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ACUFO:

ACUFO is my comprehensive catalog of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

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Central Germany, at the end of 1943:

Case number:

ACUFO-1943-00-00-CENTRALGERMANY-1

Summary:

"Citizens Against UFO Secrecy" (CAUS), a US non-profit organization formed in 1977 worked efficiently through the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to get information released regarding UFOs that had been classified by federal and state governments.

In 1992, Lawrence Fawcett and Barry Greenwood reported in the organization's bulletin "Just Cause" about their first successes in getting official documents about the WWII "Foo Fighters" released.

In the article, they also reported that they were contacted by a Connecticut resident. Mr. Louis Kiss, who advised CAUS of his own experience with Foo-Fighters.

In 1943, Kiss, then a Staff Sergeant, was a tail gunner on the "Phyllis Marie," a B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber of the 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Division of the 8th Air Force.

In late 1943, while on a daylight mission over central Germany, Kiss said, he had observed an odd-looking sphere approach the B-17 from behind and below. He said it was about the size of a basketball and of a shimmery gold color. The ball reached the B-17 and hovered just above one wing after slowly moving from the rear. Soon, it passed over the top of the B-17 to the other wing where it again hovered. Sgt. Kiss was tempted to shoot at it with his machine gun but, considering the proximity of the ball to the B-17's gas tank, he thought better of it.

As Kiss watched, the ball moved toward the rear again, became caught in the B-17's backwash and rapidly disappeared into the remainder of the B-17 formation. Kiss said he never knew whether anyone else in the group had seen the ball, but he said he officially report it to his intelligence officer.

CAUS indicates that Kiss had never heard of Foo-Fighters until they mentioned them to him.

CAUS was able to show that Louis Kiss established himself among the outstanding gunners of the 390th Bombardment Group by shooting down three enemy planes within five minutes. He accomplished that achievement from his position as a tail gunner on the flying fortress "Phyllis Marie", and that he obtained the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters for his achievements during WWII over Germany.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: End of 1943
Time: Day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1992
Reporting delay: 5 decades.

Geographical data:

Country: Germany
State/Department:
City:

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To his Intelligence officer, to "Citizens Against UFO Secrecy" (CAUS)
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: Yes.
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Approached from the rear, hover nears wingtip, moves to hover on the other wingtip, leaves.
Witnesses action: Considered firing but gave up because of risk to hit plane tanks.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Sensors: [X] Visual: 1
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: DD
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 11 Browning M2 12,7 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 1
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft, issue in the report.

Sources:

[Ref. jce1:] UFOLOGY MAGAZINE "JUST CAUSE":

The magazine published an article about the first results in the search for US official documents related to the "Foo-Fighters" events by the CAUS ("Citizens Against UFO Secrecy"); among their findings, there was the case below:

Scan.

A previously unknown account has surfaced. Connecticut resident Louis Kiss has advised CAUS of his own experience with Foo-Fighters. Kiss, then a Staff Sergeant, was a tail gunner on the "Phyllis Marie," a B-17 bomber of the 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Division of the 8th Air Force.

In late 1943, while on a daylight mission over central Germany, Kiss observed an odd-looking sphere approach the B-17 from behind and below. He said it was about the size of a basketball and of a shimmery gold color. The ball reached the aircraft and hovered just above one wing after slowly moving from the rear. Soon it passed over the top of the aircraft to the other wing where it again hovered. Sgt. Kiss was tempted to shoot at it with his machine gun but, considering the proximity of the ball to the B-17's gas tank, he thought better of it.

As Kiss watched, the ball moved toward the rear again, became caught in the B-17's backwash and rapidly disappeared into the remainder of the B- 17 formation. He never knew if anyone else in the group had seen the ball but he did officially report it to his intelligence officer. Curiously, Kiss had never heard of Foo-Fighters until we had mentioned them to him. His report does parallel several sources.

(The article then cited a similar "Foo-Fighter" case).

The article adds:

Scan.

If one has questions about the credibility of Mr Kiss, we have included an extract from the 390th Veterans Association Foundation Newsletter, Fall-Winter 1991, attesting to his excellence as a combat flyer.

And shows the cited Veterans newsletter:

Scan.

The 390th Veteran Association Foundation Newsletter
Fall/Winter 1991

On an 8 October 1943 raid over Bremen, Germany, SSGT. Louis Kiss established himself among the outstanding gunners of the 390th Bombardment Group by shooting down three enemy planes within five minutes. He accomplished that achievement from his position as a tail gunner on the flying fortress "Phyllis Marie."

In describing the action, Sergeant Kiss reported, "I never saw the luftwaffe more bloodthirsty. They dove through their own flak to drive home their attacks. I waited until they were within three hundred yards before I fired at them. I couldn't miss."

Assigned to the 568th Bombardment Squadron, Sergeant Kiss later scored his fourth kill over Emden. When he later returned to the states, he brought with him the distinguished flying cross and the air medal with eight oak leaf clusters for his achievements over the German homeland.

