Lou Prucha WWII Service
Pilot's Flight Log
12th Army Group Situation Map
Group, Unit and Historical Extracts for Mission 260
"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives
Mission #260, the first mission in April, was flown on the third. It was an attack in which 76 tons of bombs were dropped on the marshalling yards at Hemeln, using PPF technique. The formation climbed to 16,000 feet trying to reach the I.P. due to the clouds. Climbing 500 feet higher, the bombs were released at 16,500 feet. A few crews reported that through a small break in the clouds they saw the bombs bursting in the yards and in the town. The formation encountered weak but accurate flak between the I.P. and the target. A few bursts also came up at the R.P. where Lt James P. Phillips' plane was hit. He feathered his engine and returned to base on single engine. He was able to get the engine operating over our base and landed on both engines although he was able to get very little power from his damaged engine. The formation split up after leaving the target in bad weather. Major Sommers headed back alone and traveled directly across the Ruhr pocket which our troops had created. At low altitude, his gunner, Staff Sergeant Kalen Heath, fired at a few flak guns as he sped by but he could make no claims. The box leaders were Lt Col Willetts, with Lts Powell and Reeves B&N, and Capt Evans, with Lts McCartney and Myrrold, B&N.
"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Mission #260 - 3 April - Hemeln Marshalling Yard. This was an attack on which 76 tons of bombs were dropped, using PFF pathfinder leaders. The formation had to climb to 16,000 feet. (remember we didn't have oxygen masks, making us wonder why some of the guys didn't feel the affects. Now if I go to an 11,000 foot altitude on ski slopes, I can't catch my breath). A few crews reported that through a small break in the clouds they saw the bombs bursting in the yards and in the town. The formation encountered weak but accurate flak between the I.P. and the tar get A few bursts also came up at the rendezvous point where Lt. James R. Phillips' plane was hit. He feathered his engine and returned to base on single engine.
He was able to get the engine operating over our base and landed with both engines although he was able to get very little power from his damaged engine. The formation split up after leaving the target in bad weather. Major Sommers headed back alone and traveled directly across the Ruhr pocket, which our troops created. His Gunner, Staff Sergeant Kalen Heath, fired at a few flak guns as he sped by, but he could make no claims. The box leaders were Major McNulty with Lts. Powell and Reeves as BNs and Captain Evans with Lts. McCartney and Myrrold, BNs. Captain Tutt and Lt. Orr led a flight.
The Group just received a report that reconnaissance revealed that the Colbe Railroad Bridge, 20 miles north of Geissen was completely destroyed by the 416th's attack on the afternoon of 24 March 1945. Four flights hit the bridge with superior to good results.
"669th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives
Operational Mission # 260 was flown on the 3rd of April. An attack was made on the Hammeln Marshalling Yards by the use of PFF technique. It was necessary for the formation to go up to 16,000 feet at the Initial Point in order to take the bombing run. Cloud cover made it impossible for photographs to be taken, but visual observation through a break in the clouds disclosed that good results had been obtained. Lt. Col. Napier, with his B/N Lt. Moore, led the second box of the formation.
"History of 670th Bombardment Squadron (L)"
Transcription from USAF Archives
The month of April opened with weather too poor for combat operations on April 1st and 2nd. Capt. Henry W. Browman moved to the 97th Combat Wing (L) on temporary duty for a period of thirty days. S/Sgt Henry Nowosieski Jr. after completing his tour of missions left the squadron on the 3rd of April for the 70th Reinforcement Depot and the first step of his journey home. The 1st mission of the month, in which 36 A-26ís and 2 PFF aircraft participated, was against Hameln Marshalling Yards. 12 aircraft of this squadron were on the mission. Due to cloud cover, there was no photo coverage, but crews believed that results were good. Again on the 4th of April cloud cover prevented observation of results of the mission against Crailsheim Barracks. On this dated notice was received of promotions to 1st Lt of 2nd Lt Bower, Ford and Turner.
"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns
After a two-day sojourn the 416th went back on their long range operations and bombed by Pathfinder method the Hameln Marshalling Yards with undetermined results. Flak was not encountered and all crews returned safely.
Ninth Air Force: In Germany, about 230 B-26s, A-20s and A-26s attack Holzminden and Hameln marshalling yards, the town of Gottingen, 2 targets of opportunity, and fly a leaflet mission; fighters fly escort, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, support the US 9th Armored Division in the Warburg area, the XX Corps E of the Werra River toward Muhlhausen and in the Kassel area, the XII Corps in the Gotha and Suhl areas, and the 2d and 8th Armored Divisions in the Teutoburger Forest and Neuhaus; unit moves: HQ XXIX Tactical Air Command (Provisional) to Haltern; HQ 84th and 303d Fighter Wings from Munchen-Gladbach to Haltern; 14th Liaison Squadron, XIX Tactical Air Command (attached to Twelfth Army Group), from Oberstein to Berkersheim with L-5s; 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), from Trier to Ober Olm with F-6s; 507th and 508th Fighter Squadrons, 404th Fighter Group, from St Trond, Belgium to Keltz with P-47s.