Lou Prucha WWII Service
Pilot's Flight Log
12th Army Group Situation Map
Group, Unit and Historical Extracts for Mission 251
"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives
On the 24th, in a dawn attack in cooperation with a long awaited push by our ground forces, two boxes of aircraft, led by Major Dunn, with Lt. Brewer and F/O A.J. Lehneis, B&N, and Lt. Brown, Lt. Kerns, B-N, made an attack on flak positions at Ihling Kamps, east of Bocholt, dropping 733x260-pound fragmentation bombs on the lead plane of the first box, which attacked visually. The lead bombardier misidentified the target and bombed on the edge of the town of Rhede, one mile east of the target. Hits were scored on the railroad, roads, and buildings. Two planes led by Lt. C. Jordan, Lt. Mulgrew, B-N, were assigned to attack another flak position with the 409th Bomb Group, scoring excellent results.
As our planes returned to the field, overhead, C-47 Dakotas and gliders were heading eastward to participate in the mass offensive, after rallying over Laon. Our crews reported even more C-47's and gliders in the target area as they made their attack. At that time, there was report of any landing of our troops on the east bank of the Rhine. Within two hours, the world heard the news that the Rhine had been crossed both in the north by our airborne troops and in the south by General Patton's Third Army.
"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Mission #251 - 24 March - AM - Ihling Kamps near Bocholt flak gun emplacements. Eleven groups were assigned different gun emplacements with frag bombs. Major Dunn, Lt. Brewer and F/O Lehneis BNs on Box I. Lts. Brown and Kerns, BN led Box II. Brigadier General Backus of 9th Bomb Wing rode as an observer with Major Dunn. Direct hits were made amid smoke and fire, with no flak coming up. The lead bombardier misidentified the target and bombed on the edge of town, Rhede, one mile east of the assigned target. He hit railroads, roads, and the buildings. On returning to base, we noticed numerous C-47s and gliders making their way to the Rhine River. Later news reports shouted that our troops had crossed the Rhine and that the Third Army led by General Patton had penetrated the area. Our bombing helped considerably. Two of our planes, led by Lt. Jordan and Lt. Mulgrewe BN were assigned to attack another flak position with the 409th Bomb Group. Our boys scored an excellent shot.
"History of 670th Bombardment Squadron (L)"
Transcription from USAF Archives
A long awaited push by the ground forces started on the 24th of March and the group took off in a dawn attack to cooperate in the move. This attack was on flak positions at the Ihling Kamps area in Germany.
Excellent bombing results were achieved with the 260-pound fragmentation bombs. Flak resistance was intense but inaccurate. As our airplanes returned to the base the sky was filled with C-47ís towing gliders, which were heading eastward to participate in the mass offensive. That afternoon our planes went out again to attack the Colbe Rail Bridge. Six of our crews took part with good to superior results.
"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns
The 416th made it eight missions in two days as the Ninth Bomb Division continued to drop tons of explosives on the battered area north of the Ruhr. The climaxing blow was made in the morning as eleven groups dropped frags on flak positions near Bocholt, north of the Ruhr at a point just two miles east of the German-Holland border. Each group had a different gun sight. As a whole, results were undetermined, although some crews reported direct hits on the guns. No flak was encountered and all crews returned safely.
In the afternoon the 416th shifted the offensive east and south of the Ruhr Valley, smashing at the Colbe Railroad Bridge, 20 miles north of Giessen. After dispatching a maximum effort mission in the morning just four flights were sent out in the afternoon. An excellent, superior, and a good were scored against on unsatisfactory. Lt. Lackovich and Lt. Muir were credited with a good on their bombing.
Bombing of this bridge and two other nearby spans is part of a continuing program to keep the entire Ruhr Valley isolated from the rest of Germany. There were no losses, casualties or battle damage.
Lt. William H. Ames finished both of his gunners up on the morning mission. He let them both reach 50 and then took one up front and the other in the turret for Number 51. They are S/Sgt. Robert J.Brown and S/Sgt. Herman S. Fessler, who joined the 671st with Lt. Ames back in June 1944.
TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, almost 700 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s blast communications centers, rail bridges, flak positions, and numerous other targets in cooperation with the combined land-airborne assault across the Rhine River (Operation PLUNDER-VARSITY) by the British Second and US Ninth Armies and the US XVIII Corps of the First Allied Airborne Army; fighters attack with the bombers before the drop and carpet the landing zones with fragmentation bombs, immobilizing numerous flak batteries; fighters escort bombers and transports, cover the assaulting 30th and 79th Infantry Divisions, attack troop concentrations, flak positions, supply and ammunition dumps, airfields, defended villages, and road and rail traffic, and patrol the perimeter of the battle sector; fighters also support US First Army elements across the Rhine E of Remagen between Koblenz and the Sieg River as they prepare for the breakout assault, and the US Third Army's XII Corps as it strengthens its Rhine bridgehead E of Oppenheim and commits its armor to push through toward the Main River. HQ 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and the 30th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron and 109th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron move from Gosselies, Belgium to Vogelsang, Germany with F-5s and F-6s.