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The Ploesti Raid on Sunday 1 August 1943 was one of the costliest operations carried out by the USAAF during World War II. It was also the day that the airmen of the United States proved their unswerving determination in the face of the gravest danger.
Allied planners knew that just over a third of all Germany’s oil came from a single source – the oil fields at Ploesti, far to the east of deepest Romania. If the oilfields and refineries at Ploesti could be destroyed, then Hitler’s armies would be dealt a savage blow from which they might never recover.
Flying at low-level over the Astra Romana oil refinery, Lt James Merrick of the 98th Bomb Group powers his B-24 ‘Lil De-icer’ through the pall of burning debris as time-delayed bombs, dropped in error by a previous Group, explode beneath them. With any hope of surprise now lost, and taking heavy losses in the process, the crews of the 98th bravely hold their bombers on course.
Each print is personally signed by three veterans who flew on the Ploesti mission: