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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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Neustadt, Germany, in 1944:

Case number:



In 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Jo Chamberlin wrote the first non-military article, published in The American Legion Magazine in December 1945, about the Foo-Fighters, after interviewing witnesses in Europe and accessing mission reports.

After discussing the nocturnal sightings by airmen of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron operating in the Rhine Valley in the winter 1944-1945, he noted that daytime sightings had also occurred. As an example, he indicated that west of Neustadt, a P-47 pilot saw...

"... a gold-colored ball, with a metallic finish, which appeared to be moving slowly through the air. As the sun was low, it was impossible to tell whether the sun reflected off it, or the light came from within."

He added that another P-47 pilot reported "a phosphorescent golden sphere, 3 to 5 feet in diameter, flying at 2,000 feet."


Temporal data:

Date: Winter 1944-1945
Time: Day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: December 1945
Reporting delay: 1 year.

Geographical data:

Country: Germany
State/Department: Rhineland-Palatinate
City: Neustadt

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Jo Chamberlin article.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: None.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Sensors: [X] Visual: 2
[N/A] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: DD
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 8 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 1
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Possible weather balloon.


[Ref. jcn1:] JO CHAMBERLIN:

[... Other cases...]

What the 415th saw at night was borne out in part by day. West of Neustadt, a P-47 pilot saw "a gold-colored ball, with a metallic finish, which appeared to be moving slowly through the air. As the sun was low, it was impossible to tell whether the sun reflected off it, or the light came from within." Another P-47 pilot reported "a phosphorescent golden sphere, 3 to 5 feet in diameter, flying at 2,000 feet."

[... Other cases...]


A U.S. P-47 pilot saw 15 foo fighters by day at or near Neustadt in the same Rhenish area, some 40 miles west of the Rhine and 55 miles northwest of Strasbourg.

Here is his report:

"We were flying west of Neustadt when a golden sphere, which shone with a metallic glitter, appeared, slowly moving through the sky. The sun was not far above the sky line, which made it difficult to say whether or not the sun's rays were reflected from it or whether the glow came from within the ball itself."

A second P-47 (Thunderbolt) pilot also saw the same or another "Golden or phosphorescent, ball which appeared to be about four or five feet in diameter flying 2,000 feet up."


... but it was not long before [After December 24, 1944] a U.S. pilot, flying a P-47, encountered fifteen of the "Foo Fighters " in broad daylight over Neustadt.


Some time in late 1944, a P-47 pilot west of Neustadt, Germany, saw "a gold-colored ball with a metallic finish" moving slowly through the air. The sun was low in the sky so the observer could not tell if the sun was reflecting off the object or if the object had its own light source. A "phosphorescent golden sphere" three to five feet in diameter was seen by another P-47 pilot in the area.


In a rare daylight sighting, a P-47 pilot was able to describe a "Foo-fighter" that appeared to be constructed of metal. West of Neustadt, Germany, in 1944, the pilot observed "a gold-colored ball with a metallic finish" moving slowly through the air. The sun was low in the sky, making it impossible to tell whether the sun reflecting off the object or a light source from within was responsible for the weird lighting. A similar "foo-fighter," a phosphorescent golden sphere," estimated to be 3 to 5 feet in diameter and flying at 2,000 feet was reported in the same area by another P-47 pilot.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

At Air Group level a more somber view set in pilots flying the P-47 Thunderbolts reported an increasing number of objects in the air they described as "golden balls". Since the P-47s flew only daytime missions the phenomena being seen could not be tricks of light in the darkness.

[Ref. lwr1:] DR. LOUIS WINKLER:


1944/Neustadt, Germany/Arnold-Palmer, Lore-Deneault

Fifteen glowing objects followed the airplane with their lights winking on and off. A gold colored ball was also seen moving slowly in the daylight.

[Ref. nck1:] NICK COOK:

A P-47 fighter pilot also reported seeing a "gold-colored ball with a metallic finish" west of Neustadt in broad daylight [...]

Aircraft information:

The Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" was a powerful single-seat, single-engine fighter plane used to defend the bombers of the US Army Air Forces during their daytime raids over the Germany.




Ufologist Jan Aldrich at explained the context of the article on the Foo Fighters by Jo Chamberlin:

In 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Jo Chamberlin was an aide to Commanding General of the U. S. Army Air Forces Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold. In the spring of 1945, he wrote articles for various magazines on air power and the war, donating any monies he received from his articles to charities for war widows and orphans.

In the Spring of 1945, he was in Europe and one of the first visit he made was the 415th Night Fighter Squadron (NFS) and other US Army Air Force units, to hear about the "Foo Fighters" they were encountering in their night missions of the valley of the Rhine.

Chamberlin encountered aircrews from other units who had also seen foo-fighters or had other daylight sightings of unknown objects. On his return to the US, he asked for and was supplied with intelligence reports on foo-fighters. He wrote an article about it, combining his notes and the documents he had obtained.

After a review by Army Air Force Intelligence, he rewrote the article, submitted it to Major Harold Augspurger, commander of the 415th NFS for his comments, and then sold the article to The American Legion magazine and once again donated his payment to charity. The article was long forgotten after WWII, and only surfaced again through Kenneth Arnold, who had become "the first ufologist", and British ufologist Harold T. Wilkins in the 1950's.

Regarding this case, no date is given, it is just fairly certain that it must have happened between the fall of 1944 and the end of 1945, and probably in the winter of 1944-1945 like the other cases reported by Jo Chamberlin.

The little information given unfortunately does not permit to rule out on solid grounds that the sphere was a weather balloon. This explanation is obviously not proven; one might even think that a fighter pilot would not have been impressed by a weather balloon; but this explanation nonetheless remains possible.


Possible weather balloon.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross November 3, 2023 Creation, [jcn1], [kap1], [gcn1], [gld1], [lwr1], [nck1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 3, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross November 12, 2023 Additions [lgs1], [jcf1].

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This page was last updated on November 12, 2023.