Lou Prucha WWII Service
Pilot's Flight Log
12th Army Group Situation Map
Group, Unit and Historical Extracts for Mission 256
"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives
The fine weather began to cloud up and on the 27th, no mission took off. However, on the 28th, one mission was run even though the weather was extremely bad. Thirty-eight planes attempted to bomb the oil storage depot at Ebrach. Trying to get through the overcast, the formation split up. Two PPF planes were leading the two boxes. Twenty-nine planes dropped on the PPF plane. Gee fixes indicated poor results with the bombs hitting far east of the target. Four planes attacked a railroad and autobahn crossing on Gee equipment when they became separated from the formation. Two planes bombed near Wurzburg. One plane dropped near Waalchern; one, over enemy territory, but the location was not determined. One plane, with a crew of F/O H.G. Gunkel and Sergeant L.J. Grzona, disappeared from the formation and is unaccounted for. The crew is listed as MIA. It was last seen going through the overcast at the start of the bomb run. Major Shaefer, Lts. Hand and Reeves, B&N, and Capt. Evans, with Lts. McCartney and Myrold, B&N, led the two boxes.
"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Mission #256 - 28 March - Ebrach Fuel Depot. Complete cloud cover caused 38 planes to become separated climbing through the overcast. PFF planes led the boxes. Twenty-nine planes bombed on PFF signal, with bombs falling east of the target. Four planes attacked a railroad and an autobahn crossing. Two planes dropped their bombs near Wurzburg. F/O H. G. Gunkel and gunner Sgt. L. J. Grzpna went down, unaccounted for. Their plane was last seen going down through the overcast at the start of the bomb run. They are listed as MIA. Major Shaefer, Lts. Hand and Reeves, BNs with Captain Evans and Lts McCartney and Myrold BNs led boxes. Captain Tutt, Lt. Orr BN, and Lt. Fero and F/O Langsan BN led flights. There were no battle damages to the formation.
"668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives
On 28 March, Flight Officer Harry G. Gunkel and his gunner Sgt LeRoy J. Grzona became lost from the formation while returning from a combat mission through heavy clouds, and were not again seen. Both men were reported Mission in Action.
"History of 670th Bombardment Squadron (L)"
Transcription from USAF Archives
An oil storage depot at Erbach, Germany, was hit on the 28th of March. The results of this mission were unobserved due to bad weather. Twelve of our crews took part.
"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns
Oil storage depots ahead of the American offensive were hit by Ninth Bomb Division on March 28 1945. The 416th dropped their one hundred-pound bombs on the depot at Ebrach with unobserved results. The mission was run by Pathfinder, through rough weather. F/O Gunkel of the 668th Squadron spun in coming out of the overcast and is missing. Box I bombed on ETA and Box II on Gee. There was no flak or battle damage.
TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 215 A-20s, A-26s and B-26s hit the Neuenheerse and Erbach oil storage depots and 11 targets of opportunity; fighters escort the bombers, fly armed reconnaissance and area cover over wide expanses of German territory, and support the US XII Corps in breakout attacks across the Main River in the Dornigheim area and the 2d and 8th Armored Divisions in the Dorsten area. HQ 36th Fighter Group and the 22d and 23d Fighter Squadrons move from Le Culot, Belgium to Aachen, Germany with P-47s; and the 31st Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), moves from Jarny, France to Euren, Germany with F-5s.