of a Fu-Go at the local Museum of the US Air Force.

What I don't get is why you think Japanese balloon bombs would be flying over Berlin in 1944? Are you implying the Japanese provided the Germans with Fu-Gos? Were the Germans using them as offensive weapons (against who?) as designed by the Japanese, or that they were launched by the Germans as an anti-aircraft measure? Neither makes much sense to me, but I'd be interested in reading whatever source you have that puts these Japanese balloons in German hands.
'...It is known that Japan and Germany signed agreements on military technological collaboration, both before the 1939 outbreak of World War II, and during the conflict...'

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germa... known that Japan,II, and during the conflict.

Speculation, but no different to the previous posts from everyone. No hard evidence.
 
Early radar, used by bombers appears to have relied on identifying landmarks such as cities, a bit like a real time map. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/H2S_(radar)

I can see how air to air/ground to air spoofing such as chaff and to a lesser degree the sea based systems (with a uniform surface) could be useful. I don’t see how balloons would confuse bombers when they are using landmark’s - open water, rivers, built up areas with such a wide field of view.
 
From the wikipedia discussion of Operation Outward linked in OP, the balloons were apparently altitude regulated by a complex mechanism with a timed fuse and mineral oil ballast/drip system. Might that system have failed on some number of balloons allowing them to stay adrift? If the last launch was 4 September, 1944, and the reporting is from December 13, 1944, could they stay afloat that long?
 
Two images found at Alamy (stock photograph provider), each captioned
External Quote:
The Nazi propaganda image shows a light- and sound-test battery belonging to the observation artillery battalion locating enemy guns on the Western Front. Published in December 1940.
View attachment 59618View attachment 59619
It's just struck me that the balloon in the photo with five WW2 German soldiers looks a bit like the silvery sphere filmed by a Predator UAV over Iraq...
Not only this, it also has the right size!
Do we have any idea how these mini-balloons were useful in observing the enemy? As I have calculated, the maximum payload of such balloon was about 50 g - under ideal conditions.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/mi...rent-spherical-uap-via-aaro.12932/post-289790
 
From the wikipedia discussion of Operation Outward linked in OP, the balloons were apparently altitude regulated by a complex mechanism with a timed fuse and mineral oil ballast/drip system. Might that system have failed on some number of balloons allowing them to stay adrift? If the last launch was 4 September, 1944, and the reporting is from December 13, 1944, could they stay afloat that long?
I don't know how long WW2 balloons could stay aloft, I've had a quick look at balloon endurance but I'm not sure how reliable the info I found is.

For Longest duration balloon flight (overall) Guinness World Records state 31 days

External Quote:
Who NASA TIGER BALLOON
Where UNITED STATES ()
When 21 NOVEMBER 2001
The longest time a balloon has stayed aloft is 31 days 20 hours, by an unmanned NASA scientific balloon over the South Pole between 20 December 2001 and 21 January 2002. The giant helium-filled balloon, made of polythene material about the thickness of plastic sandwich wrap (0.002 mm), expended to a diameter of more than 129 m (424 ft) as it climbed to an altitude of around 38 km (23.6 miles). Its size enabled it to carry the two-tonne (4,400 lb) NASA Tiger (Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) experiment around the South Pole twice, covering a distance of 14,000 km (8,800 miles).
Link, Guinness world records
-But note the contradictory date and location given in capitals- maybe Guinness WR isn't what it used to be.

That said, if the story is largely correct it must be unlikely that the WW2 "orbs" were tardy Outward balloons. The NASA balloon was presumably designed for endurance (and no-one was shooting at it) unlike the Outward balloons.

(Alphabet, Google's parent company, claimed to have a balloon aloft for 312 days,
External Quote:
On October 28, 2020, Loon claimed a record-duration flight of 312 days for a balloon (HBAL703) which launched from Puerto Rico in May 2019 and landed in Baja, Mexico in March 2020.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loon_LLC).

If the reported objects were balloons flying at around the altitudes of allied bomber aircraft, I think German fighter aircraft would have brought them down, particularly in the Berlin region, if the balloons weren't "theirs".
Then, as now, there was discussion on if they might be some sort of radar countermeasure.
Unless managed by a small unit whose members didn't survive the war, I think this is unlikely.
There was great official interest in German wartime technologies amongst the victorious nations, for example USA's Operation Paperclip. Whether effective or not, if the reported orbs were meant to be radar countermeasures I think the likelihood is that the USA (or its allies) would find out about them in the immediate post-war period.
I guess there's a chance that all relevant personnel fell into Soviet hands, but on the balance of probabilities I think we would still know about any German use of balloons as radar countermeasures by now.
 
