Lou Prucha WWII Service   

416th Mission #168  --  Saturday, December 9, 1944
Saarwellingen, Germany
(Defended Village)

Pilot's Flight Log

12th Army Group Situation Map

Lou flew A/C Serial # 41-39269 (Model A-26B-20-DL), Fuselage code 5H-K (668 Bomb Sq.)
in Box 2, Flight 2, Position 5.

See also the 416th Bomb Group Mission # 168 page.  View the target area in Google Maps.

Click to display the official 416th Bomb Group Mission Folder, Mission Report and Operational Report
scanned to PDF files by the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA).
(Note: Depending on Internet speed, these PDF files may take some time to download and display.)

Group, Unit and Historical Extracts for Mission 168

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1944"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

Two missions were flown on the 9th. In the morning, using PPF, the town of Saarwellin was attacked. Lt. Col Willetts and Capt. Marzolf led the boxes. Results were unobserved, however, because of the solid cloud cover.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 175 - 176

Mission #168 - 9 December - AM - Saarwellengen Supply Depot. This area was well equipped with heavy artillery and means to deter any Allied Forces, situated a little over a mile away, from advancing. Unfortunately, a heavy cloud cover prevented eye contact with the target, so bombing was done by PFF Pathfinders. The weather was extremely cold, with some icing forming on our planes, interfering with flying under ideal conditions. Not long after our formation took off from A-55, an armada of heavies flew over our base on the way to Germany. The temperature up there must have been well below zero temperature, since condensation trails followed the big boys, in an illustrious pattern against the blue sky. A treat to see, but the German flak gunners could also see them and gave a good aiming point for their experienced men to cut their fuses with accuracy. The formation of heavies was so great, it took over 20 minutes for all the planes to pass overhead. On our mission our bombers let their bombs go through clouds, with unobserved results. Lt. Col. Willetts and Lt. Royalty BN led this mission with Captain Marzolf and Lt. Beck, BN leading a flight.

"Operational History 668th Bomb Squadron (416th Bomb Group (L)) WWII"
Wayne Williams, et.al.

We were fortunate today in accomplishing two missions. The formation took off this morning at 0900, marking Group Mission # 168. The sky overhead was blue and cold, with unlimited ceiling. After our planes had departed on their assignment, we beheld an awe-inspiring scene. Wave upon wave of heavy bombers, escorted by fighters, passed over the field at high altitude. Each plane left a "vapor trail" in its wake making a beautiful lacy pattern against the blue sky. This is deadly as well as beautiful, as it is a dead give-away to enemy ack-ack gunners. The formation paused over for at least twenty minutes, and an estimate of strength was made at over 500.

From this squadron came six crews, to form a flight, and it was led by B/N Team of Andersen & Babbage. Flying in flight formation were; Ltís Evans, Cannon, McCready, Prucha, and Buchanan.

Using PFF bombing technique, the target to feel the weight and destruction of our missiles was the defended locality of Saarwellington, Germany. A enemy supply point her, defended by heavy German Artillery fire, which pinned down movement of an American Infantry division nearby, was struck with force. The bombing was done from over 13,000 feet, and 153 x 500 lb. GPís were dropped.

The results "undetermined" as no photo coverage or visual observation were possible due to clouds. All planes returned to the base unharmed, logging 3:00.

"History of 670th Bombardment Squadron (L)"
Transcription from USAF Archives

The following day, the 9th of December, two missions were flown, both using pathfinder technique. The morning mission was an attack on the town of Saarwellin in which seven of our crews participated. Results were unobserved. In the afternoon the defended village of Dilsburg was the target. Pathfinder equipment failure prevented the fulfillment of the mission so no attack was made. Visual bombing could not be tried because of heavy cloud cover over the target area.

"671st Bomb Squadron (L) Unit History"
Gordon Russell and Jim Kerns

Bombing with the aid of pathfinders only a short distance in front of Third Army doughboys, the 416th attacked Saarwellingen, a supply point defended by heavy German artillery fire which has pinned down movement of an American infantry division only 3,500 yards away. Solid overcast and icing conditions made the mission a rough one, and several of the aircraft failed to bomb. No photo coverage or visual observation was possible due to the 10/10 clouds.

"USAAF Chronology of WWII, month by month"

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 254 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s bomb defended villages, storage depots, barracks area, and marshalling yard in W Germany; fighters escort the 9th Bombardment Division, sweep the Landau and Saarbrucken areas, attack Zulpich and a bridge at Euskirchen, and support the XII and XX Corps in the Sarreguemines, France and Saar River area and around Dillingen.

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Last Updated: 08-Sep-2013