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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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Tokyo Bay, Japan, on April 3, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-04-03-TOKYOBAY-3

Summary:

In 1999, US ufologist Jan Aldrich indicated on his historical ufology Project 1947 that there was a sighting report in the Report of Operations of April 3-4, 1945, of the XXIst Bomber Command of the US Army Air Forces.

It is said that on April 3, 1945, at 03:17 a.m. local time, near land's end over the Tokyo Bay, from a B-29 flying at 9 000 feet, a ball of fire about the size of a basket ball was seen. The B-29 took evasive action but it was not effective.

After following the B-29 for 6 minutes, the ball of fire turned back toward the coast.

One crew member thought he saw a navigation light on a wing.

Aldrich indicates he found this case in the Report of Operation of 3-4 April 1945, of the XXIst Bomber Command of the US Army Air Forces, and in the 500th Bombardment Group History.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 3, 1945
Time: 03:17 a.m.
Duration: 6 minutes.
First known report date: April 4, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Kanto
City: The Tokyo bay

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 to 11
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operations report, ufologist Jan Aldrich.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Flies, goes away.
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: 1 to 11.
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: NL
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 12 Browning M2 12,7 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Probable enemy plane with searchlight.

Sources:

[Ref. prt4:] JAN ALDRICH - "PROJECT 1947":

N - 1945.04.03, 1817Z - Near land's end Tokyo Bay.

B-29, 9000 feet, saw a ball of fire about the size of a basket ball. Evasive action not effective after following the aircraft for 6 minutes it turned back toward the coast. (One crew member thought he saw a navigation light on a wing.) (Report of Operation 3-4 April 1945, HQ 21st Bomber Command, 500th Bombardment Group History)

[Ref. dwn1:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

April 3, 1945

Tokyo Bay area, Japan

At 1817 (zulu), the pilot and crew of a B-29 flying at 9,000 ft high, observed a ball of fire, size of a basket ball. Evasive actions were not effective. After following the aircraft for 6 minutes, it turned back toward the coast. One crew member thought that he saw a navigation light on a wing.

Sources: Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / Report of operation 3-4 April 1945, HQ 21st Bomber Command.

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.

Discussion:

Map.

During the air raids on Japan in this period, among the "balls of fire" reported, we can see in the mission reports that sometimes, it was reported that Japanese planes had been equipped with a large headlight or projector.

The American military believed that they were used for illuminating the B-29s to designate them for Japanese fighter planes or Japanese anti-aircraft defense.

In this report, several elements argue for this explanation:

The "ball of fire" returns to the coast after 6 minutes. This would correspond to a situation in which the B-29 moving away from land's end passed beyond the range of Japanese anti-aircraft defenses.

We are told: "A member of the crew thought he saw a navigation light on a wing."

The element that makes this explanation just possible or probable and not certain is that the "ball of fire" succeeded in following the B-29 despite its evasive maneuvers. But we do not know exactly what maneuvers were attempted, the only one which would have made it possible to exclude a Japanese plane would have been entering clouds.

Evaluation:

Probable enemy plane with searchlight.

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 January 17, 2024 Creation, [dwn1], [prt4].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 17, 2024 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 17, 2024.