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THE POMEROY GROUP - COMBAT Charles Schleininger corsair "Mission 23 & 24 - Today we bombed
Ploesti. This was the first attack on
Polesti since august 1, 1943 low level
mission & the second mission to Ploesti
for the Group. Just the mention of the
name Ploesti was frightening, as the
group had been badly hit on the first
mission. A maximum effort of 286 bombers
was to attack. the 98th provided 31
aircraft. We were met with heavy fighter
attacks. Approximately 150 Axis fighters hit
us before we reached the Initial Point (IP)
& continued for about 30 minutes after we
left the target. As the attackers were
ME-109s that have short range, they
probably had to land to refuel& by that
time we were out of the area. As we
approached the IP we could see the
black smoke from previous fired flak. the
smoke hangs in the air for awhile & the
accumulation of puffs makes it look
worse than it really is. I glanced down at
the ground & saw the flashes of fired
shells fired by three anti-aircraft guns that
were in one group. A few seconds later,
the shells exploded at about 100 feet to
the right at about 2 o'clock & at our level.
Very frightening. At this point I was
perspiring at my waistline even though it
was -50 degrees outside & freezing
inside the plane. the sky was black ahead
of us but onward we flew, dropping our
bombs & turning towards home while
nosing down to increase speed. Again
our crew was very lucky, no one was
injured. Thirteen bombers were lost to
flak & fighters. We did not have an escort.
There were reported to be over 700
anti-aircraft guns surrounding Ploesti oil
fields & installations. Flight time - 7.3
hours. April 5, 1944." To be continued ...

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