Operation Tidal Wave file photo [552]

Operation Tidal Wave

1 Aug 1943


ww2dbasePloieşti, Romania was Germany's only oil field within her borders, and the city was surrounded by refineries that turned oil into fuel for the German war machines, which naturally attracted attention of Allied commanders. The first attempt at attacking Ploieşti saw aircraft sent from the Middle East in spring 1942 with little result. The first raid was conducted before Dwight Eisenhower had taken command of the theater; when Allied leaders suggested to conduct another raid, Eisenhower objected in arguing that German refining capacities were actually in abundance, so the destruction of refineries would achieve little. Actual sources of oil should have been the primary target and not the refineries. He also argued that the attacks on Ploieşti would be better conducted as a series of small raids to disrupt production, instead of a single raid with damage that could be repaired within weeks. Nevertheless, Allied leaders pressed on with their wish, and got their attack.

ww2dbaseThe attack was named Operation Tidal Wave and was launched on 1 Aug 1943. 117 B-24 Liberator bombers inflicted heavy damage but at a high cost. Five Medals of Honor were awarded as a result of this raid, reflecting the gallantry of the pilots, however as Eisenhower had advised earlier, the damage inflicted by the attack were quickly repaired, and Ploieşti became productive again rather quickly.

ww2dbaseEisenhower would not see his wish for continuous raids on Ploieşti until Apr 1944.

ww2dbaseSources: Crusade in Europe, Wikipedia.

Last Major Update: Aug 2005

Operation Tidal Wave Interactive Map

Operation Tidal Wave Timeline

1 Aug 1943 USAAF bombed the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania; 30% of the raid force was lost.


Reconnaissance photo of the two primary oil refineries in Ploesti Romania taken in preparation of the low level B-24 Liberator bomber attack of Aug 1 1943.2nd wave of B-24 Liberators approach the Ploesti oil refineries, Ploesti Romania, Aug 1 1943. 14 B-24s can be seen in this image.B-24 Liberator bombers over Ploesti oil fields during Operation Tidal Wave, Romania, 1 Aug 1943.B-24 Liberator during low level attack of the Ploesti oil refineries, Ploesti Romania, Aug 1 1943.
See all 7 photographs of Operation Tidal Wave


Approximate bomber route for Operation Tidal Wave, the low level bombing raid on the oil fields around Ploesti, Romania, Aug 1 1943.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
15 Jan 2013 05:06:19 AM

The five Medal of Honor recipients were: Lieutenant Colonel Addison Baker and his co-pilot, Major John L. Jerdtad (93 BG in Hell's Wench), Colonel Leon Johnson (389 BG), Colonel John 'Killer' Kane (98 BG), and Second Lieutenant Lloyd H. Hughes. All but Johnson and Kane were awarded posthumously. It was the only raid in history for which five Medals of Honor were awarded.
2. Jeff Clark says:
1 Aug 2014 04:39:47 AM

Thanks to the men that were so brave on this day for this mission 71 years ago.
3. archangel of justice. says:
5 Apr 2016 12:09:50 AM

USA have on consciousness million of innocent people killed. This a price that eventually USA will pay.
4. Mark Parcell says:
23 Feb 2019 08:00:45 AM

The 5 MoH winners were:
Addison Baker - 93rd BG (post)
John Jerstad - 93rd BG (post)
Lloyd Hughes - 389th BG (post)
Leon Johnson - 44th BG
John R. Kane - 98th BG
5. Dean Roork says:
23 Feb 2019 01:38:30 PM

Col. Leon Johnson was commander of 44th Bombardment Group, not the 889 BG.
6. Patricia aRider says:
17 May 2021 11:23:27 AM

Lieutenant Joseph E. Finneran, 22 years old, was killed in action, during, “Operation Tidal Wave”. His body was identified in 2019, after his nephew provided the military with DNA. He was buried with his mother on 11/10/2019 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts USA. Rest In Peace, Lieutenant. Godspeed !!
7. Dan MacPherson says:
14 May 2022 09:00:20 PM

The remains of Addison Baker have been identified.

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Notable Aircraft:
» B-24 Liberator

Operation Tidal Wave Photo Gallery
Reconnaissance photo of the two primary oil refineries in Ploesti Romania taken in preparation of the low level B-24 Liberator bomber attack of Aug 1 1943.
See all 7 photographs of Operation Tidal Wave

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