On Sunday, August 1, 1943 the Ninth Air Force attempted one of the most daring air raids of WWII, against the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The raiding force was composed of 179 B-24D Liberator bombers from the 44th, 93rd, 98th, 376th, & 389th Heavy Bomb Groups. The B-24D Liberator was a four-engine strategic bomber designed to knock out industrial targets from 25,000 feet using the modern Norden bombsight.  For the Ploesti mission, however, it was decided to risk these lumbering giants and their crews on a surprise low-level attack from an altitude of only 200 feet.  Due to spies and enemy radar, the Germans were not surprised, and the enemy defenses were ready and waiting for the Liberators when they made their bombing runs. Enemy fighters pursued the force back to the Mediterranean, but it was the incredible number of small caliber AA guns that did most of the damage.  Fifty-five aircraft were lost, over 300 aircrew were killed, and about 130 aircrew were captured on that fateful day.


The Sandman over Ploesti - August 1, 1943 ~3:05pm EEST




Ploesti Aircraft List

389th BG Aircraft at Campina 389th Formation Plan at Campina 389th Target Assignments at Campina

Further Information on Operation Tidal Wave:


The Ploesti Raid: Through the Lens by Roger Freeman (RZM Imports)

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Bob Sternfels

Bomber Pilot by Phil Ardery

Maternity Ward by Marguerite Arnowitz

Black Sunday: Ploesti by Michael Hill

Ploesti: The Great Ground-Air Battle of August 1, 1943 by James Dugan & Cal Stewart

Low Level Mission by Leon Wolff


Ploesti Mission Details from USAF Museum

Operation Tidal Wave Article Bibliography by Al Salton


Wing & A Prayer: The Saga of Utah Man (Video)

The Sky Scorpions over Campina - August 1, 1943 3:15pm EEST

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