Operation Tidal Wave
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
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.|
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Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945