Operation TIDAL WAVE (8-1-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 2, 1943)

Yank bombers rip Romania’s key oil fields

Americans leave flaming ruin at Ploești; 20 planes lost
By Leon Kay, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-02 042933
Giving Hitler an ‘A’ card, U.S. bombers yesterday blasted one of Germany’s main sources of gasoline by blasting the Ploești oil fields of Romania in a 2,400-mile flight.

Cairo, Egypt –
Twenty out of nearly 200 U.S. Liberators that turned Romania’s vast Ploești oil fields into a flaming ruin yesterday were shot down over the target area and an additional unspecified number have failed to return from the record 2,400-mile flight, a communiqué announced today.

Advices from the Balkans said that great fires were still raging today in the oil fields, 24 hours after the raid, and the attack was hailed here as a success, with the results far outweighing the cost.

Hits were reported from heights of 100-500 feet on distillation plants, fractionation towers, boiler houses and storage tanks, which provide oil for one-third to one-half of the German war machine.

See sheets of flames

A Royal Air Force communiqué on the raid said:

Heavy explosions and sheets of flames were observed among oil refinery installations while many fires were started.

At least 51 intercepting German fighters, including Fw 190s and Me 109s and 110s, were shot down by the unescorted Liberators, according to the communiqué, and other reports indicated that the bag might reach 53.

The Liberators also ran into heavy anti-aircraft fire.

Two refineries wrecked

At least two of the 13 oil refineries in the Ploești area were wrecked and the entire district, 35 miles north of Bucharest, was left wreathed in flames and smoke. Col. Leon Johnson, who commanded one group of Liberators, said the scene was the “closest thing to Dante’s Inferno I ever saw.”

Dipping to chimney-stack level, wave after wave of the four-engined bombers swept over the 19-square-mile oil fields shortly after 2 p.m. yesterday, dropping 300 tons of high explosive and firebombs and strafing everything in sight.

Brig. Gen. Uzal G. Ent, chief of the 9th Air Force Bomber Command and leader of the raid, said in an NBC broadcast from Cairo that the raid “contributed materially to hastening the end of the Axis.” Normally, he said, the fields produce 18,000 tons of fuel oil, “but it will be a long time before they turn out that much again.”

The refineries provide 90% of the German Air Force’s gasoline supplies.

The Astro Română refinery, believed to be the largest in Europe, was reported damaged heavily and still burning. The pumping station on the Giurgiu pipeline which conveys oil to the Danube received numerous hits followed by many heavy explosions.

The Creditul refinery, newest in the fields and producer of aviation gas, was reported the site of raging fires. Vital parts of the Steaua Română refinery were hit squarely. The Româno-Americană refinery’s distillation plant was reported “most heavily damaged.”

Cracking tower hit

A refinery at Câmpina, 20 miles from Ploești itself, was destroyed, and direct hits were scored on the cracking tower of another nearer Ploești, effectively halting production there. Smoke and fire hampered full observation of damage to other objectives.

The raid was the fourth by the Allies on the Ploești fields, the Russians having bombed them twice in 1941 and the U.S. 9th Air Force having followed through with a raid from Palestinian bases a little more than a year ago.

Trains 2,000 fliers

This time, the Allied High Command decided to attempt to destroy the Ploești refineries and other installations with one massive blow and Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, U.S. Middle East commander, took over the task of training 2,000 American crewmen.

The big Liberators roared out from their Middle Eastern bases early yesterday and swept across the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and Bulgaria into Romania, barely skimming the treetops at times. Churchgoing crowds waved to them.

Over Ploești, the airmen rained bombs on their targets and within a matter of minutes the oil fields were a mass of flames. The fliers used special low-level bombsights. Many of the bombs dropped had delayed action fuses.

Soot covers plane

Maj. Norman Appold of Detroit, who piloted one of the last planes over the target, said a tremendous explosion in the middle of the oil fields covered his Liberator with smoke and soot.

1st Lt. Frank D. Slough of Woodland Hill, California, who once raided Kiel from a base in Britain, said the raid was “far rougher” than those he had seen on Germany. Anti-aircraft fire riddled several fires.

