Thirty-seven B-24’s took off at 0718 to 0809 hours to bomb the Ploesti Romano Americana Oil Refinery. One returned early, returning bombs to base. Thirty-six (36) a/c dropped 89-1/4 tons of 500-lb GP bombs (.1 and mixed .01 and .025 fuses) on target at 1111 hours from 21,000 to 24,000 feet. Two attacking a/c jettisoned 3/4 tons. Thirty-three a/c returned to base at 1500 hours. Later two a/c that had landed at friendly fields returned to base. None lost, 1 missing, none at friendly fields.
Rendezvoused with 450th Group at Manduria on course to San Vito at 9,000 feet at 0832 hours and with 98th and 376th Groups at San Vito. Thence to turn point at 4203N – 1920E thence to Coeanli (4411N – 2608E) to Vasilati (4418N – 2627E) to IP to target, attacking on a heading of 331 degrees True. Rallied right until clear of flak and then left to Einaia (4521N – 2532E). Thence to 4510N – 2500E where route was altered from briefed route to avoid flak and bad weather and proceeded to 4345N – 2425E to Pulaj (4150N – 1920E) to base.
The weather report showed 6/10 low clouds at base on take-off. Over Adriatic 6/10 middle clouds to Yugoslavia coast. Swelling cumulus over Yugoslavia mountains with stratus in valleys. On plateau east of ridges, layer of middle clouds about 5/10 coverage persisted to south of target. Target was 3/10 low clouds and 5/10 high clouds at 26,000 feet. Visibility 10 miles at target. Return trip same except lower cloudiness over Adriatic with moderate turbulence.
Escort of approximately 25 to 30 P-51s was met at 4400N – 2500E at 1039 hours at 19,500 feet. Escort provided excellent cover and departed at 1200 hours at 4352N – 2442E.
Radio jamming was experienced at 1035 hours and lasted for over 30 minutes. Jamming was also experienced at 1300 hours on group command frequency.
No results were observed because of very effective screen which was described as most effective ever encountered at this target and covering a large area around target. Black column of smoke reported rising from target area. Bombing was done by PFF and synchronous methods and course reported as accurate for target.
Fighters. 10 ME-109’s were sighted in the target area but were driven off by excellent work of escort. 8 ME-109’s were sighted at 1145 hours at 4505N – 2505E and 5 E/A attacked unaggressively from 6 to 8 o’clock high and broke away at 600 yards.
An a/c which had landed at a friendly field and returned late was attacked at 1242 hours at 14,000 feet at 4252N – 2232E by four ME-109s, one MC-202 and one C-50. This a/c had feathered an engine at the target and had fallen behind the formation, accompanied by a/c #73 for protection. Attacks on these two a/c seemed to be concentrated on the crippled a/c which had #2 engine feathered and E/F seemed to concentrate on knocking out #1 engine. One ME-109 came in from 6 o’clock high and went under bomber and out at 9 o’clock and up to 9 o’clock high and turned for another attack. 2 ME-109’s attacked from 10 o’clock low, coming up and went out toward 12 o’clock. Attacks were well coordinated and were pressed home aggressively. E/F used 20-mm time-explosive ammunition as they were seen to explode in white puffs in mid-air. Markings: ME-109’s were olive drab color on top with white or silver bellies. MC-202 was bluish-gray in color with a long and short straight line in white on top of fuselage between engine and cockpit. C-50 was entirely silver in color.
Flak. Over the target this group experienced intense, accurate, heavy flak of 6 to 8 minutes duration. Flak was reported as barrage type and black in color with a few white bursts above formation.
From Fighters: 3 (1 major, 2 minor)
From Flak: 19 (4 major, 15 minor)
Others reasons: 0
Casualties: 5 (4 minor, 1 serious)
Destroyed: 2 ME-109; 1 MC-202; 1 C-50
Probably Destroyed: 1 ME-109