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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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Rhine valley, France or Germany, late in October 1944:

Case number:

ACUFO-1944-10-00-RHINEVALLEY-1

Summary:

"Citizens Against UFO Secrecy" (CAUS) was a lobby who tried to get declassified documents of the US Government about UFOs. They published news of their action in their bulletin Just Cause, with Lawrence Fawcett, publisher, and Barry Greenwood, editor. In their issue No 32 of June 1992, they published that they managed to get the first Foo Fighters official reports in the War diaries of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Force and its summary, both classified "Secret" at the time. Among the cited extracts, they indicated that on Frame 1515 of the microfilm roll od the summary, we read:

"Another outstanding feature occurred late in October [1944]. While flying an intruder mission in the Rhine Valley, Capt. Edward Schlueter and Lt. Don Myers experienced contact with the first Foo Fighters, referred to as such by Lt. Myers for the lack of a better name and because of the eerie feeling it gave the crew. At first these two officers were taunted by their buddies and began to wonder if they had developed combat fatigue. However other crews began to report seeing Foo Fighters in the Rhine Valley at night, thus the Foo Fighters were definitely established as an existing phenomena."

CAUS noted that this summary makes reference to Capt. Schlueter and Lt. Myers encountering a Foo Fighter in late October, but in the War Diary, the first report was in late November 1944 and no incident is listed for October.

Possibly, an article in Newsweek magazine, USA for January 13, 1945, could relate to this first sighting by this same crew:

"Lt. Donald Meiers of Chicago was piloting a Beaufighter on an intruder mission over Germany. He was braced to meet Nazi planes or anti-aircraft. Suddenly an eerie light split the darkness around his plane. Looking up from his instrument panel the horrified lieutenant saw two red balls of light cruising alongside his wingtops. Thinking he had run into a secret antiaircraft weapon, Meiers tensed and waited for a German on the ground to push a button and blow him up, but the balls merely kept pace with him for a while and then disappeared."

This report was about two lights; in their next Foo-Fighter sighting, this crew reported "eight to ten lights", and in their third report, only one light was seen; this tends to indicate that there were indeed three separate sightings by this crew, the first being this one, in late October 1944.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: Late in October 1944
Time: Probable night.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1944-1945
Reporting delay: Weeks, months.

Geographical data:

Country: Germany or France
State/Department:
City: Rhine valley.

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Summary military report.
Visibility conditions: Probable night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Fly along wingtops.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: New German weapon.

Classifications:

Sensors: [X] Visual: 2.
[ ] Airborne radar: Not reported.
[ ] Directional ground radar: Not reported.
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: NL
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 4 20 mm cannons, 7 7.62 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 3
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft.

Sources:

[Ref. nwk1:] "NEWSWEEK" MAGAZINE:

Scan.

Foo-Fighters

Lt. Donald Meiers of Chicago was piloting a Beaufighter on an intruder mission over Germany. He was braced to meet Nazi planes or anti-aircraft. Suddenly an eerie light split the darkness around his plane. Looking up from his instrument panel the horrified lieutenant saw two red balls of light cruising alongside his wingtops. Thinking he had run into a secret antiaircraft weapon, Meiers tensed and waited for a German on the ground to push a button and blow him up, but the balls merely kept pace with him for a while and then disappeared.

That was more than a month ago, one of the best [?] Allied fighters encountered what they now call "foofighters." In addition to the wingtip balls pilots have reported two other types. One is a group of about fifteen which appear some distance away and flicker on and off. Apparently controlled by radio, the foo-fighters keep formation with the planes, even when they dive, climb, or take violent evasive action. But they don't explode or attack them, Meiers said last week. "They just seem to follow us like will-o-the-wisps."

Probably related to the silvery balls seen by daylight pilots (NEWSWEEK, Dec. 23, 1944), the foo-fighters so far apparently baffle intelligence officers. Possibly they are the result of a new anti-radar device which the Germans have developed. On the other hand, they may be the exhaust trails of a smaller model of the radio-controlled Messerchmitt-163, a rocket propelled flying wing.

Day bombers have met the Me163 which had an explosive charge in the nose and is apparently designed to crash into their planes. When one pilot closely inspected the foo-fighters [], he detected nothing but the shapes.

