Skip to comments.WWII Operation Tidal Wave - 1 Aug 1943 - Raid on Ploesti
Posted on 08/01/2005 6:15:24 AM PDT by NonValueAdded
While Allied and Axis forces were battling in Sicily, the AAF staged one of the war's most daring heavy bomber raids. The target was the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania, estimated to be supplying 60% of Germany's crude oil requirements.
Shortly after dawn on August 1, 1943, AAF B-24s took off from bases in Libya and headed toward the heavily defended target, deep inside enemy territory a thousand miles away. Over Bulgaria, clouds broke up the B-24 formations and the bombing elements became widely separated. Tracked by German radar which alerted Rumanian defenses, the B-24s arrived over the target at treetop height without the planned element of surprise.
Despite intense defensive fire from the ground and from the Axis planes, the AAF pressed the attack. In the confusion of battle, some B-24s made bombing runs through heavy smoke over targets that had already been attacked and were caught in the bursts of delayed action bombs dropped several minutes previously. Although overall damage to the target was heavy, the cost was high. Of 177 planes and 1,726 men who took off on the mission, 54 planes and 532 men failed to return.
The films from that attack are something to watch.
Without men like these, our country wouldn't be what it is today.
A veteran pilot of the Ploesti operation operates the Osceola Iowa airport FBO. He readily speaks of the snafus that day.
Thanks for posting.My dad was on this mission.His plane was shot down and he was in prison camp in Rumania for 16 months.
see post 8
Almost one-third of the B-24s that made a low level raid on the oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania in August were shot down. My Grand Father flew the Boise Belle with the 461st BG
My dad always believed but could not be sure that the first picture (and actually the most famous one)was his B24.He was in Johnsons group and they were following the plane with the camera.