Do we have any idea how these mini-balloons were useful in observing the enemy?
The full text with the image reads,
External Quote:
The Nazi propaganda image shows a light- and sound-test battery belonging to the observation artillery battalion locating enemy guns on the Western Front. Published in December 1940. A Nazi reporter has written on the reverse of the picture on 07.02.1940, "Light- and sound-test battery. It has important duties to fulfil, and empty 'Köppe' are underneath. Here a 'pilot' - a gas-filled balloon - is being released. With its help, important calculations are made possible."
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-t...d-sound-test-battery-belonging-134377224.html (Alamy Stock Photo).

I think there might have been some losses in translation, using Google I can't get "Köppe" to translate into English.

The balloons in those two pictures look too small to carry any practical form of early 1940's camera.
The "important calculations" mentioned in the text might be a clue- maybe the balloon carries a recording barometer and/ or thermometer, something like that, to aid artillery calculations.
Maybe the balloons were used simply to estimate windspeed and direction by being observed from the ground.
 
The "what were they used for" question may be a bit of a red herring. Photos in John J.'s post #4 above show that they WERE used.

PS: The similar "Koppe" in the post immediately above appears to mean something like "cup" or "bottle," in Norwegian, perhaps an in-context translation might be a loan-word for "container?"
 
Right, so before anyone spends their time trying to find out what secrets might lurk behind this mysterious caption - there's not much to it, the English translation simply isn't quite correct.

I found the original note at https://www.akg-images.de/archive/-2UMEBMYJGQQVV.html

It says
Bei der Licht- und Schallmessbatterie. Sie hat wichtige Aufgaben zu erfüllen, und es befinden sich 'gelehrte Köppe' darunter. Hier wird ein 'Pilot', ein gasgefüllter Ballon, emporgelassen, mit dessen Hilfe wichtige Berechnungen möglich werden.
which means
At the light and sound test battery. It has important duties to fulfil, and 'big brains' are found amongst its ranks. Here a 'pilot' - a gas-filled balloon - is being released. With its help, important calculations are made possible.
The word has nothing to do with the balloon or its instruments, it's just a colloquial expression to say they've got some bright people at the facility.

'Gelehrt' means 'learned' but online translators are prone to stumble over 'Köppe' because it is a regional dialect form of standard German 'Köpfe' ('heads'), so 'gelehrte Köpfe' = 'learned heads', 'big brains', 'eggheads' etc. 'Darunter' means 'below' or 'underneath' but can also mean 'including' or in fact 'amongst'. I think what happened here is that whoever translated the note misread 'gelehrt' as 'geleert' ('emptied out'), didn't know what 'Köppe' meant, figured that it must be some special piece of equipment slung underneath the balloon, and thus came up with the above translation, although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It is however quite an amusing train of thought to a native German speaker. :D
 
The full text with the image reads,
External Quote:
The Nazi propaganda image shows a light- and sound-test battery belonging to the observation artillery battalion locating enemy guns on the Western Front. Published in December 1940. A Nazi reporter has written on the reverse of the picture on 07.02.1940, "Light- and sound-test battery. It has important duties to fulfil, and empty 'Köppe' are underneath. Here a 'pilot' - a gas-filled balloon - is being released. With its help, important calculations are made possible."
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-t...d-sound-test-battery-belonging-134377224.html (Alamy Stock Photo).

I think there might have been some losses in translation, using Google I can't get "Köppe" to translate into English.

The balloons in those two pictures look too small to carry any practical form of early 1940's camera.
The "important calculations" mentioned in the text might be a clue- maybe the balloon carries a recording barometer and/ or thermometer, something like that, to aid artillery calculations.
Maybe the balloons were used simply to estimate windspeed and direction by being observed from the ground.

