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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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Omura, Japan, on October 25, 1944:

Case number:

ACUFO-1944-10-25-OMURA-1

Summary:

In his 2007 book "Strange Company - Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II", Keith Chester reportedly noted thres UFO sightings on October 25, 1944, over Omura, Japan:

During a mission on the Omura Aircraft Assembly Plant, three B-29 crews of the 40th Bomb Group under the command of William H. Blanchard reported "high-altitude balloons on three separate occasions.

The first sighting was when a B-29 crew flying at 23,000 feet made the first sighting on their approach to the target, of "one possible high-altitude balloon" described as "generally round in shape."

The reports are said to come from the "Report of operations" of October 25, 1944, by the 20th Bomber Command.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: October 25, 1944
Time: Probable day.
Duration: ?
First known report date: October 25, 1944
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Kyushu
City: Omura

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operations report.
Visibility conditions: Probable day.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: ?
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: Several.
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: DD
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 12 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Possible balloon.

Sources:

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Scan.

Case 51

October 25, 1944

Omura, Japan

During a mission on Omura Aircraft Assembly Plant, three B-29 crews of the 40th Bomb Group (under the command of William H. Blanchard) reported "high-altitude balloons on three separate occasions. A B-29 crew flying at 23,000 feet made the first sighting on their approach to the target of "one possible high-altitde balloon" described as "generally round in shape. A second crew sighted "a black free balloon, larger than a conventional barrage balloon, at about 15,000 feet, directly over Omura at O I 16 Z. The balloon apeared to be rising. The third crew observed "eight to twelve large balloons" at 23,000 to 26,000 feet altitude about ten miles south of Omura. The color of the "balloons" was a silvery-gray and no cables were observed. They did not appeare to be drifting and apparently remained stationary while in sight.

Sources: 20th Bomber Command, APO#Report of operations 25 October 1944 / Strange companies, Keith Chester, 2007

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

[1944] Oct. 25, 1944; Omura, Japan

Multiple sightings of possible balloons. (Page 78 Ref.1)

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

[Ref. tai1:] "THINK ABOUT IT" WEBSITE:

Date: Oct. 25, 1944

Location: Omura, Japan

Time:

Summary: Multiple sightings of possible balloons.

Source:

Aircraft information:

The Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" was the heaviest bomber of the US Army Air Force, used in operations from May 8, 1944 and on. Its maximum speed was 574 km/h.

Its defensive armament was 12 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns.

B-29.

It was used at the time of this sighting report to bomb Japan.

Discussion:

The 40th Bombardment Group was made of 25th, 44th, 45th, 395th Bombardment Squadrons.

A raid on Omura on 25 October 1944 is confirmed by the historical source"The B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions" by Robert A. Mann, 2004.

Map.

In this case the B-29 crew flying at 23,000 feet reported "one possible high-altitude balloon"; described as "generally round in shape."

Thus, what they observed was likely a high altitude balloon. There is no sign that the crew thought otherwise.

History sources indicate that between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese Army launched about 9,300 balloons equipied with incendiary bombs, called "Fugo", from sites on coastal Honshu. About 300 were found or observed in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. They were largeley ineffective as fire starters due to damp seasonal conditions, with no forest fires being attributed to the offensive. US media censorship prevented the Japanese Army from learning of the offensive's results.

There is no indication that a Fugo balloon was launched from Omura in the South on October 25, 1944, but 1) a balloon launched from the East coast of Honshu could have drifted there and 2) the date is quite close from the known start date of the large launch campaign.

The balloon, of course, could also have been a classical weather balloon.

Fugo balloon.

Evaluation:

Possible balloon.

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 1, 2023 Creation, [dwn2], [nip1], [tai1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 1, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on November 1, 2023.