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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 Bischwiller, on February 13, 1945:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1945-02-13-BISCHWILLER-1

Summary:

In 1944-1945, crews of the 415th Nigh Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Force had repeatedly reported strange lights in the night sky during their missions in the Rhine valley combat zone. They were called "Foo-Fighters" by the crews.

In a combat diary, it appears that one of the 415th NFS members reported a sighting on February 13, 1945, about 07:10 p.m., between Rastatt and Bischwiller.

He encountered two sets of lights at 3000 feet, he turned into them, one went out and the other went straight up 2000 to 3000 feet, then went out.

He turned back to base, looked back and saw that the lights were in their original position again.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 13, 1945
Time: ~07:10 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: February 1945
Reporting delay: Hours, days?

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Bischwiller
Place: Between Bischwiller and Rastatt.
Latitude: 48.829
Longitude: 8.047
Uncertainty ratio: 13 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 or more.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: US Army Air Force night fighter pilot.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Ground attack mission report.
Type of location: From night fighter plane, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified.

Sources:

[Ref. us1:] U.S. AIR FORCE 415TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON:

UNIT REPORTING : 415TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON

MISSIONS : 3 MISSIONS 3 SORTIES DATE 13/14 FEBRUARY

REPORT:

[...Unrelated information...]

2. Intruder Mission - 1700-2000 hours. Neustadt, Karlsruhe and Manheim. Dropped leaflets and Landau at 1830. At 1840 sighted convoy going north at R-3082, strafed and damaged 8 M/T; while strafing, some of shots veered off at Neustadt M/Y and caused a tremendous explosion and fire, believed it a tank car. Fire could be seen for 15 miles. At 1845 hours, sighted another convoy going east at R-3095 - damaged 5 M/T. At 1850, fired at lights at R-7090 causing explosion and five separate fires; thought to be Branch Ordnance Depot at Heidelburg [sic, "Heidelberg"]. About 1900 near river at Bruschal, strafed but had to leave due to accurate 10 gun, 40mm flak at R-6856. 3 minutes later, sighted 3 vehicles going south at R-4131, strafed them, destroyed 1 and damaged 2 M/T. About 1910, between Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], encountered lights at 3000 ft., two sets of them, turned into them, one went out and the other went straight up 2-3000 ft, then went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original position again. Large explosion near Luneville, thought it one of our P-47s that crashed.

[...Unrelated information...]

[Ref. bg1:] BARRY GREENWOOD:

In his ufology bulletin "Just Cause" for September 1992, ufologist Barry Greenwood told that On September 3, 1992, he visited the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland in an effort to locate additional records on Foo-Fighters, and he found fifteen documents were found with fragments of new information.

The focus of the search were the "Mission Reports" records of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, the unit responsible for many of the Foo-Fighter sightings of the period in the Rhine Valley. One of them told about the case in this file:

UNIT REPORTING : 415TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON

MISSIONS : 3 MISSIONS 3 SORTIES DATE 13/14 FEBRUARY

REPORT:

[...Unrelated information...]

2. Intruder Mission - 1700-2000 hours. Neustadt, Karlsruhe and Manheim. Dropped leaflets and Landau at 1830. At 1840 sighted convoy going north at R-3082, strafed and damaged 8 M/T; while strafing, some of shots veered off at Neustadt M/Y and caused a tremendous explosion and fire, believed it a tank car. Fire could be seen for 15 miles. At 1845 hours, sighted another convoy going east at R-3095 - damaged 5 M/T. At 1850, fired at lights at R-7090 causing explosion and five separate fires; thought to be Branch Ordnance Depot at Heidelburg. About 1900 near river at Bruschal, strafed but had to leave due to accurate 10 gun, 40mm flak at R-6856. 3 minutes later, sighted 3 vehicles going south at R-4131, strafed them, destroyed 1 and damaged 2 M/T. About 1910, between Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], encountered lights at 3000 ft., two sets of them, turned into them, one went out and the other went straight up 2-3000 ft, then went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original position again. Large explosion near Luneville, thought it one of our P-47s that crashed.

[...Unrelated information...]

[Ref. dw2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

DATE 45.02.13
TIME 19:10
COUNTRY Germany
LOCATION between Rastatt and Bishwiller
TYPE OF PLANE AND WITNESSES M several USAAF fighters (415th NFS) pilots
UFO DESCRIPTION 2 groups of light at 2.300 ft high
Radar
CODES G X E X
SOURCES 388

The "388" source is indicated as "UFO Briefing document: the best available evidence, D. Berliner and A. Huneeus (1995)".

