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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 Haguenau, on December 22, 1944:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1944-12-22-HAGUENAU-1

Summary:

An operation report of the 415th Night Fighters Squadron of the US Army Air Force reported an observation of what was then called "Foo-Fighters" that took place in the night of December 22 to 23, 1944, in the Haguenau area.

A patrol was operating in the area "Angels 10" about Sarrebourg north and south of the highway and saw at 06:00 p.m., two lights coming toward them from the ground, seen somewhere in the vicinity of Haguenau.

After reaching the altitude of the aircraft, the lights stabilized and remained on the tail of the plane for about 2 minutes.

The lights had the appearance of large orange glows. They departed then flew level with the aircraft for a few minutes and then went out. They seemed to have been in complete control at all times.

By ufologist Harold Wilkins, we learn in 1954 that the pilot was Lt. David McFalls, from Cliffside, North Carolina, and his radar operator was Lt. Edward Baker of Hemat, California. We also learn that their plane flew at 10,000 feet.

Less reliable subsequent versions ensure that the pilot tried several maneuvers to "shake" the light but without success.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 22, 1944
Time: 06:00 p.m.
Duration: Several minutes.
First known report date: December 1944
Reporting delay: Hours, days.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Haguenau
Place: From a flying Beaufighter night fighter near Haguenau, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.814
Longitude: 7.792
Uncertainty ratio: 50 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1 or 2
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Night fighter pilot and radar operator.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operation report.
Type of location: From a flying Beaufighter night fighter, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: Yes
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.

Sources:

[Ref. us1:] U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE - 415THE NFS WAR DIARY:

A microfilm roll containing the unit history and war diaries of the 415th night fighters squadron in the archive of the U.S. Air Force contains several Foo Fighters incidents reports, including the on over Haguenau in 1944. This is the primary source for this incident [usa]. It says:

War Diary Page 2 December 1944

S E C R E T

WAR DIARY
415 NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON
OCHEY AIR BASE, FRANCE
DECEMBER 1944

[... Unrelated information...]

23. More Foo-Fighters were in the air last night. The Ops. Report says: "In vicinity of Hagenau [sic] Saw 2 lights coming Toward A/C from ground. After reaching the altitude of the A/C they leveled off and flew on the tail of Beau for 2 minutes And they peeled up and turned away. 8th mission - sighted 2 orange lights. One light sighted at 10,000 the other climbed until it disappeared.

[... Unrelated information...]

[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.

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


1. In compliance with paragraph 3 of 1st Incl., the following extracts from the Sortie Reports of various pilots who have encountered the Night Phenomenon are submitted for your information.

[... other sightings ...]

Night of 22-23 December 1944 - "Patrolling at Angels 10 from Sarrebourg North and South of highway. At 06:00 hrs. saw two lights coming towards A/C from the ground. Upon reaching altitude of plane, they leveled off and stayed on my tail for approximately 2 minutes. Lights appeared to be large orange glow. After staying with A/C for approximately 2 minutes, they would peel off and turn away, fly along level for a few minutes and then go out. They appeared to be under perfect control at all times. Lights were seen somewhere in vicinity of Hagenau [sic]."

[... 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 locations 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. jc1:] JO CHAMBERLIN:

On December 22-23, 1944, another 415th night fighter squadron pilot and radar-observer were flying at 10,000 feet altitude near Hagenau [sic]. "At 0600 hours we saw two lights climbing toward us from the ground. Upon reaching our altitude, they leveled off and stayed on my tail. The lights appeared to be large orange glows. After staying with the plane for two minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control, and then went out."

[Ref. ht1:] HAROLD T. WILKINS:

No other observations of queer things in the sky came the way of the U.S. 415th Night Fighter squadron until three days before Christmas 1944. On Dec. 22, 1944, Lieut. David McFalls, native of Cliffside, North Carolina, and Lieut. Edward Baker, radar observer - he is a native of Hemat, Calif. - were flying 10,000 feet up, just south of Hagenau [sic], In the old German Reichsland, or Alsace-Lorrain (the German Elsass-Lothringen). Hagenau [sic] is 20 miles north of Strasbourg, and 16 miles west of the Rhine.

Here is the report of U.S. pilot McFall:

"At 0600 (six p.m.) near Hagenau [sic], at 10,000 feet altitude, two very bright lights climbed towards us from the ground. They leveled off and stayed on the tail of our plane. They were huge, bright orange lights. They stayed there for two minutes. On my tail all the time. They were under perfect control. Then they turned away from us, and the fire seemed to go out."

[Ref. gl1:] GORDON LORE AND HAROLD DENNEAULT:

In a similar incident, another veteran pilot of the 415th and his radar operator were awe-struck when two "large orange glows" of unknown origin climbed rapidly toward them during a mission over Hagenau [sic], Germany [sic], at 6:00 A.M., on December 22, 1944. They had been flying at 10,000 feet.

