A couple of guys have enquired within the last week about what’s going on with my TIDAL WAVE/Ploesti documentary since they hadn’t heard anything from me for a while. The 70th anniversary of the mission was a couple of weeks ago and I had really wanted to have my documentary on the street by then. Didn’t make it.
I’m putting in a MINIMUM of eight hours a day, seven days a week on the TIDAL WAVE project, regardless of what else I’m doing. I try to take a full day off every three weeks, but don’t always get to do that, what with travel and all, and I get in about 10-12 hours on most days.
For example, in the last two weeks, I’ve spent two days at the Army War College Archives at Carlisle Barracks, PA (my second visit there), four days at the National Archives (my umpteenth visit there), and two days at the Library of Congress (again, my umpteenth visit).
These visits and the ones that preceded them, along with considerable information received from Germany and Romania and other archives, have revealed quite a bit of previously unknown, or unknown but surmised, or unknown and incorrectly guessed or reported material related to TIDAL WAVE. I’ve also read over 350 (yes, three hundred fifty) books, plus innumerable articles, professional papers, doctoral dissertations, etc., in my quest to get the TW story right.
On Thursday of last week, I found a previously unknown official Romanian-language report on TIDAL WAVE filed in the middle of a “graves registration” file at the National Archives. No wonder nobody could find it before–if they were even looking for it. Oh, and BTW, I don’t speak German or Romanian, so thank God for Google Translate and the other online translation services (Google does a terrible job with German). Luckily Jim has stepped in to help with some of the German translation, so hopefully that will speed things up quite a bit.
The mass aerial formation became separated during the flight into two elements that were widely separated in time and space. I found a previously unknown 201st Combat Wing (the 8th AF contingent of TW [44, 93, 389]) report that includes two maps drawn on 3 Aug 43 from 8th AF navigators’ logs to track where the two TW formations (376/93 in first element; 98/44/389 following 20+ minutes later in the second element) actually went. This is CONSIDERABLY different from any previously published maps, and doesn’t have many straight lines on it like you see on the official maps.
Col Ted Timberlake, former 93rd commander, and then commander of the 201st CW who was excluded at the last minute from flying on the mission, wanted to know what actually happened and where the two formations actually went. He directed his wing navigator to get the actual story from his 8th AF navigators & pilots, who had participated in each of the flying elements.
From a Luftwaffe map I now have the exact locations and codenames (Brutus, Tiberius, Justinian, etc.) of the German radar sites that ringed the Ploesti oil area.
I’ve also confirmed the real reason why the mission was flown–at the time it was–(it wasn’t to “end the war six months earlier,” although that’s what the crews were told); what the German aircraft detection service (radar & observers) did and when they did it; security breaches that may have led to a very early German notification the huge mission was airborne; German & Romanian air defense screwups; effects of the attack on the German High Command (OKW) and Hitler himself; civilian day-to-day life in 1943 Romania; etc., etc., etc.
At this point I’m focused on having this project on the street by my birthday at the end of October. A ton of work remains, but we’ll see. In any case, I’ll get back to working on it now!
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