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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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Germany, on December 28, 1944:

Case number:

ACUFO-1944-12-28-GERMANY-1

Summary:

Ufology sources in the 2010 indicate that in the 2007 book "Strange Company - Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II" by Keith Chester, frpm letters and interviews he had with Major Harold Augspurger in 2003 and 2004, a case of December 28, 1944, came to light:

At night, Harold Augspurger, then Commanding Officer of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, and his radar operator, Lieutenant Austin Petry, took off from France in the Bristol Beaufighter "Nightmare" and flew between 8,000 and 10,000 feet.

After crossing the German border, they lowered their altitude to 500 to 1,000 feet, looking for targets of opportunity, searching for any signs of life and anything that had a light. Their low-level hunt went on for about ninety minutes and proved to be an uneventful mission, but moments later, while they were still over Germany, something else was flying up there with them with its lights on.

Major Augspurger saw something flying parallel with them, "a white light out off to the starboard, right off the wing." Trying to understand what was flying with its lights on, he asked his radar operator, but the radar screen remained clear.

Lieutenant Petry looked up and also saw the light. Major Augspurger was not able to estimate its distance and size. He said: "it was a big light far away or a small light close to us." He first thought it was a flare, or maybe an aircraft, but it was unsure. It gave him the impression that it was pacing them, possibly keeping them under surveillance.

He decided to have a closer look and to try to pick it up on radar. He turned in towards the strange white light, straight towards it and getting closer. Lieutenant Petry reported nothing was showing up on his radar screen, and he could not understand why because the radar was working fine.

About thirty seconds later, the target "just took off and went straight up", "at a tremendous speed" for a couple thousand feet, then the light vanished, simply disappearing. The total duration of this sighting was four to five minutes.

Harold Augspurger was apparently interviewed in 1991 by one Jeffrey A. Lindell; a part of possibly this interview can be found on the Internet.

In this part, Augspurger explain that the 415th NFS airmen saw the unidentified lights about November and December 1944. The lights used to fly off he wings of their airplanes, the one he saw himself was like a white light, a lot lot of other people were reporting it, some saw it with a red color, some with a green color, and some reported "they would try to chase one but never could catch it."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 28, 1944
Time: Night.
Duration: 4 to 5 minutes.
First known report date: 2003
Reporting delay:

Geographical data:

Country: Germany
State/Department:
City:

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 2

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Letter and interview by ufologist.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Follows, goes away when approached.
Witnesses action: Approach.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Sensors: [X] Visual: 2
[ ] Airborne radar: No echo.
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: LN
Armed / unarmed: Armed, four 20 mm cannons and 6 7.62 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 3
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft.

Sources:

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 76

December 28, 1944

Germany

At night, Major Harold Augspurger (Commanding Officer of the 415th NFS) and his radar operator, Lt Austin Petry took off in his Bristol Beaufighter "Nightmare" from France and flew between 8,000 and I 0,000 feet. After crossing the German border, they lowered their altitude to 500 to 1,000 feet, looking for targets of opportunity, searching for any signs of life and anything that had a light. Their low-level hunt went on for about ninety minutes and proved to be an w1eventful mission. But moments later, while they were still over Germany, something else was flying up there with them and its lights were on. Major Augspurger was looking for up to find something flying parallel with them. Suddenly his attention was focused upon "a white light out off to the starboard, right off the wing." Trying to understand what was flying with its lights on, he asked his radar operator who had his radar screen remained clear. Lt Petry looked up and saw it too. Major Augspurger was not able to estimate its distance and size. He said: "it was a big light far away or a small light close in to us. He first thought it was a flare, or maybe an aircraft but was unsure. It gave him the impression that it was pacing them, possibly keeping them under surveillance. He decided to have a closer look and to try to pick it up on radar. He turned in towards the strange white light. The Beaufighter was bearing down on its target, heading straight towards it and getting closer. Lt Petry reported nothing was showing up on his radar screen, and could not understand why because it was working just fine. Then about thirty seconds later, the target "just took off and went straight up." Climbing "straight up at a tremendous speed" for a couple thousand feet until the light vanished, simply disappearing. Total duration: four to five minutes.

Sources: Letters and interviews with Harold Augspurger in 2003 and 2004, by Keith Chester / Strange Company, Keith Chester, 2007.

[Ref. lpd1:] LOUIS PROUD:

A large number of foo fighter sightings were reported by pilots of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron (NFS) of the Army Air Forces (the unit to which Charlie Horne belonged) while operating out of Dijon and Ochey, France, between November 1944 and April 1945. During this period, the 415th made nightly patrols over the German-occupied Rhine River Valley. The patrols involved shooting down German night fighters and bombing targets on the ground, all done with the assistance of both ground and air-based radar systems.

The unit's Commanding Officer, Harold F. Augspurger, was far from ignorant of the foo fighter sightings reported by his men, yet had never seen one of the mysterious lights himself. That all changed, however, on the night of December 28, 1944, while conducting an intruder mission at low altitude over Germany, accompanied by radar operator Lt. Austin Petry.

That night, the sky was cloudless and moonless and the weather bitterly cold. As Augspurger piloted his Bristol Beaufighter named "Nightmare," while scanning the ground below for targets of interest, Petry remained focused on the radar screen in front of him in anticipation of the appearance of enemy bogies. After 90 minutes of uneventful flying, it was time to turn around and head back to base. What happened next was extremely surprising. The moment Augspurger peered out the cockpit, having glanced down at his controls for a split second or two, he noticed they were no longer alone. Flying alongside them, "out off to the starboard, right off the wing," was a strange white light.

