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Operation Tidal Wave

1 August 1943

Official description

177 B-24’s, of IX Bomber Command (including Heavy Bombers on loan from Eighth AF) are dispatched to bomb oil refineries at Ploesti and nearby Campina. The operation (TIDALWAVE) is costly, 54 planes and 532 airmen being lost, but damage to the targets is severe.

Description

Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B-24s were lost in total; 54 over Ploesti and 3 in the sea.

Five bomb groups were involved from the 8th and 9th Air Forces; the 44th, 93rd, 389th from the 8th and the 98th and 376th of the 9th.

Five Medals of Honor were awarded for the Ploesti raid. All five groups that took part received Presidential Unit Citations.

Mission details

1. PLOESTI

Description

The mission was planned on the basis of 154 aircraft participating, however 177 eventually took part.

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • IX Bomber Command
  • VIII Bomber Command

    VIII Bomber Command

    Command
    VIII Bomber Command was constituted and activated in 1942. It oversaw heavy bombardment operations until February 1944, when it was redesginated as the 8th Air Force.

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 177
Number of aircraft Effective 167
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 57

2. Astra-Romana (White IV)

Description

The Astra-Romana, Phoenix (Orion) and Lumia Group of refineries (White IV) were the most important target of the mission, with 10 key installations to attack. The target was attacked by the 98th Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'Damage to this group of refineries is considerable, but although production will be curtailed, it is not sufficient to cause complete stoppage after the few weeks necessary for essential repairs to be carried out have elapsed. This is due to the fact that in the ASTRA ROMANA Refinery the boiler house does not appear to be unserviceable, though it may have suffered minor damage from the fire in the McKee Plant about 15 yards away, and that, while the two most important furnaces in the McKee Plant itself are damaged beyond repair, the old distillation plant appears to be untouched. Damage seen to the Lubricating Oil Plant will probably cause a slight curtailment of production of this type of oil. 15 tanks of various types have been destroyed and one damaged, but this will not affect the working capacity of the plant.

In the PHOENIX (ORION) Refinery damage to the boiler house will have caused the loss of approximately one third of the steam generating capacity, resulting in a corresponding loss of production over a considerable period. Damage is also noted to the power plant, but its extent and effect of the working capacity of the plant cannot be gauged. 4 tanks have been destroyed and 2 damaged.

The LUMINA Refinery is untouched except by one bomb which has exploded in the railway sidings severing one or two tracks.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 47
Number of aircraft Effective 39
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 21
Number of aircraft Damaged 14
Enemy aircraft claimed as Destroyed by Bomber Command 33

3. Concordia Vega (White II)

Description

The Concordia Vega refinery (White II) was the second most important target of the mission, and attacked by aircraft of the 93rd Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'Damage to this plant is confined almost entirely to the destruction of tanks. 6 large storage tanks with a capacity of probably 5,000 tons each have been destroyed, while in the groups of sunken process tanks within the works, 11 have been destroyed and 4 to 6 damaged. One of the distillation plants appears to have suffered fairly heavily, but not sufficiently to affect the output of the refinery to any serious degree.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 25

4. Romana- Americana (White I)

Description

Romana-Americana Refinery (White I) was the third most important target of the mission and attacked by the 376th Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'This plant escaped attack and is undamaged.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 376th Bomb Group

    376th Bomb Group

    Group
    Constituted as 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Oct 1942 and activated in Palestine on 31 Oct. Began combat immediately, using B-24 aircraft. Operated with Ninth AF from bases in the Middle East, Nov 1942-Sep 1943, and with Twelfth AF from Tunisia...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 28
Number of aircraft Effective 26
Number of aircraft Missing In Action 3
Number of aircraft Damaged 6
Enemy aircraft claimed as Damaged by Bomber Command 1

5. Steaua-Romana Campina (Red)

Description

The Steaua Romana Campina pumping station (Red), close to the Concordia Vega refinery was the fourth most important target of the mission, it was attacked by the 389th Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
This small plant situated near the VEGA refinery (CONCORDIA) has been severely damaged, but the installations are such that they can be fairly quickly replaced. the two pump houses and one storage tank have been destroyed.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 24

6. Standard Petrol Block Unirea Speranta (White III)

Description

The Standard Petrol Block at Unirea Speranta (White III) was the fifth most important target of the mission, it was attacked by components of the 93rd Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'Slight damage is noted to 2 large storage tanks and to a building in the CONCORDIA Munitions Works on the opposite side of the railway. The appearance and scattered nature of this damage, together with the complete absence of craters in the vicinity, suggest that it is due to earlier raids and that this plant entirely escaped damage during the attach of August 1st.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 12

7. Creditul Minier (Blue)

Description

The Creditul Minier Refinery at Brazi (Blue) was the sixth most important target of the mission, it was attacked by the 44th Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'Apart from damage to 20 storage tanks of varying capacities and to railway tracks on the outskirts of the plant, no statement can be made on the limited cover available.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 20

8. Columbia-Aquila (White V)

Description

The Columbia Aquila Refinery (White V) was the fifth most important target of the mission, and was attacked by components of the 44th Bomb Group.

