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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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South of the Nagoya Urban Area, Japan, on May 17, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-05-17-NAGOYA-1

Summary:

In the report of the XXIst Bomber Command Tactical Mission No. 176, flown by the B-29's bombers of the 58th, 73rd, 313th and 134th Bombardment Wings on May 16-17, 1945, the target being the Mitsubishi Aircraft Works at the South of the Nagoya Urban Area, Japan, there was a section about encounters of "balls of fire" by the airmen, as opposed to enemy planes, flak and other mundane observations.

Among these observations of "Unusual Types" and "balls of fire", we find that...

... Over the target at 15,200 feet 1 gunner reported a red ball of fire about 1 mile away and level at 6 o'clock. It appeared to close sightly without loss of altitude. The glow changed from red to white as it grew bigger. It was never closer than 1 mile, but it followed to land's end. When last seen the color was again a bright red and it finally died out. Its size was estimated as about 3 feet in diameter.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: May 17, 1945
Time: ?
Duration:
First known report date: May 17, 1945
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Aichi
City: Nagoya

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Military operations report.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: Yes.
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Approaches, follows, goes away.
Witnesses action: Escape maneuvers.
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.
[ ] 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: 2
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft.

Sources:

[Ref. aaf1:] US ARMY AIR FORCE:

This report was of the 21st Bomber Command Tactical Mission No. 176, flown 16-17 May 1945, the target being the Mitsubishi Aircraft Works at the South of the Nagoya Urban Area, Japan.

The units involved were the 58th, 73rd, 313th and 134th Bombardment Wings. The initial point (IP) was at Biwa Lake, landfall was at O Shine.

The report below appeared in the "Enemy Air Opposition" part of the report. This part included information about the enemy aircraft encountered during the mission and what these did.

But in this "Enemy Air Opposition" part, there was also a section titled "Observations of Unusual Types", followed by a section "Balls of fire", in which several observation of what was though to be other things than planes, rockets, flares and flak, appeared. It included:

Scan.

[... other "balls of fire"...]

c. Over the target at 15,200 feet 1 gunner reported a red ball of fire about 1 mile away and level at 6 o'clock. It appeared to close sightly without loss of altitude. The glow changed from red to white as it grew bigger. It was never closer than 1 mile, but it followed to land's end. When last seen the color was again a bright red and it finally died out. Its size was estimated as about 3 feet in diameter.

[... other "balls of fire"...]

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.

In the 2000s, ufological sources recorded numerous observations, neither more nor less strange, coming from reports of bombing missions on Japan by the XXIst Bomber Command; but this one does not seem to have been found.

It is obviously not entirely possible to completely exclude that it was an enemy plane. But the sighting was not considered as such in the report, being noted in a section regarding "balls of fire" instead of the section regarding enemy aircraft.

Sometimes, crews thought they encountered "Baka" rocket planes, and they sometimes did; in this case the description does not fit. The Baka rocket exhaust was always described with terms such as "3 feet wide and 15 feet long", and always at the rear of the Baka.

This observation shows several typical characteristics of what has been called the "Foo-Fighters": the following maneuvers of the plane despite the escape maneuvers of the plane, and the absence of attack by the ball of fire.

In the present case, we can of course exclude a rocket, an air-air bomb, a balloon, a meteor, a searchlight, a flare, etc. The only "ordinary" explanation which would be "the least worst" remains that of an enemy plane. But the behavior does not correspond to this, the ball of fire remaining within firing range of the B-29's machine guns, which would be madness on the part of a Japanese pilot. We also note that as the ball of fire does not fire any shots, the B-29 probably did not fire either, because if it had done this it would have been noted in the report, with the result.

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 20, 2023 Creation, [aaf1].
1.0 Patrick Gross December 20, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on December 20, 2023.