#2765d – 1992 29c World War II: B-24s Hit Ploesti Refineries

Silk First Day Covers were produced by Colorano starting in 1971 with the America's Wool issue and ended in 2016 with the Snowflakes issue. Each color illustration is printed on satin-finish fabric, attached to the cover and surrounded by a gold embossed border. Mystic purchased Colorano's FDC inventory in February 2016.

 U.S. #2765
29¢ Turning the Tide
World War II Sheet


Issue Date: May 31, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 6,000,000
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Lithographed and engraved
Perforations: 
11
Color: Multicolored

 

 

World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century. The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985. It wanted to honor key events of the war effort as well as the various endeavors that contributed to the Allied victory. But how to do that without producing a thousand stamps?
 
The solution was a series of sheetlets, one for each year of the war, that consisted of a large center map framed by five stamps on the top and five on the bottom. Five years of commemorating World War II yielded five sheets and a total of 50 stamps – enough for an honorable tribute and enough to accomplish Postal Service goals.
 
The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries. They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps. Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re “a year in summary” at a glance. Entitled “1943: Turning the Tide,” U.S. #2765 is the third sheet in the series of five.
B-24s Hit Ploesti Refineries

 

Oil and the ability to move it to the places where it was most needed played a critical role in the success of both the Allied and Axis forces throughout World War II. A high priority for the Allies, the U.S. kept streams of oil moving from the mid-west and southwest to loading terminals in the East. From there, the precious fluid was transported to the battlegrounds, where mobile pipelines followed the troops as they moved through Europe and North Africa.
 
The Axis however, depended upon reserves built up in peacetime and supplies seized in occupied countries. To win access to these great oil regions became a matter of life and death. When German U-boats began attacking tankers carrying oil from Venezuela and Texas, the Allies retaliated by striking hard at the Axis' main sources of oil.
 
On August 1, 1943 American planes took off for an attack on the Ploesti oil refineries - the most important source of oil available to the Axis. A city located in southeastern Rumania, Ploesti was home to one of the first oil refineries in the world.
 
Eventually, the Nazi's lack of oil for gasoline, rather than a lack of planes, allowed the Allied forces to gain air superiority and win the war.
 

Operation Tidal Wave

1992 B-24s Hit Ploesti Refineries stamp
US #2765d – from the 1992 Turning the Tide World War II sheet

On August 1, 1943, US Army Air Forces bombed oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania.  It was part of the Allies’ oil campaign, to cut off Germany’s petroleum supply during World War II.

1959 Petroleum Industry stamp
US #1134 – The operation was part of the Allies’ oil campaign to cut off Germany’s petroleum supply.

Oil and the ability to move it to the places where it was most needed played a critical role in the success of both the Allied and Axis forces throughout World War II.  A high priority for the Allies, the US kept streams of oil moving from the mid-west and southwest to loading terminals in the East.  From there, the precious fluid was transported to the battlegrounds, where mobile pipelines followed the troops as they moved through Europe and North Africa.

The Axis however, depended upon reserves built up in peacetime and supplies seized in occupied countries.  To win access to these great oil regions became a matter of life and death.  When German U-boats began attacking tankers carrying oil from Venezuela and Texas, the Allies planned to retaliate by striking hard at the Axis’s main sources of oil.

Ploesti Raid Mystic First Day Cover.
US #2765d – Mystic First Day Cover

In June 1942 a squad of 13 B-24 Liberators attacked Ploesti, Romania, which provided Germany and the Axis powers with about 30% of their oil.  The attack inflicted minimal damage, but encouraged Germany and Romania to better defend the refineries.  They set up anti-aircraft defenses, many hidden in haystacks, railroad cars, and fake buildings.  They also had five squadrons totaling nearly 300 planes ready to defend Ploesti.  These combined defenses made it one of the most heavily defended Axis targets in Europe.

1992 Ploesti Raid Classic First Day Cover
US #2765d – Classic First Day Cover

The Allies planned another attack for August 1, 1943.  The attack, dubbed Operation Tidal Wave, would target nine oil refineries around Ploesti.  It was carried out by the Ninth and Eighth Air Force, totaling 1,751 aircrew flying 178 B-24 Liberators.  It was one of the largest such operations up to that time.

Departing airfields in Benghazi, Libya early on the morning of August 1, 1943, the strike force had some issues during its flight to Romania.  One plane crashed to the sea for unknown reasons, leading a few planes to go after it in search of survivors.  Additionally, some planes came out of formation in heavy clouds and others followed the wrong rail line.  They maintained radio silence as ordered for most of the flight, which further hindered their attack.

1992 Ploesti Raid US #2765d Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #2765d – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

Once they reached their targets, the planes came under heavy fire from the Romanian anti-aircraft defenses.  Some planes crash landed, killing the crews and civilians.  Most of the planes that made it there managed to hit their targets, and when the operation was over it was estimated they had reduced Ploesti’s oil productivity by 40%.  However Ploesti recovered quickly and even increased their output within weeks of the attack.

2005 B-24 Liberator stamp
US #3922 – The mission was carried out by 178 B-24 Liberators.

The mission was one of the most costly for the US Army Air Forces during the war.  They lost 53 bombers and had 579 crewmen killed, wounded, or captured.  Five Medals of Honor and 56 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to members of the mission.  It was the most costly air raid of the war and became known as “Black Sunday.”  A report years later called it “one of the bloodiest and most heroic missions of all time.”

