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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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The Po Valley, Italy, on February 17, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-02-17-POVALLEY-1

Summary:

Several ufology sources in the 1990 - 2000's reported a case of February l7-18, 1945, near La Spezia, Italy.

A Mosquito Mk. XXX crew of the 416th Night Fighter Squadron was conducting a Ground Control Intercept patrol over Leghorn and La Spezia, when within 30 minutes they observed a "blinking light" about 20 miles away near La Spezia, lasting for about 45 seconds.

Due to the distance, the pilot was unable to make an accurate observation.

About 45 minutes later, the light appeared much closer. This time it was "a reddish white light going off and on in spurts about 6 or 8 miles away, near La Spezia at 10,000 feet, going northeast."

Turning to the light, the pilot gave chase for about 90 seconds, but the light flew an "erratic course" and "faded out" before the Mosquito could attack.

About ten minutes later, the pilot saw the same type of light flying at 9,000 feet, travelling around ten miles south of La Spezia. Again he chased the light as it turned and headed North, and then, moments later, turned East, before fading out.

The pilot stopped pursuing the light when he was within five miles of La Spezia because he felt there might be an anti-aircraft trap.

But within 15 minutes, the light was back, approximately 10 miles South of La Spezia, and this time he decided to ignore his reservations about a possible anti-aircraft trap and he chased the light anywhere it went at 300 mph racing across La Spezia in a hot pursuit. Much to his surprise, his Mosquito drew no enemy gunfire.

Unfortunately, his efforts were fruitless. As he pushed his aircraft harder, the light "faded," disappearing in the darkness.

One hour later, the crew saw "the same light" around 10 miles away. Another game of cat and mouse ensued, as the pilot immediately started the chase. While at 10,000 feet, for over two minutes the pilot tried to catch up to the strange "light," which he described as a "glow that alternates between weak and bright." The pilot's efforts failed again. The strange light had eluded his every attempt to engage it in combat.

Making the entire evening's event even more mysterious was the fact that the enemy had made no attempt to jam their GCI radar, and the aircraft radar operator never made contact on his air intercept.

One of the ufological sources specified that the mission was No. 532, that the first light was seen at 8:45 p.m., the last at 10:50 p.m., 5 miles south of Pisa, the chase lasting 2 minutes before it disappeared over the mountains.

The sources are indicated to be the 416th NFS Daily Operations Report of February 18, 1945.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 17, 1945
Time: 08:30 p.m.
Duration: Hours.
First known report date: ?
Reporting delay: Hours, 5 decades.

Geographical data:

Country: Italy
State/Department: Po valley
City:

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operation report, ufologist Godelieve van Overmeire.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Fly.
Witnesses action: Intercept attempts in vain.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

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 7.62 mm Browning machine guns and 4 20 mm Hispano cannons.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft

Sources:

[Ref. gvo1:] GODELIEVE VAN OVERMEIRE:

1945, February 17

ITALY, Central Po Valley

[... other case...]

- Mission No. 562, from 8:10 p.m. to 11:10 p.m., GCI Leghorn patrol in La Spezia: "At 8:45 p.m. a sparkling light is observed by the Mosquito Mark XXX at a distance, at least 20 miles, too moved away to intervene. It apparently moves near La Spezia and is seen for 45 seconds. At 9:30 p.m. a flashing reddish-white light is seen at a distance of 6 to 8 miles, still near La Spezia, at an altitude of 10,000 feet and traveling towards the NE. It is chased at the speed of 280MPH for a minute and a half. The light takes an erratic trajectory and goes out. At 9:40 p.m., the same light, or another identical one is observed 10 miles away south of La Spezia, flying first north, then east, at 9,000 ft. The pilot came within 5 miles of it, suspecting the thing to be an Ack Ack trap. At 9:55 p.m., 10 miles south of La Spezia another (or the same) heading towards the town was chased by the pilot. It was 10 or 15 miles north of La Spezia, the speed of the plane, 300 MPH, is insufficient to catch up. Information taken: no ack ack operation in La Spezia. However, at 10:50 p.m., 5 miles south of Pisa, an identical light is seen at a distance of 10 miles. It was chased for about 2 and a half minutes as it traveled north at 10,000 feet, it disappears beyond the mountains." (source CPT C. S. Miller, A. C., Adjudant. cfr National Archives)