[Ref. jce1:] UFOLOGY BULLETIN "JUST CAUSE":

The bulletin of "Citizens Against UFO Secrecy" (CAUS) published that they managed to get the first Foo Fighters official reports in the War diaries of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron and its summary. Extracts were cited, such as:

We are concerned with two portions of the history - a unit summary, which gives an overview of the 415th's activities, and the "War Diary," which chronicled the day-by-day events. Both had been classified "Secret." Frame 1515 of the microfilm roll's summary touched upon the Foo-Fighters in this way:

"Another outstanding feature occurred late in October [1944]. While flying an intruder mission in the Rhine Valley, Capt. Edward Schlueter and Lt. Don Myers experienced contact with the first Foo Fighters, referred to as such by Lt. Myers for the lack of a better name and because of the eerie feeling it gave the crew. At first these two officers were taunted by their buddies and began to wonder if they had developed combat fatigue. However other crews began to report seeing Foo Fighters in the Rhine Valley at night, thus the Foo Fighters were definitely established as an existing phenomena."

A few remarks are needed here. The summary makes reference to Capt. Schlueter and Lt. Myers encountering a Foo Fighter in late October. But as we will see in the War Diary, the first report was in late November 1944 and no incident is listed for October. Also one sees reactions very much reminiscent of later flying saucer stories in that the witnesses were ridiculed and began to doubt themselves until others reported the same thing. The result in this case was that "Foo Fighters were definitely established as an existing phenomena."

Aircraft information:

At the time of this reported sighting, the 415th NFS flew British-built Bristol Beaufighters Mk VIF. They were fitted with a Mark VIII radar. Maximum speed was 512 km/h.

Armament was 4 20 mm cannons in the front, 6 7.62 mm machine guns in the wings and 1 7.62 mm manual machine gun in the dorsal hatch.

415th NFS Bristol Beaufighter.

Above: A 415th NFS Bristol Beaufighter.

Discussion:

Jacket badge of the US 415th Night Fighters Squadron.

Above: Jacket badge of the US 415th Night Fighters Squadron, showing the British Bristol Beaufighter plane they used at that time.

Crews of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Force reported their nocturnal observations of what they called "Foo Fighters" above the Rhine valley then occupied by the Germans, between November 1944 and April 1945, as their base was in Dijon and Ochey in France.

Their reports apparently ceased when the Germans lost Alsace.

At the time of this report, the 415th NFS operated their incursions on the Rhine Valley, over France and Germany, generally in the red ellipse on the map below:

Map.

This report is about two lights seen in late October 1944; in their next sighting of Foo-Fighters, on November 23, 1944, this crew had reported "eight to ten lights", and in their third report, on November 26, 1944, only one light was reported.

This tends to indicate in my opinion that there were indeed three separate sightings by this crew, the first being this one, at the end of October 1944.

It should be noted that after speaking about this observation at the end of October 1944, we are told, they were mocked by their colleagues. This would in my opinion explain why their report does not appear in the daily operations log. It appeared in a later summary focusing explicitly on Foo-Fighters observations. This also makes sense. We are told that it was only when other crews reported similar phenomena that it was considered that there was "something" real; therefore, this first report could be taken into account following a probable new interview with the crews of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron on their observations.

This would also explain why, of the three sightings, only this one does not have an exact date: interviewed later, the crew my not have remembered exactly when it occurred, hence the date "late October", 1944.

Of course, this is not "bulletproof". The Newsweek article, in which the information that the sighting was about "two lights" and makes it different from the next two reports by the crew, may have been in error.

The sighting itself is not very detailed. However, I see no obvious prosaic explanation. No flare, enemy plane would result in "two red balls of light cruising alongside his wingtops". St-Elmo fire could not be red. V-2 rockets launched from Holland were never launched in pairs. Enemy jet plane exhausts would only be visible if the enemy jet plane was in from of the witnesses plane. Enemy planes or weapons of any kind is also a weak explanation as no damage cas causes, no action that would result in damage is reported.

Evaluation:

Possible extraterrestrial craft.

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 27, 2023 Creation, [nwk1], [jce1].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 27, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on October 27, 2023.