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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, Japan, on May 23, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-05-23-TOKYO-2

Summary:

In the midsts of the first UFO wave of 1947, the newspaper State Journal, of Madison, Wisconsin, USA, for July 8, 1947, reported that a veteran recalls having seen flying saucers during World War II.

The newspaper told that veteran Gerry Dumphy, 23 Anyinger Court, Madison, student at the University of Wisconsin, recalled that there were reports of mystery fireballs which supposedly attacked big planes on their missions over the Japanese Islands in May and June 1945.

The newspaper told that the first "fireball" reported was during a raid against Tokyo on May 23, 1945, where Dumphy was a bombardier with the 52d Squadron of the 29th Bombing Group stationed at Guam. He recalled how the "fireballs" approached planes and followed them out to sea as they returned after dropping their bombs.

Dumphy described them as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as a B-29, but not as maneuverable", or as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "molten chunks of steel."

Dumphy is quoted saying:

"Often, excited gunners would fire on pursuing 'fireballs' missiles which would miss their targets and fall into the sea. Reports came in from every B-29 base in the Marianas."

Dumphy said that as time wore on, the fireballs became more maneuverable and followed the B-29's further out to sea, and that none were reported seen during daylight hours. One pilot, Dumphy told, seeing a fireball, flew into a cloud formation, but it was still following when the plane emerged. Dumphy said that in this case the fireball was explained as the planet Venus, as its position remained at 9 o'clock.

The parts of this article which did not mention Venus were taken up in ufological sources, from 1963 to the present day, as if Gerry Dumphy had indeed witnessed a UFO phenomenon.

Yet another newspaper from the same July 8, 1947 goes totally against this.

The Wisconsin State Journal had in fact published a more complete article regarding the quotes from Gerry Dumphy, in which it clearly appears that the observation he speaks of took place as follows:

During one mission, according to Dumphy's memory, the left gunner announced over the intercom that he had spotted a "ball of fire" approaching the plane from the 9 o'clock direction, as the B-29 was leaving the coast of Japan to return to its base. The pilot, cautious even though he had never before seen a "ball of fire", put the B-29 into a dive, accelerated and flew his plane into a cloud.

Then, the machine gunner was asked if he could still spot the "missile" that was pursuing them, and he confirmed that it was still following at 9 o'clock, and that he had seen it while the plane came out of the cloud.

About 15 minutes later, according to Dumphy, the plane reached a cloudless area, and the pilot asked the gunner to report the position of the "ball of fire" again, the response being that it was still at 9 o'clock.

All members of the crew then scanned the sky in that direction and the navigator saw the "ball of fire" in the sky at the reported location; it was "the star Venus", shining brightly, slightly above the horizon. The navigator was a little indignant, Dumphy said, that his old friend Venus, who had brought the crew safely back to Guam more than once, should be mistaken for a hostile body, but the entire crew was relieved to know they were in no danger of an explosive attack from one of the fabled "balls of fire".

In the article, we learn that Dumphy himself had never seen any "ball of fire" and that he thought the whole "ball of fire" affair was just a "fairy tale."

This also indicates that this sighting was not on May 23, 1945, as indicated in ufology sources: as May 23, 1945 was, acording Gerry Dumphy, the "first" "ball of fire" sighting, and as the crew is said to be already aware of the "balls of dire", this case must have occurred later. I kept the wrong date here so that the real data on the case can be located.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: May 23, 1945
Time: Night.
Duration: 15 minutes or more.
First known report date: July 8, 1947
Reporting delay: 2 years.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Kanto
City: Tokyo

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 to 11.
Number of known witnesses: 3
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The 1947 Press.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
UFO action: Follows plane at constant position.
Witnesses action: Evasive maneuver in vain.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Ball of fire then Venus.

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: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 1
ACUFO: Negative case, Venus.

Sources:

[Ref. msj1:] NEWSPAPER "MADISON STATE JOURNAL":

Veteran Recalls Early 'Saucers'

Flying Disk reports reminded veteran Gerry Dumphy (23 Anyinger Ct., a student at the University of Wisconsin) of reports of mystery fireballs which supposedly attacked big planes on their missions over Japanese Islands in May and June 1945.

