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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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Wissembourg, France, on April 24, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-04-24-WISSEMBOURG-1

Summary:

A mission report of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Forces said that on the night from April 23 to 24, 1945, a mission was performed between 01:05 a.m. and 03:30 a.m. by a P-61 Black Widow in the Wissembourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, to Ludwigsburg, Germany area.

The report says that at the Rhine river, at a position coded R-9593, four lights arranged in a square were observed. The lights went out as plane approached.

The observation was filed in two ufology sources as a "Foo-Fighters", or "possible" "Foo-Fighters" incident.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: April 24, 1945
Time: Between 01:05 a.m. and 03:30 a.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: April 24, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: France
State/Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Wissembourg

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 to 3
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: Turned off.
Witnesses action:
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: 1 to 3.
[ ] Airborne radar: Not reported.
[ ] Directional ground radar: No.
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: NL
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 4 Hispano 20 mm cannons, 4 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 3
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: No strangeness, probable lights on the ground.

Sources:

[Ref. aaf1:] U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE 415TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON::

April 23/24, 1945 - Mission 5 - 0105-0320 - P-61 Patrol - Wisenburg-Ludwigsburg Area. At Rhine River, R-9593, observed 4 lights arranged in a square. Lights went out as plane approached.

[Ref. jce1:] UFOLOGY BULLETIN "JUST CAUSE":

The Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) newsletter reported that on September 3, 1992, their editor Barry Greenwood searched the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland, USA, to find more documents on the Foo-Fighters emanating from of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, and had found some, mainly "Mission Reports". Barry Greenwood reported:

[...]

Archives personnel provided a large cardboard box holding three feet of file folders of the 415th NFS and affiliated bomber groups. The period covered was late September 1944 - April 1945. It was obvious that I would spend at least a full day scanning this bunch. The records were not in the best condition, a fact which should be of great concern to those interested in the contents of old files, not just on this but on any subject. Many of the papers were onion-skin copies, very fragile and yellowing. Other reports were on coarse, brown paper which was very brittle, flakes of which were coming off on my hands. It was no longer surprising why quite often when CAUS would request and receive government files the copies were difficult, and sometimes impossible, to read. We are in a race against time as many government records are literally self-destructing on the shelf. With the millions of copies for which the National Archives is responsible, there is simply not enough staff or resources to take care of it all.

What also became clear is that the staff of the National Archives are not absolute authorities on the records that we have obtained regarding UFOs. The response I had to a request for help in locating a particular Air Force document with an identifying number was, "Good luck, we don't know." Not that they were being fresh but that the Air Force had lost the inventory to that group of documents. I had a new appreciation for the time delays in responding to FOIA requests as well. It took me the best part of a day just to scan one box thoroughly. I was in a room with about thirty to forty people, all of whom had their own agenda and own piles of paper to scan. Factor in mail requests and the demands on the staff must be terrific. I heard a complaint by one of having to pull hundreds of boxes himself to fulfill researchers’ requests just for that day.

The 415th's mission reports tended to be brief in their descriptions of everything. There were reports of aircraft destroyed, buildings bombed, flak, vehicles destroyed; etc. Then, scattered amongst the information, were reports of strange lights in the sky.

He then gave the 15 such cases he found, including:

April 23/24, 1945 - Mission 5 - 0105-0320 - P-61 Patrol - Wisenburg-Ludwigsburg Area. At Rhine River, R-9593, observed 4 lights arranged in a square. Lights went out as plane approached.

Greenwood noted:

One frustrating feature of these reports is their brevity. It is difficult to form a hypothesis on the origin of Foo-Fighters when such fragmentary information is available. It is sometimes hard to tell whether reports of "lights" by the pilots were in the air or on the ground so one should exercise caution when reading reports where this is not clear.

[Ref. bgd1:] BARRY GREENWOOD:

In 1998, US long time researcher Barry Greenwood provided declassified US Army Air Force documents he obtained patiently using the Freedom Of Information Acccess law (FOIA) to the Computer UFO Network (CUFON). Barry Greenwod was for many years the Editor of thebulletin Just Cause and co-author of the book "Clear Intent", and the editor of the U.F.O. Historical Review which debuted in June 1998.