[Ref. aub1:] "AUSTRALIAN UFO BULLETIN:

The bulletin reprinted the CAUS article, explaining that in January 1992, CAUS had launched an effort to locate official documentation relevant to the Foo-Fighter phenomenon of World War 2; which had led to the first release of unit records giving specifics on these incidents, and the discovery of a new case:

Scan.

A previously unknown account has surfaced. Connecticut resident Louis Kiss has advised CAUS of his own experience with Foo-Fighters. Kiss, then a Staff Sergeant, was a tail gunner on the "Phyllis Marie", a B-17 bomber of the 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Division of the 8thAir Force.

In late 1943, while on a daylight mission over central Germany, Kiss observed an odd-looking sphere approach the B-17 from behind and below. He said it was about the size of a basketball and of a shimmery gold color. The ball reached the aircraft and hovered just above one wing after slowly moving from the rear. Soon it passed over the top of the aircraft to the other wing where it again hovered. Sgt. Kiss was tempted to shoot at it with his machine gun but, considering the proximity of the ball to the B-17's gas tQnk, he thought better of it.

As Kiss watched, the ball moved toward the rear again; became caught in the B-17's backwash and rapidly disappeared into the remainder of the B-17 formation. He never knew if anyone else in the group had seen the ball but he did officially report it to his intelligence officer. Curiously, Kiss had never heard of Foo-Fighters until we had mentioned them to him. His report does parallel several sources.

[Ref. bgd1:] BARRY GREENWOOD:

A new unpublished story has surfaced. Louis Kiss, a resident of Connecticut, informed the CAUS of his personal experience with the Foo-fighters. Kiss, then a sergeant, was a tail gunner aboard the "Phyllis Marie", a B17 bomber of the 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Division, 8th Air Force.

In late 1943, while on a daylight mission over central Germany, Kiss saw a bizarre sphere approaching the B17 from behind and under the plane. He claimed it was the size of a basketball and a pale gold color. The ball reached the aircraft, then passed slowly from the rear towards a wing, above which it hovered. After a few moments, it moved above the plane, moving to the other wing. Sgt Kiss was tempted to shoot but, assessing the short distance between the phenomenon and the plane's fuel tank, he changed his mind.

Kiss saw the ball heading towards the rear where it was caught in the swirling trail of the bomber, then he saw it disappear into the formation of the other aircraft. He never found out whether he had been the only one in the group to have seen the ball but nevertheless made an official report to his intelligence officer. Oddly enough, Kiss had never heard of Foofighters before we asked him about it. His testimony confirms other sources.

[Ref. dwn1:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

French ufologist Dominique Weinstein compiled a catalog of the cases of UFOs observed from aircraft ([dwn1]). The first case in February 2001 (6th edition) catalog appears as:

Scan.

DATE 43 late
TIME daytime
COUNTRY Germany
PLACE Central Germany
M
TYPE OF PLANE AND WITNESSES one USAAF B-17 pilot tail gunner (390th bomb. group)
UFO DESCRIPTION one gold sphere, size of a basketball, flew around the bomber
Radar
G
X
E
SOURCES 03

The source "03" is referenced at the end of the catalog as:

03 Project 1947 Reports, newsclippings and documents (cases from Jan Aldrich and Barry Greenwood)

[Ref. nrr1:] NICK REDFERN AND ANDY ROBERTS:

These author tell of remarkable Foo Fighter reports that surfaced during the latter part of WWII, one of them reported by the researcher Timothy Good as: "In late 1943, Staff Sergeant Louis Kiss was a tail gunner on the Phyllis Marie, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber of the 390th Bombardment Group, Third Division, Eighth Air Force, when a Foo Fighter was encountered over central Germany."

The authors say that Kiss observed an "odd-looking" sphere that closed in on the aircraft from the rear, basketball-sized and gold in color, which approached the aircraft slowly and hovered above one wing, passed over the top of the aircraft, and hovered over the other wing. Kiss was tempted to fire at the device, but decided against the idea. The sphere then moved to the rear again and disappeared rapidly into the remainder of the B-17 formation.

The authors comment that some might argue that Staff Sergeant Kiss had merely viewed some rare form of natural phenomenon, but this possibility can be dismissed "simply because dozens of such reports surfaced around the world in what was a brief and clearly delineated period."

[Ref. jck1:] JEROME CLARK:

The author indicates that in 1943 a shimmering gold basketball-shaped object sailed toward the rear of a B-17 on a daylight run over Germany. Tail gunner Louis Kiss watched it hover over one wing, pass over the top of the bomber, then position itself above the other wing. After a short period it flew toward the rear and was gone.

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Scan.

Late, 1943

Central Germany

During daylight, Sgt Louis Kiss, the tail gunner of the B-17 "Phyllis Marie" from the 390th Bombardment group - 3rd Division of the 8th Air Force, reported the sighting of a gold sphere (size of a basket ball) which approached the aircraft from behind and below. Then the sphere hovered just above one wing after slowly moving from the rear. Soon it passed over the top of the bomber to the other wing where it hovered again. Kiss was tempted to shoot at it with his machine gun but, considering the proximity of the ball to the B-17s gas tank, he thought better of it. As he watched, the ball moved toward the rear of the plane again, became caught in the B-17s backwash and rapidly disappeared into the remainder of the B-17 formation. Kiss reported it to his intelligence officer.

