Personal Mission Log


Bernard L. Prueher

Navigator, Naughty Norma

(Click here to see this log combined with the 8th AF log.)

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1st Mission

February 21, 1944

My first raid - flew with Lt. McCarthur and crew. Dropped 12 x 500 ponders on Me 109 factory near Osnabruck. Flak was light but I thought it was heavy - found out later that it was very moderate. Saw no enemy fighters but plenty of friendly fighter support. Target smashed - Big flak hole over radio operator position.

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2nd Mission

February 24, 1944

Flew with my own crew. Dropped 10 x 500 pounders on Me 110 component parts factory at Gotha. Flak heavy and plenty of enemy fighters attacked us. Me 109s, Me 110s and F. W. 190s. Nearly got our ship as they had picked off the 3 planes in the element behind us and we were next. Friendly fighter support n. g. as we were 15 minutes ahead of our ETAs. Saw at least 5 bombers go down. One B-17 exploded and I saw tail go down in one piece and wing in the other. Three men parachuted out. Target was smashed. Rhodes got Me 110, Sawyer claims 2 Me 109s. Out of 23 ships from our group only 16 returned. We were one of the 4 ships that got back out of 2nd Section. Ten started out, 6 went down.

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3rd Mission

February 25, 1944

Flew with my own crew. Dropped 240 x 20 lb. fragmentation bombs on air field at Furth which is near Nuremberg. Saw plenty of enemy fighters but they didn't bother us much as our support was fairly good and our formation large. Saw B-17 spin in and explode. We passed Stuttgaart on way in and it had just been hit. Large pillars of smoke coming from the city. We encountered heavy and accurate flak in spots, especially over Nuermberg just after bombs away. Got about a dozen flak holes in our ship. Picture of bombing showed good results and most of the 60 enemy planes on field either destroyed or damaged.

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4th Mission

March 9, 1944

About a week ago we started for Berlin, called back before we got to Helgoland on account of weather - nearly -60 degrees c. Plane crashed while forming as did two others a few days ago which hit in mid-air directly over us. Kurtz and crew killed. Today we started for a place 35 miles west of Berlin. Complete undercast so we never got there. Bombed Hanover through the clouds. Whole mission SNAFU. Flak was intense but we only got 14 holes. Spoils the fun not to see the bombs hit.

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5th Mission

March 13, 1944

Strictly a noball to a place slightly north of Amilns (Amieus) @5010-0159. Meager flak, flew at 19,000 and complete undercast so we didn't even drop our bombs.

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6th Mission

March 15, 1944

Flew to Brunswick. Complete undercast again so we bombed the city by P. F. F. instead of visually. Results believed to be good. Flew at 20,000 with -37degrees c. temp. Flak moderate and inaccurate - 1 flak hole - gunners saw only 3 Me 109s. P38s shot one down and other 2 disappeared into clouds.

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7th Mission

March 16, 1944

Flew to Freidrichschafen on Lake Constance. Target covered with haze so instead of bombing pinpoint target - factory buildings - we bombed center of town. Hell of a long haul - 21,000', -30 degrees c., and my heated boots went out. Nearly froze my feet besides being sick with bad cold and sore throat. No enemy fighters, good fighter coverage all the way, and flak was moderate. Target was on one side of Lake Constance and other side was Switzerland. Quite a temptation to keep on going to Switzerland and then the war would be over so far as I was concerned. Interned for duration. Scenery was beautiful, especially Lake Constance, Alps in distance, and along Marne & Rhone rivers near Paris. Couldn't see Paris due to haze - only 20 miles away. Must have blasted hell out of city as we carried 5 x 1000 pounders and I saw them hit in center of town.

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8th Mission

March 20, 1944

Started for Frankfurt with 40 x 100 lb. G.P. bombs. Everything going fine until we got to 5005N - 0545E, where we ran into soup - couldn't get over. Suddenly came barreling thru formation which scattered in a hurry. We got the hell out and came home alone. Four beautiful P47s escorted us to the Channel. Didn't drop our bombs as we were still in Belgium, 10 miles from German border.

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9th Mission

March 26, 1944

Noball to Ciracourt, France - near St. Pol - rocket installation - 10 x 500 lb B.P. Used chaff, and flak was not so hot as far as we were concerned. No enemy fighters and friendly fighter cover was good. Over enemy territory only 1 hour - 22,000 feet, -20 degrees c. Bombing results were good. Would like about 22 more missions just like this.

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10th Mission

March 27, 1944

Pau, France - damn near to Spain - 10 miles. Nice trip but we had a hell of a time getting formed. Joined K Group - very poor formation so we joined J Group. Nose gunner sick so Bill had to go in turret. I salvoed the bombs as toggle switch didn't work. The J group carried 500 pounders and we carried 52 x 100 pounder incendiaries, which of course hit right after the demolition bombs. Hit the target, which was a large group of buildings, and what a splash. Never saw so many fires in all my life - could see gas or ammunition dumps exploding after we left. That airfield won't be used for a long time. When we got to the Oleron Island flak guns opened up on us and knocked lead ship down - 7 chutes got out = all because we were too close to the land instead of off-shore a few more miles. When we got back to England, the whole island was fogged in. We went to Excter in West England, but that was socked in too - saw a small break in clouds and down we went. Landed at a Navy base - good chow. Sure would like to be one of those little Navy heroes. Fly at 2,000', never see any flak or fighters - just fly out over the sea for awhile and then back - do that 50 times and then go back to U. S. Came back to Hethel next day.

