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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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Tokyo, Japan, on May 23, 1945:

Case number:



Circa 1999, the US ufologist Jan Aldrich reported on his historical ufology website Project 1947 a case he found in the History of the 444th Bombardment Group of US Army Air Forces.

From a B-29 bomber of this unit, "Three balls of fire" were reported.


Temporal data:

Date: May 23, 1945
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1999
Reporting delay: Decades.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Kanto
City: Tokyo

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Unit History, ufologist Jan Aldrich.
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: ?
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: 1 to 11.
[ ] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 12 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Totally insufficient information.


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

N - 1945.05.23 - Night, Tokyo, Japan.

B-29, 444th Bomb Group, "Three balls of fire' reported. (444th Bombardment Group history.)


May 23, 1945

Tokyo, Japan

During a bomb raid on Tokyo, a formation of USAAF B-29 were chased by 15 metalic grey saucer-shaped objects. They performed many maneuvers at great speed.

Source: Charles Fort and UFOs, Loren Gross p.60


Case 129

May 23, 1945

Tokyo, Japan

At night, during a bombing mission of B-29s from the 444th Bomb Group, crews reported the sightings of about 20 "balls of fire".

Sources: Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / 444th Bombardment Group History

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.




To me, the information is totally insufficient to make any determination of what the "three balls of fire" were.

During raids by bombers of the XXIst Bomber Command of the US Army Air Forces over Japan in 1944 - 1945, balls of fire were sometimes reported with enough information to exclude more trivial "balls of fire" such as searchlights, air-to-air phosphorus bombs, flares etc. But it is not the case here.


Totally insufficient information.

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 January 11, 2024 Creation, [prt4], [dwn1], [dwn2].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 11, 2024 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 11, 2024.