Lou Prucha WWII Service   

416th Mission #183  --  Thursday, January 11, 1945
Simmern, Germany
(Railroad Bridge)

Pilot's Flight Log

12th Army Group Situation Map

Lou flew A/C Serial # 43-22290 (Model A-26B-10-DT), Fuselage code 5H-L (668 Bomb Sq.)
in Box 2, Flight 2, Position 6.

See also the 416th Bomb Group Mission # 183 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 183

"416th Bombardment Group (L) - Group History 1945"
Transcribed from USAF Archives

Again, on the 11th, the Simmern railroad bridge was to be attacked, using PPF technique. An equipment failure forced the PPF plane to seek a casual target to attack. "Gee" fixes taken by our planes located this casual target at Alzey, Germany--a marshalling yard. The bombs missed the yards but completely severed a highway. The PPF plane chose a casual target after two bombing runs on the primary target. The box leaders were Captain Hulse, Lt Conte, B-N, and Captain Stebbins, Lt Calloway, B-N.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 192 - 193

Mission #183 - 11 January - Simmern Bridge Again. Captain Hulse and Lt. Conte, BN led Box I with Captain Stebbins and Lt. Calloway, BN on Box II. Flight leaders were Lts. Brown and Kerns, BN,= Lts. Greenley and Basnett, BN and Lts. Lackovich and Muir, BN. PFF pathfinder equipment failed so lead BNs used GEE equipment to bomb secondary targets at Alsey, Germany, severing a major highway. The cold temperatures were evident to the crews, getting down to 27 degrees below zero. Did we say that no heaters were normal equipment for the A-20s? Frost bite was the next thing to worry about. The silk gloves, paper wrapping in our shoes, and fur lined boots, helped just a little. Cold is cold at 27 below!

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

We finally got a break in our inactive status today, and flew GP Mission # 183. Anticipating cloud coverage, B-26s led this PFF mission. The target was the R.R. Bridge at Simmern. From our squadron came a flight of six planes, led by the B/N Team of Andersen & Babbage. The primary target was not bombed for some reason, so the secondary target was hit. The results were tabulated as follows; P.N.B. PFF. All crews returned safely after a trip of 4:00. This was the only activity for the day.

"668th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

On 11 January, the same [Simmern railroad] bridge was the primary target of another PFF sortie. Due to navigational difficulties, the formation bypassed the primary and bombed its secondary objective.

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

The Simmern Railway Bridge was again our target on the 11th of January, using pathfinder. Due to equipment failure, the bridge was not attacked and a secondary target bombed. The marshalling yard and highway at Alzey, Germany were badly damaged.

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

Twenty-eight aircraft were dispatched mid-day on January 11th to again hit the Simmern rail bridge, still on the only line from Koblenz to the battlefront. One Pathfinder ship was used, but its equipment failed over the primary. The PFF Bombardier selected railroad tracks near the town of Alsey and the Invaders dropped on his lead. Results were just fair.

The crews at their bombing level reported a temperature of 27 below zero, and all the men had a slight touch of frostbite. Weak flak was seen, but all the ships returned without battle damage.

"USAAF Chronology of WWII, month by month"

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): About 120 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s attack communications centers and rail bridges in Belgium and Germany; fighters escort the bombers, hit an ammunition dump at Mayen, Germany, and patrol areas around Malmedy, Belgium and NE of Trier, Germany.

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Last Updated: 08-Sep-2013