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11th Mission

April 8, 1944

Sat. Brunswick -airplane factory - 52 x 100 pound incendiary bombs - 21,000' - Took same old hiway thru Zuide Zee & Holland. Saw lots of flak hit groups near us but none hit Naughty Norma. Fighters hit ground ahead of us - made one pass and got 4 B-24s. Saw 3 going down at the same time. They also hit group behind us and got at least one. P47s had quite a scramble with them and did very well, but there must have been too many to take care of. Saw about 5 fighter planes go down. Covered the target with bombs. I got several pictures of flak, formation, and target with George's camera but broke the film so they probably won't turn out. Bill still in hospital so I toggled the bombs. My boots and gloves out - nearly froze.

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12th Mission

Easter Sunday, April 9, 1944

Airfield at Lutow - 75 miles northeast of Berlin - 20,000', 10 x 500 lb. Demolition. Got late start so we didn't catch our formation until within 75 miles of Heligoland. Just before we caught them, we had to go through some bad weather. Ship nearly rolled over several times. Air speed varied from 120 to 200. Radio Operator sent in SOS but John and George managed to pull her through right side up. I can honestly say I was never so damned scared in all my life. Finally got in formation, flew across Danish penninsulva coming out about 50 miles below Copenhagen. Enemy fighters attacked us at I. P. which was in southwest corner of Baltic Sea. No damage to us but saw several planes go down. Smashed hell out of target. Just passed target 20 mm cannon shell exploded in waist injuring Kellis. Not bad, we hope, but he was spattered with shot from belly to ankle. Big hole in ship and rudder cable strands were broken. Kellis is first man, and I hope the last, to get the Purple Heart. Ran into some damn accurate flak around Vechta, followed us along for about 10 minutes. Pendergast, Westerbeck and crew went down. Sure was glad to get back on the ground again. Bill still in hospital, so again I toggled the bombs. Reese, Pohl and crew were rammed in mid-air by ship from different group while forming - all killed. Found out later Kellis was hit just before I. P. but said nothing until after we hit the target.

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13th Mission

April 11, 1944

F. W. factory at Oschershleben. Good weather, easy navigation. Fighters attacked us as we were taking interval at I. P:. Lots of fighters and they threw lot of 20 mm at us. Knocked down Jweid, Wyatt, and Downey from our group. Out of the 10 crews which came over on Queen Mary, 5 are left. We dropped 52 x 100 lb incendiaries on target 5 minutes after the group ahead of us plastered it with 1500 lb. H. E. I dropped the bombs. Mulqueeney got F. W. and so did Rhodes and Sawyer.

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14th Mission

April 12, 1944

Foche Wolfe assembly factory at Zwickau. Called back from pass to navigate for Oras' crew. Had bad weather, in fact 2nd Section lost us in clouds over Channel and turned back. We went on through France and 100 miles into Germany before we finally had to turn back. We lost our friendly fighters when we turned and were immediately jumped by F. W.s. Saw at least 5 bombers go down. Flak moderate. Noticed French coast flooded for about 50 miles below Ostend.

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15th Mission

April 18, 1944

Rathenor - 35 miles northwest Berlin - 52 x 100 lb incendiaries. Long haul over Danish Penninsula. Missed target.

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16th Mission

April 19, 1944

Paterbonn - 10 x 500 lb G.P. Good job of bombing. Little flak - no fighters.

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17th Mission

April 20, 1944

St. Omer - 8 x 1000 lb Noball target. Good bombing job. Plane went down right ahead of us.

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18th Mission

April 24, 1944

Augsburg Airfield and depot, 4 miles north of city. 1000 lb G.P. 27,000 gals. Topped off. Saw no enemy fighters but flak was heavy at target area. Good weather.

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19th Mission

April 28, 1944

G+ Noball. Just inside Point Gris 4 x 2000 lb H. E. Flak moderate but accurate and about 15 rockets. Missed target.

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20th Mission

April 29, 1944

Happy Birthday - Berlin. Practically complete undercast until we came to target area where the clouds broke. Had a good view of city and the flak and rocket barrage they are able to throw up. What a pasting that city took today - practically the whole 8th Air Force over the city at same time. Scared hell out of me. Took a tour of Eastern Germany after dropping bombs and I soon became completely lost. Saw plenty of enemy fighters and a lot of heavies go down but our group wasn't hit. 8th A. F. lost 64 bombers out of about 900. Load - 5 x 1000 lb H. E. plus 3 x 100 lb incendiaries.

