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5 April 44, Battle of Ploesti begins

Discussion in 'Air War in the Mediterrean' started by mcoffee, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    5 April 1944 marked the unofficial start of the Oil Campaign with the bombing of marshalling yards at Ploesti. “Unofficial” because with the official sanctioning of the Transportation Plan over the Oil Plan, Air Chief Marshall Portal had refused to add the refineries at Ploesti to the approved target list, thus Spaatz went in the back door. By necessity, the refineries at Ploesti were constructed immediately adjacent to marshalling yards so that product and delivery could be transported. Since marshalling yards were a major part of the Transportation Plan, Spaatz chose the ones at Ploesti knowing that the adjacent refineries would be hit. As Craven and Cate described it “It was thought wise to begin the undertaking surreptitiously under the general directive which called for bombing transportation targets supporting German forces who were facing the Russians.” “Most of the 588 tons of bombs, with more than coincidental inaccuracy, struck and badly damaged the Astra group of refineries near by.” The attached photos were from the 24 April 44 mission but show the close proximity of the marshalling yards to refineries.

    View attachment 21097 View attachment 21098
     
  2. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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  3. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Not sure where that came from as it is not in Jay Stout's article in the link, or in his book. The 1 August '43 TIDAL WAVE mission had no overall effect on production although the Creditul Minier refinery never returned to production.

    The 1944 campaign against Ploesti reduced output to about 10% of the March '44 production level. The refinery workers abandoned the plants about a week before the Red Army occupied them which totally stopped production.
     
  4. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Correct me if I am wrong here, it has been a while since I read any of my Tidal Wave books, but wasn't that because the refineries were not operating at full capacity to begin with? I think this makes a very large diffrence as it tells me the damage could have been much more signifacant than indicated by the raw numbers.
     
  5. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    That is correct. Damage was estimated at about 40% overall which was approximately the excess capacity that existed at the time of TIDAL WAVE. Had the attack gone as planned with the assigned targets hit, damage would have likely been much greater.

    And it was the Steaua Romana refinery that did not return to production during the war - always dangerous to rely on memory.
     
  6. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCbwzdTE1Zw

    Part 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubcLECH6InY
     
  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I read Duane Schultz's book Into the Fire about the Ploesti raid. Whatever could go wrong, did. Poorly planned. What a mess.
     
  8. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    I would argue that more effort was put into the planning of TIDAL WAVE than probably any other single air mission of the war. There was certainly a lack of available intelligence about the state of defenses at Ploesti and there was the unfortunate 'wrong turn' but effort was not spared in planning. There was a 3D model of the city of Ploesti and all of the subject refineries constructed to train the navigators and bombardiers. A full size silhouette representation of the refineries was built in the N. African desert and practice missions flown against it. The fact that the training films posted by Mr. Wilson exist testifies to the extent of the planning effort.
     

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