"Upon reaching our altitude," the pilot said, the objects "leveled off and stayed on my tail." He went into a steep dive and the "glows" followed in sharp precision. He banked as sharply as he dared and the objects followed. For two minutes the "lights" stalked the fighter through several intricate maneuvers, peeled off under perfect control, then blinked out.

[Ref. cf1:] JEROME CLARK AND LUCIUS FARISH:

These ufologists indicated that on December 22nd a pilot with the 415 Night Fighter Squadron encountered two "large orange glows" which climbed rapidly toward him as he flew over Hagenau [sic], Germany [sic], at six a.m. The radar operator also saw the strange objects.

"Upon reaching our altitude," the pilot said, they "leveled off and stayed on my tail." He executed a steep dive, a sharp bank, and other intricate maneuvers but the objects matched them all. "After staying with the plane for two minutes," he said, "they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control, and then went out."

[Ref. mb1:] MICHEL BOUGARD:

The author indicates that on 22 December 1944, two pilots of the 415th Fighter Squadron based in Dijon, Lieutenants David McFalls and Edward Baker, flew over Hagenau [sic] at a height of 3000 meters. While they were 32 km north of Strasbourg and 26 km west of the Rhine, the pilot made the following communication:

"It's 6:00 pm. Two very bright lights left the ground and headed for us, and they're following us right now."

It was two orange spheres that stayed in the wake of the plane for two minutes, then abruptly abandoned the plane and disappeared.

[Ref. il1:] ILLOBRAND VON LUDWIGER:

German ufologist Illobrand von Ludwiger used the case in an article on Foo Fighters as was reported by Wilkins [ht1].

[Ref. ld1:] "LUMIERES DANS LA NUIT" MAGAZINE:

12.22.44 region of Haguenau (France)

Flying at night, about twenty kilometers north of Strasbourg, Lieutenant David McFalls of the 415th NFS is followed for two more minutes by two enormous phosphorescent masses of orange.

[Ref. db1:] DON BERLINER:

Don Berliner says that on December 22, 1944 "over Hagenau [sic], Germany [sic], the pilot and radar operator" of an American night fighter encountered two "large orange glows" which climbed rapidly towards them. When the pilot dove steeply and banked sharply, the objects stayed with him. The pilot stated:

"Upon reaching our altitude, they levelled off and stayed on my tail... After two minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control."

The source is indicated as "Clark, Jerome, and Farish, Lucius, "The Mysterious 'Foo Fighters' of World War II," 1977 UFO Annual."

[Ref. dw2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

DATE 44.12.22
TIME 17:05
COUNTRY France
LOCATION Haguenau area
TYPE OF PLANE AND WITNESSES a USAAF night fighter (415th NFS) pilot
UFO DESCRIPTION two huge orange luminous shapes followed the plane at 10.000ft high
Radar
CODES G X E X
SOURCES 352/388/405/03

The 352, 388 and 405 sources are indicated to be "UFO ai confini della realta, special issue of february 1986 of monthly aeronautical magazine JP4"; "UFO Briefing document: the best available evidence, D. Berliner et A. Huneeus (1995)"; "1995 Korean UFO wave, Sunglyul Maeng, 1996".

[Ref. pb1:] PETER BROOKESMITH:

On 22 December 1944, Lt. David McFalls of the US 415th night-fighter Squadron was over Haguenau, Germany. At 6:00am, he saw to 'huge, bright orange lights' climbing towards the plane. McFalls dived, banked and turned his plane, but the UFO stuck with him for two minutes, then peeled off and blinked out.

[Ref. uw2:] "UFOWEB" WEBSITE:

CITIES DEPT LATITUDES LONGITUDES YEARS
Haguenau 67 48,817 7.783 1944

[Ref. nc1:] NICK COOK:

Bit by bit, the reports entered the realm of officialdom. In archives and on the Internet, I found dozens of them.

"At 0600, at 10,000 feet, two very bright lights climbed toward us from the ground," another pilot from the 415th told intelligence officers after an encounter on December 22, near Haguenau, close to where Schlueter, Meiers and Ringwald had been. "They leveled off and stayed on the tail of our plane. They were huge bright orange lights. They stayed there for two minutes. On my tail all the time. They were under perfect control. Then they turned away from us, and the fire seemed to go out."

