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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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France, on April 25, 1944:

Case number:

ACUFO-1944-04-25-FRANCE-1

Summary:

Ufology sources indicate that in his 2007 book "Strange Company - Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II", Keith Chester indicated that on April 25, 1944, during a mission over France, a crew member of a 8th US Army Air Force B-17 bomber reported a "probable" Messerschmitt Me-163 "jet propelled" aircraft. He saw twice, within a couple of miles, a black teardrop-shaped craft, once passing directly in front of his B-17.

The contemporary sources would be a military report of the US Army Air Force titled "US Strategic Air Forces in Europe Air Intelligence Summary No 26", for May 7, 1944.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 25, 1944
Time: Probable day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: May 7, 1944
Reporting delay: Hours, weeks.

Geographical data:

Country: France
State/Department:
City: France

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military summary operation report.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Flies.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Sensors: [X] Visual: 1
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 5 7.62 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Unidentified, insufficient information.

Sources:

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 38

April 25, 1944

France

During a mission over France, a crew member of a 8th USAAF B-17 bomber reported a "probable" Messerschmitt Me-163, jet propelled aircraft. He saw twice, within a couple of miles, a black teardrop shaped craft, once passing directly in front of his B-17.

Sources: US Strategic Air Forces in Europe Air Intelligence Summary N░26, 7 May 1944 / Strange company, Keith Chester, 2007

[Ref. nip1:] "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

[1944] April 25, 1944; France

Black tear-dropped craft; probable Me-163. (Page 63 Ref.1)

The reference 1 is described at the end of the document as "Strange Company (2007), Keith Chester".

[Ref. tai1:] SITE WEB "THINK ABOUT IT":

Date: April 25, 1944

Location: France

Time:

Summary: Black tear-dropped craft.

Page 63 Ref.1

Aircraft information:

The US B-17 "Flying Fortress" was a heavy bomber fitted with five 7.62 machine guns for its defense against enemy fighter planes.

B-17 formation.

Discussion:

Map.

Of course, the Messerschmitt Me-163 "Komet" (photo below) was not a jet-propelled aircraft but a rocket-propelled aircraft; it is not absurd to suggest that the witness did not know that at the time, as the "Komet" was a relatively new and rarely seen aircraft.

Me-163.

The time of the sighting is not known as it is not indicated in the available sources. But it is know that the US Army Air Forces B-17 performed their raids almost always in the day, so that this sighting probably occurred in daytime.

Several features of the report can be commented on.

The "Komet" was not, overall, teardrop-shaped. However, seen from the side, maybe when it passed in from of the B-17, it would have appeared teardrop-shaped.

The "Komet" let out a trail of white smoke when rocket propulsion was on. But after the solid rocket duel was exhausted, the "Komet" just glided back to the ground, emitting no trail.

If this suspected "Komet" was on the return to the ground when seen, it is not astonishing that it did not fire at planes.

So, generally speaking, the witness interpretation looks plausible.

The big issue with this interpretation is that there has never been any airfield in France hosting the "Komet". All bases were on German, Dutch and Polish territories. The range of the "Komet", with its rocket propulsion activity of 7 minutes only, makes it impossible to come from Germany or Holland to France. And it the raid took place over France, as indicated in the source, the B-17 would certainly not have flown back to England on a route that would have brought it over Germany or Holland.

The first operational mission of the Komet was on 13 May 1944 with Me 163B V-41 under the command of Major Wolfgang Spńte, from the base of Bad Zwischenahn in Germany. Between May 13-20, 1944, the second operational mission with Me 163B V-33 was commanded by Me-163 test pilot Rudolf Opitz, also over Germany. On May 20, 1944, occurred an operational mission with Me 163B 310048/V-40 by Oberfeldwebel Nelte, also in Germany.

So, unless the sighting did not occur during a raid over France but during a raid over Germany, the observed teardrop-shaped craft sould remain a "UFO" in the pure sense of the term, an "unidentified".

Evaluation:

Unidentified, insufficient information.

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 October 19, 2023 Creation, [dwn2], [nip1], [tai1].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 19, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on October 19, 2023.