“I Watched My Buddies Fall from the Sky” – Bomber Vet Remembers Harrowing Raid Over Europe (LISTEN)

Of the 177 planes struck the Axis oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania on Aug. 1, 1943, 53 were blown out of the sky. (Image source: WikiCommons)

Of the 177 planes that struck the Axis oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania on Aug. 1, 1943, as many as 53 were blown out of the sky. More than 600 fliers were lost in the raid. (Image source: WikiCommons)

“I can see all that flak bursting in the air… and I know that my turn to go through that is coming.”

IF NAZI GERMANY had an Achilles heel, it was oil.

Without it, the Third Reich couldn’t fight — securing reliable sources of petroleum was an all-consuming obsession for Berlin.

In 1943, the Allies kicked off a strategic bombing campaign aimed at knocking out one of Hitler’s most important supplies of oil – the massive refinery complexes at Ploesti, Romania.

The effort, which lasted until the final months of the war, cost the American air corps dearly. Some raids saw casualties exceed 30 percent.

Rod Braswell was there. The 94-year-old resident of Oceanside, California piloted a four-engine Consolidated B-24 Liberator on 50 missions in the Second World War. Three of those were against the heavily defended oil fields of Romania.

In this podcast from our friends at AudioBurst.com, Braswell recalls the dangers he and his comrades faced on one of these missions.

 

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