Encyclopedia Astronautica
Lofer Mystery Craft


German manned spaceplane. Hardware construction stage, 1945. There exist in US Army postwar files a murky photo of what some think is a large-scale mock-up of the Saenger antipodal bomber, taken in Lofer, Austria after the end of the World War II.

Any assistance in identifying this photography gratefully acknowledged!

Lofer is in the mountains just across the border from Germany, near Berchtesgaden. It was the known site of various exotic research, including sound-weapons, liquid air / coal dust explosives of immense power, and artillery that could shoot around corners.

A 1947 CIOS report on the Lofer installation stated that Saenger spent the last months of the war, there, supposedly working on a ramjet fighter and the antipodal bomber design. The report included the photograph shown here. It's called a "futuristic aircraft" that was "never flown." It looks huge, with a flat bottom and a boxy, rectangular fuselage with an apparently tapered cockpit on the right end. It's very poor, but some believe it shows the forward portion of a full-scale mockup of the Saenger antipodal bomber.

The research center is still there, quite mysterious and looking very much like a German WWII facility. A wooded, fenced area marked by enigmatic signs indicating either mines or unexploded ordnance, with bunkers sunk into the earth, and light-green wooden buildings that still look like WWII vintage. It is still a military closed area.

Inquiries in town indicated that the work there was so secret that no one knew what was going on there. It was used by the Americans in 1947-1955 and then taken over by the Austrian Bundesheer, who still use it to this day. At the Rathaus they said I should check with the Military History Museum in Vienna; someone else had done some research and found material there on what all went on.

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