The first 'fireball' reported was during a raid against Tokyo on May 23, 1945. Dumphy was a bombardier with the 52d Squadron of the 29th Bombing Group stationed at Guam. He recalls how the 'fireballs' approached planes and followed them out to sea as they returned after dropping their bombs.

He described them as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as a B-29, but not as maneuverable." Or as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "molten chunks of steel."

"Often, excited gunners would fire on pursuing 'fireballs' missiles (which) would miss their targets and fall into the sea. Reports came in from every B-29 base in the Marianas. As time wore on, the fireballs "became more maneuverable and followed the super forts further out to sea". None were reported seen during daylight hours. One pilot, seeing a fireball, flew into a cloud formation. It was still following when the plane emerged. In this case the fireball was explained as the planet Venus, as its position remained at 9 o'clock.

[Ref. wsj1:] NEWSPAPER "WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL":

Flying Discs Remind AAF Veteran Of Pacific Area 'Fireball' Reports

By WARREN R. JOLLYMORE
(State Journal Staff Writer)

Reports from many parts of the nation of "flying discs" bring to the minds of many army air force veterans memoirs of similar reports by crew members of Super-Forts of "fireballs" which supposedly attacked the big planes on their missions over the Japanese islands in May and June of 1945.

One such veteran, Gerry Dumphy, of 25 Anzinger ct., a journalism student at the University of Wisconsin, remembers well the many and varied reports that would be heard by interrogation officers following each mission after the first "fireball was reported on a night raid against Tokyo on May 23, 1945.

Dumphy was a bombardier with the 52nd squadron of the 29th bomb group stationed on Guam in the Marianas. He flew 29 missions in B-29s against the then doomed empire of Japan and recalls how the "fireballs" would "approach the planes and follow them out to sea as they turned 'homeward' after dropping their bombs on the target."

Round Balls of Fire

Like the "flying discs," they were described in various ways -- as "round, speedy balls of fire, as fast as a B-29, but not as maneuverable," as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "moulten chunks of steel, filled with explosives, and launched from airplanes."

Often, Dumphy relates, excited crew members would report tracer bullets fired from the pursuing "fireballs" or how the flying missiles would attack, miss their target, and crash into the sea."

Word of the eerie "fireballs" spread through the Marianas to every B-29 base on the islands and as more missions were flown, more "fireballs" were reported. As time wore on. Dumphy says, "they became more maneuverable and followed the returning superforts farther out to sea." None was ever reported seen during the daylight hours.

Fireball Spotted

On one mission, the ex-bombardier recalls, the left gunner called in over the interphone that he had spotted a "fireball" approaching the plane from 9 o'clock (directions were called out from the points of the clock) just as the huge plane was leaving the coast of Japan. The pilot, always cautious although he had never seen a "fireball," nosed the B-29 down, pushed the throttles forward, and flew into a cloud.

Emerging later, the gunner was asked if he could still spot the pursuing missile.

"It's still following at 9 o'clock," came the answer, "I saw it as we came out of the cloud."

About 15 minutes later, according to Dumphy, the plane reached a clear spot in the sky. There were no clouds around. The gunner was asked by the pilot to report the position of the "fireball" once more.

"Still at 9 o'clock," was the quick reply.

Skies Searched

The eyes of all crew members excitedly searched the skies at 9 o'clock and soon the navigator saw the "fireball" in the sky, at the spot reported by the gunner. It was the star, Venus, shining brightly, slightly above the horizon. The navigator was a little indignant, says Dumphy, that his old friend. Venus, who had guided the crew back safely to Guam more than once, should be mistaken for a hostile body, but the entire crew was relieved to know that they were in no danger of an explosive attack from one of the fabulous "fireballs."

Other reports had the mysterious missiles plummeting to fiery death in the sea, but invariably, the interrogation would reveal that a crippled superfort was forced to salvo a load of armed bombs in about the same spot and at about the same time that the "fireball" was reported to have crashed in the sea.

Became Legend

"Fireballs" soon became legend throughout the islands, Dumphy went on, and as hundreds of B-29s made the nightly 8-hour trip to Japan to drop their bombs, expectant crew members had a lot of time to think of the various ways the "fireballs" might appear to plague them in their attempt to hit the target.

In numerous cases, they did appear, or reputedly so, in exactly the same way as the reporting crew members had imagined they would. More than once the dependable Venus was accused and on several occasions the salvoing of a load of bombs brought new and more fantastic reports on the ever increasing "fireballs."