The damage report, published on 5 August 1943 determined that:
'Damage to this plant is so intense that almost complete rebuilding would be necessary before it could resume operation. The crude oil distilling plant has been devastated by fires and explosions while the cracking plant and stablisier installation have been damaged on slightly less seriously. the boiler house appears damaged. Nine storage tanks and at least 9 process tanks have been destroyed. Other damage is located among workshops, offices, compressor buildings and storehouses, while some damage has been done to railway tracks and rolling stock. the number of craters seen outside the target area is small.'

Aircraft type

B-24 Liberator

Notes

Not yet known

Units

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

Mission Statistics

Number of aircraft Sent 17

Service

People

  • Isaac Abeyta

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    ETO/ Queen Mary 9/5/42. Home/ Queen Mary 6/16/45. ...

  • Stanley Adamen

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 41-23809.

  • Norman Adams

    Military | Lieutenant | Bombardier | 93rd Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) shot down on 8/1/43 while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Jersey Bounce 2nd' 42-40609. Prisoner of War (POW) in Rumania, deaf for three days following crash.

  • Thomas Adams

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Crew member of B-24 Liberator 41-23810 'Tarfu', flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • Lloyd Adelsberger

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-23682)

  • James Adovasio

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Crew member B-24 Liberator 42-40773 564th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF, flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Capt Edward L Fowble, returning safely to Libya. (**** This needs verifying as there is no evidence in any reviewed source...

  • George Aguayo

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 1 December 1943 on mission to Solingen, B24#42-40793 'Blonds Away' was damaged by fighters and exploded while trying to land.

  • Gerald Ahlquist

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Flew Ploesti raid on 1 Aug 43

  • Carl Ahola

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943,in B-24 Liberator 42-40803.

  • David Alexander

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined Sqd 3/16/43. DS/Bengahzi 6/26/43. Returned to base 8/26/43. DS/Tunis 9/16/43. Completed tour 8/10/44. Trans/ 93 CBW 4/28/44. Flew on 'Ploesti 'raid on 1 Aug 43 Retired as Lt Col.

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Aircraft

  • 41-23711 'Jerks Natural'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 328th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF, TDY 9th Benghazi, Libya. This aircraft flew the Aug. 1, 1943, Ploesti mission, diverting safely to Sicily. A/C was damaged over Austria on mission to Wiener Neustadt Bf 109 factory and crashed in Yugoslavia on...

  • 41-23717 Exterminator

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24 Liberator "Exterminator" (serial number 41-23717, H) originally flew with the 329th Bomb Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Group and was later transferred to the 330th Bomb Squadron (93BG) in March 1943. The first mission with the 330th BS was on 1st...

  • 41-23729 'Shoot Luke'

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned 328th Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. TDY 9th AF, Benghazi. Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, forced to abort. ...

  • 41-23778 'Jenny' 'Lady Luck'

    B-24 Liberator
    Temporarily attached to 9th AF and flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returned to Libya. ...

  • 41-23779 '4Q2'

    B-24 Liberator
    A/C flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returning safely to Libya. ...

  • 41-23810 'Tarfu'

    B-24 Liberator
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, returned safely to Libya. ...

  • 41-23813 'Victory Ship'

    B-24 Liberator
    Was lost on January 21,1944 mission to bomb V-weapons sites in the Pas-de-Calais, France area. Repeatedly attacked by fighters until 3 of the engines were knocked out, the co-pilot was killed and the pilot was wounded. With the co-pilot slumped over...

  • 41-23817 'Suzy Q'

    B-24 Liberator
    SUZY-Q, flown by Col. Leon Johnson, led the 44th Bomb Group on the Aug 1, 1943 Ploesti raid and was the most famous ship of the 67th Squadron. The plane was lost on Aug 16, 1943 on a mission to the north airfield at Foggia, Italy. The plane...

  • 41-24015 'Wing Dinger'

    B-24 Liberator
    Failed to Return - Lost near the target Ploesti, 1st Aug 43. Reported that the plane was afire as pilot 1st Lt George W Winger bravely climbed steeply up so that crew could bail out. 7 KIA, 2 POW. MACR 2410.

  • 41-24024 'Bewitching Witch'

    B-24 Liberator
    This aircraft was loaned to the 44th Bomb Group for the 1st Aug, 43 low-level mission to Ploesti, Romania. It was flown by 1st Lt Reginald L. Carpenters crew from the 67th Bomb Squadron. Badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire over the target, she was...

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Crash sites

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 11:58:01 Emily Changes to media associations
Sources

Removed media associations which did not depict Operation Tidal Wave, or subsequent events.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:56:09 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:48:55 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:41:58 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:32:52 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:27:32 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:15:55 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 09:04:58 Emily Created event
Sources

National Museum of the US Air Force, Ploesti Target and Target Forces Plans and Ploesti Operation Record

AIR 23/712 4, Photographic Interpretation Report of Ploesti Mission, 5 August 1943, copy of US Official document held in Roger Freeman's personal archive.

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 08:20:32 Emily Changes to event
Sources

USAAF Combat Chronology

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2019 08:10:51 Emily Changes to official description
Sources

USAAF Combat Chronology

Date Contributor Update
29 September 2014 17:33:41 Tom Created entry with name, date and description
Sources

The USAAF Handbook 1939-1945 by Martin Bowman (1997)

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