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Tidalwave, the August 1943 Raid on Ploesti (60th Anniversary 8/1)
Air Force History Support Office ^ | unknown | USAF

Posted on 08/03/2003 11:12:06 AM PDT by NonValueAdded

[Posted in honor of the 60th anniversary of the great raid on the Ploesti oil fields]

The Combined Bomber Offensive (Operation Pointblank) evolved beginning with the entrance of the United States into World War II. The Army Air Forces (AAF) were committed to "destruction of selected vital elements of the German military and industrial machine through precision bombing in daylight." The Royal Air Force was to concentrate upon "mass air attacks of industrial areas at night, to break down morale" and thus limit German production.

When this division of work was firmly established at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the AAF did not have sufficient crews or aircraft for sustained strategic operations. By the summer of 1943 priority targets were worked out and some ambitious AAF raids scheduled. Priorities for the offensive were aircraft manufacturing plants, anti-friction bearings factories (on the theory that stopping key industries would have large effects on the Germany war effort), petroleum refineries, and other targets.

B-24s over Ploesti with bombs bursting over targetThe most inviting oil target was at Ploesti which was thought to produce a third of Germany's liquid fuel requirements. The Rumanian targets were at the limit of the range of American aircraft and could not be reached from England. The oil fields and refineries had been ineffectually attacked by the Russian Air Force and, in January 1942, by American bombers from the Middle East.

Planning for a major mission began in earnest when the Germans in Tunisian were close to defeat. Five groups of B-24 Liberators were assigned to the task, three of them borrowed from the Eighth Air Force in the United Kingdom. Under command of the Ninth Air Force, the groups practiced low-level formation flying and bombing at bases near Bengazi, Libya.

After dawn on 1 August 1943, 177 B-24s under the command of Brigadier General Uzal G. Ent, who flew with the lead group, the 376th Bombardment Group, the most experienced heavy bomber unit in the Mediterranean area approached Ploesti. The route was past Corfu Island and northeast over the mountains of Albania and Yugoslavia.

The formations, somewhat disorganized by the loss of the lead navigator, descended to 500 feet at Pitesti, 65 miles from the targets. Halfway to the initial point where the final turn was to be made into Ploesti, the 376th Group, followed by the 93rd Bombardment Group, made an erroneous turn southeast toward Bucharest. The other bomb groups, the 389th, 98th, and 44th, continued as briefed. When Ent discovered the error, both groups headed back toward Ploesti. The 376th was told to strike targets of opportunity, and the 93rd attacked the original targets from the opposite direction as briefed.

The return flight to Libya was disorganized and under heavy German fighter attack for much of the way. In all, 54 planes were lost, but the bombing destroyed up to 42 percent of Ploesti's cracking capacity. The AAF's 30 percent losses meant that a follow-up mission was not practical, and with no opposition, the Germans were able to repair the facilities rapidly. Five officers received the Medal of Honor for bravery on this mission.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: airforce; militaryhistory; ploesti; romania; ww2; wwii
There are several books written about Operation Tidalwave. There are some amazing stories including one about the Romanian princess who rescued some downed airmen from the Germans keeping them under her protection for the duration of the war.

A web search did not turn up any current articles about the anniversary of the raid and that is a shame. Let us not forget the great sacrifice of our WW II veterans.

1 posted on 08/03/2003 11:12:07 AM PDT by NonValueAdded
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To: NonValueAdded
A web search did not turn up any current articles about the anniversary of the raid and that is a shame. Let us not forget the great sacrifice of our WW II veterans.

Or the people who assisted them!

2 posted on 08/03/2003 11:27:02 AM PDT by gr8eman
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To: NonValueAdded
Thank you for posting this...It was an amazing raid.... And we did pay dearly...Let us not forget the Serb underground that saved many of our men to...On subsequent
raids on ploesti....
3 posted on 08/03/2003 11:32:34 AM PDT by DAPFE8900
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To: NonValueAdded
I used to have a kindly, elderly neighbor. One day I learned he'd been a bomber pilot who flew many missions over Germany. To this day, I can't think of him without my eyes misting up.

Truly, the Greatest Generation.
4 posted on 08/03/2003 11:39:41 AM PDT by AngrySpud
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To: SAMWolf
WWII PING...
5 posted on 08/03/2003 11:40:55 AM PDT by tubebender (FReepin Awesome...)
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To: tubebender
Thanks Tubebender.

We covered this raid back in January. Thanks for remembering.

The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Ploesti Raid - Aug. 1, 1943 - Jan. 27th, 2003

6 posted on 08/03/2003 11:48:20 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: NonValueAdded
Thank you for posting this article.
My husband's uncle, a B-24 pilot, was killed at Ploesti.

