Mission Number: 50

Date: 24 Apr ’44

Target: Ploesti, Romania M/Y

449th A/C Over Target: 30

Tons of Bombs Dropped: 72-1/4 GP

Flak: H-I-A

Enemy A/C Destroyed: 0

449th A/C Lost: 0

Results: Poor

Thirty-two (32) B-24’s took off at 0815 – 0835 hours to bomb Ploesti East M/Y. One returned early, jettisoning 22 tons on Bucharest; and one jettisoned .25 tons in Adriatic. Thirty (30) dropped 723 tons of 500-lb (.1 and .025) GP bombs on main Ploesti M/Y at 1220 – 1224 hours from 23,480 – 25,000 feet. This target was selected as the briefed target was completely obscured by an effective smoke screen. Thirty-one (31) returned at 1525 – 1545 hours. None lost, none missing, and none at friendly fields.

Rendezvoused with 450th over Manduria at 6,000 feet at 0919 hours on course to San Vito Di Normanni with the 450th in the lead. Followed briefed route to Budva (4217N – 1851E) to Coronini (4442N – 2141E) to Mozaceni (4434N – 2510E) to IP, turned left on to target attacking on axis varying from 320° to 10°. Rallied left from target to Wing rendezvous line from Baico (4503N – 2553E) to Ocnita (4500N – 2533E) to the rally point five miles north of Pitesti (4452N – 2452E) to key point at Budva to base. Rendezvous was made with P-38’s at 1130 at approximately 4443N – 2250E. Rendezvous was made at IP to target with P-51’s who returned with formation to the Yugoslav coast at Budva and departed at 1430.

Visual observation was difficult because of dense smoke but reports are mediocre. Hits were observed well scattered over the city and among oil tanks to the right of the main M/Y. Photographs reveal the majority of bursts in residential area and in south main M/Y area, with some probable hits on tracks.

Fighters. Approximately twelve (12) to fifteen (15) E/A were sighted in target area, consisting of ME-109’s, FW-190’s and JU-88’s. The FW-190’s had radial engines with yellow noses and black fuselage. Attacks were encountered from seven (7) E/A but attacks were not aggressive or closely pressed. Attacks were not coordinated except in one case when three (3) ME-109’s came in line from 3 o’clock low, broke away at 400 yards and passed under the tail. There were no claims of E/A destroyed of damaged.

Flak. Over the target the group experienced moderate-to-intense, accurate, heavy flak. [A B-24 (silver) from 450th Group was observed to go down at the target from flak at 1229 hours at 23,000 feet; ten chutes were seen.][Total losses: None. Some minor damage from flak and one slightly wounded crew member. No victories.]

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