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN - "BASE OVNI FRANCE":

Haguenau (67) on 22 December 1944

General features

Num Base: 1206
Département: Bas Rhin (67)
Place of observation: Haguenau
Latitude: 48.816
Longitude: +7.783
Date of observation: 22 December 1944
Hour: 17:05 hours
Duration (HH:MM:SS): N.C.
Weather: No weather indication
Type of observation: Visual: close distance
Nbr of witness(es): 1
Official investigation: No

Features of the object

Nbr of object: 2
Type of object: Not-defined
Size: Not specified
Color: Orange
Luminosity: Brillant
Visual characteristics: No indication
Speed: not defined
Movement/Displacement: Follows a plane
Object on the ground: No
Instantaneous disappearance: No

Observation

The pilot of a fighter plane of the USAF observed two huge luminous shapes, orange colored. They followed the plane as it was at 3000 meters altitude.

Sources

UNIDENTIFIED AERIAL PHENOMENA EIGHTY YEARS OF PILO par Weinstein Dominique

[Ref. kr1:] EGON KRAGEL AND YVES COUPRIE:

The authors indicate that on December 22, 1944, Lieutenants David McFalls and Edward Schlueter flew above Haguenau in the Lower Rhine as pilots of the 415th Fighter Squadron based in Dijon. They stabilized at a height of 3000 meters when they noticed "two very bright lights that leave the ground and suddenly head towards the plane." Then these luminous balls, two orange spheres, began to follow them, attached to the wake of their plane. One of the pilots said: "After two minutes, they sped off by flying in a perfectly controlled manner."

The authors indicate that this is cited in "La Chronique des OVNIS" by Michel Bougard.

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

Dec. 14/15, 1944; Erstein, Germany [sic]

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

The indicated reference corresponds to "Strange Company (2007), Keith Chester".

[Ref. jb1:] JEROME BEAU:

Novembre - undefined 22 Witness 2, a pilot from the 415th American Fighter Squadron, and a radar navigate from Haguenau, when they see 2 large orange lights at high speed flying at 3500 m (10,000 ft). McFalls notes: "At 06:00 p.m. we watched 2 lights leave the ground heading towards us. Once at our altitude, they stabilized and remained behind my tail. The lights have the appearance of large orange gleams. After staying 2 minutes with the plane, they depart and veer in the distance, flying in a perfectly controlled manner, and left". The pilot dove to try to distance them, but without success.

The source is indicated as "Lore, Gordon I. R. Jnr., et Deneault, Harold H., Jnr., 'Mysteries of the Skies; UFOs in Perspective' p. 116 Prentice-Hall, New Jersey 1968."

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

22 December 1944 18:00

Hagenau [sic], France

USAAF Pilots - 415th NFS incident.

Two huge orange glowing spheres followed a U.S. Army Air Force warplane from the 415th NFS at 10,000 feet altitude over Hagenau [sic], France in the Bas-Rhine region. The pilots names were McFalls and Baker.

Two huge orange luminous spheres followed plane at 10,000' Objects were observed from a car. Two orange spheres, of huge size, were observed by two experienced male military witnesses in a warplane for two minutes (McFalls).

Hynek rating: CE1

Vallee rating: MA1

The sources are indicated as: "Weinstein, Dominique, Aircraft UFO Encounters, Project ACUFOE, Paris, 1999 Lore, Jr., Gordon I. R., Mysteries of the Skies: UFOs in Perspective, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1968; Hill, H. Edward, Catalog Through 1950, (in 5HHL); Wilkins, Harold T., Flying Saucers on the Attack, Ace Star A-11, New York, 1967; Vallee, Jacques, Anatomy of a Phenomenon, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1965; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); Arnold, Kenneth, Coming of the Saucers, Authors, Amherst, 1952; Hall, Richard H., From Airships to Arnold: A Preliminary Catalogue of UFO Reports in the Early 20th Century (1900-1946), UFO Research Coalition, Fairfax, 2000, ISBN:1-928957-01-3; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002"

[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 22, 1944, and he quotes:

"Near Haguenau, saw two lights coming towards the aircraft from the ground. After reaching the altitude of the aircraft, they stabilized behind the "Beau" to stay for 2 minutes, then detached and moved away."

Regarding the name "Beau", he notes that it is the contraction of "Bristol Beaufighter", the first fighter plane with a radar, manufactured by Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd in the U-K, and that the 415th Night Fighter Squadron flew on Beaufighter NF MK 6 F.

He indicates that this is a translated extract of "War Diaries et Unit Reporting" - 145th Night Fighter Squadron, Orhey Air Base, France according to Barry Greenwood, in Just Cause #32 and #33, CUFON - Computer UFO Network - Seattle, Washington, USA.

