Roswell, D-Day And The Titanium Industry


The Roswell crash of early July, 1947 is the best known of all UFO cases. Something fell out of the sky in southeastern New Mexico, no one denies that. Was it an occupied alien spacecraft as many UFO advocates claim or was it a MOGUL balloon outfitted with specialized atmospheric equipment sent aloft as part of a top secret project to monitor the air for evidence of Soviet nuclear weapons testing?

Either way, the UFO phenomenon is a compelling one, but in trying to figure out what has really gone on, we have to consider the alternatives. If Roswell wasn't an alien crash, then the entire phenomenon was and remains as baffling to our nation's leaders as it is to us. If it was, not only was alien visitation a known fact to our government all the way up to then President Harry Truman but the found debris certainly led to some sort of technological advancement we should be able to identify today.

Critics toss a number of skeptical spitballs at the case for an alien crash at Roswell, but these stock arguments betray a lack of historical perspective. One that is frequently used is that it simply wouldn't be possible for the military to cover such an event up. Well, ignoring the fact that we're still talking about Roswell more than 60 years after the fact, let's consider Roswell's connection to the Allied preparations for D-Day.

Now I'd happily bet a dollar that more people have heard of Roswell than have heard of the Exercise Tiger catastrophe. On April 28, 1944, more US servicemen were killed, 749 in total, in this Nazi attack on a pre-Normandy training exercise just off Slapton Sands in the English Channel than had been killed on any single day during the war since Pearl Harbor. There were three times as many men killed there than were killed on Utah Beach during D-Day itself yet most people don't know about it. There's a reason for that.

"No questions were to be asked about what had occurred. Medical staff were also told not to keep any records. Officials informed victims' families simply that they were "missing in action" after maneuvers at sea. The servicemen were threatened with court-martial if they ever discussed what had occurred. Many took the "ever" very literally.

Nathan Resnick, who was aboard one of the other landing craft in the attacked convoy, said: "We were told not to say anything. I was married for 40-something years and never told my wife a word."

Frank Derby, a gunner's mate 3rd class who now lives in Fallston, Md., added: "Our officers made it very clear that we'd be court-martialed if we breathed a word of it. That scared the hell out of all of us."

After the war ended, the vast majority of the men who returned to the U.S. kept their mouths shut."
 

So what does the military do in response to these accounts coming to the fore? They deny there ever was a cover up!

In his article, 'Slapton Sands: The Cover-up That Never Was,' Charles B. MacDonald, former deputy chief historian at the Army's Center of Military History wrote that there was a mention of the attack in Stars And Stripes and goes on to write, "The story was also covered in two of the U.S. Army's unclassified official histories: Cross-Channel Attack (1951) by Gordon A. Harrison and Logistical Support of the Armies Volume I (1953) by Roland G. Ruppenthal." So let's take a closer look at Cross-Channel Attack, available in its' entirety here. It's a 500 page behemoth that thoroughly covers the entire Normandy operation, yet the following paragraph is the only mention of Exercise Tiger.

"Amid all the simulation there came one serious note of war. One of the convoys of exercise TIGER was attacked by two German E-boat flotillas totaling nine boats. Losses were heavier than those suffered by Force U during the actual invasion. Two LST's were sunk and one damaged. About 700 men lost their lives. The loss of three LST's to the OVERLORD assault lift was particularly critical in view of the general shortage of landing craft. General Eisenhower reported to the Combined Chiefs of Staff that the sinkings reduced the reserve of LST's to nothing. The Germans realized that they had sunk landing craft but guessed that the craft had been participating in an exercise. The incident passed without repercussions."

One paragraph out of 500 pages! That's some coverage! Not a word of mention about how poorly planned the exercise was, that 4000 men were left hanging out to dry in dangerous wartime waters without adequate backup, 749 of them were killed and families were left wondering about the fates of loved ones. But since the Exercise Tiger catastrophe was obliquely mentioned in a couple publications, of course there was no cover up . . . there was just a disgusting and insulting whitewash!

At least someone remembered the victims properly:

Now the Roswell connection to all this should be pretty self-evident. Don't the statements from the surviving servicemen about keeping quiet about the attack sound an awful lot like Roswell witness accounts of government intimidation about the crash? And if the government/military could keep an attack that killed 749 American servicemen under wraps, with loved ones at home worried about their fates, isn't it also possible they could keep the facts regarding a much smaller scale crash in the desert quiet as well? After all, if there were aliens killed in that crash, their families were too far away to do much complaining.

Now that I've passed along some thoughts about the initial Roswell crash, recovery and whitewash, let me move on to the all important back end. The debris went somewhere, regardless of what fell to Earth, and that somewhere was Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Even the United States Air Force admitted this in its' 1995 Roswell report, available here.