[Ref. db1:] DON BERLINER:

Don Berliner says that documents regarding foo fighter incidents are still being discovered even 50 years after the end of World War II. In 1992, researcher Barry Greenwood of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) went to the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland and located fifteen "Mission Reports" from the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, covering a period between September 1944 and April 1945. It included:

"February 13/14, 1945 - Mission 2, 18:00-20:00. About 19:10, between Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], encountered lights at 3,000 feet, two sets of them, turned into them, one set went out and the other went straight up 2-3,000 feet [600 - 900 m.], then went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original position again."

The source is indicated as "Greenwood, Barry, "More Foo-Fighter Records Released," Just Cause, No. 33, CAUS, September 1992."

Don Berliner commented: "Suggested explanations, both at the time and subsequently, have included prototype enemy anti-aircraft devices, St. Elmo's fire (glowing balls of static electricity) and simple misidentification of other airplanes."

And: "In order to accept any of the above explanations, one would have to discount the observational skills of scores of veteran combat pilots and their crew members whose very survival depended on their ability to instantly identify and react to any potential threat."

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

Feb. 13/14, 1945; Bt. Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], Germany

Two sets of lights; separated after being attacked and then returned to original position. (Page 136 Ref.1)

The source is indicated as the book "Strange Company", by Keith Chester, page 136, 2007.

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

13 February 1945 19:10

Rastatt, Germany

USAAF Pilots - 415th NFS incident.

Two groups of light [Sic] at 2, 300' Unusual objects were sighted, that had unconventional appearance and aerobatic performance. Two lights were observed by several male experienced military witnesses in a warplane.

Hynek rating: NL

Vallee rating: MA1

The sources are indicated as: "Weinstein, Dominique, Aircraft UFO Encounters, Project ACUFOE, Paris, 1999; 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 abse, 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 February 13, 1945, and he quotes:

"Around 7:10 p.m., between Rastatt and Bischwiller, encountered lights at 3,000 feet, in two groups. Directed myself towards them. One disappeared and the other shot straight up to 2 or 3 thousand feet before disappearing. Took the heading of the base again and, looking back, saw that the lights had resumed their original position."

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 N°32 et 33, CUFON - Computer UFO Network - Seattle, Washington, USA.

[Ref. rp1:] ROBERT POWELL:

This author cites this U.S. Air Force report:

February 13 and 14, 1945

Mission 2 - 1800-2000. About 1910, between Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], encountered lights at 3000 feet, two sets of them, turned into them, one set went out and the other went straight up 2-3,000 feet [600 - 900 m.], then went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original position again.

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

Date: Feb. 13/14, 1945

Location: Between Rastatt and Bishwiller [sic, "Bischwiller"], Germany

Time:

Summary: Two sets of lights; separated after being attacked and then returned to original position.

Source:

Discussion:

I must first point out that many other French-speaking and English-speaking websites copy the extract from the US Air Force mission report found by Barry Greenwood, citing or not citing the sources. Some copy my article about the "Foo Fighters", with or without source and most often with an incorrect link to my article. The worst is a French webmaster who copied my entire article, which was itself copied again onto a UFO forum, and he complained about that!

There is obviously little interest that I cite all these copycats.

The location is obviously imprecise: Bischwiller (not "Bishwiller" is in Alsace in France, not in Germany, but Rastatt is in Germany. If the place was truly midway on a straight line between the two village, it was in Alsace, but nothing is less sure:

For general information about the "Foo-Fighters" of the Rhine valley in 1944-1945, refer to my discussion on this other case.

There is also information about the poential of confusions of airplanesin the discussion of this other case.

The 415th NFS received their first P-61 "Black Widow" on March 20, 1945. For this observation, the plane is this still a British-built Bristol Beaufighter in its night fighter version.

A Bristol Beaufighter of the 415th NFS.

It would be quite tempting to think that the "Foo-Fighters" reported here would be Messerchmitt Me-262 jet night fighters, but historically they can be eliminated. The only unit to dispose of it is the "Kommando Welter" attached to the NJG 11, it then operates against the attacks of "Mosquito" in the sector of Berlin and is based in Rechlin-Lärz in the north of Allemagnem then in Burg near Magdeburg - on the route of the "Mosquito" attacking Berlin - and above all, only the leader of the Kommando, Oberleutnant Kurt Welter, has flown night flights then - with 5 victories to his credit. Only his own Me-262 is equipped with UV lamps to read maps and other adaptations; the plan is his five pilots will start their training for night flights, it is expected that they fight in the days that follow.

(See: "Me 262 – Entwicklung, Erprobung und Fertigung des ersten einsatzfähigen Düsenjägers der Welt", by Willy Radinger and Walter Schick, Aviatic Verlag, Oberhaching, Germany, page 75, 1992.)

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 Febrruary 6, 2018 Creation, [us1], [bg1], [db1], [dw1], [dw2], [lh1], [kc1], [ni1], [ud1], [cv2], [rp1], [ta1].
1.0 Patrick Gross Febrruary 6, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on Febrruary 6, 2018.