Willow Run B24 Production Exhibit, Michigan

177 B-24 Liberator Bombers take off from their base in North Africa to bomb Hitler's Ploesti Oil Fields in WW2.

Willow Run: Colossus of American Industry  Page 5-9
Ploesti was a WW2 oil boom city in the plains below the Transylvanian Alps in the North, and the Romanian capitol of Bucharest in the south.   Below are photos of Hitler's Ploesti Oil Fields, destroyed by raids made by Charles Sorensen's B-24 Liberator Bombers made at the Ford Willow Run Plant in Michigan in WW2.
Home A-7 Corsair II Alpha Jet Betty Bombers North Pole Exhibits Baka Bomb
Deane Kesterson Five Miles Gee Bee Aircraft Inaki Ruiz Jeff Dyrek Story Stolen P-40
One More Mission Patco Pitts Exhibits P-51 Mustang Poland to Pullman Short Straw
Siamak Hatami  South Pole Expedition Space Shuttle Doug Keller USS Kitty Hawk 34th Fighter Squadron
413th Fighter Group Famous People

Go to the
Online Museum

Veterans Articles Willow Run
  Corvettes Sports Cars
Willow Run: Colossus of American Industry.


Picture of B-24 Liberators to destroy Hitler's Ploesti Oil Fields, 177 bombers were used.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force used 177 of Sorensen's
B-24s to destroy Hitler's Ploesti Oil Fields and 53 planes with their crews
of 11 men did not return.

B-24 Liberator over the Astra Romania Refinery in WW2.

Click on Photo for Larger Image.
Photo's of a B-24 Liberator flying over the Astra Romania Refinery.


Aerial Photo of the Dammage done by the B-24's to the Astra Romanna Refinery.

Click on Photo for Larger Image.
An Aerial View of the damage left from the attack on the Ploesti Oil Fields.


A photo of a B-24 Liberator Crashing after the Ploesti Raid.

Photos Scanned by C. Jeff Dyrek 
A Photo of a B-24 Liberator Bomber Crashing during the Ploesti Raid.

The Planned and Alternate Routes for the 1943 Ploesti Oil Fields Raids

B 24 Bombers in Africa WWII

Previous willow run page
Willow Run Exhibit Home
Next willow run page

  Click Here to see the Script Release for  
  "Willow Run The Eighth Air Force WW2 Movie"

Click Here are several photographs of the disastrous first Ploesti Oil Fields bombing mission.   

A disaster for both sides.  On August 1, 1943, 177 B-24 Liberators took off from their base at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa.  Their target, the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.   Winston Churchill had described Ploesti as the “taproot of German might.  In January 1943, Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt approved a massive aerial attack against the Ploesti Oil Refinery believing that the raid could cut six months off of the total length of the war.  The legendary low level raid on Ploesti, Romania was made by the 376th, 93rd, 44th, 389th and 98th Bomb Groups.  Col. John Killer Kane, commander of one of the bombardment groups tasked with the raid, deemed the operation idiotic because of the unconventional-and untested-low-level bombing.  At Ploesti the B-24's encountered one of the most heavily defended targets in the world and one-third of the bombers and there crews never came back.  Yet three refineries escaped any damage and most of the refineries that were hit were quickly repaired.

Comments from our viewers.


The raid was not a disaster.   My father flew Old Blister Butt for the 389th BG and they put the high octane refinery out of commission for the entire war! As a result, the Germans did not have a high quality aviation fuel for high altitude interception of the 8th AF when they began bombing Germany.

It is an injustice to the men who flew this courageous mission to state it was a disaster.

Don't rewrite history from the comfort of an air conditioned armchair!


Philip Wright, proud son of Col. Robert Lee Wright, USAF retired after 33 years of distinguished service to this nation.

On 4/9/12, Jeff Dyrek <yellowairplane@yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Philip,

Thank you very, very much for those comments.  I only know what I have read and what a person reads isn't always the truth. I am indeed sitting here in an arm chair and have talked to many veterans, through the YellowAirplane site,  now for fifteen years.  I am a disabled veteran and have twelve years of  federal service and served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. The question that I keep asking myself while I keep working on this website is, Where are all of  my friends? A lot of them never made it back from Nam, my WW2 friends are  leaving us so often that it's a shame because I miss them.  Many of the guys have had tremendous PTSD problems that didn't show up for years after their horrifying experiences.  My brother is no longer able to travel too far from home because of his time in Viet Nam, yet he looks totally fine. 