I freely admit that my favorite UFO researcher is Anthony Bragalia. His work on this all important back end of the Roswell saga has generated some awfully compelling evidence for an alien crash particularly as it relates to the development of titanium based shape memory alloys (SMAs) with properties similar to those of the Roswell crash debris as described by witnesses. His most recent blog on the subject is available here and links to the rest are available at the same blog, The UFO Iconoclast(s). Reading the articles over, and as thorough as I think they are, I was overcome by the sudden feeling that something was not there. I decided to take a closer look.

Today, titanium is ubiquitous and everyone has heard of it. It's used in important items like eyeglasses frames, roller blade chassis and wedding rings. OK, so two out of three ain't bad, but it wasn't always this way.

At the time of the Roswell crash, there was no commercial titanium production anywhere in the world. Titanium was in this hazy phase, somewhere between being just a laboratory curiousity to being a metal of great potential. It was already under study by the US Bureau Of Mines and the government contractor the Battelle Memorial Institute. Then something happened sometime during 1947. Boutique titanium production for research use jumped and was followed late in 1948 by its' first commercial production, by Manhattan Project contractor DuPont.

Let's look at titanium production during those years and those that followed. The numbers speak for themselves.

1945-a few pounds
1947-2 tons
1948-9 tons
1949-23 tons
1950-68 tons
1951-449 tons
1952-975 tons
1953-2030 tons
1954-4870 tons
1955-6710 tons
1956-13200 tons


Lawrence Foster wrote in his review of "Titanium In Industry" that, "The exponential growth of metallic titanium production is unparalleled in the history of metallurgy."

In "Titanium: Past, Present, and Future," the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems wrote "Only in the case of the Manhattan Project for the development of enriched uranium and the atomic bomb has there been a concentration of scientific, technical and financial support for a single metal (certainly to a single structural metal) similar to that devoted to titanium from the early 1940s to the late 1950s."

The comparison to the Manhattan Project is certainly an interesting one, but dating the concentrated effort to develop titanium back to the early 40s is dubious as the above production numbers from the U.S. Geological Survey, the story of William Kroll, who invented the process by which titanium is extracted from its' ore, and the speech by Nathan Promisel, of the Materials Branch of the Navy Department's Bureau of Aeronautics delivered at the titanium symposium in December 1948, where he stated that, "The Bureau of Aeronautics' interest and activity in this field date back about two years," would indicate.

Titanium production skyrocketed because the US military, in particular the then fledgling Air Force but the Navy too, wanted it. The sound barrier had been broken in October 1947 in an aircraft, the Bell X-1, made of steel alloys. The Air Force knew that the heavier steel would limit air speed at some point and that the lighter aluminum would melt at supersonic speeds. Titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal on Earth. It was the answer and the US military, especially the Air Force, was the market.

This would become evident in the ensuing years as the world's most advanced aircraft broke Mach 2 and then Mach 3 in aircraft like the all-titanium SR-71, designed by Area 51 developer and UFO witness Kelly Johnson. Those speeds simply would not be possible with any other structural metal.


Naturally a success like the titanium industry, a combination of government and private contractors working together to change the world for the better, should have its' founding fathers. It is as if someone in government said, after decades of wood and then steel aircraft manufacture, it's titanium! The metal had been known more than a century, a process for it's extraction from the ore since the '30s. The question becomes who?

If you believe this Time magazine story from 1952, it's Col. John Dick. Something tells me that building an entire industry from scratch is outside the powers of a USAF colonel. What isn't clear is where the tipping point came to cause the creation of an entire industry and who championed it.

We have the ordinary cause for the wonder metal's growth: Titanium was a metal
that demonstrated great potential thanks to research from various sources. This research reached a critical mass and it was determined that a titanium production industry was needed. But by who? I can't find the answer and it should be readily available. Certainly not a USAF colonel. A general or group of generals, a president, yes. But no one is given credit. Online archives reveal little or nothing. Why? It's not like titanium itself stayed secret, it's development was widely promoted, the symposiums on its' potential quite public. Another issue to consider is the overall defense budget. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal favored a defense budget of $17.5 billion, compared with Truman's $14.4 billion. Regardless of their difference of opinion on the matter, the money was still found to underwrite the cost of the fledgling titanium industry . . . and leave little trace of it except for the industry itself.

We have the extraordinary cause: Research on titanium was already taking place when the crash of an alien ship, made mostly of titanium alloys, some of which were SMA, created the tipping point where these high ranking leaders came to a no brainer of a decision: a titanium production industry was needed. And curiously enough, the extraordinary cause fits with the Roswell crash time line. The exponential titanium production growth begins in late 1948, one and a half years after Roswell. Recognizing titanium within crash debris would undoubtedly happen quickly in the well equipped labs of Wright-Patterson AFB. Further research was contracted out from there. For preparing commercial-quantity manufacture facilities, 1.5 years seems about right.

