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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 Bettendorf, on February 14, 1945:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1945-02-14-BETTTENDORF-1

Summary:

In his 2012 book on UFOs and other flying saucers sightings in Alsace, Christian Valentin recounts some observations of the famous "Foo-Fighters" in Alsace in 1944-1945, and found in addition to the "classic" Foo-fighters a tragic event perhaps in connection with the latter.

He says that Captain Pierre Schauffelberger, French pilot, was shot in flight during a reconnaissance mission at high altitude by flak in the afternoon of February 14, 1945. And he is quoted in a commemorative plaque by the AAHAA, Association of Friends of the History of Aviation in Alsace.

He had broken radio silence and had exclaimed: "I see a white ball coming toward me" - which will be his last words. His P-38 Lightning "273" disrupted by the fatal shots he had just received, fell at high speed. In a final effort he avoided the village of Bettendorf, skimming the rooftops. He lost one of the engines and crashed in a field outside the village.

Christian Valentin comments that the "white ball" is a curious description for flak, given the bullets speed. He should have expolicitely told about flak rather than of a "white ball coming toward me."

Moreover, the text refers to several "fatal blows" after the pilot announced that only one "white ball" came towards him.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 14, 1945
Time: Afternoon
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2012
Reporting delay: Decades

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Bettendorf
Place: Flying in a P-38 fighter plane near Bettendorf, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.584
Longitude: 7.277
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: French military fighter pilot.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By radio during the sighting.
Type of location: Flying in a P-38 fighter plane, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Unexplained.

Sources:

[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 reports some of the observations of the famous "Foo-Fighters" in Alsace in 1944-1945, and indicates that in addition to these "classic" sightings, there has been a tragic event "probably not related to the phenomenon of foo fighters, but whose appearance prompts to brings the facts together."

He says that Captain Pierre Schauffelberger, French pilot, was shot in flight during a reconnaissance mission at high altitude by flak in the afternoon of February 14, 1945. And he is quoted in a commemorative plaque by the AAHAA, Association of Friends of the History of Aviation in Alsace.

He had broken radio silence and had exclaimed: "I see a white ball coming toward me" - which will be his last words. His P-38 Lightning "273" disrupted by the fatal shots he had just received, fell at high speed. In a final effort he avoided the village of Bettendorf, skimming the rooftops. He lost one of the engines and crashed in a field outside the village.

Christian Valentin comments that the "white ball" is a curious description for flak, given the bullets speed. He should have expolicitely told about flak rather than of a "white ball coming toward me."

Moreover, the text refers to several "fatal blows" after the pilot announced that only one "white ball" came towards him.

Discussion:

The memorial stone can be found like this: from the center of Bettendorf (Townhall - Church) 5 km southeast of Altkirch, go up the Captain Schaufelberger street, at the fork of the cross, turn right and go up the whole Bettendorf street. After the last houses continue on the asphalt road that narrows into a farming path. At the fork, take the right path marked with a red triangle, follow it, move past the lower pond on the right staying on the trail. The stone is 30 meters away, surrounded by two cypress trees.

Pierre Schauffelberger was born in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 5, 1915. He was killed with "Died for France" honor while on mission within the Belfort 1/33 Reconnaissance Group which had been reconstituted in January 1945. He had left Nancy-Azelot, flying a Lockheed Lightning P-38; while the GR 01/33 was just reformed.

(Sources: Jean-Loup Frommer; www.er133belfort.free.fr; www.memoiredeshommes.sga; C. Dannau www.memorial-genweb.org; http://francecrashes39-45.net/page_fiche_av.php?id=5434)

Francecrashes39-45.net lists all crashes of aircraft from 1939 to 1945 in France. We see no night fighter aircraft types has never been lost in the Upper Rhine and the Lower Rhine. In cases of "Foo-Fighters" in the Rhine Valley, there has never been one report mentioning "hostility" of these phenomena, rather, avoidance is sometimes indicated. All Alsatian Foo-Fighters the period 1939-1945 seem to have been nocturnal; the reconnaissance mission of Pierre Schauffelberger was necessarily by day. We see that this case does not "fit" with the others on these aspects.

The "white ball" cannot be an engine fire; it would never be described as advancing to the pilot that since the P-38 (picture below) has its two engines on the side beams, left and right of the central pilot pod.

Lockheed P-38 "Lightning".

Evaluation:

Unexplained.

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 April 19, 2016 Creation, [cv2].
1.0 Patrick Gross April 19, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on April 19, 2016.