Hi Jeff,

First off, thanks for your service. Secondly, thanks for having an open mind to listen to what others might have to add to a discussion. Most folks today don't want to hear anything other than their own opinions.

Ploesti is a very interesting mission from many aspects. When you consider the state of the art of navigation, it is a fantastic achievement that the men arrived over the target in mass and were able to inflict the damage they did. No GPS, satellite tracking, etc. Just good old fashioned American Ingenuity! I have my Dad's mission map that was nothing more than travel post cards, pictures, and drawings of the route so that the pilots could pick out landmarks along the way. Imagine doing something like that! Over 1000+ nautical miles with nothing more than outdated maps and tourist cards and photos to navigate once the ships were down low and line of sight was no longer helpful. Oh well, I could go on for hours, have you read the book Ploesti "the great land air battle"? Many vets were interviewed and give first hand accounts of the mission. I remember the authors visiting our home on Maxwell AFB, Alabama and interviewing my Dad. Bomber Pilot by Philip Audrey is another great book. It covers the 389th BG and their participation as well as their tours in Europe. My Dad's name is Lt. Robert Lee Wright from Austin, TX in the books. You can find them on amazone.com for a reasonable . HTH


Click Here's Warren Benjamin Kidders New Book, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Click Here's the Movie Script for Willow Run

  Click Here to go to the YellowAirplane Online Museum

Order Willow Run, the Book. 
To Order 
Your Personal Autographed Copy, Send Check or Money Order to:

KFT Publishers,
3617 Christine Dr.
Lansing, MI. 48911

For Information Contact
Email: kidderfr@ATT.net Phone 517- 394-2849

   Here's another Book Review about a B-24 Pilot in WW2, Jessie Pettey.

An Article by the webmaster

warbirds are the ww2 aircraft


Aerial Photos,
of the island of Ie Shima.

These photos compare the runways of 1940's Ie Shima to the photos of Ie Shima today.  Ie Shima was the home to the 34th Fighter Squadron in World War 2.

Exhibit Added 3 Feb 2004


0001409442 width=356>

Flight Manual B-24 Liberator
Softbound Book

A reprint of the official government handbook designed to show the new cadet how  to fly the aircraft. Heavily illustrated with dozens of photos, diagrams and charts. 146 pgs., 8½"x 11", sfbd.

Every B24's buff must have one! This book is about the "D" version( glazed nose), widely employed at early stages of II war on every theater and absolute protagonist of the famous operation "Tidal Wave", the strike on Romanian oil fields near Ploesti. The type ranked second in the production run, being outnumbered by the most famous "J" version (Consolidated or Emerson 2 gun nose turret). Here you can find normal and emergency checklists, systems description and above all, true aircraft performances (maps and charts available in original forties' format!). And if you are a WWII simulation buff, this reference should help you to get the real touch with handling and flying characteristics. The lattice glass nose compartment lacked a power turret (being retrofitted later, especially in the Pacific squadrons) but at least this version was the easiest to fly. In fact the "Liberators" never get rid of handling and forward visibility problems, these were exacerbated by adopting a nose turret, weighty and inducing excessive drag. So the "D" models were "user-friendly" only for the bombardier position, lacking defensive armament and small field of fire in frontal sectors. Enjoy the discover! 0001409  1

Veterans,  Read This

B-24 Liberator Movies     B-24 Liberator Aviation Art  B-24 Liberator Models    B-24 Liberator Books

To the Main Entrance of the Yellow Airplane StoreGo to the Stores Front Door

Home Base ( ) ( ) Corvettes
Airplane Books WW1 Aircraft Acoustic Guitars Aviation Museums 
Airplane Models WW2 Bombers Train Calendars Tanks
Jet Fighter Models Camaros for Sale Ship Models Military Vehicles 


Write to the Webmaster

Click Here for a list of WW2 Fighter Groups

Listing of Bomb Groups

Click Here to go to the YellowAirplane Online Museum


   Write to the Webmaster  





AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com  Best Aviation Sites Airplane Web Sites