Determining wind speed and direction at different altitudes is exactly what these are for.
Look at the upper picture in post #12 of this thread, note the device that looks like a surveyors transit the man in the middle is examining closely.
That telescopic device allows them to measure azimuth and elevation changes as the balloon rises. Knowing how fast the balloon will rise they can calculate the direction the wind is blowing and how fast at different altitudes.
 
which means
External Quote:

At the light and sound test battery. It has important duties to fulfil, and 'big brains' are found amongst its ranks. Here a 'pilot' - a gas-filled balloon - is being released. With its help, important calculations are made possible.
The word has nothing to do with the balloon or its instruments, it's just a colloquial expression to say they've got some bright people at the facility.
Seem like the "pilot" balloon might just be something used to gauge the winds.
 
pilot balloon observation (plural pilot balloon observations)

(meteorology) A method of winds-aloft observation, temperature, and relative humidity of the upper that is, the determination of wind speeds and air and to automatically transmit that directions in the atmosphere above a station. This is done by reading the elevation and azimuth angles of a theodolite (instrument) observation while visually tracking a pilot balloon. The ascension rate of the balloon is approximately determined by careful inflation to a given total lift. After release from the ground, periodic readings (usually at one-minute intervals) of elevation and azimuth angles of the balloon are recorded. These data are transferred to a winds-aloft plotting board, and wind speed and direction at selected levels are calculated by trigonometric methods.


So basically a simple weather balloon that you watched from the ground to determine wind speed and direction, and cloud ceilings.

Possibly it was used for to get weather data for the V2 rockets, which were in use that month.
 
MapperGuy, do you know if anti-aircraft artillery would use similar balloons?
In my Googling I found mention of them used at a missile ranges, and here for firing unguided rockets (like the V2)
https://www.jstor.org/stable/26173443
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More modern here in that they use a computer to calculate the wind, but it's still using manual tracking of the balloon.

Before that, special pilot balloon slide rules were used.

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sliderule-mkIII.jpg

Pilot Balloon slide rules like this one were used by meteorologists in the weather services and military units of the United Kingdom to determine the upper wind velocities from an ascending hydrogen or helium filled Pilot Balloon (Note: use of helium was not common practice in the Met. Services if the UK) The position of the Pilot Balloon is tracked by means of one or two theodolites at one minute intervals. The Pilot Balloon slide rule is used to convert the observed azimuth and elevation readings into wind velocity and direction records. The use of slide rules and plotting boards was abandoned with the wide spread adoption of computers and programs to do the calculations, as well as the decline in the use of optical pilot balloon theodolites.


While this is all very interesting, it seems somewhat unlikely that it was responsible for a mass of US pilot sightings. Of course it might just have been one or two reports, and it grew in the telling. We don't have many details.
 
Going down the pibal (pilot balloon rabbit hole)

1995 US Government document, with extensive instruction on the use of pibals.
https://www.icams-portal.gov/resources/ofcm/fmh/FMH3/00-entire-FMH3.pdf
External Quote:
Pibal observations are taken mainly by Department of Defense operations in the field, and are used primarily for artillery support.
And:
External Quote:

6.10 Night Pibal Lighting Units. Tracking a pibal at night can be made possible by attaching a lightweight, self-illuminating or battery-operated lighting unit to the balloon.
Which gives an interesting but obscure potential source of some UFO reports.
 

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MapperGuy, do you know if anti-aircraft artillery would use similar balloons?
Sorry, not an expert on AA gunnery.

I am surprised not to see the term "Foo Fighters" in this thread. The music group by that name copied it from the slang term used to describe mysterious glowing objects that seemed to follow Allied aircraft flying over Germany during WW2. Assumed to be some German secret weapon, after the war German generals queried about them did not know what they were either.

There is a Wikipedia article about them, it's titled Foo fighters, as opposed to the one about the band which is titled Foo Fighters.

The article states that if the term UFO had been in use during the war, that's what they would have been called.
 
Re: The three articles cited.

The first two give every indication of being filler articles. In the days of print it was a challenge to format each page. Filler articles were written to contain just the right number of words to fill a blank space. The third is commentary.

Article one is actually two sketchy reports put together with the labor saving touch of containing two date lines. The one from Reuters just seems to be a fluff piece. The guy is just being a bit of a wag. It mentions the Christmas Season, and so on. Yes, it's from Reuters, a news service, but it was always intended to be a filler. The local paper just had to trim it or punch it up a bit, to make it fit. Writing filler was a money making proposition.

Neither cite an official source or include quotations from an official source. "Airmen report." That sounds like a rumor going around.

Article Two pretty much confirms that this was just a rumor that didn't originate from an official source. Some reporter asked about it, this time in Washington D.C., and got a negative answer. During a press conference? Or by stopping someone in a corridor? The spokesman said, perhaps tartly, that this (jazz) was reported in newspapers but they'd had no reports from the theater.

