It’s been quite a while since my last update and some of you may have been thinking the documentary is on hold or abandoned. Absolutely not!
I’ve unearthed a massive amount of previously unseen official information related to the TIDAL WAVE attack in Romanian, German, and British archives, and I’ve found several never-before-seen photo archives that include amazing TIDAL WAVE imagery.
A tiny snapshot of the new documentation includes:
- Exact number of flak guns that faced the American attackers. I’d previously identified where each flak battery were located, but did not know how many guns were at each location. Now I know, and it explains the bulk of the shoot-downs, including 93rd Bomb Group commander Addison Baker and several other ships following him.
- Exactly where the 44th and 93rd bomb groups flew–their ground tracks photo-documented! I’m currently working on the 98th, but their photo coverage is considerably spottier. However, the photos also help prove why such a huge number of 98th ships were shot down over the target.
- Col John “Killer” Kane’s full combat diary (partially published in the AAHS Journal many years ago, but with huge omissions). This is a stunning document, and like most diaries it tells more about the writer than the subject matter. However, it also contains a considerable amount of useful specific evidence, along with a number of easily-documentable outright lies that attempt to put Kane’s performance in the best possible light. Frankly, it’s very easy to see why he was never promoted to general and remained a colonel up until the time he retired in great bitterness 10 years after the mission.
- A large-scale, high altitude photo montage of the Ploesti, Brazi, and Campina areas composed from the high-definition 3 and 19 August 1943 RAF Mosquito recce flights photos. It documents many flak batteries, refinery damage, and most importantly several previously unknown B-24 crash sites.
- Multiple official Romanian refinery damage reports from several points in time, documenting the exact damage caused by the bombing and status of the recovery efforts, including the reopening of primitive old refineries to make up the oil production losses.
- This one is YUUUGE: I now have documentation of the German & Romanian flak personnel strength at Ploesti in July 1943 that shows a very interesting situation.
- The exact locations of the nine Freya radar sites ringing Ploesti, and when they were activated. This is a very big deal, and previously unknown or inaccurately reported.
- Romanian-German political and economic relations that had a direct bearing on the TIDAL WAVE mission.
- Previously unknown bomb and fuze information that materially affected the attack’s outcome. This has been glossed over or ignored in previously published accounts, but it was fundamental to the outcome.
- Although not yet uncovered, I now know the location where the photos and films recovered from shot-down Liberators were kept by the Romanian government. Whether these images survived until to today is currently unknown, but I’m digging!
…and these are the barest tip of the iceberg. There is much more brand new material that fundamentally affected the attack.
The newly uncovered photo archives are also amazing. I now have a very large number of original German and Romanian Ploesti photos, most of which are amazingly clear, well composed, and in good condition. I also have a treasure trove of color photos that will blow your mind.
As you can imagine, this work is exceptionally time consuming and I have been and still am working very hard to finish this project this year. I can’t predict a specific date yet, but I’m close to having as much information as I truly need to tell the real story.
BTW, for modelers, we’ve almost finished the artwork for a large number of TIDAL WAVE B-24s, based on photos most of you have never seen. The families of many TW men have been very generous in sharing their keepsake photos, which has helped us create the most accurate nose art and other markings ever seen–particularly in decal form, but also in published profile artwork.
Enough for now…I’ve got to get back to work!