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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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Mantova, Italy, on February 18, 1945:

Case number:



In 2011, in an article about the Foo-Fighters of WWII, the excellent website Saturday Night Uforia published about a case to be found in the February 18, 1945, Daily Mission Report of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Forces. It said:

"Lt. Gravel and F/O Moore reported another interesting observation: Four very bright lights appeared from Mantova area at 8,000 ft. and seemed to remain stationary in air until they burned out. Smoke could not be seen coming from them."


Temporal data:

Date: February 18, 1945
Time: Probable night.
Duration: ?
First known report date: February 18, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: Italy
State/Department: Lombardy
City: Mantova

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operations report, Saturday Night Uforia.
Visibility conditions: Probable night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: Yes.
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Appear, hover, disappear.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


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: ?
Armed / unarmed: Armed, machines guns and 20 mm cannons.
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Possible flares.



The next night [February 18, 1945] a different crew [of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron] had a similar sighting nearby, as told in the February 18, 1945 daily Operations Report...

Lt. Gravel and F/O Moore reported another interesting observation: Four very bright lights appeared from Mantova area at 8,000 ft. and seemed to remain stationary in air until they burned out. Smoke could not be seen coming from them.

Aircraft information:

The aircraft is not specified, and this unit was using British Bristol Beaufighters and newer American Northrop P-61 "Black windows" at that time.

But since we are told of a crew of 2 people while the P-61 had a crew of 3 people, it is very likely that the plane during this mission was a Beaufighter.

The Northrop P-61 "Black Widow" was a high performance american night fighter plane used in WWII.

It was twin-engined, with a maximum speed of 589 km/h, 3,060 km range. The crew was of three men.

It was equipped with a radar and armed with 4 Hispano 20 mm cannons in the fuselage and 4 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns in the remotely controlled upper turret.


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

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

Like the P-61, the Beaufighters in night fighter versions were equipped with on-board radar.

Beaufighter VIF 415th NFS.



The 414th Night Fighter Squadron of the US Army Air Forces deployed in England in late March 1943, using British-built Bristol Beaufighters. They moved to North Africa for combat in July 1943. In 1945, they operated in the Mediterranean theater, Italy, and then south of France. The 414th got P–61s in late 1944 but kept on using Beaufighters at the same time.

I found no information about Lt. Gravel. I found a Master Sergeant Eugene O. Moore (6932760) in the Air Force in 1943, but in the 417th Night Fighter Squadron, not the 414th. Also in the 417th, I found "Moore, Alvin G.", and "Cpl. Moore, William R."

The same crew made another report on March 23, 1945, in the Bergamo area.

In this case, there is almost no strangeness, the crew does not report the sighting as strange, and the description is reminiscent of flares.

The only "downside" is that they noted "Smoke could not be seen coming from them"; which suggests that they had initially thought of flares but changed their minds.


Possible flares.

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 26, 2023 Creation, [sua1].
1.0 Patrick Gross December 26, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on December 26, 2023.