No byline. "Special to the New York Times" means that it was written by a "stringer." An independent guy who sells stuff to a paper, if they want it. He might not have asked the question himself and might not have even been there. It's just filler sold for maybe a buck.

Article Three is a guess from the guy writing the article. Probably Hanson W. Baldwin; a bigwig war journalist and commentator for the NYT, who was probably writing from Europe on that date. He tells us straight out that it's an educated guess. His guess. I'd dispute educated, though.

Maybe he wrote it because someone asked him to generate a few words on the subject, or maybe he wrote it to get his speculation out there. Because of Baldwin's positon this is more than just a bit of filler but less than a real story. It's commentary. Just empty speculation really, because he's just a journalist and knows nothing about the science of RADAR. The details of which were secret, anyway.

So it's just an empty guess about something that probably didn't even happen.

So forget it, mac. Don't believe everything you read in the fish wrappers.


Btw, I studied journalism in the late '70's. It was a lot of work to write even a filler. You had to type it out exactly as it would appear on the page, because you made up the page with an Exacto knife and glue. Cut and paste indeed. I was mostly a photographer on HS and College papers. You had to physically print the photo with an enlarger to the exact dimensions needed. Usually a bit bigger so it could be trimmed up just right. You had to take the picture and print the photo with that in mind. Just so you know that writing filler was a skilled job that people got paid for doing.
 
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I also found a photo of a German barrage balloon from 1944 that shows it as more squat/round than other examples I have seen.

https://www.sz-photo.de/id/02908073
ii-wk---sperrballon-1944_02908073_p.jpg

External Quote:
Das Motiv aus der nationalsozialistischen Propaganda zeigt einen Sperrballon der Deutschen Wehrmacht für den Schutz eines Netzlegers der Kriegsmarine vor alliierten Luftangriffen, herausgegeben im Juni 1944.
It's a barrage balloon, used by the German Navy. The picture was published in June 1944.
 
simple barrage balloons

Here they're described as "silver balloons" in London. (but not spherical & had a tail).

Daily_Mirror_1938_10_10_page_9.jpg

Source: Daily Mirror, London, Oct 10, 1938 · Page 9

Then copied by Germany and deployed over Berlin in 1939. Although no shape/colour description is included.

Daily_Mirror_1939_02_23_page_29.jpg

Source: Daily Mirror, London, Thu, Feb 23, 1939 · Page 29

An account of British pilots encountering German Barage balloons in 1940, described just as "dark shapes".

Daily_Mirror_1940_08_15_page_2.jpg

Source:
Daily Mirror, London, England, Thu, Aug 15, 1940 · Page 2

Some other descriptions in the press. "silvery balls" like "glass balls".

Daily_Herald__1944_12_14_page_1.jpg

Source: Daily Herald, London, Thu, Dec 14, 1944 · Page 1

"Silvery balls" "floaters" seen "in clusters"
Springfield_Leader_and_Press_1944_12_13_page_1.jpg

Springfield Leader and Press,Springfield, Missouri Wed, Dec 13, 1944 · Page 1

This photo offers some sense of scale and shape of some early German balloons in 1935

The_Daily_Telegraph_1935_04_10_page_18.jpg

Source: The Daily Telegraph, London, Greater London, England, Wed, Apr 10, 1935 · Page 18

There are lots of descriptions of Silver and Gold balloons going back as far as 1900 for use in events and promotions. I wonder what they were made from.

Like this from 1924.

The_Shelby_County_Democrat_1924_10_10_page_6.jpg

The Shelby Country Democrat, Sidney, Ohio, Fri, Oct 10, 1924 · Page 6
 
If you want good info on this, try investigating declassified intelligence reports, as this YT author did.

The unidentified flying objects bomber crews reported observing were referred to as balls of fire, as discussed in this now Declassified April 26 1945 Japan air defense section of the 21st bomber command air intelligence document.

All of the documents shown in this video are declassified. Page 12 of the document describes an encounter. The ball of fire was trailing the bomber at the five o'clock level position at a distance 300 yards behind the bomber. The object appeared to be the size of a basketball and followed the bomber even while the bomber took evasive action.

 
If you want good info on this, try investigating declassified intelligence reports, as this YT author did.