Col. John R. “Killer” Kane, another veteran raider, said the whole refineries area appeared on fire. His group shot down at least 33 enemy fighters.

Sgt. Jack Swafford, waist gunner on a plane known as Little Joe, said he saw one oil tank “open up like a coffee pot,” sending flames high in the air.

Send oil ‘by air’

Enough bombs were dropped to “send all the oil in Romania to Berlin by air,” commented 2nd Lt. Arthur A. Johnson of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Another pilot told of seeing three to four fires burning in one refinery and flames shooting 500 feet in the air from storage tanks.

Capt. Harold A. Wicklund, who took part in the raid on Rome, said he “enjoyed this one much more.”

He said:

I saw lots of smoke. We did some damage. It all happened so fast I don’t know for sure what we hit.

Corn sticks to plane

Sgt. Harry Schultz of Kansas City, Missouri, said the fires in the Ploești fields were the largest he had seen in any raid.

Flying Officer Raymond J. Lacombe of Providence, Rhode Island, said his plane swept so low that it returned to its base with corn on the bottom.

The bomb bay doors failed to open on a Liberator piloted by Lt. John Blackis of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, and Sgt. Joseph Landry of Manchester, New Hampshire, the engineer, climbed down from the top turret and cranked them open by hand. Replacing him in the turret, Sgt. David L. Rosenthal of Newark, New Jersey, the radio operator, brought down a Me 109 with the first 50 rounds he had ever fired from a machine gun.

Lt. Blackis, 22, is the son of Thomas Blackis, 1250 Taylor Ave., New Kensington. A former Carnegie Institute of Technology student, he began flying five years ago while still in high school.

Brereton greets fliers

Gen. Brereton was on hand at the signal tower waiting for the Liberators to return to their bases. The first to come in was the Doodlebug, piloted by 1st Lt. John E. McAtee of San Francisco.

Gen. Ent was in the sixth plane to land and Gen. Brereton shook hands with him as he emerged.


Leader of raid on Romania nearly lost his life here

Heroism aboard burning balloon won medal for Gen. Ent

Brig. Gen. Uzal G. Ent, leader of the American raid on Romania’s oil fields yesterday, is a former Pittsburgher and in 1928 almost lost his life in a balloon race from Bettis Field.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Cheney Award for his conduct after lightning struck his balloon shortly after the start of the race.

The bolt killed the balloon’s pilot, Lt. Paul Evert. Gen. Ent, then a lieutenant and Lt. Evert’s aide, attempted to revive the pilot and then brought the burning balloon to the ground, despite the fact that his right arm and left leg were paralyzed temporarily by the electric shock.

He said he wasn’t sure Lt. Evert was dead and didn’t want to leave him in the burning balloon.

During another balloon race, he and a companion were caught by a storm and tossed about all night, once catching in a tree and finally being dumped out of their basket when it smashed into a mountain in New York State.

Gen. Ent’s wife is the former Eleanor Marwitz of Pittsburgh. She and their nine-year-old son are now visiting her mother, Mrs. Minnie B. Marwitz, at 419 N Craig St. They were in Florida all winter and, after their visit here, plan to take up residence either in Florida or New York.

Their romance began in Dayton, Ohio, in 1929, the year following the balloon race at Bettis Field. Miss Marwitz, of stage and radio fame, had just completed a season in the Ziegfeld production of Rosalie, in which she was a singing star, and went to Dayton to visit relatives. There she met Lt. Ent.

Held nine decorations

From 1939 to 1942, when the Ents were living in South America, Mrs. Ent kept up singing career by appearing in Red Cross benefit concerts.

Gen. Ent now has a total of nine decorations, including three from Peru and one from Bolivia.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1900, Gen. Ent served as a private and corporal in 1918 and 1919, then entered West Point in June of the latter year. He graduated and was appointed a second lieutenant in the Air Service in June 1924. The following year, he graduated from the Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal, and the year after that from the Balloon and Airship School at Scott Field, Illinois.