I'm going to forward this to my hubby, and my father-in-law.
7 posted on 08/03/2003 11:52:07 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 ("The Prez is as focused as a doberman on a hambone!"---Dennis Miller)
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To: SAMWolf
Thanks, SAM. For some reason a FR search on "Ploesti" does not find your article. I'm glad you included the link for us.
8 posted on 08/03/2003 11:52:39 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." GWB 9/20/01)
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To: NonValueAdded
The B-24 Liberator was always my favorite heavy bomber. God bless the men that flew them.

Let us pray that there are no more "Lady Be Good"s out there, and that all our brave airmen are now safely home.
9 posted on 08/03/2003 12:04:23 PM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: NonValueAdded
My father flew 30 missions in the 8th Air Force, including the second Schweinfurt raid, Oerschlaben and D-Day. It was his group (401st BG) that was saved from the Luftwaffe attack by Maj. Howard's P-51 (Howard got the MOH). So he saw some pretty nasty stuff.
But every time somebody mentioned Ploesti, he'd just shake his head and say, "Oh, those poor bastards. They had it rough."
10 posted on 08/03/2003 12:10:41 PM PDT by giant sable
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To: NonValueAdded
From the Foxhole thread about the Ploesti raid, this is a Medal Of Honor citation that bears repeating each and every day. This happened in a follow-up raid over 10 months later. If someone is looking for an example to define hero, tell them "David Kingsley."

*KINGSLEY, DAVID R. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force.
Place and date: Ploesti Raid, Rumania, 23 June 1944.
Entered service at. Portland, Oreg.
Birth: Oregon. G.O. No.: 26, 9 April 1945.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, 23 June 1944 near Ploesti, Rumania, while flying as bombardier of a B17 type aircraft. On the bomb run 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft was severely damaged by intense flak and forced to drop out of formation but the pilot proceeded over the target and 2d Lt. Kingsley successfully dropped his bombs, causing severe damage to vital installations. The damaged aircraft, forced to lose altitude and to lag behind the formation, was aggressively attacked by 3 ME-109 aircraft, causing more damage to the aircraft and severely wounding the tail gunner in the upper arm. The radio operator and engineer notified 2d Lt. Kingsley that the tail gunner had been wounded and that assistance was needed to check the bleeding. 2d Lt. Kingsley made his way back to the radio room, skillfully applied first aid to the wound, and succeeded in checking the bleeding. The tail gunner's parachute harness and heavy clothes were removed and he was covered with blankets, making him as comfortable as possible. Eight ME-109 aircraft again aggressively attacked 2d Lt. Kingsley's aircraft and the ball turret gunner was wounded by 20mm. shell fragments. He went forward to the radio room to have 2d Lt. Kingsley administer first aid. A few minutes later when the pilot gave the order to prepare to bail out, 2d Lt. Kingsley immediately began to assist the wounded gunners in putting on their parachute harness. In the confusion the tail gunner's harness, believed to have been damaged, could not be located in the bundle of blankets and flying clothes which had been removed from the wounded men. With utter disregard for his own means of escape, 2d Lt. Kingsley unhesitatingly removed his parachute harness and adjusted it to the wounded tail gunner. Due to the extensive damage caused by the accurate and concentrated 20mm. fire by the enemy aircraft the pilot gave the order to bail out, as it appeared that the aircraft would disintegrate at any moment. 2d Lt. Kingsley aided the wounded men in bailing out and when last seen by the crewmembers he was standing on the bomb bay catwalk. The aircraft continued to fly on automatic pilot for a short distance, then crashed and burned. His body was later found in the wreckage. 2d Lt. Kingsley by his gallant heroic action was directly responsible for saving the life of the wounded gunner.

[end citation]

PS It appears that paragraphs were in short supply in WWII.

11 posted on 08/03/2003 12:29:12 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." GWB 9/20/01)
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To: NonValueAdded
I tried a search too and it didn't work. I had to try and remember when we posted the thread.
12 posted on 08/03/2003 1:08:11 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: DAPFE8900
>Thank you for posting this...It was an amazing raid.... And
>we did pay dearly...Let us not forget the Serb underground
>that saved many of our men to...

Amen for the underground, my Grandfather was one of the people that was shot down on a raid over Ploesti, and rescued by the Serb underground.