Twenty years or so ago I spoke to a former B-29 pilot whose gunners shot down one of these fire balls near Tokyo. He said their intel people told them it was one of the rocket powered "Baka" suicide aircraft as referenced in this video.
 
I'm reminded of this passage in John Keel's Operation Trojan Horse (1996) p.156 that attempts to link numerous cases of metal spheres in the sky to one phenomenon.
Mysterious hollow metal spheres have also been dropping out of the sky all over the world. Three such spheres were found on the Australian desert in 1963 . They were about 14 .inches in diameter and had a shiny, polished surface. Australian scientists were baffled by them. On April 30, 1963, Allen Fairhall, the Minister of Supply, appeared before the Austra lian House of Representatives and told them that all effort to open the spheres had failed. The objects were allegedly turned over to the U.S. Air Force, and that was the end of them.
Other metal spheres have dropped out of the sky near Monterrey, Mexico (February 7, 1967) and Conway, Arkansas (November 1967). The Mexican ball was identified as titanium; the one in Arkansas was stainless steel. Others have been found in Argentina and Africa. They do not seem to be rocket parts, nor would it be possible for a piece of a rocket to go through reentry and land intact as these things have done.
Smaller colored spheres were found scattered over the French coun tryside in 1966-67, as if it had been raining balls there.
 
I'm reminded of this passage in John Keel's Operation Trojan Horse (1996) p.156 that attempts to link numerous cases of metal spheres in the sky to one phenomenon.
Keel appears to have accepted exaggerated tales of the steel balls without checking on the more plausible origins of them, but debunking articles abound. Here are some examples:

External Quote:
The widely-reported explanation for the Betz mystery sphere is so neat that it has failed to persuade believers. After the Navy examined the sphere and identified the steel composition, among other facts, the ball was conclusively compared with a stainless steel ball kept in stock by a Jacksonville equipment supply company, Skeptoid reports.

Upon seeing news reports of the mystery sphere, the president of that company, Robert Edwards, showed a reporter a Bell & Howell stainless steel ball that was eight inches across and weighed over 21 pounds—almost exactly the same size as the sphere.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a35092347/betz-mystery-sphere-conspiracy-theory/

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An initial investigation by Vietnam's defence ministry has so far determined that the objects are compressed-air tanks from an aircraft or rocket, and that - at least now they're no longer airborne - they aren't dangerous. It says the orbs were manufactured in Russia, but that its not clear if they were subsequently sold to another country for use.
Aerospace expert Prof Nguyen Khoa Son thinks they could belong to an old satellite that failed to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. But he tells the Vietnam Bridge website that the objects don't appear to be damaged, so they may be the result of a failed satellite launch.
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-35242079

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Romulo Barros, the chief of the fire service in the Brazilian municipality of Cruzeiro do Sul, said the object was most likely a meteorite.

But the Peruvian Air Force confirmed the fireball was actually a Russian space rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

He added that the fireball may have been the re-entry of the SL-23 rocket and the three metal spheres were fuel tanks belonging to a satellite.
https://nypost.com/2018/02/02/giant-balls-of-metal-are-falling-from-the-sky-all-around-the-world/#
 
Here they're described as "silver balloons" in London. (but not spherical & had a tail).

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Source: Daily Mirror, London, Oct 10, 1938 · Page 9

Then copied by Germany and deployed over Berlin in 1939. Although no shape/colour description is included.

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Source: Daily Mirror, London, Thu, Feb 23, 1939 · Page 29

An account of British pilots encountering German Barage balloons in 1940, described just as "dark shapes".

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Source:
Daily Mirror, London, England, Thu, Aug 15, 1940 · Page 2

Some other descriptions in the press. "silvery balls" like "glass balls".

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Source: Daily Herald, London, Thu, Dec 14, 1944 · Page 1

"Silvery balls" "floaters" seen "in clusters"
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Springfield Leader and Press,Springfield, Missouri Wed, Dec 13, 1944 · Page 1

This photo offers some sense of scale and shape of some early German balloons in 1935

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Source: The Daily Telegraph, London, Greater London, England, Wed, Apr 10, 1935 · Page 18

There are lots of descriptions of Silver and Gold balloons going back as far as 1900 for use in events and promotions. I wonder what they were made from.

Like this from 1924.

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The Shelby Country Democrat, Sidney, Ohio, Fri, Oct 10, 1924 · Page 6
At least their not zig-zagging and zooming.

If they're somewhere close to the front lines, they might be artillery pilot balloons?
 
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