Boljanić airfield in Bosnia (called Bunar in ACRU documents) was the last airfield used by the Halyard mission. It was made after the Chetnik command with US missions withdrew to Bosnia. On November 1st, the airfield was used for the first time when 3 American pilots with members of Ranger mission were evacuated. Halyard mission then proceeded further west in search of other downed Airmen, and in mid-December came back to Boljanić. Bad weather delayed rescue - clouds prevente
Koceljeva field, near Valjevo in western Serbia, was second airfield used by Halyard mission. Local field was quickly prepared for landing It was used only once, on September 17th, when 20 US airmen, one Italian and French escaped prisoner were evacuated, with medical team of Dr Mitrani. It was daytime evacuation, and photographer J.B. Allin took some nice photos of field and planes. One of the C-47 planes clipped haystack on landing, and wing was lightly damaged. Once again,
Pranjani is the place most associated with the Halyard mission. A clandestine airfield was constructed on the Galovića field, near the village where airmen were hidden. It was first used in early 1944 when British military missions landed with Westland Lysander planes, specialized for short takeoff and landing and special missions. On May 28/29, the first major evacuation took place, when seven C-47 planes evacuated almost 140 rescued Airmen, Escaped prisoners, and withdrawn
After finishing mission and upon arrival to Bari, Nick Lalich wrote a report on Halyard mission. Supplement of report is this map, which shows movement of mission through Serbia and Bosnia. Mission landed in Pranjane on August 9. One month later, it moved north through Koceljeva, came close to Šabac, and then came across Drina river to Bosnia. Mission proceeded through Sava river valley, to Trebava mountain. From there it moved south, close to Doboj, across Ozren mountain and
John Cappello, president of the Halyard Mission Foundation, visits Radoje Tucovic from Gostilje village on Zlatibor mountain, one of the last living participants in a mission to rescue American airmen from the area. Radoje Tucovic, who has recently turned 96, was active throughout the war as a Chetnik, first in the Požega Chetnik Detachment, and subsequently in the Zlatibor Brigade. American airmen were on Zlatibor from winter to summer of 1944.
Robert Cole was one of the Airmen rescued during Halyard mission. He carried small camera on a mission when they were shot down, and made around 100 photos during rescue. They were not seen until his son, Mr Gary Cole, made them public last year. On these images we can see large gathering of Chetnik troops and downed airmen on Galovića field, general Draža Mihailović inspecting troops and addressing them, and finally Airmen getting aboard one of C-47 planes that came to rescu
This silent movie was published recently by museum of Yugoslav cinematography. It features gathering of Yugoslav Army in Homeland (Chetnik guerrillas), in city of Boljevac, western Serbia, in summer of 1944. Among them, wearing recognizable white fur hats, (starting from 4:20), were members of B-24 bomber No 41-29343, that was shot down near Bor on May 6th. Their pilot was Thomas K. Oliver, who later managed to send message to Allied Hq that 150 US airmen are with Chetniks an
Ploesti oil fields were one of the most important targets for Allies in Europe. They were irreplaceable fuel source for Nazi Germany. Therefore it was heavily defended by Germans and Romanians. First massive raid by 220 B-24 Liberators flying from Libya saw losses of more than one third of planes and crews.
In Spring of 1944. Air offensive on Ploesti was started in full force from bases in Italy. However, due to heavy defenses it was not so efficient. So Allies tried new tac