Lou Prucha WWII Service   

416th Mission #262  --  Sunday, April 8, 1945
Munchen-Bernsdorf, Germany
(Railroad Siding And Oil Storage Tanks)

Pilot's Flight Log

12th Army Group Situation Map

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

See also the 416th Bomb Group Mission # 262 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 262

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

Principally because of the extreme distance of any suitable targets, the third mission of the month was not flown until the 8th, when 42 planes attacked the Munchen-Bersndorf railroad sidings and oil storage tanks. Crews reported violent explosions in the storage area and many hits on the railroad siding. Photo interpretation found three tanks destroyed, one large storage type building one-half destroyed, and two other storage buildings damaged. Craters blocked the roads in at least four places. There was no flak, but one plane suffered battle damage when a bomb dropped from another flight exploded prematurely under this plane. Due to the similarity of terrain and smoke, one flight misidentified the target and dropped 4 1/2 miles southwest of the target. The three boxes were led by Major Ferris with Lts Royalty and McNutt, B&N, Lt Brewster, Lt Dennis and F/O Conley, B&N, and Capt Tutt, Lt Orr B&N.

"Attack Bombers, We Need You! A History of the 416th Bomb Group"
Ralph Conte
Page 248

Mission #262 - 8 April - AM - Munchen-Bernsdorf Railroad sidings and oil storage tanks. Three boxes of a total of 42 planes created a very successful mission. Four different groups attacked this target in 20 minute intervals. When our crews got there, smoke and fire were the only thing to aim at and six of our crews did that with perfection. Violent explosions and fire balls rose as our bombs hit. A seventh flight of our group misidentified the target and dropped his bombs about five miles southwest of the primary target. Smoke could be seen for about 70 miles away from our primary target, indicating what the photo recon showed, that three storage tanks destroyed, large storage buildings destroyed and craters blocked four roads leading into the facility. Boxes were led by Major Ferris with Lts. Royalty and McNutt, BNs,-Lt. Brewster with Lt. Dennis and F/O Conley BNs, and Captain Tutt with Lt. Orr, BN. Lts. Lackovich and Orr BN,-Lt. Fero and F/O Langsam BN, - Captain Sears and F/O Przywitowski BN, led flights.

"669th Bombardment Squadron (L) History"
Transcription from USAF Archives

It was not until the eighth of the month that the next operation was run. On that day two missions were flown. The first of these missions attacked the Munchen-Bernsdorf Railroad Sidings and Oil Storage Tanks. Good weather permitted visual bombing runs to be made. Violent explosions were seen, by the crews, in the target area. Lt. Jordan, with Lts. Mulgrew and Moore, led the Third Flight of the Second Box of the formation.

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

The 5th, 6th, and 7th of April were confined to local flying, which was carried out extensively. 100 hours of local flying per day were averaged.

Six enlisted men, Cpl. Howard H. Calhoun, Pfc’s Robert J. Eaves and Earl Wilkerson, and Pvts Benjamin T. Cleaves, Grimsley L. Cooper and Walter M. Smolicek were transferred to the 79th station complement squadron on the 6th of April 1945. The morning mission target Munchen Bernsdorf was led by Major Ferris, Lt. Royalty and Lt. McNutt with Lt. Brewster and Lt. Dennis leading the second box. The results were unobserved due to smoke and flames caused by earlier bombing. This was the last mission for Lt. Royalty, as his tour was completed on this day. 12 aircraft of this squadron participated, which was maximum effort. 6 aircraft of this squadron took off in the afternoon mission against Sonderhausen and excellent results were determined.

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

With their longest rest since the beginning of March behind them…four days, the 416th swung back into action on April 8th with two attacks against a communication and an oil storage plant. Both missions were run without loss, but smoke and haze proved to be just as bad as flak on the evening mission.

In the morning the Group hit the Munchen-Bernsdorf Oil Storage plant with very successful results. Due to heavy smoke covering the target area, the lead bombardiers in six of the seven flights estimated the DMPI and released. Violent explosions and fires resulted. Some bombs covered roads in the area, but most of the 150 GPs fell into smoke. The seventh flight misidentified the target and bombed about five miles southwest of the primary. Four groups attacked this target at 20-minute intervals starting at 9A.M. Smoke could be seen 70 miles from the target after the bombing. It is evident that the Germans suffered a complete loss of this vital storage plant. The target was located 40 miles southeast of Leipzig.

"USAAF Chronology of WWII, month by month"

Ninth Air Force: In Germany, around 620 A-20s, A-26s, and B-26s bomb the Munchenbernsdorf oil storage depot, the Sonderhausen communications center, Nienhagen oil refinery, Celle marshalling yard, and 8 city areas; fighters escort the bombers, attack an airfield, fly patrols and armed reconnaissance, and operate in conjunction with the US VIII, XII, and XX Corps in the Thuringer Forest and Erfurt areas. Unit moves in Germany: HQ IX Tactical Air Command from Bruhl to Lahn Airfield, Marburg; HQ 36th Fighter Group and the 22d and 23d Fighter Squadrons from Aachen to Niedermennig with P-47s; HQ 354th Fighter Group and 356th Fighter Squadron from Rosieres-en-Haye, France to Ober Olm with P-51s; HQ 362d Fighter Group and 379th Fighter Squadron from Rouvres, France to Frankfurt with P-47s.

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Last Updated: 08-Sep-2013