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
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
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 <email@example.com>
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
brother is no longer able to travel too far from home because of
his time in Viet Nam, yet he looks totally fine.
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
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.
Added 3 Feb 2004
Manual B-24 Liberator
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