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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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Cherbourg, France, on January 15, 1943:

Case number:



Reportedly, in the 2007 book "Strange Company - Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II", by Keith Chester, it is said that on January 15, 1943, during a US bombing raid over Cherbourg, France, several crews saw "large numbers of projectiles resembling schools of flying fish, about a foot long and similar to incendiary bombs, coming up from a direction of the town."


Temporal data:

Date: January 15, 1943
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2007
Reporting delay: Hours, 6 decades.

Geographical data:

Country: France
State/Department: Manche
City: Cherbourg-en-Cotentin

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: UFO book in 2007.
Visibility conditions: Probable daytime.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: Yes.
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Come up from the ground.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Similar to incendiary bombs.


Sensors: [X Visual: Several.
[N/A] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: Armed, up to 11 7.62 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Insufficient information, low strangeness, probable German flak.


[Ref. get1:] GEORGE M. EBERHART:


January 15

During a US bombing raid over Cherbourg, Manche, France, several crews see "large numbers of projectiles resembling schools of flying fish, about a foot long and similar to incendiary bombs, coming up from a direction of the town."

(Strange Company 38)

Aircraft information:

The only information is that the planes were US bombers.

In Europe, US Army Eighth Air Force was the first strategic air force, with a mission to support an invasion of continental Europe from the British Isles. Eighth Air Force carried out strategic daytime bombing operations in Western Europe from airfields in eastern England as part of the Combined Bomber Offensive. The 97th Bombardment Group, arrived at RAF Polebrook and RAF Grafton Underwood on 9 June 1942, used B-17s and conducted a total of 16 missions on airfields, railroad marshalling yards, war industries, naval installations, and other targets in France and the Low Countries. It may have been the one that was involved in this case.



It is likely that the planes involved were B-17 and that the sighting as reported occurred in daytime.

So far I found no information about a USAAF bombers raid over Cherbourg on January 15, 1943; this does not mean that it dod not occur, of course.

As for the description of the phenomenon, it is on the one hand very poor, and on the other hand it suggests something like anti-aircraft tracing shells fired from the ground by the Germans. There is no evidence that this is the correct explanation, but there is nothing in the report to rule it out. The bottomline is that the report is poorly documented, without a precise source, late, not very strange, and not quite suggestive of extraterrestrial spacecraft.

The remaining strangeness here would only be that normally there is no reason that the airmen would not have identified the phenomenon as anti-aircraf shelling.

This being said, i think the least worst explanation is that it was German flak.


Insufficient information, low strangeness, probable German flak.

Sources references:

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

File history:


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

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 2, 2023 Creation, [get1].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 2, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on October 2, 2023.