En 1998, le chercheur américain de longue date Barry Greenwood avait fourni au Computer UFO Network (CUFON) des documents déclassifiés de l'armée de l'air américaine qu'il a obtenus patiemment en utilisant la loi sur la liberté d'accès à l'information (FOIA). Barry Greenwod a été pendant de nombreuses années l'éditeur du bulletin Just Cause, il est co-auteur du livre "Clear Intent", et l'éditeur du U.F.O. Historical Review qui a débuté en juin 1998.

MISSION REPORT

UNIT REPORTING: 415TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON DATE: APRIL 23/24

MISSIONS: 6 MISSIONS 6 SORTIES

RESULTS:

1. 2040-2330 - P-61 PATROL - AREA SW OF PT. O, AT O-4000, 13,000 FT. NTR.

2. 2045-0005 - P-61 PATROL - AREA OF ULM. NTR.

3. 2300-0105 - P-61 PATROL - AREA OF AUGSBURG. At 2335 hours, vectored onto bogies but G.C.I. lost contact with bogies. Flew through overcast but could not pinpoint bogies.

4. 2305-0210 - BEAUFIGHTER PATROL - PT. O, AT O-4000, AND WEST. Vectored onto two bogies, but both proved friendly.

5. 0105-0320 - P-61 PATROL - WISENBURG-LUDWIGSBURG AREA. At Rhine River, R-9593, observed 4 lights arranged in a square. Lights went out as plane approached.

6. 0300-0520 - P-61 PATROL - AUGSBURG-WURZBURG AREA. In the vicinity of Wurzburg, while flying at 14,000 feet, warning light came on of bogie to rear. G.C.I. station Corned Beef, said that bogie was below. Orbited area but could get no contact.

CLAIMS: Nil

LOSSES: Nil

[Ref. prt1:] JAN ALDRICH - "PROJECT 1947":

The website provides the 415th NFS mission report on the incident, as in [aaf1].

[Ref. dwn1:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

April 24, 1945

Rhine river, Wisenburg-Ludwigsburg [sic] area, Germany

Between 0105 and 0320, the crew of a USAAF P-61 (415th Night Fighter Squadron) observed four lights arranged in square. The lights went out as plane approached.

Source: USAAF 415th Night Fighter Squadron, Mission report 23-24/04/1945.

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 124

April 24, 1945

Rhine river, Wisenburg-Ludwigsburg area, Germany

Between 0105 and 0320, the crew of a USAAF P-61 (415th Night Fighter Squadron) observed four lights arranged in square. The lights went out as plane approached.

Source: USAAF 415th Night Fighter Squadron, Mission report 23-24/04/1945.

[Ref. mss1:] MICHAEL SWORDS AND ROBERT POWELL:

The authors provide the 415th NFS mission report on the incident, as in [aaf1].

Aircraft information:

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.

Carte.

Above: a P-61 of the 422d Night Fighter Squadron in 1944.

Discussion:

Map.

Scan.

The above map shows on the left the base of Ochey in France where the P-61s of the 415th NFS were based at that time, Wissembourg in the north of Alsace in France, and Ludwigsburg in Germany, 87 km to the East of Wissembourg. The observation is towards the Rhine, so on the frontier, it is impossible to say whether the case is strictly Alsatian or not.

Further discussions on "Foo-Fighters" in Alsace will be found for other cases in my catalog.

For this case, the data is extremely thin. It is not known, for example, whether the four lights were on the ground or in the air. They could have been on the ground and have nothing in common with the famous "Foo-fighters".

Other mission summaries in the same report sometimes mention "foo-fighters", sometimes "lights", some with their explanation such as "artillery flashes". Here, nothing is specified one way or another.

Evaluation:

No strangeness, probable lights on the ground.

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 February 25, 2018 Creation, [aaf1], [prt1], [mss1].
1.0 Patrick Gross February 25, 2018 First published in ALSACAT.
1.1 Patrick Gross December 23, 2023 Additions [jce1], [bgd1], [dwn1], [dwn1].
1.1 Patrick Gross December 23, 2023 First published here.

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This page was last updated on December 23, 2023.