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21st Mission

May 6, 1944

Brussels, Belgium - Group ran off 2 miss today. We went in P. M. to Brussels. Shot haul, moderate flak, no enemy fighters, good cover - what a deal. Visibility good but lead ship screwed up, one other ship and ourselves only ones to drop bombs 8 x 1000 lb G. P. Quite sure we hit target. R. R marshalling yards.

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22nd Mission

May 7, 1944

Osnabruck - 12 x 500 lb G. P. - Kellis back with us and it sure seems good. Finally have G box in D+ - We hit center of town thru complete overcast -40 degrees c. Close formation - PFF bombing. Flak at target was heavy, barrage type. Fighter cover was fair but saw no enemy fighters. Bombed at 23,500. One ship ditched in Channel.

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23rd Mission

May 8, 1944 - Monday

Brunswick, Germany - center of city. 52 x 100 lb. Incendiaries, 2300 gals. Got us up at 0230, briefed at 0315, takeoff at 0615 - all went well until just before the I. P. where we were hit by enemy fighters. Our fighter cover was good but they were badly outnumbered by the so called extinct Luftwaffe. We were under attack for over an hour, the 453 who were leading lost 6 planes, but we never lost a plane. Never saw so many 109s and 190s since Gotha. Hope I never see another one. I saw at least 6 B-24s and one enemy fighter go down. Three of the 24s exploded in mid-air. Flak at target was heavy but not too accurate - our ship came through OK. As usual we got more flak at the Dommer Lake area - Alt. 22,500, Temp. -30 degrees c.

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24th Mission

May 9, 1944

Florence Belgium. Target G. A. F. nite fighter field, Load 40 x 100 lb. G. P., 2300 gals. Got up at 0230, briefed 0330, Takeoff 0615. Flight alt. 16,000 - too low to suit me -20 degrees c temp. No flak until the target area where it was moderate and inaccurate. Excellent bombing job. Saw 20 mm shells bursting around us but damned if we could find the enemy fighters. The 453 flying high right lost 2 ships, saw one of them go down, 7 chutes. On the way, over one of our own ships (Shepperd) went down in the Channel for no apparent reason. Believed one of our ships killed the pilot while test-firing guns. Tough luck!

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25th Mission

May 20, 1944

Rhiems, France RR yds, 6 x 1000 lb. 2300 gals. Easy mission, flak a bit rough at target but we got only one hole, saw no enemy fighters. Did a damn good job of bombing - every one right in the target area. Had a good look at the big Cathedral as we were at 19,800. Flew in A+ instead of D+. Hell with that noise. No G box.

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26th Mission

May 23, 1944

Orleans, France. Up at 0200, briefing 0230 - Takeoff 0500. Load 12 x 500 lb. G. P., Gas 2300, Ship R+. Everything went off as scheduled, target was a bomb dump near airfield 9 miles N.W. of Orleans. Nose turret door broke off going through #3 prop, smashed cowling, cut a few holes in fuselage and broke R. O. window. Saw several places on way in and out that had just been bombed. Falk in target area.

27th Mission

May 24, 1944

Paris - Up at 0130, briefing at 0230, Takeoff at 0500. Load 7 x 1000 lb. G. P. Gas 2300 Ship R+ - another good mission, everything went off as scheduled, good bombing results, plastered hell out of airfield that was practically in the town. My first good look at Paris. Heavy flak at city but we weren't scratched. The damn nose turret door again broke off going through same prop and causing the same damage.

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28th Mission

May 25, 1944

Paris - Overslept and missed the main briefing. Gas 2500 - 10 x 500 lb. G. P. Supposed to hit marshalling yards at Troy, couldn't see target so we bombed secondary, which was another airfield at Paris. Flak was heavy and accurate and I was damn glad to get home. Jimmy Stewart was Command Pilot for our wing.

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29th Mission

May 27, 1944

Marshalling yards at Saarbrucken - Gas 2500 - 12 x 500 lb. Service Armor Piercing. Took another tour of France as usual before we hit target. Never have I seen such accurate and so heavy flak, within a minute of the time it started, two ships spun in from our group (Leninger and Reed) - Seavey's engineer was killed by flak thru his heart and Brown, his last mission, had to crash land in southern England. We nearly got hit by a plane on the bombing run and then we lost an engine - supercharger went out. One more left and I'd give $100 for a noball.

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30th Mission

May 28, 1944

44 x 100 lb. G. P., 2700 gal topped off. Started out for Merceberg - synthetic oil plant - #3 supercharger went out over Zuider Zee - Rhodes fixed it but the damn thing went out again. Formation was pulling away from us - we couldn't keep up. John said we'd have to turn back but we wanted to drop our bombs. I picked out an airfield 4 miles north of Donner Lake and so we headed for that all by ourselves. No bombsight, so we just let them go when we thought we should. Probably missed airport but got the city of Diepholz. Never saw bombs light as we did a quick 180 and batted hell for home. We could hear the boys calling for fighter cover over VHF just after we left formation. I sure was one scared cookie on the way home until 4 beautiful P47s found us and escorted us to the Channel.

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