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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 Erstein, on December 14, 1944:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1944-12-14-ERSTEIN-1

Summary:

In the December 1944 operations log of the 415th NFS, an American night fighter squadron based at Ochey, France, an excerpt said that an airman saw a brilliant red light at 2000 feet going east at 200 miles per hour, in the sector of Erstein, at 06:40 p.m. on December 14, 1944.

The on board radar set being non operational, he could not check radar contact, but he followed it with his eyes until it went out.

He could not get close enough to identify the object before it went out.

In his report of January 30, 1945, to the Tactical Air Command, the 415th NFS intelligence officer, Fred Ringwald, had compiled observations by this unit of the so-called "foo fighters", and indicated for this one that it had taken place on the night of 14 to 15 December 1944. He added that the light was big.

Ringwald stated that in all cases he listed where the pilot had called the radar station on the ground and asked if there was any aircraft detected in the area, he had received a negative answer.

Another of his logs said: "December 14/15, 1944 - Mission 1 - 1735-1915 - Saw light which appeared to be 4 or 5 times larger than a star going about 700 MPH near Erstein. Couldn't get sighting - Poor visibility."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 14, 1944
Time: 06:40 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: December 1944
Reporting delay: Hours, days.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Erstein
Place: From a Bristol Beaufighter at 330 meters in the vicinity of Erstein, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.423
Longitude: 7.662
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Military pilot.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: US Army Air Force mission report.
Type of location: From a Bristol Beaufighter at 330 meters, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified, low strangeness.

Sources:

[Ref. us1:] US ARMY AIR FORCE - 415TH NFS WAR DIARY:

S E C R E T

WAR DIARY

415 NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON

[.. Unrelated information...]

OCHEY AIR BASE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 1944

15. The following is an excerpt from the operations report: "Saw a brilliant red light at 2000 feet going E at 200 MPH in the vicinity of Erstein. Due to AI failure could not pick up contact but followed it by sight until it went out. Could not get close enough to identify object before it went out."

[... unrelated information...]

And:

December 14/15, 1944 - Mission 1 - 1735-1915 - Saw light which appeared to be 4 or 5 times larger than a star going about 700 MPH near Erstein. Couldn't get sighting - Poor visibility.

[Ref. us2:] FRED B. RINGWALD, US ARMY AIR FORCE:

The 415th Night Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Air force was formed in February 1943 and it carried out patrols in the Mediterranean and then North-west Europe during World War II.

Through April 1945, the squadron flew patrols and intruder missions, concentrating its attacks on enemy installations, supplies, communications, and troops. It used Bristol Beaufighter British planes at that time.

In December 1944, members of the 415th made multiple reports of what they called "foo-fighters", as recorded in a January 30, 1945, report to Tactical Air Command by intelligence officer Fred Ringwald. It is interesting to note that Ringwald himself was one of the first witnesses of the Foo-fighters on the Rhine combat zone.

Here are the parts of that report about the sighting in their case file:


1. In compliance with paragraph 2 of 1st Incl., the following extracts from the Sortie Reports of various pilots who have encountered the Night Phenomenon are submitted for your information.

Night of 14-15 December 1944 - "In vicinity of Erstein (V-9381) flying at 1000 ft. observed large red light at 2000 ft. going East at 18:40 hrs. Travelling at approximately 200 MPH"

[... other sightings ...]

2. In every case where pilot called CGI Central and asked if there was a Bogey A/C in the area he received a negative answer.

F. B. RINGWALD [Fred B. Ringwald, the unit's S-2 Intelligence Officer.]
Captain, [Illegible] Intelligence Officer

Note: the report lists several other sightings in Alsace, those have their own case files. It also lists several sightings whose location is unknown to me as they were coded such as "Q-9050", "Q-1378" etc... these location may have been over Alsace, over elsewhere in France, or over Germany. As I did not find the meaning for these locations codes, I cannot include these other sighting in ALSACAT for now.

[Ref. ht1:] SARASOTA "HERALD-TRIBUNE":

Some excerpts from the unit's [415th NFS] log:

[...]

Dec. 15, 1944: A pilot's mission report stated: 'Saw a brilliant red light at 2,000 feet going east at 200 miles per hour in the vicinity of Erstein. Due to AI failure, could not pick up contact but followed it by sight until it went out. Could not get close enough to identify object before it went out."

[Ref. ni1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

[... other cases ...]

Dec. 14/15, 1944; Erstein, Germany

Brilliant red light & appeared to be 4 or 5 times larger than a star going 200 mph. (Page 96,130 Ref.1)

[... other cases ...]

References:

Ref. 1, Strange Company (2007), Keith Chester

[Ref. ht1:] "HERALD-TRIBUNE":

Some excerpts from the unit's log:

[... other case ...]

Dec. 15, 1944: A pilot's mission report stated: 'Saw a brilliant red light at 2,000 feet going east at 200 miles per hour in the vicinity of Erstein. Due to AI failure, could not pick up contact but followed it by sight until it went out. Could not get close enough to identify object before it went out."

[Ref. cv2:] CHRISTIAN VALENTIN:

Former journalist Christian Valentin published in 2012 a very interesting book telling the story of UFO sightings, flying saucers sightings, in Alsace, from the beginning to 1980.

In this book, he wrote a chapter about the "Foo Fighters" with a general presentation of the topic followed by a chronology of cases.

He says that from the end of September to the end of November 1944, the US 415th Night Fighter Squadron was based on the Dijon Longvic air base, before moving to the old Toul air base on the plate of Ochey, rebuilt by the US military with an artificial landing strip.

One of the reported observation was on December 15, 1944, and he quotes:

"Saw brilliant red light at 2000 feet, going eastward at a speed of 200 miles / hour (320 km / h) near Erstein. Following failure of on board instrumentation, was not able to contact but followed at eyesight until disappearance. Did not get near enough to identify it."

He indicates that this is a translated extract of "War Diaries et Unit Reporting" - 415th Night Fighter Squadron, Ochey Air Base, France, according to Barry Greenwood, in Just Cause #32 and #33, CUFON - Computer UFO Network - Seattle, Washington, USA.

[Ref. th1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Date: Dec. 14/15, 1944

Location: Erstein, Germany [sic]

Time:

Summary: Brilliant red light & appeared to be 4 or 5 times larger than a star going 200 mph.

Source: Page 96,130 Ref.1

Discussion:

Jacket badge of the US 415th Night Fighters Squadron,
showing the British Bristol Beaufighter plane
they used at that time.

Crews of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Force reported their nocturnal observations of what they called "Foo Fighters" above the Rhine valley then occupied by the Germans, between November 1944 and April 1945, as their base was in Dijon and Ochey in France.

Their plane at the time of these events was the British Bristol Beaufighter (Image below), often calle "Beau" in the operations reports.

Their reports about "Foo-Fighters" apparently ceased when the Germans lost the West banks of the Rhine Valley.

About this sighting:

Erstein is in France, about 17 km to the south of Strasbourg.

The moon - one may think of a red moon or a moon partially hidden by clouds - can be excluded, it set down at 4 p.m.. And Mars was down since 03:44 p.m. The ission started at 05:35 p.m.

Evaluation:

Unidentified, low strangeness.

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 March 27, 2017 Creation, [us1], [us2], [ht1], [kc1], [ni1], [ht1], [cv2], [ta1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 27, 2017 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 27, 2017