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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT 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. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of Strasbourg, on October 12, 1944:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1944-10-12-STRASBOURG-1

Summary:

A "Top Secret Urgent" message sent to the war ministry on October 26, 1944, is said to have reported an incident on October 12, 1944, involving four planes of the 358th Fighter-Bomber Group of the Ninth Air Force of the USA that were flying near Strasbourg.

The first pilot reported engine trouble and noise on the radio while flying from north to south at 11,000 to 13,000 feet.

The second pilot complained of engine trouble and strong interference on the radio, and also reported that the ammeter showed 50 amps when the radio noise and the engine difficulties were occurring. At a time when the sounds of the radio were excessive, the radio was turned off and the ammeter returned to normal.

The third pilot reported excessive radio noise and engine trouble simultaneously.

The fourth pilot first noticed engine trouble, and then static on the radio.

All radios were on the same channel at the time of the incident. The four pilots all tried to regulate the engine handling the mixture of propellant and control of gas, but in vain.

Nothing strange appears to have been observed in the sky by the pilots during these incidents. But because it happened at a time when other pilots reported mysterious balls of light, soon called "Foo-Fighters", and that radio and engine malfunctions are present in UFO sightings reports later, the case was reported in a book about WWII UFOs, as possibly related to UFOs.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: October 12, 1944
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1944
Reporting delay: Minutes, days?

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Strasbourg
Place: In planes.
Latitude: 48.581
Longitude: 7.747
Uncertainty ratio: 20 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 4
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Military pilots.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operation report?
Type of location: In planes in flight.
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: N/A.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): N/A.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): N/A.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: ?
ALSACAT: Unexplained. Not necessarily related to UFOs.

Sources:

[Ref. jd1:] JAMES E. DELEHANTY:

An incident on October 12, 1944 in the vicinity of Strasbourg, France caused aircraft engine roughness and excessive radio noise. It was a strange experience that greatly troubled the War Department.

The source is indicated as "STRANGE COMPANY Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II" by Keith Chester, Anomalist Books, 2007.

[Ref. su1:] "SATURDAY NIGHT UFORIA" WEBSITE:

And it may have been such German experiments in disabling aircraft or exploding their bombs in flight which resulted in an unnerving experience by four pilots of the Ninth Air Force's 358th Fighter-Bomber Group on October 12, 1944 near Strasbourg, at Germany's border with France, as related in a "Top Secret Urgent" message sent to the War Department on October 26, 1944...

"Pilot one reported rough engine and noise on radio while flying north south at 11,000 to 13,000 feet, pilot two complained of rough engine and excessive radio interference, also that ammeter showed fifty amps when noise and engine roughness were present, at one time when radio noise was excessive radio was turned off and ammeter returned to normal, pilot three mentioned excessive radio noise and engine roughness simultaneously, pilot four first noticed engine roughness and afterwards accompanying static on the radio."

"Radios of all here on "C" channel at time of observations. All four pilots attempted to smooth out the engine by manipulation of propeller mixture and throttle control to no avail."

Discussion:

The 358th Fighter Group of the Army Air Force was then in France, in Vitry-le-Francois, since September 14, 1944, and conducted escort and ground attack operations on eastern France and Germany.

They used the powerful single-seat fighter Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt".

Above:
a P-47D of the 358th in France after a crash-landing due
to German flak damages.

I did not find the amperage of the electrical circuit of the P-47, but it was using 24 volts power supplied by a battery ("P-47 Thunderbolt at War," page 32). I found a picture where we see the ammeter shows 0 to 100 amps, 50 amps corresponding to the halfway point:

In the 16 reports of "Foo-Fighters" above Alsace in the following months I've identified, there is not a single instance of engine problems or radio noise at the time of observation.

The Germans were using for their night fighters airborne radars like the "Lichtenstein" series, operating in the UHF radio like the P-47 radio; one might assume that the simultaneous radio interference was caused by such radar sets, or by corresponding jamming. However, the simultaneous engine problems obviously cannot be explained like this. Contrary to some never documented claims, or speculation as in [su1], the Germans had had no means of disrupting enemy aircraft engines.

For me the incident remains unexplained, but not necessarily inexplicable by trivial causes. It deserved to be reported, but it does not seem to me to be necessarily related to UFOs. Could these engine troubles be explained by bad fuel?

Evaluation:

Unexplained. Not necessarily related to UFOs.

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 3, 2014 Creation, [kc1], [jd1], [su1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 3, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 3, 2014.