Specialized on balloons

For years, he specialized in balloon and airship work. He was the pilot of the airship TC-5, which landed on the steamship American Trader while it was under full steam off Ambrose Light in 1928. Next year, he landed the same airship on the Munitions Building in Washington.

It was during this period that he participated in the balloon races. Reports from North Africa indicate that the wing of Gen. Ent’s plane grazed a tree during the Romania raid, which must have seemed like old times to him.

In 1941 and 1942, he served as a senior neutral military observer at the settlement of the Peruvian-Ecuadorian boundary dispute, and early this year was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his work there. He was a colonel at the time. Since then, he has been made a brigadier general.

Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, commanding general of all U.S. Army forces in the Middle East, is also a native Pittsburgher. A son of William Denny Brereton and Mrs. Helen Hyde Brereton, he was born here in 1890.

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Ploești raiders battle enemy at tree heights

Romanians in fields, streets wave encouragement; one plane caught in own bomb blast

Cairo, Egypt (UP) –
U.S. Liberator bombers flew through a sky filled with enemy fighter planes over the Romanian oil fields in a spectacular battle so close to the earth that a wing of Brig. Gen. Uzal G. Ent’s plane once dipped “into the middle of a tree.”

Returning pilots described the raid Sunday on the Ploești fields as one of the most sensational of the war, with aircraft of both sides diving in all directions and bombs exploding so violently that a ground blast destroyed one Liberator.

They said that people in nearby fields and city streets waved and appeared to shout encouragement to the bombers flying at housetop level and that they saw little evidence of panic.

Fired on by haystack

A pilot reported:

One bomber flew so low that its direct hit on a boiler house caused such a violent explosion that it destroyed the Liberator.

The bomber Reggie Ann, carrying Gen. Ent, flew so low that its wing flicked through the middle of a tree. Sgt. Robert T. Stoddard of Kansas City, Missouri, top turret gunner of the bomber Lorraine, said:

We were looking down gun barrels all afternoon. It was the first time I was ever fired on by a haystack.

The haystack was used to conceal an anti-aircraft gun.

Lt. Dan B. Lear of Houston, Texas, said:

We saw one of our boys on fire just a few seconds before he reached the target. The plane came on in anyway, through a crossfire of flak and machine-gun bullets, and directed its bombs just as briefed. The pilot couldn’t pull up. He tried to make a crash landing on a field but clipped a wing on a cart and was flaming when he stopped.

Little civilian harm

Several flights missed the target on their first run but turned and flew back through the terrific ground fire to drop their bombs.

Others plowed through a smokescreen to find their targets.

The civilian population suffered a minimum of harm from the raid, officials said. The pilots saw civilians in swimming pools, at the lakes and strolling about the city of Ploești, but they did not seem to be afraid of the bombers.

The crews said farmers and small children in Romania and Greece waved wildly at the planes.

Maj. Norman C. Appold of Detroit, pilot of the bomber Queenie, said that:

Civilians in the streets waved at us while gunners on the housetops shot at us. It was the darndest thing I ever saw.

Lesson in street fighting

Maj. Harry T. Bauer of St. Louis said:

The boys took a lesson in street fighting on this mission. There were many bitter personal battles between gunners and batteries in the fields, on roads and on rooftops.

Lt. Dale Sisson of Phoenix, Arizona said his plane, Desert Madness, scored hits on the Câmpina refinery and “they won’t put out any oil for a while. Our group murdered the place.”

Capt. Emery N. Ward of Salina, Oklahoma, said all the women in the fields and streets “wore red skirts.” He said his plane was tossed high in the air by the terrific heat caused by the fires when they got over the target, and that his gunners mowed down four men who were operating an anti-aircraft battery.


Oh boy… Now that Germany has no oil country to rely on and the with the Allies opening up another front in Italy,this war in Europe is definitely gonna be over by Christmas. How long is it gonna last? 2 more years? Nonsense!


