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Ploesti Offensive Begins

On 4 April 1944, flying from bases in Southern Italy, the US Air Force began its offensive against the Ploesti oil fields in Romania. The next day, 5 April, a damaged B-17 crashed in Serbia. The Flying Fortress, tail number 42-5938, crashed in the vicinity of Bor.

Two of the crew were killed, while the remaining eight established contact with

Chetniks under command of Radomir Petrović - Kent. After four months of evading, they were rescued from Pranjani on August 10, 1944. Their story was recently published in the book "One Mission to Ploesti", which was discussed in an earlier post on this site.

Photos that have not been previously published are found in this book. There are interesting photos of the crew with their Chetnik rescuers.

Most of the planes that fell in Serbia were damaged by strong air defenses surrounding the Ploesti area. The number of aircraft damaged and destroyed was to grow as the missions continued. 


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