Lou Prucha WWII Service   

416th Mission #241  --  Monday, March 19, 1945
Lage, Germany
(Railroad Bridge)

Pilot's Flight Log

12th Army Group Situation Map

Lou flew Box 1, Flight 2, Position 2;
piloting 668 Bomb Sq. A-26B-20-DL Invader, Serial # 41-39274, Fuselage code 5H-S.

See also the 416th Bomb Group Mission # 241 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.)

Lou identified this mission as #242 in his Pilot's Flight Log; however there were two morning missions this day and the 416th Bomb Group official records number the Lage mission as Mission #241.

Group, Unit and Historical Extracts for Mission 241

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

The 19th was an extremely active day for the Group. One box of 24 planes attacked the Lage railroad bridge with excellent results. Moderate, accurate flak at the bomb line in and out caused battle damage to nine planes. Major Ferris, Lts Royalty and Moore, B&N, led the box.

At the same time, 18 more planes attacked the Nassau road junctions. Again the results were excellent, with hits on the railroad, buildings, and roads. Lt. Rooney, Lt Kirk and F/O T.L. Goss, B&N, led the box.

A third box of 18 aircraft attacked the Schweim marshalling yards with a box of the 409th Bomb Group. Again attacking visibly by flights, the formation scored excellent results with all bombers scoring hits in the yards. Major Dunn, Lts Brewer and Muir, B&N, led the box.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Page 233

Mission #241 & 242 - 19 March AM - Lage Railroad Bridge. This is called spreading activities around, taking advantage of the weather and the excellence of the crews. In the morning, two boxes were directed to different targets and a third box in the afternoon zeroed in on the Lage Railroad Bridge with Major Ferris and Lts. Royalty and Moore, BNs leading the first box of 24 planes bombed with excellent results. Moderate accurate flak met them on the bomb run for five minutes damaging nine planes. Lts. Brown and Kerns, BN led flights.

Captain Rooney led the second box of 21 planes to Nassau Communication Center with excellent results. No flak or fighters bothered this formation. Lts. Lackovich and Muir, BN led a flight.

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

On the 19th of March the Lage Railroad Bridge was attacked. Only one box attacked this target. Major Ferris, our squadron commander, led the formation of twentyfour aircraft to bomb with superior results. Moderate accurate heavy flak was encountered from the bomb line in for five minutes. The escort was a formation of P-38 aircraft. At the same time, 18 other aircraft were dispatched to attack the road junction at Nassau. Captain Rooney led the attack and excellent results were achieved. No flak or fighter opposition was encountered. A total of twelve 670th crews participated in these two missions.

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

The 416th Group racked up three missions on March 19th, continuing the aerial offensive against key rail and communications centers in the Reich. Two formations of 21 and 24 ships went out in the morning, while one box was dispatched in the afternoon. All bombing was done visually in clear skies, and all crews returned safely.

In the morning one formation was dispatched to the communication center of Nassau, east of Coblenz. Two out of the three flights scored excellents on their bombing. Lt. Brown and Lt. Kerns were one of these pairs. The bombs fell in a good pattern over buildings and roads.

The other formation went to the Lage Rail Bridge, 10 miles south of Hanover, and quite deep into Gernany. Four flights bombed the bridge and chalked up two excellent and two superiors. Lt. Lackovich and Lt. Muir, leading their first flight on a visual mission scored one of the superiors. The bombs hit into the smoke of a previous pattern and it was apparent that the road and bridge had been hit. Lt.Muir, setting an impressive pace on missions, dropped visually for the first time in 34 missions, and with this superior to his credit, it looks very much as if the 671st has another star lead team in Lt. Lackovich and Lt. Muir. Flak was encountered at this target, nine ships receiving battle damage, but all returned.

In the afternoon the 416th flew second box with the 409??!! in the lead. The target was the Barmen marshalling yard, 18 miles east of Dusseldorf. The lead ship of the first box (409th) was hit by flak on the bomb run, both the pilot and bombardier being wounded. This flight did not bomb, but the crew returned to base safely. The second and third flights did not hit the target. Major Dunn and Lt. Brewer, leading the second box, scored undetermined results due to violent evasive action coming of the target, but visual reports state that the bombing was excellent, hitting in the Marshalling Yard.

"USAAF Chronology of WWII, month by month"

Ninth Air Force: In Germany, the 9th Bombardment Division strikes 2 marshalling yards, 5 rail bridges, a communications center and several casual targets as part of the interdiction program to impede enemy movement; fighters escort the bombers, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, support the US III Corps W of Remagen, cooperates with the XII Corps' 4th Armored Division E of Kaiserslautern as it drives toward the Rhine River; fighter-bombers of the XIX Tactical Air Command, on a special mission, bomb the HQ of Commander-in-Chief West (Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt) at Ziegenberg.

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Last Updated: 08-Sep-2013