Operation Tidal Wave
The Bloodiest Air Battle in the History of War
Vincent dePaul Lupiano
Operation Tidal Wave tells the story of the bloodiest air battle in the history of war. It is about 1700 airmen who set out to bomb the oil refineries surrounding the city of Ploesti, Romania, on August 1, 1943. Success, they thought, would be a force in ending the war. Success instead was extremely limited and 500 airmen were killed, wounded, captured, or interned. Negligible damage resulted at the Ploesti refineries, and a few months later they were operating at one-hundred percent capacity. To show the asperity of the raid, five Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded, two posthumously.