Völkischer Beobachter (August 4, 1943)

Der teuer bezahlte amerikanische Angriffsversuch –
Ploestis Abwehr bewährte sich

vb. Wien, 3. August –
Der Gedanke eines Bombenangriffs gegen das rumänische Erdölzentrum Ploesti hat seit langem in vielen britischen und amerikanischen Köpfen gespukt, und auch die britisch-amerikanische Luftkriegführung hatte sich, wie jetzt feststeht, dieses Planes seit mindestens einem Vierteljahr ernsthaft angenommen. Der Angriff, der dann schließlich in den späten Nachmittagsstunden des vergangenen Sonntags erfolgte, war so mit einer Präzision und Sorgfalt vorbereitet wie kaum eine feindliche Luftkriegsunternehmung je zuvor.

Trotz dieser günstig erscheinenden Momente wurde der Angriff schließlich doch zu keiner bösen Überraschung für die deutsch-rumänischen Abwehrkräfte und noch viel weniger für unsere Erdölversorgung, sondern vielmehr zu einem der verlustreichsten und negativsten Abenteuer der amerikanischen Luftstreitkräfte. 52 der schweren viermotorigen „Liberators“ der 9. USA.-Luftflotte liegen heute zerschmettert und verbrannt auf dem Boden. Etwa sieben weitere Maschinen holten die tapferen bulgarischen Luftstreitkräfte in ihrem Luftraum herunter. Zu dieser bereits sehr hohen und zweifellos kaum tragbaren Verlustquote kommen noch jene Ausfälle hinzu, die den Verband auf seinem überlangen Heimflugwege nach dem Nahen Osten ereilt haben mögen.

In einem stark dramatisierten Kommuniqué haben die Amerikaner dann auch prompt versucht, wenigstens die Prestigefrage der mißglückten Aktion etwas zu ihren Gunsten zu korrigieren. Sie erzählen darin überaus ausführlich von ihren vielfältigen Vorbereitungen und überraschenderweise auch von der – Stärke der deutsch-rumänischen Abwehr.

So heißt es in diesem amerikanischen Bericht:

Die Spezialausbildung des eingesetzten fliegenden Personals erfolgte seit Monaten nach dem Gesichtspunkt, daß die Ölfelder von Ploesti nicht nur stark verteidigt sind, sondern ihre Verteidigung auch von der Natur aus stark begünstigt ist. Angriffe kleiner Verbände sind daher zwecklos. Die Flugzeugbesatzungen wurden besonders im Tiefangriff geschult und haben einzeln und in Gruppen die ersten kriegsmäßigen Einsätze, die ebenfalls im Hinblick auf das große Vorhaben von Ploesti geflogen wurden, auf Sizilien durchgeführt. Besonders konstruierte Tiefflugbombenzielgeräte wurden für diesen Zweck eingebaut.

Viel Prahlerei und wenig Wahrheit

Soweit mögen sich die amerikanischen Angaben noch mit der Wahrheit decken. Aber was des weiteren über die Menge der abgeworfenen Bomben und die Zahl der beteiligten Flugzeuge behauptet wird, läßt nicht mehr die Wirklichkeit, sondern nur noch die Absicht erkennen, eine einigermaßen positiv wirkende Endbilanz für die eigene Öffentlichkeit zu erreichen. Obwohl höchstens 120 bis 140 feindliche Maschinen eingesetzt waren und nur ein Prozentsatz davon das Zielgebiet erreichte, heißt es in der amerikanischen Verlautbarung, daß „175 ‚Liberator‘-Bomber innerhalb von 60 Sekunden 300 Tonnen Bomben abgeworfen“ hätten.

Aber zu diesem Punkt werden die Amerikaner uns wohl zugestehen müssen, daß wir die eigenen Beobachtungen als die einzig richtigen und wirklichkeitsgetreuen bewerten. Und aus ihnen ergibt sich ein wesentlich anderes Bild. Als die Amerikaner in geringer Höhe heranbrausten und später zum Tiefangriff übergingen, schlug ihnen ein solch konzentriertes Abwehrfeuer von größter Wirkungskraft entgegen, daß kaum gezielte Bombenabwürfe erfolgen konnten. Die zahlreichen Flaktürme im Erdölgebiet konnten bald ihre ersten Erfolge verbuchen, und danach holten sich die deutschen und rumänischen Jäger ihre Beute.