Sources: Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / Just Cause #32.

[Ref. ekl1:] EGON KRAGEL:

This author indicates that an astonishing testimony came many years after it occurred, from Louis Kiss, now living in Connecticut, who informed Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) of his encounter with a Foo Fighter while fighting in Europe during World War II.

He says Kiss was then a staff sergeant, tail gunner on the Phyllis Marie B-17 bomber owned by the 390th Bombardment Group, 3rd Division of the 8th U.S. Air Force.

He indicates that in late 1943, while on a daytime mission over Germany, he observed a strange sphere approaching his plane from behind. The thing, about the size of a basketball, was a shimmering golden color. It caught up with the bomber and hovered over his wing. Then, passing over the plane, it settled for a while on the other wing. Sergeant Kiss was tempted to open fire with his machine gun, but since the strange device was close to the B-17's fuel tank, he changed his mind.

As Kiss watched, the golden ball moved backwards, then, caught in the wake and turbulence of the aircraft, it quickly disappeared.

The author says that Louis Kiss still does not know whether another crew member observed this phenomenon as he did; but he had reported the incident to his intelligence officer.

Curiously, until then, Louis Kiss had never heard of foo fighters, and it was a ufologist who told him about them. While some question the credibility of the witness, CAUS published, along with the testimony of this former soldier, an excerpt from the 390e newsletter of the Veterans Association Foundation, Fall - Winter 1991 issue, attesting to his excellent record as a combat pilot.

Egon Kragel indicates that the source is "Australian UFO Bulletin, December 1992, pp. 8-9."

[Ref. get1:] GEORGE M. EBERHART:

1943

Winter

Day. While on a bombing mission over central Germany, Sgt. Louis Kiss, a tail gunner on the Phyllis Marie, a B-17 of the 390th Bombardment Group, sees an odd-looking sphere approach the plane from behind and below. It seems to be the size of a basketball and shimmery gold. The object hovers just above one wing, then passes over the top to the other wing where it hovers again. Soon it moves to the rear and gets caught in the B-17’s backwash and disappears.

("First Official Foo-Fighter Records Discovered," Just Cause, no. 32 (June 1992): 4

Aircraft information:

The American B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber, in 1943, was equipped with eleven 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns, including in the rear turret, for its defense against German fighter planes.

The rear turret was a position providing good visibility towards the wingtips of the B-17.

Rear machine guns turret.

Discussion:

A photograph can be easily found on the Web, showing "Staff-Sergeant Louis Kiss, a tail gunner of the 390th Bomb Group in position inside his B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-30713) nicknamed Phyllis Marie":

Louis Kiss.

"Phyllis Marie" was his by enemy FW-190 aircraft and forced to and near Berlin on March 6, 1944 - Louis Kiss was not onboard then. The Germans savaged the plane, used it in the Luftwaffe, and it was found after victory in Bavaria.

Another historical blog shows "Philly Marie" in 1943, with Sgt Louis Kiss standing on the left:

Map.

Many images exist of the "Phyllis Marie" B-17 and tail-gunner Louis Kiss; so that there is no doubt as to the existence of the aircraft and the existence of the witness and his being involved as tail gunner in the bombing operations over Germany in 1943.

The report is not fully detailed, the durations of the different steps are missing, the possible report of the witness to his Intelligence officer has not surfaced.

An important feature of the case is that it occurred in daytime. This excludes that the "ball" was some aircraft.

One might be tempted to evoke "ball lightning" as an explanation, but there is clearly a series of maneuvers of the "ball" here which are highly improbable for this natural phenomenon: an arrival from behind, hovering at one wingtip, passing above the plane, hovering at the other wingtip, departure towards the rear.

The American "skeptic" Philip Klass had written an entire book to demonstrate that UFOs are ball lightning; his arguments had been clearly refuted by Dr. James E. McDonald, a meteorological scientist who had deeply studied the UFO question.

However, I found a problem with this report.

Louis Kiss explained that he considered shooting the ball, but decided against it because of the risk of hitting the B-17's tanks. But this risk is zero from the rear tower.

The B-17's rear machine guns covered more than a quarter of the sky, but in no way could they have hit the B-17's wings (Diagram below). This could only be done from the four side posts or the upper turret.

I therefore do not understand how it is possible that Louis Kiss, a machine gunner of great skill, medalist for his successes, could have made such a "technical blunder" in his story. Did he forget to say that he would have moved to a side position? Is there another problem here? This leaves me very perplexed.

Tourelle arrière.

Evaluation:

Possible extraterrestrial craft, issue in the report.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 30, 2023 Creation, [jce1], [aub1], [dwn1], [nrr1], [dwn2], [ekl1], [get1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 30, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross October 22, 2023 Addition [jck1].
1.2 Patrick Gross November 15, 2023 Additions [bgd1], [nrr1].

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This page was last updated on November 15, 2023.