Some info about it is here:

Felman was not my grandfather, but he was one of his fellow airmen on their plane, the "Never a Dull Moment".

http://www.suc.org/culture/history/wwii/felman.html?Suc_Session=ee43dde18a6b3f2af18b8df2dc423b8f

A pretty detailed accout of what they faced:
http://www.suc.org/culture/history/Draza_Mihailovich/rescue.html

And an account of the rescue mission:
http://www.pogledi.co.yu/english/pranjani.php
13 posted on 08/03/2003 1:10:10 PM PDT by space-c
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To: NonValueAdded
I think the best WWII documentary I have ever seen was "Wing & Prayer - Saga of the Utah Man" It is 1 hour documentary  on the Ploesti raid narrated by Walter Stewart, the pilot of the Utah Man, the last Bomber to return (barely) from Ploesti. It is a spellbinding story. If it doesn't choke you up knowing what those guys did that day something is wrong with you. 
 
 
http://www.historicaviation.com/product_info.po;jsessionid=z0sM4hjMJnr8xHqwca2tEES8(0CoUOxPt)?ID=594

14 posted on 08/03/2003 1:22:16 PM PDT by azcap
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To: space-c
Thanks for the links space-c. I thank you grandfather for his service.
15 posted on 08/03/2003 1:30:44 PM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: NonValueAdded
Thanks for the story. My dad was on this mission.He was shot down and spent 18 months in a Rumanion POW camp.The princess you mentioned was quite a hoot .She spent the next 30 years spunging off "her boys" She traveled the USA staying for weeks at a time with various former POWS and giving anti-communist speeches.

If you ever get a chance to read about the Liberation of these POWS you would enjoy it. I am surprised their was never a movie made about it. It was a cross between VON Ryans Express and the Great Escape.
16 posted on 08/03/2003 2:59:40 PM PDT by Blessed
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To: NonValueAdded
Mike Sullivan, the tail gunner in the B-17 that David Kingsley saved, died Wednesday, October 29, 2003 in his sleep at age 84. He had reached the end of his time on earth having laid down for a nap after lunch. He leaves his loving wife of 47 years, Gloria, and two daughters, Peg and Michele.

He was a kind soul and a good man. And he was my father-in-law. I married Peg in 1999; I had known him only since 1997. We will all miss him very much.
17 posted on 10/31/2003 4:44:29 PM PST by drivera462
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To: NonValueAdded
bump
18 posted on 10/31/2003 4:46:42 PM PST by VOA
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To: drivera462
You and your family have my heartfelt condolences. I am sure Mike Sullivan and David Kingsley are reunited in a far better place now than when they parted company.

I never knew Kingsley but I did lose an uncle in the raid.

I don't know if your father-in-law ever told the story from his point of view but if he did, perhaps you could post it sometime in memory to them both.

God bless.

19 posted on 10/31/2003 5:37:26 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." GWB 9/20/01)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; VOA
Ping. See posts 17 and 11 in this thread.

thanks, VOA, for the bump.

NVA

20 posted on 10/31/2003 5:46:32 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." GWB 9/20/01)
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To: Blessed
My dad (since deceased) was on this mission, too. Although he never, ever spoke about the war, he did have a Distinguished Flying Cross. Is there an internet site dedicated to these men? He was a tail gunner.
21 posted on 10/31/2003 5:46:54 PM PST by Burn24
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To: drivera462; NonValueAdded
"He was a kind soul and a good man. And he was my father-in-law."


May God Welcome him Home and comfort his family and friends.

I am sorry for your loss drivera462
22 posted on 10/31/2003 5:56:32 PM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (THANK YOU TROOPS, PAST and PRESENT)
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To: Burn24
"My dad (since deceased) was on this mission, too. Although he never, ever spoke about the war, he did have a Distinguished Flying Cross. Is there an internet site dedicated to these men? He was a tail gunner."

Perhaps, you'll find your dad here.

376th Heavy Bombardment Group

My dad was a Seabee on Guadalcanal. And, like yours, he never spoke of his experiences there. We and the country were blessed to have such fathers.

23 posted on 10/31/2003 6:09:31 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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   Ploiesti

24 posted on 10/31/2003 6:21:02 PM PST by Consort
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To: okie01
My DAD is the last WW1 American Legion veteran in Alabama. He was 107 last May... Several States have buried their last WW1 Veteran. He was too old for WW2. The ranks change about every day.
25 posted on 10/31/2003 6:29:43 PM PST by southland
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To: southland
"My DAD is the last WW1 American Legion veteran in Alabama. He was 107 last May..."

Your dad must be tough as a boot. He must be one of the few surviving WW I veterans anywhere. Bless him.

My wife became involved in geneaology research several years ago. And, to her surprise, she discovered that one of her forebearers had been the last surviving veteran of the Revolutionary War.

John Barham (1764-1865).

26 posted on 10/31/2003 7:04:01 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: NonValueAdded; drivera462
2d Lt. Kingsley aided the wounded men in bailing out and when last seen by the
crewmembers he was standing on the bomb bay catwalk.


