Thirty-nine (39) B-24’s took off at 0535 hours to bomb Ploesti Romano Americana oil refinery but because target was completely obscured by smoke screen, bombs were dropped by PFF on alternate target, the center of the city of Ploesti, Rumania. Two (2) returned early of which one jettisoned 22 tons and the other returned bombs to base. Thirty-six (36) dropped 883 tons 500-lb GP bombs .1 and .025 fusing. One (1) dropped 22 tons on target of opportunity, a refinery located at 10M on target chart No. 11-100B-NA, Ploesti North. One (1) a/c jettisoned three bombs and two others one each, a total of 23 tons, on account of malfunctions. Thirty-five (35) a/c returned to base at 1302 hours, two (2) landed at friendly fields.
Rendezvous with 98th Group over San Vito at 6,000 feet at 0652 hours to key point 4228N – 1825E to 4240N – 1838E to Pecenbca (4452N – 2223E) to Pesteana (4451N – 2318E) to Sinaia (4522N – 2532E) to IP Homoracila (4516N – 2601E) to target. Axis of attack 180° True. Rally right and continued about 15 miles south of briefed course from target to Danube then followed generally the briefed route back to base. ‘C’ section varied considerably from this route to escort one of its crippled ships to Vis, thence direct to base.
Rendezvous with P-38’s at 0807 hours 4330N – 2000E; rendezvous with P-51’s at 0922 hours 4505N – 2410E. Penetration, target and withdrawal cover was provided by P-38’s and P-51’s which engaged in furious dogfights over Bucharest. Thereafter, they overtook this formation at about 40 miles from Bor on course to base.
Visual observation reported on interrogation was to the effect that the town was very effectively covered by smoke screen but bomb fall photos disclose a good concentration of hits in the built up area of Ploesti. Black smoke was reported rising to 10,000 feet according to one crew and was sighted for 45 minutes after target. Other crews reported seeing a column of black smoke over target area when they were 100 miles away on their return. Bomb fall photos disclose at least 100 bursts in populated area, some bursts in edge of refinery, and approximately 40 bursts at M-16 on target chart No. 11-101B-NA.
Fighters. Fifteen (15) ME-109’s and FW-190’s observed over target area at 1004 hours at 20,000 feet. One (1) ME-109 attacked this formation over island of Vis at 9,000 feet from 1240 to 1255 hours, he made 5 passes from 6 o’clock high, 9 o’clock high, and 12 o’clock high. One (1) JU-88 attacked this formation at target from 7 to 8 o’clock level then went down. One (1) JU-88 came from nose on dive from 1 o’clock to 6 o’clock at target. One (1) FW-190 attacked this formation at 1004 hours, 20,000 feet, just after target, it was reported that he slid across, came up at right wing then dropped behind. He had yellow nose, wide yellow band around fuselage; painted brown. At the target FW-190’s were attacking stragglers. Just after target one (1) ME-110 came in from left, closed to 800 yards and went down on left side. At the target FW-190’s were firing 20-mm cannon. Ten minutes after target at 1008 hours, 20,000 feet, an FW-190 came in at 4 o’clock, closed to 500 yards and peeled off at 6 o’clock low. Four (4) to five (5) ME-110’s fired rockets into formation just after target at 20,000 feet.
Flak. Over the target this group experienced intense, accurate, heavy flak of the predicted variety which caused minor damage to twenty-seven (27) a/c.
[Although there were numerous reports of aircraft from other groups going down, no 449th aircraft were lost or seriously damaged. Four 449th flyers were wounded by flak. One ME-109 was claimed as destroyed.]