Saturday, June 20, 2009
The abortive attack on Ploesti in June 1942
The Americans sent a group of B-24 Liberator bombers to Egypt in preparation for a raid on the oil fields at Ploesti, in Rumania. This group of bombers and their men was called the Halverson Detachment. A attack force flew from Fayid (close to the Suez Canal), taking off before dawn on 12 June 1942. The plan to form up and make a concentrated attack failed, and worse yet, the weather was cloudy when they arrived near Ploesti. They had planned a high level attack, so most bombers dropped their loads into the clouds. A few dropped below the clouds, but dropped their bombs without really aiming. The planes scattered after the attack. Four planes landed in neutral Turkey, two landed in Syria, and the rest landed in Iraq, as was the original plan. One British Liberator and the seven American planes participated in the "Vigorous" convoy action, which happened right after the attack on Ploesti. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.