Whether or not the troublesome missiles really ever existed is not known, according to Dumphy. The war department reported no proof that the Japanese had such a weapon and the remains of any that crashed were never reported found.

GOOD STORY

Still, many crewmen the nation over relate to their friends yet today how they encountered the mystery missiles during the Pacific war, and it makes interesting conversation. But the fact remains that of all the "fireballs" reported during those two months in 1945, none have ever been heard of or from since.

It may be a military secret - or perhaps the fabulous "flying discs" of today are descendents of the wartime "fireballs" -- but Gerry Dumphy, who flew among them but never saw one, prefers to believe that the legend of the Japanese "fireballs" is a wartime fairy tale.

[Ref. csi1:] CIVILIAN SAUCER INVESTIGATION:

May 23, 1943
from Wisconsin State Journal, 7/8/47

by Gerry Dumphy, 25 Anyinger Court, Madison, Wisc. former bombardier with 52 sq. 29 Bomb Grp, Guam

The first "fireball" reported was during a night raid against Tokyo. Dumphy was bombardier. The fireball would approach thr plane and follow it out to sea when they retured homewars after dropping their boms. Described them as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as B-29, but not as maneuverable." Or, "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "molten chunk of steel."

Often excited gunners would fire on "fireballs." Missiles would miss their targets and fall into the sea. Reports cames from every B-29 base in the Mariannas. As time went on, the fireball "became more maneuverable and followed the Supeforts further out to sea." None seen during the day.

end of report: case 2117 from CSI files, noted 10/13/63

[Ref. gld1:] GORDON LORE AND HAROLD DENEAULT:

On July 8, 1947, [...], The Wisconsin State Journal published an interview with a former bombardier who had observed "round, speedy balls of fire" during night bombing raids on Tokyo on May 23, 1945. Okado had witnessed mysterious objects after the same raids. The high points of the Journal story follow: The veteran, Gerry Dumphy, had been a bombardier with the 52nd Squadron of the 29th Bombing Group, stationed on Guam. He recalled that "fireballs" had approached planes and followed them out to sea as they returned after dropping their bombs on Tokyo.

He described them as "round speedy balls of fire, fast as a B-29, but not as maneuverable... " Dumphy said excited gunners had often fired on pursuing "fireballs," but had missed their targets. He said reports of "fireballs" had been made by every B-29 base in the Marianas. As time wore on, the fireballs "became more maneuverable and followed the Superforts farther out to sea," he said. None was reported to have been seen during daylight.

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

Scan.

It was late May 1945. Germany had capitulated some weeks before on May 7th, but in the Far East Japan still resisted Allied forces. On May 23rd and 25th, American B-29 Superfortresses made heavy incendiary-bomb raids on Tokyo. After the B-29s passed over, Mr. Tomoyo Okado, a Tokyo business man, emerged from his bomb shelter to observe some strange objects in the air following the U.S. planes. He said the things were: "...like hot cakes - about 20 square yards (in size) (and) were followed several times by six feet wide and 30 feet long colored air waves" 51. Also, he noticed that: "The objects flew noiselessly and did not crash." 52

An American bombardier of one of the B-29s of the 52nd Squadron, 29th Bombing Group, also saw some strange objects himself during the July 23rd and 25th raids, U.S. airman Gerry Dumphy sighted "... round, speedy balls of fire". He said the objects paced the B-29s on their way back to the bomber's base on Guam. Machine gunners fired on the fireballs without apparent effect.

Thoughout the Marianas island chain, every B-29 outfit evently [sic] blaimed its share of fireball sightings. As time wore on, the fireballs paced the bombers farther and farther out to sea and became more active in their maneuvering. 54

Note: the source indications 51, 52, 54, are not detailed in the document.

[Ref. aws1:] UFOLOGY BULLETIN "AWARENESS":

Veteran recalls early saucers.

Letter to Wisconsin State Journal. Tuesday July 8th 1947.

Flying disc reports reminded veteran Gerry Dumphy; a student of University of Wisconsin of reports of mystery fireballs which supposedly attacked big planes on their missions over Japanese islands in May and June 1945.

