Tuesday, July 2, 2013

UFO incident: Operation Mainbrace

Today is World UFO Day.

Whatever that means.

In keeping with the observance, I have decided to write a post about a UFO incident I have hitherto known little of.  It concerns a military exercise called Operation Mainbrace that took place in September of 1952.  For a concise look at the facts of the case, check out this video from The History Channel (hey and it features Bill Birnes!) as well as sites such as this...I know it's not exactly an academic source but it does feature a pic of a British newspaper of the day and its headline about the case.

Operation Mainbrace was a naval maneuver consisting of over 200 ships from the U.S., Britain, and several other nations, all led by American aircraft carrier, the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The idea was to simulate a Soviet invasion of West Germany and what the seaborne response to it would be, e.g. seal off the Denmark Straits to deny Soviet submarines access to the North Sea.

On September 13th, a Danish destroyer first noticed a bright, saucer-shaped UFO moving just above the water towards the fleet.  It then suddenly veered away.  This was but the first of numerous UFO sightings during the engagement.  What's interesting is that the sightings stretch from the operations area all the way back to Scotland, the location of command and control for Mainbrace. 

On September 20th, again the Danish witness a disc-shaped UFO.  This time it rises out of the ocean itself and takes to the air.  The UFO, described by witnesses as having a metallic luster and therefore suggestive of a physical craft, headed directly towards the main fleet before veering off and disappearing at high speed into cloud cover.

The very next day, six British fighter pilots witnessed a spherical UFO emerge from the water and again head towards the fleet.  These pilots gave chase but lost the object due to its high rate of speed.  A speed mind you that could evidently outrun a few of the faster fighter jets around at the time.  Dr. David Clarke, a professor at Britain's Sheffield Hallam University and a UFO researcher, collected this quote from one of the pilots on that day,  RAF Air Commodore Michael Swiney:

 “…At the time immediately I didn’t feel frightened. I did subsequently feel that we were looking at something that really we shouldn’t be seeing. And I remember being told on landing that I looked fairly shaken, almost as if I had seen a ghost….”

This seems to be a recurring theme of the incident.  Several witnesses reported the distinct impression the UFOs were observing the entire military operation at close range.  But this eyewitness testimony is weak, right?  So let's look at the physical evidence.

Radar returns confirm what the RAF pilots saw and pursued.  That is to say, a high-speed UFO that arose from the ocean and streaked towards the ships.  Sonar readings from ships in the fleet at one point detected a contact one quarter of a mile wide shadowing the convoy.  This object popped out of the water between to surface vessels and smacked one of the ships, damaging it.  Of course this was written off as a collision between the two vessels.  A journalist named Wallace Littman on the USS FDR photographed a fast moving saucer flying above the carrier.  These photographs were studied by the US Navy, but no conclusions were ever released.

There are several aspects of this case that make it interesting to me.  For one, there are numerous witnesses.  This isn't a case of one or two guys standing on the deck of a shape and thinking they saw a bright light in the sky.  These are multiple military personnel from multiple nations, all trained to (hopefully) ascertain and respond in a situation.  There is physical evidence in the form of photographs, radar data, and sonar returns.  There is the involvement of USOs, Unidentified Submerged Objects, which is a lesser-known aspect of UFO phenomena and therefore attractive to me. 

Another facet of the case that I find intriguing is the official involvement.  The British Ministry of Defense documented the entire case.  Not only that, but Dwight D. Eisenhower was aboard the USS FDR for at least part of Operation Mainbrace.  Was he a witness to any of this?   

All in all, this is an unusual case.  As he says in the video linked above, Bill Birnes suspects that this incident occurred because the aliens had a secret undersea base in the vicinity of the military exercise.  Others argue that this is simply another case of UFO activity surrounding the armed forces, indicating that the aliens are curious, concerned, or both about our warlike ways.  As always, I do not contend that UFO involvement automatically means an alien presence.  But something happened during Operation Mainbrace.

Something that has either not been explained or not been admitted to by the powers that be.

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