Forty B-24’s took off at 0502 hours to bomb Romano Americana Refinery, Ploesti, Rumania. Three returned early, all jettisoned bombs in Adriatic. Thirty-six dropped 88-1/2 tons of 500-lb GP bombs with mixed (50% of each per A/C) .1 & .01 and .1 and .025 fusing on target at 0917 hours, 24,000 feet. One dropped 2-1/2 tons on IP due to engine failure. One salvoed 1 ton at 4440N – 1935E due to turbo failure. Thirty-six returned at 1248 hours. None lost. None missing. One at friendly field.
Rendezvoused with the 98th Group over San Vito at 6,000 feet on course to key point (4228N – 1825E), thence the course deviated to 16 miles N of course at the next point (4242N – 1837E) to 23 miles N of course at Uzice (4352N – 1951E) to 38 miles N of course over Belgrade, returned to briefed course to IP and attacked target on an axis of 175 degrees, rallied left then right and returned to base on the briefed route.
Rendezvoused with escort at 0725 hours, 11,000 feet at 4410N – 1920E. Escort was reported as good, into, over , and upon withdrawal. 16 P-38’s were seen on penetration and 15 P-51’s over target. Escort departed at the Yugoslavian coast.
The target was obscured by a very effective smoke screen. High columns of intense black smoke coming up through the smoke screen indicated some hits were scored. Bombs were scattered from 2 miles NNE of the target to 5 miles SSE in the open fields to the left of the target.
Fighters: Eleven (11) E/A were seen and 8 were encountered. 6 ME-109’s, 1 FW-190, and 4 JU-88’s were seen. One JU-52 was seen to be shot down by P-38 escort at 0800 hours, 18,700 feet, over the Danube at 4440N – 2230E. Attacks on this group by enemy fighters were aggressive and coordinated with 3 to 6 A/C attacking in trail. Attacks were from 9 to 12 o’clock high and 6 to 7 o’clock high. 1 FW-190 was described as covered with spots. ME-109’s had yellow noses and a brown band around fuselage, some with black crosses outlined in yellow.
Flak: Over the target this group experienced intense, accurate, heavy flak. Very effective smoke screen over the target.
1. 0808 hours, 17,000′, Bela Crkva A/D (4453N – 2124E) 12 S/E fighters, 20 4/E A/C.
2. 0810, 19,000′, Smederevo A/D (4440N – 2056E) 5 S/E, 1 T/E, and 3 S/E (transports).
3. 0928 hours, 21,000′, 4440N – 2449E, B-24 crashed, 9 chutes.
4. 0952 hours, 17,000′, 4550N – 2330E, B-24 going down thru clouds.
5. 1048 hours, 13,600′, 4400N – 2015E, B-24 hit mountain, 9 chutes.
6. 1125 hours, 10,000′, Uzice (4352N – 1912E) about 7 miles N, some reported (4400N – 2005E), silver B-24 crashed, 3 chutes.
Total Losses: None.
From Fighters and Flak: 1 (serious, landed at friendly field.)
From Flak :16 (minor)
From Fighters: 3 (minor)
Other reasons: 0
From Flak: Slight wound 2
From Fighters: Moderate wound 1
Damaged: 1 ME-109; 1 FW-190.