Petry was just as puzzled as Augspurger as to the identity of the light, which they could tell wasn't a shooting star, a rocket, a jet, a flare, or any other known phenomena. The light was round, solid, and emitted no exhaust or flame (such as would be expected in the case of a machine). It continued to pace them, seemingly keeping them under surveillance, its behavior intelligent and precise. Because the sky was extremely dark, the men were unable to accurately determine either the distance of the light with respect to Nightmare or the size of the light. They concluded that it was either a "real big light real far away, or a small light close in on us."

The light refused to register on radar, even though Nightmare's radar system was known to be working perfectly fine. Eager to get a closer look at the light, Augspurger opened up the throttle and turned his aircraft toward it. As they began to close in on their target, Petry continued his attempts to bring it up on radar, but still had no success. About 30 seconds later, the light "just took off and went straight up," climbing "at a tremendous speed" for a couple of thousand feet before vanishing entirely from view. The sighting lasted a total of four to five minutes. The pair reported their experience to Captain Fred B. Ringwald, the unit's intelligence officer, immediately upon returning to base.

Augspurger and Petry's experience is very much a typical foo fighter encounter, which explains its inclusion here.

[Ref. ekl1:] EGON KRAGEL:

This author indicates that Major Augspurger, Commander of the 415th American night fighter squadron, saw a Foo Fighter during the winter of 1944-45, and at the time, he thought it was a secret Nazi weapon. Once the war was over, he realized that this phenomenon was neither a plane, nor a jet, nor a rocket, and even less a weapon. He looked for other explanations, but neither a flare, nor a weather balloon, nor the moon or any visible star that evening could explain this observation.

Kragel says that in 2003, investigator and author Keith Chester asked Augspurger for his theory on the nature of the sighting and he replied bluntly, "Well, I think it was an extraterrestrial object. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. But time has passed, and I now think it was something from outer space. I believe in these things. What we saw ... is to me extraterrestrial, from somewhere else. Today, I tend to think that they had come down to Earth to see what was going on."

Kragel says that Major Augspurger said he has told little about his observation with his superior, Captain Ringwald, chief of intelligence: "We didn't discuss much about what it might be, and the rest for that matter. We just stated what we saw. The other soldiers did the same. I really didn't know what it was. There must be, somewhere, a report of my observation in the intelligence files."

The author indicates that the source is "Keith Chester, Strange Company, Anomalist Books, 2007, p. 207."

[Ref. vid1:] VIDEO INTERVIEW:

Harold Augspurger told in a video interview in the 2000's:

"The sightings we saw were about 1944, November and December then. We'd see these balls of light that would fly off he wings of our airplanes. The one I saw was like a white light. A lot of other people were reporting it. Some red lights, other would see some green lights, and some of them would report they would try to chase one, they never could catch it."

Harold F. Augspurger.

Aircraft information:

The Bristol Type 156 "Beaufighter", nicknamed "Beau", was a British multi-role aircraft developed during WWI. It was originally conceived as a heavy fighter variant of the Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber; it proved to be an effective night fighter, which came into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Battle of Britain.

Originally, armament consisted of four 20mm cannons and six 0.303-in machine-guns but many variants were built; for example, versions had the ability to additionally carry eight rocket projectiles, some had a Vickers 'K' gun, Beaufighter TF.Mk X was used for anti-shipping operations.

The Beaufighter Mk VIF was fitted with the Mark VIII radar.

Below: Beaufighter Mk VIF of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron.

Beaufighter VIF 415th NFS.

The Beaufighters served with the US Army Air Force until the end of the war, but most were replaced by the P-61 "Black Widow" beginning in December 1944.

Discussion:

The 415th Night Fighter Squadron was then based in Ochey near Dijon in France, and carried out its night missions mainly in the Rhine valley. The report indicates that the plane was still over Germany at the time of the sighting, so it could not have been very far from the French border.

Map.

Harold Frederick Augspurger (photos below) was born on August 6, 1919, in Middletown, Butler County, Ohio, USA, and passed waway at age 91 on September 9, 2010, in Westerville, Franklin County, Ohio, USA. He was a retired Dentist, veteran of World War II, Army Air Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (ret.). He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.

Major Augspurger received the Distinguisged Fying Cross at the Ochey base from General Barcus in January 1945.

Harold F. Augspurger.

Harold F. Augspurger.

Austin G. Petry Jr. was at the time of the observation the radar and radio operator of Augspurger's plane, he had the rank of Second Lieutenant.

He had been the top USAAF Beaufighter radar operator of the 415th NFS, with 4 kills. He was credited the first kill of the 415th NFS on July 24, 1943, with Pilot Capt. Nathaniel H. Lindsay, downing a German He 115.

He retired from the USAF with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

The "Nightmare" Beaufighter these two officers were flying is shown at The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, USA.

This report is entirely typical of the reports of "Foo Fighters" by the 415th Night Fighter Squadron airmen in the Winter 1944 - 1945 over the Rhine valley.

Here too, there is no radar detection, the UFO paces the plane but goes away when the pilot rties to approach, and the UFO made no attempt at attacking the plane.

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 November 5, 2023 Creation, [dwn2], [lpd1], [ekl1], [vid1].
1.0 Patrick Gross November 5, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on November 5, 2023.