John 15:13

I'm no theologian, but I suspect that the MOH paled in comparison to a more
eternal reward for the 2nd Lt.
27 posted on 10/31/2003 7:33:13 PM PST by VOA
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To: Vesuvian
Let us pray that there are no more "Lady Be Good"s out there, and that all our
brave airmen are now safely home.


Amen to that.
AND...For the youngsters who might not get the reference on "Lady Be Good":

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/air_power/ap8.htm

that page has a link to a page on "Lady Be Good".
28 posted on 10/31/2003 7:45:12 PM PST by VOA
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To: AngrySpud
Truly, the Greatest Generation.

(Just a friendly opinion...)
As I watch our volunteers in Iraq, especially when I see a news report about
one who gets back on a plane for Iraq after a few weeks of leave, knowing there
might be a crude road-side bomb, an RPG, or a bullet with his/her name on it...
I think they are now in the process of laying their claim to that title as well.
29 posted on 10/31/2003 7:48:52 PM PST by VOA
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To: Vesuvian
The B-24 Liberator was always my favorite heavy bomber.

Vesuvian, you may already know about this...
If you have $400 to make a tax-deductible contribution...you can get a ride
in a B-24.
Check the schedule link at the page at this URL:

http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_flightexperiences.htm
30 posted on 10/31/2003 8:13:46 PM PST by VOA
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To: Burn24
If you know what bomb group he was in you can start their. I have found a few mission reports on internet but can't give you a specific sight.

Their is a video of the mission that was made sveral years ago.{"Wing & A Prayer")I picked it up at the Army Air Corps Museum.If you are ever near Savannah it is a great place to visit.Their are also several displays at the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio.

You also might want to checkout your dads books.Bet he has a copy of the book Ploesti.Everyman on the mission is listed in the back.
31 posted on 11/03/2003 6:57:36 AM PST by Blessed
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To: Blessed
Thanks, B. Do you know the authors of the book, Ploesti? I'd like to get a copy for my children.
32 posted on 11/04/2003 9:07:20 AM PST by Burn24
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To: Burn24
Ploesti copywright 1962 by James Dugan and Carroll Stewart
This book has been out of print for 40 years. i have seen a few on E-bay or rare booksellers list for $60 to $120.

Ploesti Black Sunday by Michael Hill copywright 1993 is still available I believe.I know they have it at Air Force Musems.Good pictures.They have many crew pictures as well as all the mission photos. The firstbook devotes about 50% of space to the captured airmen and their story.

Send me your fathers name and home of record and I will see if he is referenced in either book.
33 posted on 11/04/2003 2:44:50 PM PST by Blessed
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To: drivera462

Open letter to the family of Mike Sullivan, B-17 tail gunner 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, killed in action 23 June 1944 in air raid on Ploesti, Rumania.

Please contact me again in this forum for an urgent communication.


34 posted on 06/26/2004 9:42:02 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004))
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To: space-c

One of the other crewman (Thomas Lovett) passed away after bailing out from the crippled plane (Never a Dull Moment). The Serbian underground not only picked up the survivors, but also provided Lovett with a proper Christian burial among several hundred locals, Royal Yugoslav military and USAAC personnel. A YouTube video about the underground leader (Gen Mihailovich) has a picture of the funeral.


35 posted on 06/29/2007 10:09:03 PM PDT by cetnickiunuk (Chetnik grandson)
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To: AngrySpud

I have been priviledged to know in my lifetime, many older American men associated with the daylight precsion bombing of German military targets. It has taken decades to understand that they were the fortunate few who survived a noble effort to keep America clean,. as their rate of return was grim. They kept Americas war effort noble by their manifold deaths. I am proud to be an American once and for ever because of their unesessary sacrificees to rule in the dogs of war.


36 posted on 06/29/2007 10:29:35 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Blessed

My Dad, Mallie Harper was with the 389BG 566 squandron. Stories state all members of the raid received at least the Silver Star, but I cannot find a record of that. Of course he never spoke of this raid, but he was at Benghazi at that time. Could you look in the book and see if his name is there or he may have missed this raid for some reason.
Thanks,
Steve
cpgl@bellsouth.net


37 posted on 07/28/2007 9:44:51 PM PDT by cpgl
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To: cpgl

According to my info, every man who flew the mission was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

I couldn’t find your father’s name in my (very informal) list of men of the 389th who flew the mission, but I salute him and the others for their almost superhuman bravery. They were all heroes.


38 posted on 07/28/2007 10:04:36 PM PDT by Zman516 (socialists & muslims -- satan's useful idiots.)
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To: cpgl

Their is no official list of everyone on the mission.Dugan and Stewart pieced together and verified an extensive list for their book.I could not find a Harper on that list.


39 posted on 07/30/2007 8:37:17 AM PDT by Blessed
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