Arguably the most common Nazi-related urban legend is the myth of Nazi UFOs (although Nazi Flying Saucers would have been a more accurate term). This legend became so influential that it found its way even into the “mainstream” Ufology (not to mention dozens of “conspiracy theories”).
According to this legend, at the end of the World War II, Nazi engineers developed and produced a number (some say dozens) of saucer-shaped fast-flying (some say at Mach 2+ speed), long-range (some say intercontinental range) aircraft that they tested in the European skies and even in outer space.
After the war, Nazi pilots allegedly flew these aircraft to secret Nazi underground bases in Antarctica or South America (or even on the Moon). Some say that the US Army got hold of these aircraft and their creators, stored them in secret air bases (e.g. Area 51) and use Nazi technologies to win the space race, create stealth fighters and in other top-secret project such as rumored Aurora hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft.
This legend is, of course, pure fiction as there is not a shred of evidence – physical, documentary or even circumstantial – that such aircraft (let alone underground bases in such far-off places as South America or Antarctica) have been constructed (let alone tested or deployed).
Given the Nazi bureaucracy obsession with paperwork, it is simply inconceivable that all of it would have been destroyed or taken away. In addition, such gargantuan projects required enormous amounts of resources that in 1944-45 Nazi Germany simply did not have.
This myth was a result (a combination and subsequent fictionalization) of a number of events that actually happened and projects that have, indeed, been pursued by the Nazis (some even to the prototype stage).
First, Nazi Germany did claimed the territory of New Swabia in Antarctica, sent an expedition there in 1938, and planned others (to set up a whaling station to increase supplies of whale oil – then a strategic material and to establish a naval base to support surface raiders operating in South American waters).
Second, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd – commander of a 1947 US Antarctic expedition codenamed “Highjump” did issue a statement warning that
“the United States should adopt measures of protection against the possibility of an invasion of the country by hostile planes coming from the polar regions. I am not trying to scare anyone, but the cruel reality is that in case of a new war, the United States could be attacked by planes flying over one or both poles.”
Obviously, he did not mention any UFOs (let alone Nazi UFOs).
Third, Nazi engineers did produce a number of incredibly advanced (even otherworldly) Wunderwaffen and developed plans and prototypes for even more advanced weapons.
Fourth, Nazis did (unsuccessfully) develop the circular-wing aircraft (namely Sack AS-6). However, it was built privately (i.e. received no RLM or other government funding) and managed little more than a hop off the ground due to aerodynamic unsuitability of a circular wing for an aircraft. Ultimately, it was destroyed (most likely, by an Allied air raid).
Fifth, Nazi engineers did (also unsuccessfully) experiment with “Repulsine” engines developed by an Austrian inventor Victor Schauberger (who spent some time in a mental institution and then some time in a Mauthausen concentration camp).
Despite these setbacks, in March 1940 Schauberger did patent the Repulsine engine in Austria under patent# 146,141. This engine was a “discoid motor” that ultimately was to power rotating flying disks. Which were never constructed (except for small-scale models), let alone flown.
Finally, numerous UFO sightings by Allied pilots (called “foo fighters” at that time) could not have been explained by natural phenomena and thus were (understandably) suspected to be prototype Luftwaffe aircraft as some of them reportedly damaged the Allied airplanes.
Similar sentiments regarding German technology resurfaced in 1947 with the first wave of flying saucer reports after Kenneth Arnold’s widely reported close encounter with nine crescent-shaped objects moving at a high velocity.
Personnel of Project Sign, the first U.S. Air Force UFO investigation group, noted that the advanced flying wing aeronautical designs of the German Horten brothers (Ho 229 and Ho XVIII) were similar to some UFO reports.