US Bomber Emerging From Smoke After Raid

B-24 Liberator “the Sandman” Emerging From Smoke During raid On Ploesti Oil Field in Romania; THEN ALLIED TO NAZI GERMANY.
THIS FIELD SUPPLIED IMMENSE AMOUNTS OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS TO WEHRMACHT 

The_Sandman_a_B-24_Liberator,_piloted_by_Robert_Sternfels

Aug. 1, 1943. The Sandman,  a US Army Air Force B-24 Liberator from the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force, piloted by Major Robert Sternfels, shown emerging from a cloud of smoke as it barely clears the stacks of the Astra Romana refinery during the disastrous American raid on the Romania oil fields at Ploesti.

(caption and photo courtesy of the National Museum of the US Air Force. The photo was taken by Jerry J. Joswick, the only survivor of the 16 cameramen of the operation)

 

Unfortunately, Not the Most Successful Action of the War

Since US Army Air Force doctrine stipulated high-altitude precision bombing, pilots had little experience in low-level missions. And this was a low-level mission.  Several months prior to the attack, aircrews and aircraft were sent to Libya and trained day after day in flying fifty feet off the ground or lower while in formation.

Coming in at low altitude was the key tactical element in the plan of attack on the refineries and associated facilities at the oil fields in Ploesti, Romania. These oil fields were Nazi Germany’s main source of oil, supplying almost 40% of the total. As such, Ploesti was the most heavily defended target against air attack in the entire Nazi empire. (Romania was a staunch ally of Nazi Germany).

The USAAF suffered terrible losses. Of the 177 B-24s on the raid, 53 were lost, most on the raid, some of which crashed and a handful interned in neutral Turkey. Official US Air Force casualty figures are as follows:  310 aircrewmen were killed, 108 were captured by the Axis, and 78 were interned in Turkey.

 

Despite the extreme heroism of the airmen and their determination to press the mission home, the results… were less than expected…. the attack temporarily eliminated about 3,925,000 tons (of petroleum production), roughly 46 percent of total annual production at Ploesti.

Unfortunately…these losses were temporary and much less than the planners had hoped for. The Germans proved capable of repairing damage and restoring production quickly, and they had been operating the refineries at less than full capacity, anyway.

Ploesti thus had the ability to recover rapidly. The largest and most important target, Astro Romana, was back to full production within a few months…”

 

Source: Fact sheet on low level bombing of Ploesti August 1943, US Air Force Historical Office. You can find the entire fact sheet here:

http://www.afhso.af.mil/topics/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=17993

38 Hamilcar Gliders Crashed Operation Market Garden

 

ROYAL AIR FORCE: HEADQUARTERS ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY AIR FORCE, NO. 38 GROUP RAF. (CH 18852) A GAL Hamilcar heavy glider clears to the airfield to the north after being towed off Runway 19 at Tarrant Rushton, Dorset, by a Handley Page Halifax target tug of No. 644 Squadron RAF, during an airborne exercise. The photograph was taken from the rear turret of the Halifax. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212730

 

 

ROYAL AIR FORCE: FIGHTER COMMAND, NO. 38 (AIRBORNE FORCES) GROUP RAF. (CH 14889) Operation VARSITY. General Aircraft Hamilcar heavy gliders lined up at Woodbridge, Suffolk, for the evening take off for the assault on the Rhine. In the foreground a ground crew member checks the attachment of the tow rope on a glider.. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210679

 

AIRCRAFT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1939-1945: GENERAL AIRCRAFT GAL.49 HAMILCAR. (ATP 12353C) Hamilcar Mark I, HH922, in the hands of No. 38 Group RAF at Netheravon, Wiltshire. HH922 was transferred to 1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit in January 1944, its operational service ending on 11 January 1945 when it force-landed in bad weather near Radnor. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127073

 

AIRCRAFT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945; GENERAL AIRCRAFT GAL.49 HAMILCAR. (CH 18849) Hamilcar Mark I of No. 38 Group, about to land at Tarrant Rushton, Dorset, during an airborne exercise. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127049

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (MH 2069) Arnhem 17 – 25 September 1944: An aerial view of a (General Aircraft) Hamilcar glider which has been unloaded on the landing zone near Arnhem. The Hamilcar was the largest glider in use with British Airborne forces; some 38 ‘went down’ during Operation ‘Market Garden’. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193891

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45 (BU 2617) A Universal carrier unloaded from a Hamilcar glider during the Rhine crossing, 24-25 March 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205203250

 

 

 

 

 