 
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 U.S. #2765
29¢ Turning the Tide
World War II Sheet



Issue Date: May 31, 1993
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 6,000,000
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: 
Lithographed and engraved
Perforations: 
11
Color: Multicolored

 

 

World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century. The U.S. Postal Service began planning for the war’s 50th anniversary in 1985. It wanted to honor key events of the war effort as well as the various endeavors that contributed to the Allied victory. But how to do that without producing a thousand stamps?
 
The solution was a series of sheetlets, one for each year of the war, that consisted of a large center map framed by five stamps on the top and five on the bottom. Five years of commemorating World War II yielded five sheets and a total of 50 stamps – enough for an honorable tribute and enough to accomplish Postal Service goals.
 
The world maps are masterpieces of thumbnail summaries. They call attention to the major military and political developments of the year and include events not featured on the individual stamps. Color coded for easy identification of friend and foe, they’re “a year in summary” at a glance. Entitled “1943: Turning the Tide,” U.S. #2765 is the third sheet in the series of five.
B-24s Hit Ploesti Refineries

 

Oil and the ability to move it to the places where it was most needed played a critical role in the success of both the Allied and Axis forces throughout World War II. A high priority for the Allies, the U.S. kept streams of oil moving from the mid-west and southwest to loading terminals in the East. From there, the precious fluid was transported to the battlegrounds, where mobile pipelines followed the troops as they moved through Europe and North Africa.
 
The Axis however, depended upon reserves built up in peacetime and supplies seized in occupied countries. To win access to these great oil regions became a matter of life and death. When German U-boats began attacking tankers carrying oil from Venezuela and Texas, the Allies retaliated by striking hard at the Axis' main sources of oil.
 
On August 1, 1943 American planes took off for an attack on the Ploesti oil refineries - the most important source of oil available to the Axis. A city located in southeastern Rumania, Ploesti was home to one of the first oil refineries in the world.
 
Eventually, the Nazi's lack of oil for gasoline, rather than a lack of planes, allowed the Allied forces to gain air superiority and win the war.
 

Operation Tidal Wave

1992 B-24s Hit Ploesti Refineries stamp
US #2765d – from the 1992 Turning the Tide World War II sheet

On August 1, 1943, US Army Air Forces bombed oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania.  It was part of the Allies’ oil campaign, to cut off Germany’s petroleum supply during World War II.

1959 Petroleum Industry stamp
US #1134 – The operation was part of the Allies’ oil campaign to cut off Germany’s petroleum supply.

Oil and the ability to move it to the places where it was most needed played a critical role in the success of both the Allied and Axis forces throughout World War II.  A high priority for the Allies, the US kept streams of oil moving from the mid-west and southwest to loading terminals in the East.  From there, the precious fluid was transported to the battlegrounds, where mobile pipelines followed the troops as they moved through Europe and North Africa.

The Axis however, depended upon reserves built up in peacetime and supplies seized in occupied countries.  To win access to these great oil regions became a matter of life and death.  When German U-boats began attacking tankers carrying oil from Venezuela and Texas, the Allies planned to retaliate by striking hard at the Axis’s main sources of oil.

Ploesti Raid Mystic First Day Cover.
US #2765d – Mystic First Day Cover

In June 1942 a squad of 13 B-24 Liberators attacked Ploesti, Romania, which provided Germany and the Axis powers with about 30% of their oil.  The attack inflicted minimal damage, but encouraged Germany and Romania to better defend the refineries.  They set up anti-aircraft defenses, many hidden in haystacks, railroad cars, and fake buildings.  They also had five squadrons totaling nearly 300 planes ready to defend Ploesti.  These combined defenses made it one of the most heavily defended Axis targets in Europe.

1992 Ploesti Raid Classic First Day Cover
US #2765d – Classic First Day Cover

The Allies planned another attack for August 1, 1943.  The attack, dubbed Operation Tidal Wave, would target nine oil refineries around Ploesti.  It was carried out by the Ninth and Eighth Air Force, totaling 1,751 aircrew flying 178 B-24 Liberators.  It was one of the largest such operations up to that time.

Departing airfields in Benghazi, Libya early on the morning of August 1, 1943, the strike force had some issues during its flight to Romania.  One plane crashed to the sea for unknown reasons, leading a few planes to go after it in search of survivors.  Additionally, some planes came out of formation in heavy clouds and others followed the wrong rail line.  They maintained radio silence as ordered for most of the flight, which further hindered their attack.

1992 Ploesti Raid US #2765d Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #2765d – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

Once they reached their targets, the planes came under heavy fire from the Romanian anti-aircraft defenses.  Some planes crash landed, killing the crews and civilians.  Most of the planes that made it there managed to hit their targets, and when the operation was over it was estimated they had reduced Ploesti’s oil productivity by 40%.  However Ploesti recovered quickly and even increased their output within weeks of the attack.

2005 B-24 Liberator stamp
US #3922 – The mission was carried out by 178 B-24 Liberators.

The mission was one of the most costly for the US Army Air Forces during the war.  They lost 53 bombers and had 579 crewmen killed, wounded, or captured.  Five Medals of Honor and 56 Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to members of the mission.  It was the most costly air raid of the war and became known as “Black Sunday.”  A report years later called it “one of the bloodiest and most heroic missions of all time.”