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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 on the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

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France or Germany, in the Winter 1944-1945:

Case number:



On January 2, 1945, an Associated Press article about the "Foo-Fighters" was published in the US Press.

Among the sightings it reported, it told that "Lt. Wallace Gould of Silver Creek, N. Y., said the lights followed his wing tips for a while and then, in a few seconds, zoomed 20,000 feet into the air and out of sight."

Historical sources show that Lieutenant Wallace C. Gould was then a pilot of a Beaufighter of the 415th US Night Fighters Squadron based in Ochey, France, and operating intrusion missions over the valley of the Rhine. Gould died in action on February 3, 1945.


Temporal data:

Date: Winter 1944-1945
Time: Probable night.
Duration: ?
First known report date: January 2, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours, weeks.

Geographical data:

Country: France or Germany
City: The Rhine valley.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 or more.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The Press.
Visibility conditions: Probable night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Follow, depart.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Sensors: [X] Visual: 1 to 3.
[ ] Airborne radar: ?
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: NL
Armed / unarmed: Armed, four 20 mm cannons and 6 7.62 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Insufficient information.




Mysterious "Foo Fighters," Balls Of Fire, Trail U.S. Night Flyers

Thought at First to Be Explosive, but None as Yet Has Damaged a Plane

A UNITED STATES NIGHT FIGHTER BASE, France, Jan. 2 (AP). -- American fighter pilots engaged in night missions over Germany report the Nazis have come up with a new "secret weapon" - mysterious balls of fire which race along beside their planes for miles.

Yank pilots have dubbed them "foo fighters," and at first thought they might explode, but so far there is no indication that any planes have been damaged by them.

Some pilots have expressed belief that the "foo fighter" was designed strictly as a psychological weapon. Intelligence reports seem to indicate that it is radio-controlled and can keep pace with planes flying 300 miles an hour.

Lt. Donald Meiers of Chicago, said there are three types of "foo fighters" - red balls of fire that fly along at wing tip; a vertical row of three balls of fire which fly in front of the planes, and a group of about 15 lights which appear off in the distance - like a Christmas tree up in the air - and flicker on and off.

The pilots of this Beaufighter squadron - in operation since September, 1943 - find these fiery balls the weirdest thing they have as yet encountered.

"A ‘foo fighter’ picked me up recently at 700 feet and chased me 20 miles down the Rhine Valley," Meiers said. "I turned to starboard and two balls of fire turned with me. I turned to the port side and they turned with me. We were going 260 miles an hour and the balls were keeping right up with us."

"On another occasion when a ‘Foo-Fighter’ picked us up, I dived at 360 miles an hour. It kept right off our wing tips for a while and then zoomed into the sky."

"When I first saw the things, I had the horrible thought that a German on the ground was ready to press a button and explode them. But they didn't explode or attack us. They just seem to follow us like will-o-the-wisps."

Lt. Wallace Gould of Silver Creek, N. Y., said the lights followed his wing tips for a while and then, in a few seconds, zoomed 20,000 feet into the air and out of sight.

Numerous Over Big Cities

The pilots agreed that the balls of fire were more numerous over large German cities.

Of his first experience with them, Gould said, "I thought it was some new form of jet propulsion plane after us. But we were very close to them and none of us saw any structure on the fire balls."

Capt. Fritz Ringwald, staff officer from East St. Louis, Ill., went along on a flight after hearing the numerous reports of the "foo-fighters."

"I saw lights off the right and told the pilot, who said, ‘Oh, those are lights on a hill’", Ringwald reported, adding, "I looked in that direction a few minutes later and then told him, ‘Well, that hill is considerably closer to us now.’"

‘Foo-Fighter’ Seen by East St. Louisan

Among those reporting the appearance of the "foo fighter" was Capt. Fred B Ringwald, 33-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs A. F. Ringwald, Woodcrest, East St. Louis.

A staff officer of the "Night Fighters," a volunteer group of the Army Air Corps organized to carry out bombing raids on Germany, Ringwald wrote his parents last week he was operating from a French air base. He was a private pilot before joining the army in September, 1943, and operator of the Crescent Service Station, Tenth and State streets.

He took part in the African invasion and has spent a total of 21 months fighting in the European theater.

His wife, Mrs Emily Ringwald, joined the Waves last September and is stationed at Stillwater, Ok.


FIRE BALLS that fly with American night raiders over Germany, believed to be a new German psychological weapon have been reported by Capt. Fred B. Ringwald, (above) son of Mr and Mrs A. F. Ringwald, Woodcrest, East St. Louis.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

A 415th Beaufighter helmsman was quoted in the New York Herald Tribune on January 2, 1945, that he had powerdived at 360 miles per hour without shaking a foo fighter which tagged along like a friendly puppy.


But being a national wire story, Associated Press had apparently included additional information (sometimes done so that names of local interest could be included, or stories lengthened as needed). And so the following addendum was included in the story as carried in the January 2, 1945 edition of the Chicago Tribune which, for reasons unknown characterized the 'foo fighters' as flares...

"Looked Like Shooting Stars."

"Lt. Wallace Gould of Silver Creek, N.Y., said the lights followed his wing tips for a while and then, in a few seconds, zoomed 20,000 feet into the air out of sight."

[... other cases...]

Aircraft information:

The Bristol Type 156 "Beaufighter", nicknamed "Beau", was a British multi-role aircraft developed during WWII. It was originally conceived as a heavy fighter variant of the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber; it proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain.

Originally, armament consisted of four 20mm cannons and six 0.303-in machine-guns but many variants were built; for example, versions had the ability to additionally carry eight rocket projectiles, some had a Vickers 'K' gun, Beaufighter TF.Mk X was used for anti-shipping operations.

The Beaufighter Mk VIF was fitted with the Mark VIII radar.

Below: Beaufighter Mk VIF of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron.

Beaufighter VIF 415th NFS.


Wallace C. Gould was born on December 8, 1921, in Hanover, Chautauqua County, New York, USA.

In 1944, Wallace C. Gould (photo below) was a First Lieutenant in the 415th Night Fighter Squadron of U.S. Army Air Forces.

He flew on a Beaufighter VIF, based in Solenzara, Corsica, in July 1944, and based in Ochey, France, at the time of the sighting.


He died in action on February 3, 1945, his grave is in France, at plot C row 20 grave 101 in the Lorraine American Cemetery Avenue de Fayetteville, 57500 Saint-Avold.

He had been rewarded the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.


Insufficient information.

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 November 2, 2023 Creation, [pdh1], [sua1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 2, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross November 13, 2023 Addition [lgs1].

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This page was last updated on November 13, 2023.