Als der Abend auf Ploesti herabsank, waren zwei Tatsachen einwandfrei erhärtet: erstens, daß selbst ein Überraschungserfolg den Amerikanern versagt geblieben war, und zweitens, daß der Umfang und die Länge der europäischen Abwehrfront Deutschland nicht daran hindern können, seine für die Kriegführung wichtigen Objekte ständig in stärkster Verteidigungsbereitschaft zu halten. Dieses Ergebnis von Ploesti kann und mag deshalb vielleicht auch für die deutsche Öffentlichkeit eine Erklärung dazu beitragen, welche weitgespannten Aufgaben die deutschen Verteidigungskräfte in der Luft heute zu bewältigen haben, die ja praktisch den gesamten Luftraum dieses Kontinents überwachen.

In einem amtlichen rumänischen Bericht über den Angriff wird die Zahl der amerikanischen Bomber mit etwa 125 angegeben, von denen jedoch nur ein Teil bis über die Angriffsziele gekommen sei. Die Zahl der Toten wird mit 116, die der Verletzten mit 147 angegeben, davon entfallen 63 Tote und 60 Verletzte auf Insassen des Gefängnisses Ploesti, auf dessen Dach ein brennender amerikanischer Bomber fiel. Bisher, so schließt der amtliche Bericht, konnten 66 amerikanische Flieger gefangengenommen werden.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 4, 1943)

In Ploești raid –
Farmhouses spout ack-ack at U.S. fliers

Anti-aircraft batteries disguised as barns, chicken coops

Tel Aviv, Palestine (UP) – (Aug. 3, delayed)
Four miles from the Ploești oil fields in Romania, innocent-looking farmhouses, barns and chicken coops “opened up and spat out ack-ack fire” at the American raiders who hit the area Sunday, Col. John R. Kane of Shreveport, Louisiana, said today.

Col. Kane, in charge of a group of the Ploești fliers on furlough here, said the bombardment was an anniversary raid for his men because they first attacked the Germans at Marsa Matruh in North Africa Aug. 1, 1941. Since then, they have attacked Rome once and Naples 13 times.

Col. Kane, a former West Point football player, said many anti-aircraft guns were wiped out in the raid.

Brereton gives ‘pep talk’

Sgt. Harry Rifkin of the Bronx, New York, a waist gunner, said:

After we had practiced for two weeks, Lt. Gen. Lewis Brereton gave us a pep talk the day before the raid. He told us if the mission was successful, it would shorten the war by six months. We think it was successful.

Huge flames were licking up in the oil fields when his plane came in for its low-level attack, Lt. R. Sternfels of Detroit, Michigan, said.

Lt. Sternfels said:

We tore through a balloon cable and skimmed over the target, flying low. The flames were so high they licked at us on all sides.

No time for fear

We had no time to be frightened. All we thought of after dropping our bombs was to get away from the place, but we kept flying 50 feet off the ground for 100 miles to prevent enemy fliers from diving at us.

Lt. Sternfels said about 50 Me 110s, 210s and 109s were in the air over the fields.

We saw one damaged Liberator land in a cornfield while the crew of another baled out not far from the target.

Air chief lauds ‘magnificent’ jobs

Cairo, Egypt (UP) –
Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder, Allied air commander in the Mediterranean Theater, characterized the American bombing of the Ploești oil fields in Romanian today as “a big job magnificently done.”

He messaged Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, U.S. commander in the Middle East:

I wish to express my deep admiration of the magnificent manner in which the IX Bomber Command carried out their great task of striking to the very heart of the enemy’s war capacity.

I was immensely impressed by the thorough way in which the plans were prepared and the training completed.

