Operation Tidal Wave

1 August 1943

Object Number - UPL 13669 - The B-24D Liberator, 42-40402, The Sandman, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombardment Squadron. Piloted by Lt. Robert...

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. B-24D 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

PLOESTI

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

Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator

  • Unit Hierarchy: Command
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 177
  • Aircraft effective: 167
  • Aircraft missing in action: 57

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

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Enemy aircrafts destroyed by bomber: 33
  • Aircraft sent: 47
  • Aircraft effective: 39
  • Aircraft missing in action: 21
  • Aircraft damaged: 14

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

The insignia of the 93rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 25

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

  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Enemy aircraft damaged by bomber: 1
  • Aircraft sent: 28
  • Aircraft effective: 26
  • Aircraft missing in action: 3
  • Aircraft damaged: 6

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

The insignia of the 389th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 24

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

The insignia of the 93rd Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 12

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

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 20

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

Mission Statistics

  • Aircraft sent: 17

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 409th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Tail Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force
  • Service Numbers: O-678663
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force
  • Service Numbers: 36427842
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: Ninth Air Force
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co Pilot

Aircraft

Revisions

Date5 Sep 2021 17:50:17
Contributorjmoore43
Sources

Added a "-" to the A/C type in the Detailed description of the "MISSION NARRATIVE" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date28 Aug 2019 11:58:01
ContributorEmily
Sources

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

Date28 Aug 2019 09:56:09
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:48:55
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:41:58
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:32:52
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:27:32
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:15:55
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 09:04:58
ContributorEmily
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.

Date28 Aug 2019 08:20:32
ContributorEmily
Sources

USAAF Combat Chronology

Date28 Aug 2019 08:10:51
ContributorEmily
Sources

USAAF Combat Chronology

Date29 Sep 2014 17:33:41
ContributorTom
Sources

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

Operation Tidal Wave: Gallery (69 items)