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View Full Version : Operation Tidal Wave - The Ploesti Mission



bugs
02 Oct 07,, 11:49
At first light on August 1, 1943 a force of 178 B-24 Liberator bombers lifted off dusty airstrips in the Libyan desert. They were to fly a 2000 mile round-trip deep into enemy territory, bomb a heavily defended target, and return to their North African base - without fighter escort. So began one of the bloodiest and heroic missions in the annals of aerial warfare. The target - the oil refineries at Ploesti.

temujin77
22 Oct 07,, 03:26
Here's what I got on the Ploieşti raid:

WW2DB: Operation Tidal Wave (http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=111)

However brave the raiders were, it was a strategic mistake to strike Ploieşti. Why? The strike was pretty much an one-time thing, so what happens is that several bomber crews were lost, and the heavy damage inflicted on the ground was relatively quickly repaired and oil refining production continued again as if nothing happened.

Feanor
22 Oct 07,, 05:04
Taking out the Ploesti oil fields would require much more then several bombers. It would probably take an entire bombing campaign to knock them out of the war. Consider also that Germany had sources of oil in Hungary.

bugs
22 Oct 07,, 22:28
In my opinion the raid was a bit to soon. Italy surended in september if i remember corectly. The airbases in Italy provided a much beter launch platform for bombing sorties. ( plus fighter cover ).
The objective was oil refining not oil production/fields ( high octane fuel for aviation ).

zraver
23 Oct 07,, 00:46
Here's what I got on the Ploieşti raid:

WW2DB: Operation Tidal Wave (http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=111)

However brave the raiders were, it was a strategic mistake to strike Ploieşti. Why? The strike was pretty much an one-time thing, so what happens is that several bomber crews were lost, and the heavy damage inflicted on the ground was relatively quickly repaired and oil refining production continued again as if nothing happened.

Not quite true, the raid had an immediate and measurable effect in the air. The Luftwaffe and the Romanians both pulled fighters groups off the East Front to guard the site. This was at a time when the Luftwaffe still dominate the VVS, and was even beating up the RAF over the channel.

And for the Germans it wasn't just any fighters, but JG 52 the best of the best.later in the war the best ace of all time, Hartmann would watch Soviet and US fighters mistake each other for Germans and mix it up over the refinery.

cape_royds
28 Oct 07,, 07:45
Ploesti was a huge concern for the Germans, which in turn made them invest heavily in holding the Crimea, garrisoning the Balkans, and earlier, in attacking Crete. Did the raid of '43 deepen their anxieties, or alleviate them?

zraver: are you Brit-baiting when you say the RAF was getting "beaten up" by the GAF over the Channel in the summer of '43.

bugs
28 Oct 07,, 12:51
zraver: are you Brit-baiting when you say the RAF was getting "beaten up" by the GAF over the Channel in the summer of '43.

did not work so far...;)

zraver
28 Oct 07,, 15:06
Ploesti was a huge concern for the Germans, which in turn made them invest heavily in holding the Crimea, garrisoning the Balkans, and earlier, in attacking Crete. Did the raid of '43 deepen their anxieties, or alleviate them?

zraver: are you Brit-baiting when you say the RAF was getting "beaten up" by the GAF over the Channel in the summer of '43.

Nope, but into Mid 43 the Luftwaffe ruled the skies over France. The short ranged spitfire had the same problems the Me109 faced in 1940, itty bitty legs and defenders choice to engage, just look at the results of Operation Jubilee the RAF had 3-1 in numbers, but lost 2-1.

bugs
29 Oct 07,, 18:41
[QUOTE=cape_royds;420723]Ploesti was a huge concern for the Germans, which in turn made them invest heavily in holding the Crimea, garrisoning the Balkans, and earlier, in attacking Crete. Did the raid of '43 deepen their anxieties, or alleviate them?
QUOTE]

i suspect both , because now the germans knew that the target was in range and the bombers would return sooner or later... but also the flak did ok.
Personal opinion and i might be wrong but fighter aircraft never had the same impact against masive bombers raids as flak did...ever.:frown:

zraver
29 Oct 07,, 22:24
[QUOTE=cape_royds;420723]Ploesti was a huge concern for the Germans, which in turn made them invest heavily in holding the Crimea, garrisoning the Balkans, and earlier, in attacking Crete. Did the raid of '43 deepen their anxieties, or alleviate them?
QUOTE]

i suspect both , because now the germans knew that the target was in range and the bombers would return sooner or later... but also the flak did ok.
Personal opinion and i might be wrong but fighter aircraft never had the same impact against masive bombers raids as flak did...ever.:frown:

The Luftwaffe circuses of late 43 early 44 wered evestatign cousing double digit losses among US bomber forces. Once the USAAF was able to send Mustangs to berlin bomber losses dropped way off. Since fighters don't fight flak...

Also from mid 44 onward German night fighter tactics and equipment improved to the point where RAF raids were sufferign heavier losses than USAAF daylight raids.

bugs
30 Oct 07,, 09:00
http://www.frankambrose.com/graphics/Bombrange.jpg
ploesti was a very distant target for the raiders, each bomber used a extra fuel tank in order to reach the target.
The bases in italy provided the 15 airforce better strike options with full bomb load.

p.s. the big arc means 1000 km

cape_royds
04 Nov 07,, 04:13
Nope, but into Mid 43 the Luftwaffe ruled the skies over France. The short ranged spitfire had the same problems the Me109 faced in 1940, itty bitty legs and defenders choice to engage, just look at the results of Operation Jubilee the RAF had 3-1 in numbers, but lost 2-1.


True that the Allies didn't have clear-cut daytime air superiority over the continent until early '44. But by mid-'43 I think they had air superiority over the Channel and coast, or else why would "Roundup" even have been a possibility?

Note that the Dieppe battle was fought in August '42. At the time, despite losing 106 planes that day, the British thought that they had gotten the better of the air battle, only to learn after the war that the German losses were in fact much lighter than their own.


The communique issued by Combined Operations Headquarters after the raid claimed 91 German aircraft destroyed and "about twice that number" probably destroyed or damaged. These estimates resulted in the air battle's being regarded as a particularly satisfactory aspect of the operation...Post-war examination of German documents, however, indicates that the enemy lost 48 aircraft destroyed and 24 damaged.

bugs
25 Nov 07,, 20:58
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