Völkischer Beobachter (August 5, 1943)

Rumäniens Presse zum Abwehrerfolg von Ploesti –
‚Unser Himmel ist gut verteidigt‘

dnb. Bukarest, 4. August –
Die Bukarester Morgenpresse steht stark im Zeichen des glänzenden Erfolges der verbündeten deutsch-rumänischen Abwehrkräfte im Erdölgebiet von Ploesti. In großer Aufmachung heben die Blätter auf der ersten Seite in ausführlichen Fassungen die Erfolgsmeldungen und Abschußziffern sowie deutsche Pressestimmen zu den Luftkämpfen über dem Boden Rumäniens hervor. In den Überschriften der Kommentare kommt der Wille des rumänischen Volkes zur Verteidigung seines Luftraumes zum Ausdruck. Gleichzeitig wird die Tatsache hervorgehoben, daß die hohen Abschußzahlen einen großartigen Beweis für das fliegerische Können und den Kampfgeist der eingesetzten deutsch-rumänischen Jäger darstellten.

„Unser Himmel ist gut verteidigt,“ schreibt Timpul und weist darauf hin, daß der Mißerfolg der Amerikaner am Sonntag über Ploesti selbst von den Feinden zugegeben werde. Die rumänische Öffentlichkeit habe den amerikanischen Großangriff mit Ruhe aufgenommen, die einen Beweis darstellen müsse, daß Rumäniens seelischer Panzer genau so stark sei wie der seiner Waffen.

Universul hebt hervor, daß das rumänische Volk fortfahren werde, sich mit jenem Mut zu verteidigen, den es aus den großen Beispielen seiner Geschichte gelernt habe.

Curentul schildert die großen Vorbereitungen, die dem amerikanischen Angriff auf Ploesti vorausgegangen seien. Das Ergebnis dieses Angriffes stehe jedoch in keinem Verhältnis weder zu diesen Vorbereitungen noch zu den eingesetzten Kräften und den erlittenen Verlusten.

Die Reaktion des rumänischen Volkes angesichts der Gefahr – so schreibt Viatza – habe den mutigen Geist und den Kampfeswillen des gesamten Volkes zum Ausdruck gebracht. Die Haltung der Zivilbevölkerung in den vom Bombardement betroffenen Ortschaften sei hervorragend gewesen und habe die ganze Einsatzbereitschaft des Volkes bewiesen. Alle Abwehrmaßnahmen hätten sich auf das beste bewährt und die deutschen und rumänischen Jäger hätten im engsten Zusammenwirken ganze Arbeit geleistet. Der Feind habe seinen Versuch, das Erdölgebiet zu zerstören und die moralische Widerstandskraft des rumänischen Volkes zu brechen, teuer bezahlen müssen.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 5, 1943)

Simms: Ploești raid shows one-way Soviet-U.S. collaboration

Yank planes could have made heavier assault at less cost if based in Caucasus, Simms says
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor


Screenshot 2022-08-05 150807
The Ploești oil raid, the first picture of which is shown at top, might have been carried out with much smaller loss to U.S. forces if Russia had permitted out bombers to use their airfields. The map shows how planes based in the Caucasus could have raided Romanian, cutting the distance traveled from Africa almost in half. The radiophoto from the U.S. 9th Air Force shows Liberator bombers flying at treetop height and fires raging in the oil fields.

Washington –
The smashing American air raid on the Ploești oil fields in Romania throws a tragic light on the one-way nature of the collaboration between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Belated reports make it plain that our Liberator bombers simply played havoc throughout the entire oil region. British as well as American sources say it was probably the most telling single bombing job of the war. It may change the whole course of the conflict.

It is equally plain, however, that the raid was costly in lives and planes.

The German news agency reported 67 U.S. bombers were lost in the Ploești raid, but Secretary of War Stimson announced in Washington today that U.S. losses amounted to “20%.” The German figures would have put the losses at 50%.

Had Russia and the United States been on a fully reciprocal basis, competent observers here point out, the raid could have been even more effective and at a fraction of the cost in men and materiel.

Taking off from Egypt, the bombers had to fly 1,200 miles just to reach the target. And the greater part of the distance was over enemy territory. The planes were spotted at least two hours before they reached Ploești. The enemy, therefore, had ample time to prepare a hot reception.