[Ref. sp4:] "SPICA" UFOLOGY ASSOCIATION:

The case was recorder three times instead of one in their listing:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
HAGUENAU Thursday 23 November 1944 at 22h00 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Unidentified
information not communicated
None
Unsolved -lack of info
HAGUENAU Friday 22 December 1944 at 17h05 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Unidentified
red
None
Unsolved -lack of info
HAGUENAU Sunday 24 December 1944 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Unidentified
orange
None
Unsolved -lack of info

Discussion:

In the Condon Report [con], Martin D. Altschuler says that Foo Fighters were St Elmo fire. However, it cannot be the correct explanation for this case, it is enough to read what St. Elmo fire are in Altschuler's text or elsewhere to realize that it does not appear as large orange light, does not climb from the ground towards planes, does not follow planes and does not fly away after two minutes. Other plasma phenomena such as ball lighting also do not apply.

To me, the crew's description of the actions of the orange light cannot match a natural phenomenon. The possibility that immediately comes to mind is another aircraft.

This idea is reinforced in the fact that the same crew reported another flame of red light, the following night, and added that when this other light turned, is "appeared in the shape of an aircraft."

In this context, and with the brevity of the original report, it is not unreasonable to consider that the crew was really thinking that they observed some sort of airplane. A UFO or flying saucer context did not exist to them, so a report and description of a light would not comprise any elements that would suggests they did not think it was some sort of aircraft of human construction.

It is also apparent that no extraordinary manoeuvers are reported except of the initial climb. As the orange lights follow the plane for two minutes, only classic aircraft speed seems at work, maybe faster however than the Beaufighter's speed.

If the light was an aircraft, it however cannot have been a very familiar aircraft, otherwise the crew would have given some sort of identification of it. It cannot be a very conventional enemy plane, or an enemy aircraft in close vicinity, because a dogfight would have likely resulted from the encounter.

It does appear that the crew did not think it was an ordinary aircraft and they did not react as they probably would have if they had thought that it can be an enemy aircraft. The report would nave have started with a sentence such as "More Foo-Fighters were in the air last night."

So I wondered whether they could have encountered some unarmed or non efficient new German aircraft that would emit an unusual amount of light so that it appears as an orange light, and climb fast and rather straight up.

By looking at Foo Fighters reports in general, it is apparent that most of them were probably not planes at all. But this does not mean that all Foo Fighters reports are not aircraft. Some could be, especially those seen at night - as this sighting occurred when the sky was dark.

Messerschmitt 163 "Komet", as its name suggests, would indeed produce a luminous gleam at night: it was the first rocket plane used in air battles in the world. It reaches 9000 meters of altitude in 2 minutes, or 12000 meters in 3 minutes, can still operate 3 to 4 minutes, and when the fuel is exhausted, the rocket is off and it glides down.

One Me-163 is shown at the USAF Museum at Dayton, Ohio, USA, another is shown at London's Science Museum, U-K.

From February 1944, Komet were precisely built in the Black Forest, not far from the place of this observation. In July 1944, 16 Komet are operational, their number would increase to 250 at the end of the 1944. Though a brilliant idea, the plane was a disaster in operation, with 80% of them destroyed in explosions of its dangerous fuel on the ground. The pilots damaged their spine at the time of takeoffs. The interceptions of bombers did not go well because the Komet was much faster, and they were often destroyed by P-51 Mustang fighters that protected the bombers once they started to glide down at a lower speed. While more than 400 Komet were built, they only shot down 9 allied bombers, which made Komet one of the less efficient combat plane ever built.

The reported manoeuvers are quite compatible with those of Komets: it comes from the ground, levels, turns away, and the rocket is off so the light turns off.

However, there are issues with such an explanation:

The 2nd Jagdgeschwader (JG) 400 Squadron, the first and only combat unit using the Me-163, was based on the Venlo airfield in Holland and carried out little action before it was moved to Brandis, near Leipzig in July 1944. At Brandis, the JG 400 experienced its strongest operational activity on September 28, 1944, when it was able to take off 9 Me-163 to intercept American bombers. It was daylight, and the story shows that there seems to have been no test of this airplane at night. The only Luftwaffe night test field was Estelle Retime.

Mano Ziegler, test pilot and then pilot of Me-163 at the JG 400 had been questioned about the possibility of night flights of the Me-163 and had replied: "Trying to land at night would put you in small pieces over the whole country!" (Ziegler p.113) In fact, the "Komet" has no landing light, which is equivalent, given its characteristics, to sure death in the case of an attempt to land at night.

In addition, the Me-163's range was only 25 miles under good conditions, so the JG 400 flew only in the Leipzig region.

I checked in another Aslatian Foo-Fighter case various other potential explanations that I will no republish here; none seems very convincing to me.

The map (above) shows Haguenau, in the Bas-Rhin in Alsace, and Sarrebourg, in the department of Moselle, in Lorraine. The border with Germany is the yellow line, the blue line is the border of the Bas-Rhin department in the Alsace region.

Evaluation:

Unidentified.

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 26, 2017 Creation.
1.0 Patrick Gross MArch 26, 2017 First published.

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