If we assume that an alien crash did happen at Roswell, it's hard to imagine at least some watershed change in our technology taking place in the short term not happening. Was it the recognition that titanium use as a structural metal in our most advanced aircraft would take their performance to the next level and beyond? The key points WHO made the decision to jump start the titanium industry and specifically WHEN and WHY they did it are missing! Titanium development was a true game changer in the history of aeronautics. Its' impact can not be understated yet these important questions about the early days of its' development remain improperly answered. The WHY certainly could be the breaking of the sound barrier, but there's no mention anywhere of linkage.

There is an old saying, "Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan." Titanium is a huge success, it has changed the world, but is an orphan. Compare that with the extremely well documented history of the aforementioned Manhattan Project. The historical record is clear that President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the formation of The Uranium Committee in October 1939, just after the Nazi invasion of Poland and his receipt of the Einstein-Szilard letter, and the more robust Office of Scientific Research and Development in 1941.

Harry Truman is famously quoted as saying,“It's amazing what you can accomplish, when you don't care who takes the credit, but the story of the birth of the titanium industry or, more to the point the lack thereof, strains credulity. Considering Truman's proactive management style as president, some trail should lead to him or at least someone close to him . . . but it doesn't. It leads nowhere or to military personnel who certainly did not have the authority to create an industry from thin air.

The whole thing makes no sense . . . unless you take Roswell into account. Could we have quickly reverse engineered interstellar propulsion and avionic systems from a crashed alien vehicle? No, but we could have lifted design elements from such a vehicle and figured out what it was made of in fairly short order and it may very well be that's exactly what happened.


11 comments:

  1. Tungsten was used in the run up and during the First World War. It was mined as sheelite here in New Zealand and was shipped to Germany and the UK until hostilities occurred.

    It was remined during WW2 but since then has become too expensive to extract.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was manufactured in USSR.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Titanium was first discovered 1791 in the ore ilmenite by the Briton mineralogist, the Rev. William Gregor, in England. Later, the same year, German chemist Martin Kloprothy also found it in the ore "rutile" and named it "titanium" after the Titan gods of Greek mythology.

    It wasn't until a process was developed that allowed large scale extraction of purer titanium, did the metal begin to become available in any substantial quantities. Although the process of extraction was developed in 1940 by German immigrant, Dr. Wilhelm Kroll, due to a lengthy litigation, it was not until 1946, when the case was settled, was his process free to be used. Thus, it wasn't until 1947 that the first significant amounts of titanium were produced.

    That's why large scale production and usage of titanium didn't come into the forefront earlier than 1947.

    The first aircraft to have a majority of its airframe be made of titanium was the Douglas X-3 Stiletto, a experimental jet aircraft, which is the forerunner of the F-104 Starfighter. Construction of the X-3 was authorized in June 1949, and the completed aircraft was delivered to Edwards Air Force base on September 1952.

    Although Mr. Stalter argues convincingly, the history of titanium is not all that mysterious. With that stated, it is conceivable that improved material purity and more advanced techniques could have stemmed from Roswell.

    Either way, Mr. Stalter's article is an outstanding piece of research and journalism.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Roger,

    Kroll developed his process for extracting titanium from its' ore a little earlier than 1940. He actually did that in the late '30s and visited the US in an effort to get US industry to recognize its' great potential. They all turned him down. He moved to the States permanently when he sensed the Nazis were going to invade, which they did a few months after he left. Kroll's patent lawsuit didn't slow any commercial development, throughout WWII there was really no military interest. The US appropriated his process and he sued for his patent rights and lost. Regardless, the military/government needed to underwrite/provide price supports for private industry to being producing titanium as Kroll's process was costly, difficult and time consuming.

    Kroll was a visionary and a genius, no one should doubt this. The point of the article isn't to suggest that any of his work was the result of reverse engineering alien debris but I do suggest it is certainly possible that finding titanium-based alloys in alien debris woke the government up to the need for commercial titanium production.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent article. Some of these questions might be applied to other nascient technologies of this time

    ReplyDelete
  6. I personally don't believe in aliens, but good article nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Operation Tiger was covered up due to the fact that, like Overlord itself, the Allies didn't want the Germans to gain intelligence of what they where doing. This was no coincidence. Allied soldiers were not even allowed to write home due to security risks which could jeopardize the whole operation.

    One thing you should have a look at is the English plan, during the early days of the war, to set the sea on fire to stop the Axis from invading Britain. How did we gain that technology?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha, obviously I'm not questioning the ethics of the Operation Tiger coverup prior to D-Day, that should go without saying. keeping it quiet well after the invasion proved successful is questionable in my view. The purpose of bringing it up was that such a major catastrophe could be covered up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Eyeglasses with titanium structures are a tad bit more high priced compared to eyeglasses with stainless steel, acetate along with additional kinds of structures and can be found at the store of retail optical Paramus Route 4. On the other hand the long lasting great things about titanium structures significantly override the variation in expenses. Listed here are a number of our most desired titanium eyeglasses structures you can find at retail optical Paramus shop.
    optical Paramus Route 4

    ReplyDelete