Had the Americans taken off from the Russian Kuban, say from around Krasnodar, the flying distance would have been halved. Not only that, but the flight would have been almost entirely over the Black Sea. The defenders of Ploești would have had at most some 25 minutes warning, because the oil fields are not far from the coast.

Equally important, the same bombers could have carried double the bombload. The 15 bombers said to have been forced down in turkey on the return would have reached home safely had they been based in the Caucasus region instead of near Cairo.

The Allied strategists must have had more than one look at the map of the Balkans and the Middle East. They must have computed the distances from alternative bases to Ploești again and again. If so, they could not have overlooked the advantages of bombing any Romanian objective from the eastern shore of the Black Sea.

Officials here are silent on the subject. But it is an open secret that Russia long ago drew a line across the map and, in effect, said to her Allies:

Now you stay on your side of that line.

For some reason or other, Marshal Stalin appears to be unalterably opposed to British or American troops fighting side by side with the Red Army.

101 Ploești raiders buried, Italians say

London, England (UP) –
The Italian Stefani Agency reported from Bucharest today that 101 U.S. airmen, killed in the raid on the Ploești oil fields in Romania Sunday, were buried with military honors yesterday at Ploești.

The majority were burned beyond recognition and identification was impossible, the dispatch said. A Protestant clergyman conducted services and German and Romanian Armed Forces rendered military honors.

Istanbul, Turkey – (Aug. 3, delayed)
Four of the U.S. Liberator bombers which raided Ploești Sunday made forced landings at İzmir in western Turkey, three others came down at Chourla and an eighth landed at Fethiye. Some of the airmen who landed at Fethiye were wounded.

Völkischer Beobachter (August 7, 1943)

USA.-Flieger interniert.


Die nach ihrem mißglückten Angriff auf das Erdölgebiet von Ploesti auf türkischem Boden notgelandeten amerikanischen Flieger sind in Ankara interniert worden.

My grandmother had memories of seeing these bombers flying to Romania. She was from the village of Dolna Studena and said that whenever they would hear the planes, they would ring the village bell and take cover. She described the bombers as ‘big and white’.


Tidal Wave was a disaster with significant consequences for the US Army, which also continued unfortunately (for both US and Romania) in 1944.

There were numerous other raids in 1944 upon Ploiesti / Brazi / Campina.


Sadly there was a lot going on politically in the US Army which did not really think through what was needed for long range bombing. Chewbacca has detailed how they had long range fighters but wouldn’t take steps to implement them until enough men had died to force their hand.


Thanks yeah that was Greggs Airplanes who can read a manual of the P-47 and apply it. Note: In order to read an Airplane manual one needs to do pilot ground school on this subject at least but ideally actually know how to fly a plane.

Greg and me too are amazed at how much circular referencing there is (read parrotting) on subjects. Historians are trained to find quotes from reliable sources but I realize that if you cannot double-check this quote due to e.g. lack of knowledge on the subject worthless data get perpetuated and actually amplified as the quote was used multiple times.

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Also I read somewhere not sure which work that Tidal Wave was actually practiced in Nort Africa multiple times but the main problem was TCU clouds in the assemble area which messed everthing up.

Towering Cumulus are ginormous clouds which look gorgeous but create horrible turbulence and even now big passenger planes stay away from them.
Back in WW2 planes were going to heights were they didn’t have the satnav tools and weather radar of today. ALSO flying is very intensive, as the pilot needs to keep formation, check instruments, listen to radio, listen for suspect noises, enemy planes etc. And not to mention the stress of dying which should always do you want to prevent.

Thinking while flying is actually hard and the trick I use is prethink all possible emergencies out and prioritize ruthlessly, Also here in the last 80 years many advances have been made. Weather (or pilots who misjudge weather) is still the number 1 killer in general aviation.

Obviously for the stereotypical historian who spends years in his cozy study and a million gallons of coffee on a book this is less of a priority. I realize the value of actually knowing a bit of the subject.

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