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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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Massa, Italy, on February 17, 1945:

Case number:



In the 1990-2000's, ufological sources indicated that on February 17, 1945, west of Massa, Italy, in a plane performing Mission No. 560, from 5:55 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., at 5000 or 6000 feet altitude, a red ball had been observed moving in a curved path, initially upwards. It had died out, and was lost to sight in the valley south of Massa.

One of the sources adds that the ball was heading west, and that according to the crew, it had climbed and then dived out of sight into the valley south of Massa", and that it "did not did not emit jets of flame" and "did not appear to be a jet plane"; another other source indicated that the ball at the "beginning" "had emitted flames".

It had been estimated that it was not a jet aircraft, either because of or despite the absence of flames; the ground radar station reported an absence of other air traffic in the area; which might explain why it was thought it was not a plane.

One source indicated that the plane was a Mosquito, the other indicates that the witnesses were the crew of a Beaufighter from the 416th Night Fighter Squadron; which is certainly the correct information.

Ufology sources indicate that this came from the daily operations report of the 416th Night Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Forces for February 17, 1945.


Temporal data:

Date: February 17, 1945
Time: Between 5:55 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: February 17, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: Italy
State/Department: Tuscany
City: Massa

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operations report.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Climbs up then goes down.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Sensors: [X] Visual: 1 or 2
[ ] Airborne radar: Not reported.
[ ] Directional ground radar: Negative.
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: NL
Armed / unarmed: Armed, machine guns and 20 mmm canons.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Insufficient information.



1945, February 17

ITALY, Central Po Valley

- Mission No. 560, from 5:55 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.: "West of Massa at 5-6000 feet altitude, a red ball is observed on a curved trajectory. First it was rising, then went out and was lost from sight in the valley south of Massa. At first the ball emited flames. It was not identified by the Mosquito Mark Masa, Italy as being a Jet A/C. No other air traffic in the area area of La Spezia – Parma."

[... other case with same source...] (source CPT C. S. Miller, A. C., Adjudant. cfr National Archives)


Case 93

February 17, 1945

Massa, Central Po Valley area, Italy

At 17h55, the crew of a 416th NFS Beaufighter was flying west of Massa when they saw "what appeared to be a red ball of fire travelling a curving course," heading West. According to the crew, "it climbed then dove out of sight in the valley south of Massa," and it "did not emit spurts of flame" and "did not appeared to be jet aircraft."

Sources: 416th NFS Daily Operations Report, 17 February, 1945, NARA / Strange Company, Keith Chester, 2007

(Ref. nip1:) "THE NICAP WEBSITE":

Feb. 17, 1945; Massa and Central Po Valley, Italy

Red ball of fire that did not appear to be Jet A/C. (Page 137 Ref.1)

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

Aircraft information:

The Bristol Type 156 "Beaufighter", nicknamed "Beau", was a British multi-role aircraft developed during WWII. 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 and was be fitted with AI Mk VIII radar.



Massa is not in the center of the Po Valley but in Tuscany, and the mention "West of Massa" further eliminates the Po Valley as observation location.


The 416th Night Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Forces was not operating on Mosquito aircraft but on Beaufighters night fighters at the time of this observation.

The two ufology sources I found so far contain some contradictions: it is likely that the more correct one is [dwn2], with the correct plane. In any case, the report is not very detailed and the strangeness of the UFO is not entirely obvious.


Insufficient information.

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 December 14, 2023 Création, [gvo1], [dwn2], [nip1].
1.0 Patrick Gross December 14, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on December 14, 2023.