The first "fireball" reported was in a night raid against Tokyo on May 23rd 1945. Dumphy was a bombardier of the 52nd Squadron of the 29th bombing group stationed at Guam. He recalls how the "fireballs" approached planes and followed them out to sea, as they returned homeward after dropping their bombs. He described them as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as a B29, but not as manoeuvre able" or as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes", or as "molten chunks of steel".

Often, excited gunners would fire on pursuing "fireballs' missiles would miss their targets and fall into the sea. Reports came from all B29 bases in the Marianas. As time wore on the "fireballs" became more manoeuverable and followed the super forts out to sea. None were reported as being seen during the daylight hours.

One pilot seeing a fireball, flew into a cloud formation. It was still following when the plane emerged. In this case the fireball was explained as the planet Venus, as its position remained at 9 o'clock.

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

The Project 1947 website published a transcript of the [msj1] newspaper article.

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH:

542: 1945/05/23 23:40 15 139:46:00 E 35:42:00 N 3331 ASP JPN HNS 6:9
TOKYO,JP:JAPANESE+USAF:15'GRY MTL SCRS CHASE B29s/BOMBING RAIDS:FAST+MNVRBLE
Ref#129 GROSS,Loren: CHARLES FORT & UFOS Page No. 60: IN-FLIGHT

[Ref. dwn1:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

May 23, 1945

Tokyo, Japan

During a night raid on Tokyo, several B-29s from the 52nd Squadron of the 29th Bombing group stationed at Guam were approached and followed by balls of fire out to sea as they returned home after dropping their bombs. One of the many witnesses, Gerry Dumphy bombardier in one B-29 described as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as a B-29 but not as maneuverable", or as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "molten chunks of steel".

Sources: State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin, July 8, 1947 / Project 1947, Jan Aldrich

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 130

May 23, 1945

Tokyo, Japan

During a night raid on Tokyo, several B-29s from the 52nd Squadron of the 29th Bombing group stationed at Guam were approached and followed by balls of fire out to sea as they returned home after dropping their bombs. One of the many witnesses, Gerry Dumphy bombardier in one B-29 described as "round, speedy balls of fire, fast as a B-29 but not as maneuverable", or as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "molten chunks of steel". Gunners had often fired on pursuing "fireballs" but had missed their targets.

Sources: State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin, July 8, 1947 / Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / Mysteries of the skies, Gordon Lore & Harold Deneault, NICAP 1968

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 addition of the Venus sighting, here are some comments on the general recollections he gave on the "balls of fire":

When the newspaper tells that the "first 'fireball' reported was during a raid against Tokyo on May 23, 1945", it may be the first sighting Gerry Dumphy was aware of, because it was his own, but there had been ealier sightings in the Pacific, such as on Iwo Jima on January 10, 1945.

When Gerry Dumphy told that some of the "balls of fire" were like "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," he is correct, but these were nothing else than phosphorus bombs with parachute that the Japanese planes tried to drop slightly above and ahead the B-29's with the aim of setting fire to the US bombers - wihout much success (photo below). These were quite rapidly identified as such, and not as "flying saucers" of UFOs.

Phosphorus bomb.

When Gerry Dumphy told that "excited gunners would fire on pursuing 'fireballs' missiles (which) would miss their targets and fall into the sea", he refers to exactly that: the Japanese fired ground-to-air and air-to-air rockets at the B-29's, without much success because these had no guidance system. This also was not considered extraordinary at the time, these rockets were documented as anti-aircraft weapons in the mission reports of the time, distinct from the "balls of fire" phenomena.

"Gerry Dumphy"

There were mispells of the name in the Press sources.

It was not "Gerry Dumphy", but Jerry Dunphy (photo below), L.A. broadcasting legend, American television news anchor on the Los Angeles and Southern California media born on June 29, 1921, deceased at 83 on May 27, 2002.

Jerry Dunphy.

Jerry Dunphy was a licensed pilot a decorated World War II veteran, who received a Distinguished Flying Cross and two presidential unit citations. He flew as a pilot on B-29 bombers in the Pacific World War II. He had trained in Albuquerque, N.M., with actor James Stewart.

On May 9, 1984, Dunphy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in the television industry, located at 6669 Hollywood Boulevard.

Evaluation:

Negative case, Venus.

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 20, 2024 Creation, [msj1], [wsj1], [csi1], [gld1], [aws1], [lgs1], [prt1], [lhh1], [dwn1], [dwn2].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 20, 2024 First published.

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