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ACUFO:

ACUFO is my comprehensive catalog of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO 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.

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Attu, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA, on July 26-27, 1943:

Case number:

ACUFO-1943-07-26-ATTU-1

Summary:

In a monograph he wrote in 1971, US ufologist Loren Gross, told that in the book "The Thousand-Mile War", by Brian Garfield, we learn that in the logs of the warships involved on the Aleutian theater in 1943, during the incident called the "Battle of the Pips", on July 22, 1943, a PBY Catalina recon plane picked up seven unidentified objects moving on the surface of the ocean southwest of Attu. No visual contact was made because of thick clouds, but since the whereabouts of every American Navy ship was known, it was assumed that the objects were Japanese ships. The regional American Commander, Admiral Kinkaid, dispatched a task force to intercept the enemy. Though the PBY Catalina maintained radar contact for six hours before losing the targets, U.S. Naval units failed to arrive in time to sight and engage the apparent enemy vessels.

But Brian Garfield had also explained that as there was too much fog in the area in this incident of July 26 and 27, 1943, there was no possibility to see what caused the radar echoes. This cause was later understood as being flocks of a species of petrel birds that migrate in this area in this period every year.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: July 26-27, 1943
Time: ?
Duration: 6 hours.
First known report date: 1943
Reporting delay: Hours, weeks.

Geographical data:

Country: USA
State/Department: Alaska
City: Attu, Aleutian Islands

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military logs, History book.
Visibility conditions: Fog, no visibility.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Move slowly above the ocean.
Witnesses action: Try to intercept with warships, fire shells.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Ennemy warships.

Classifications:

Sensors: [ ] Visual:
[X] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: ?
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Radar echoes of birds.

Sources:

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

The book: The Thousand-Mile War, by Brian Garfield, is a scholarly, factual account of World War II military action in the Aleutian theater. On page 318 author Garfield felt compelled to use the word "eerie". Researching the logs of the warships involved, Mr. Garfield was able to reconstruct what he called the mysterious "battle of the pips" which he says: "...has yet to be explained."

According to Garfield, on July 22, 1943, a Catalina recon plane picked up seven unidentified objects moving on the surface of the ocean southwest of Attu. No visual contact was made because of thick clouds, but since the whereabouts of every American Navy ship was known, it was assumed that the objects were Japanese ships. The regional American Commander, Admiral Kinkaid, dispatched a task force to intercept the enemy. Though the PBY maintained radar contact for six hours before losing the targets, U.S. Naval units failed to arrive in time to sight and engage the apparent enemy vessels.

Aircraft information:

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was a seaplane produced in the 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.

PBY Calalina.

Its range was about 2,520 miles (4,060 km, 2,190 nmi).

For its defense, it was equipped with 2 Browning 1919 7.62 mm machine guns in the nose, 1 Browning M2 12.7 mm at the front, 1 Browning 1919 7.62 mm at the rear, and 2 20 mm cannon in the nose. It could carry 900 kg of bombs and two torpedoes or anti-submarine grenades.

Discussion:

Map.

The "Battle of the Pips" aka "Battle of the Blips", was an incident that took place on July 26 and 27, 1943, in the Aleutian islands, to prepare an amphibious assault on the island of Kiska planned for August 1943. The U.S. Navy Task Group 16.22 under command of Rear Admiral Robert M. Griffin, centered on the battleships Mississippi and Idaho, was accompanied by PBY Catalina reconnaissance seaplanes equipped with radar.

West of Kiska, a series of unknown radar contacts were made, and the order was given to open fire. Shells were fired from both battleships, but there were no hits observed.

What Loren Gross did not know is that author Brian Garfield noted that radar echoes interpretations was then somehow unreliable, and as the weather conditions around the Aleutians were quite bad, with the very poor visibility, the radar echoes were probably rafts of sooty or short-tailed shearwaters, migratory petrel that pass through the Aleutians in July every year. Garfield explained that this was confirmed ny analysis by modern Aleutian fishing-boat captains.

This explanation appeared in several historical sources, such as "Remembering the 'Forgotten War' - The Joint Operations Flaws of the Aleutian Campaign ", by Jessica D. Pisano, in JFQ 104, 1st Quarter 2022.

I note that the US Navy men at the time did not interpret the echoes as anything extraterrestrial, they interpreted the echoes as Japanese ships.

Evaluation:

Radar echoes of birds flocks.

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 November 16, 2023 Creation, [lgs1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 16, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on November 16, 2023.