Allied Paratroopers Operation Market Garden

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944: NIJMEGEN AND GRAVE 17 – 20 SEPTEMBER 1944 (B 10174) Nijmegen and Grave 17 – 20 September 1944: British engineers removing the charge which the Germans had set in readiness to blow the Nijmegen bridge. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193889

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (EA 38567) Nijmegen and Grave 17 – 20 September 1944: The bridge at Nijmegen after it had been captured by the 82nd (US) Airborne Division, 17 – 20 September 1944. A dead German SS officer lies where he fell during the attack. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193886

(only the SS wore the mottled camouflage pattern being worn by the soldier)

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (EA 38132) Dutch children greet paratroopers of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, US 101st Airborne Division, shortly after they landed on DZ ‘B’ near Son, 17 September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193883

 

grave of #British #airborne soldier killed during the battle of #Arnhem in September 1944 this was the bridge too far #WW2

THE BRITISH AIRBORNE DIVISION AT ARNHEM AND OOSTERBEEK IN HOLLAND (HU 3722) British Airborne troops in Nijmegen after they had been evacuated from Arnhem. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205084687

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45 (BU 4132) The grave of a British soldier who was killed during Operation Market Garden in 1944, lies alongside the wreckage of his jeep near Arnhem, 18 April 1945. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205203309

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45 (B 10172) Cromwell tanks of 2nd Welsh Guards crossing the bridge at Nijmegen, 21 September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202529

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (EA 44531) Nijmegen and Grave 17 – 20 September 1944: Allied tanks of British XXX Corps cross the road bridge at Nijmegen during its capture. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193888

 

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45 (B 10131) Cromwell tanks of Guard’s Armoured Division drive along ‘Hell’s Highway’ towards Nijmegen during Operation ‘Market-Garden’, 20 September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205202520

 

THE BRITISH AIRBORNE DIVISION AT ARNHEM AND OOSTERBEEK IN HOLLAND (MH 2062) An aerial view of the vital bridge at Arnhem, taken immediately after the operation. This shows more clearly the wrecked German vehicles at the north end of the bridge. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205084668

 

THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939 – 1945: THE ALLIED CAMPAIGN IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE JUNE 1944 – MAY 1945: THE BRITISH AIRBORNE DIVISION AT ARNHEM AND OOSTERBEEK IN HOLLAND (MH 2061) Aerial view of the bridge over the Neder Rijn, Arnhem; British troops and armoured vehicles are visible at the north end of the bridge. Had General Montgomery’s ambitious scheme for seizing the Rhine bridges succeeded the war in Europe might have been shortened by many months. In the event, however, back-up forces were unable to come up quickly enough to enable the advanced airborne troops to hold… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193321

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ – THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM, SEPTEMBER 1944 (BU 1099) 3-inch mortar team of No.23 Mortar (Handcarts) Platoon of Support Company, 1st Border Regiment, 1st Airborne Division, in action in the Oosterbeek perimeter, 21 September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205192004

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ – THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM, SEPTEMBER 1944 (BU 1101) No. 1 Gun (a 75mm howitzer) of ‘D’ Troop, 2nd Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, 1st Airborne Division in the Oosterbeek perimeter, 21 September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205203181

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (HU 2129) Arnhem 17 – 25 September 1944: British paratroops being marched away by their German captors. Some 6,400 of the 10,000 British paratroops who landed at Arnhem were taken prisoner, a further 1,100 had been killed. (German photograph). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205086963

 

OPERATION ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (THE BATTLE FOR ARNHEM): 17 – 25 SEPTEMBER 1944 (HU 2126) Arnhem 17 – 25 September 1944: A German infantry battalion on alert as they search the suburbs of Arnhem for Allied troops, September 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193895

Top Ace Denied RAF Pilot Training Because He Couldn’t Ride a Horse

“My dear chap, you’re just the type. Which hunt do you follow?”

When Johnnie said he did not even ride a horse, he was promptly shown the door.

 

 

The RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot, Wing Commander James ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, with his Spitfire and pet Labrador ‘Sally’ at Bazenville landing ground, Normandy, July 1944. (photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

“In 1937, “Johnnie” Johnson tried to join the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF). On hearing that he came from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, the interviewing officer said, “My dear chap, you’re just the type. Which hunt do you follow?” When Johnnie said he did not even ride a horse, he was promptly shown the door. Little did that interviewing officer think he had just rejected the man who, in the second world war, would shoot down more of the enemy than any other pilot in the RAF – and without ever being shot down himself.”

From the obituary of Air Vice-Marshal James ‘Johnnie’ Johnson in the UK Guardian.

The insidious British class system often resulted in highly qualified men being rejected because they weren’t thought to be of the “better classes.”

You can read the entire obit here:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/feb/01/guardianobituaries2