28 B-24’s took off at 0548 – 0612 hours to bomb one of five primary targets at PLOESTI. (The decision as to which target to be attacked was to be made by Wing Commander approximately thirty minutes before target.) 4 returned early. 13 A/C dropped 24-3/4 tons of 500 lb RDX bombs (.1 and .025 fusing) on Unirea Standard Oil Refinery at 1018 – 1020 hours from 24,000 to 27,200 feet. 9 A/C jettisoned 19-1/4 tons and 2 A/C returned 4 tons to base. None lost. None missing. 1 landed at VIS. There were 13 effective sorties.
ROUTE AND ASSAULT
Rendezvoused with 450th over MANDURIA at 8,000 feet at 0656 hours. Thence to SAN VITO to YUGOSLAV coast just south of RAGUSA to avoid flak. PFF of lead A/C went out so between RAGUSA and UZICE (4352N – 1952E) relinquised lead to B Section of group. B Section taking over as No. 1 attack unit and A Section as No. 2 attack unit. Continued on briefed course to keypoint RAMNICUL VALCEA. Wing Commander did not make decision as to target until about eight minutes after keypoint, then took up heading of 150° for the IP for target No. 1, Astra Romano – the IP for this target being 4435N – 2442E. At this point the interphone (pilot to navigator and bombardier) went out further adding to the confusion. This group was echeloned to the right of the 450th Group, which group turned short of IP. The 449th being in echelon to the right could not make turn into target from the position and make attack on the assigned axis of attack, the turn to an axis of 33° would have thrown the formation to far to right of target. At this point the lead of this group elected to make 360° turn around BUCHAREST, to enable the formation to come in on assighed axis of attack. At this point the PFF of both sections were inoperative. During the turn around BUCHAREST the sections became separated and the lead section elected to attack a last resort target of NIS M/Y, the A/C of this section running short of gas and had difficulty in maintaining their position in formation at 25,500 feet. At this point the section split up, the lead section proceeding on the briefed course for NIS. When the section reached vicinity of NIS all by 2 A/C of the section had run low on gas and had jettisoned their bomb. The lead of this section then elected not to attack NIS M?Y with only two A/C and proceeded to Base on briefed course. The second attack unit after making the 360° turn around BUCHAREST saw the IP and turned into target No. 2 Unirea Standard Oil Refinery attacking on an axis of 24°. The rally was right and the return to base was on briefed route. Rendezvous with 35 P-51’s was made at 4440N – 2230E at 23,000 feet at 0900 hours. Escort departed as the A/C were coming off the target. RESULTS Bombing was done visually. Visual observation of large columns of black smoke to 8,000 – 10,000 feet confirmed by photos. No bursts in the target area visible due to smoke coverage.
Fighters: This group had no encounters with fighters. At 1055 hours in the vicinity of BUCHAREST one unidentified fighter was seen. At 1010 hours in the target area at 26,000 feet, ten unidentified A/C were seen, believed to be ME-109’s.
Flak: Over the target this group experienced intense, accurate, heavy flak of 3 to 10 minutes duration.
Total Losses: None Damage: 10 A/C holed from flak Casualties: 2 (minor) wounded from flak. Victories: None