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 95

February l7 / 18, 1945

Near La Spezia, Italy

A crew with the 416th NFS was conducting a ground control intercept patrol over Leghorn and La Spezia, when within 30 minutes they observed a "blinking light" about 20 miles away near La Spezia, lasting for about 45 seconds. Due to the distance, the pilot was unable to make an accurate observation. About 45 minutes later, the light appeared much closer. This time it was "a reddish white light going off and on in spurts about 6 or 8 miles away, near La Spezia at 10,000 feet, going northeast." Turning into the light, the pilot gave chase for about 90 seconds, but the light flew an "erratic course" and "faded out" before the mosquito could attack. About ten minutes later, the pilot saw the same type of light flying at 9,000 feet, travelling around ten miles south of La Spezia. Again he chased the light as it turned and headed North, and then, moments later, turned East, before fading out. The pilot stopped pursuing the light when he was within five miles of La Spezia because he felt there might be an anti-aircraft trap." But within 15 minutes, the light was back, approximately 10 miles South of La Spezia. This time he decided to ignore his reservations about a possible antiaircraft trap and he chased the light anywhere it went at 300 mph racing across La Spezia in a hot pursuit. Much to his surprise, his Mosquito drew no enemy gunfire. Unfortunately, his efforts were fruitless. As he pushed his aircraft harder, the light "faded," disappearing in the darkness. One hour later, the crew saw "the same light" around 10 miles away. Another game of cat and mouse ensued, as the pilot immediately started the chase. While at 10,000 feet, for over two minutes the pilot tried to catch up to the strange "light," which he described as a "glow that alternates between weak and bright." The pilot's efforts failed again. The strange light had eluded his every attempt to engage it in combat. Making the entire evening's event even more mysterious was the fact that the enemy had made no attempt to jam their GCI radar, and the aircraf s radar operator never made contact on his air intercept.

Sources: 416th NFS Daily Operations Report, 18 February, 1945, NARA / Strange Company, Keith Chester, 2007

[Ref. sua1:] WEBSITE "SATURDAY NIGHT UFORIA":

THE 416TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON, had been based in Pisa, Italy, since October, 1944. In January, 1944, a separate detachment of the 416th had been sent to operate from Etain, France, attached to the 425th Night Fighter Squadron. In mid-February the detachment returned from Etain to rejoin the main squadron at Pisa. And it is perhaps partly from those returning pilots that the following was noted in the 416th's report of February 17, 1945...

Our crews are beginning to report mysterious orange-red lights in the sky near La Spezia and also inland. These "foo fighters" have been pursued, but no one has been able to make contact. G.C.I. and intelligence profess to be mystified by these ghostly apparitions. The hypothesis that the foo-fighters are a post-cognac manifestation has been disproved. Even the teetotalers have observed the strange and mysterious foo-fighters which have also been observed in France and in Belgium.

But though the mention of French sightings may have come from air crews detached to the 425th, the report from La Spezia had occurred that very day [February 17, 1945], as noted in the daily Operations Report of the 416th...

At 21:30 saw reddish white light going off and on in spurts about 6 or 8 miles away, near La Spezia at 10,000 ft. going NE. chased it at 280 MPH for 1 1/2 minutes. It took erratic course and faded out. At 21:40 saw some type of light 10 miles South of La Spezia and it went North and turned East of La Spezia at 9000'. faded near La Spezia. Pilot came within 5 miles of La Spezia, suspected Ack Ack trap. At 21:55, 10 miles south of La Spezia chased another and it went across La Spezia and pilot followed. Faded 10 or 15 miles North of La Spezia. Our aircraft at 300 MPH couldn't catch it. No ack ack at La Spezia. At 22:50, 5 miles south of Pisa, saw same light from distance of 10 miles. Chased it for 2 or 2 1/2 minutes. It took north course, disappeared over mt. this light 10,000'. Light described as glow that alternates between weak and bright. No contacts on AI. Apparently no jamming.

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

Feb. 17/18, 1945; La Spezia, Italy

Multiple sightings: (1) blinking light; (2) reddish white light going off and on in spurts, faded out during chase; (3) light, a glow alternating between weak and bright was chased several times, never caught. (Page 138-139 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: Feb. 17/18, 1945

Location: La Spezia, Italy

Time:

Summary: Multiple sightings: (1) blinking light; (2) reddish white light going off and on in spurts, faded out during chase; (3) light, a glow alternating between weak and bright was chased several times, never caught.

Source:

Aircraft information:

The de Havilland DH.98 "Mosquito" was a British multirole aircraft, which served as a fighter-bomber, torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. The code name for these missions was "Bluestocking".

Its armament was 4 7.62 mm Browning machine guns and 4 20 mm Hispano cannons.

Its pilot and its navigator were seated side by side, the navigator being shifted back about thirty centimeters for shoulder width.

DH.98 Mosquito.

The Mosquito XXX was the final night fighter version of the Mosquito, equipped with Merlin engines fit for high altitude flight.

Discussion:

Map.

"GCI" is the acronym for "Ground Control Intercept" and at that time referred to a ground radar station, which indicated to patrolling aircraft the position of enemy aircraft. The patrolling plane was directed by the CGI to the rear of the enemy plane, and then used their on-board radar to locate it themselves and attack it.

"Ack Ack" (derived from "Flak") refers to the use during the Second World War, by several countries, of ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft under integrated command and control to better trap enemy planes.

This is a report typical of what other crews of other units called "Foo-Fighters", except that instead of having the light cashing or following the plane through the latter's evasive actions, we have the light taking evasive actions.

Had it been an enemy plane, it would have turned its lights off, and attack.

Had it been an enemy plane which had run out of ammunition, it would have turned its lights off and leave the sector instead of playing a very dangerous cat and mouse game.

Had it been a transport plane, it would have been destroyed.

In any case that it would have been any kind of plane, it would very probable have been tracked by both the ground radar and the onboard radar of the Mosquito.

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 December 22, 2023 Creation, [gvo1].
1.0 Patrick Gross December 22, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on December 22, 2023.