Lou Prucha WWII Service   

416th Mission #188  --  Sunday, January 21, 1945
Euskirchen, Germany
(Railroad Bridge)

Pilot's Flight Log

12th Army Group Situation Map

Lou flew A/C Serial # 41-39233 (Model A-26B-20-DL), Fuselage code 5H-F (668 Bomb Sq.)
in Box 1, Flight 2, Position 5.

See also the 416th Bomb Group Mission # 188 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 188

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

After four non-operational days, 35 aircraft attacked the railroad bridge at Euskirchen on the 21st. Bombing visually by flights, excellent to superior results were achieved. The bombs fell across the bridge, onto the railroad tracks, and into the marshalling yards to do extensive damage. Moderate accurate flak hit the formation at the target and on the turn off. Twelve aircraft suffered category "A" damage, and one, category "AC." Major Dunn, Lt Brewer, B-N, and Captain Monroe, Lt Kirk, B-N, were the box leaders.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Pages 195 - 196

Mission #188 - 21 January - Euskirchken Railroad Bridge. Major Dunn and Lt. Brewer, BN led Box I with Captain Monroe and Lt. Kirk, BN leading Box II. Lt. Stanley and F/O Blount, BN Captain Greenley and Lt. Basnett, BN led flights. B-26s had attacked this bridge before, but the Germans had rebuilt it with railroad tracks. Our bombs hit the bridge and bombs tore up an attached marshalling yard. Window dropping preceeded the formation, but heavy flak got through to the planes, causing damage on a few planes. No injuries. Bombing was on PFF which the first box followed. The second box did not see the PFF signal, so did not drop. The results of flight bombings were rated two superior and one excellent. Two did not drop. Captain Greenley and Lt. Basnett, BN leading a flight, had their elevator trim tab freeze up, causing the plane to slip away from the formation. They attemped to join up other flights but did not make it properly, dropping their bombs away from the target.

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

A break in weather gave us group Mission # 188 today. Filling out the loading list from our squadron were; B/N Team of Stanley & Blount, Ltís Jacobsen, Harris, Prucha, Russell, McCready, and Hale. Flying "window" for the formation was the B/N Team of Mish & Shaft. Lt. Stanley led our crews in the second flight of the first box.

The target bombed was the railroad bridge at Euskirchen. The bridge was an important target on the supply route form Cologne to the German front. "Marauders" had hit it before, but the Jerries had repaired the damage and run a track across it again.

Moderate accurate heavy flak was encountered just before the target was reached, damaging the planes in formation. None were hit seriously, and the bombs were dropped with precision. The bombing was done by flights from/on Group lead from 11,000 and 12,000 feet. The return journey was made without any interference of any kind, and the formation landed after a journey of four hours.

Photos taken and later developed gave the results of the mission. Of the six flights, two scored "superior", one "excellent", two "undetermined", and one A.P.N.B. F/O Blount, who guided our flightís bombs, brought back a "superior" to the squadron. he is rapidly making himself a name as a bombardier. This mission ended the dayís activities.

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

Other outstanding missions during the month include the attack on Benzig rail bridge 16 January, on which Captain McNulty and Lt. Forma scored an Excellent and Captain Evans and F/O McCartney a Superior; the sortie against Euskirchen bridge 21 January for which Captain Stanley and F/O Blount were given a Superior; and the assault upon the Communications Center of Schleiden, 24 January, which marked the 19th consecutive Excellent for Lt. Arvid R. Hand, veteran Bombardier whose pilot is Major Robert F. Price, Squadron Commander.

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

The Euskirchen Railway Bridge was bombed with superior results on the 21st of January, with twelve of our crews taking part. The bombs fell across the bridge, on the tracks and into the marshalling yards, heavily damaging the area. Major Dunn and Lt. Brewer led the first box and Captain Monroe and Lt. Kirk led the second box on this mission.

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

In their first mission in five days the 416th Bomb Group attacked the Euskirchen Rail Bridge, 12 miles northwest of Bonn on an important supply route from Cologne to the German front. Marauders left the bridge unserviceable on December 23rd. But since then one of the five rail lines that crossed the River Erft at this point had been repaired. A Pathfinder took the group in, but relinquished its lead when it was found that visual bombing could be employed.

Two superiors, an excellent, and two undetermined results were chalked up as well as a P.N.B. The latter was Captain Greenley and Lt. Basnett. Their elevator trim tabs froze up when they were peeling off for the bomb run. Captain Greenley tried to tag on with the first flight, but was still not in position and his bombs dropped 1300 feet from the DMPI.

Three window ships went along as flak was anticipated and furthermore met. Thirteen ships received battle damage, but all returned safely.

"USAAF Chronology of WWII, month by month"

TACTICAL OPERATIONS (Ninth Air Force): In Germany, 166 A-26s, A-20s, and B-26s hit a rail junction and bridge at Euskirchen and marshalling yard and defended positions at Mayen; fighters fly armed reconnaissance, escort bombers, bomb bridges, and support the US 7th Armored Division.

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Last Updated: 08-Sep-2013