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One Mission to Ploesti: A World War II adventure of an airman's escape and rescue by Robert P. Moore

One Mission to Ploesti: A World War II adventure of an airman's escape and rescue

by Robert P. Moore

156 pages
This is the story of a World War II escape and rescue of Allied airmen shot down over German-occupied Yugoslavia. It was Moore’s first mission, in an unfamiliar aircraft, with a crew he had met only moments before take-off.

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Category: History:United States
About the Book
Lost among the great stories of World War II was the escape and rescue of hundreds of Allied airmen shot down over German-occupied Yugoslavia. Their target had been the vital Axis oil fields at Ploesti, Romania. Robert P. Moore and his B-17 crewmates were among the first wave of high altitude bombing raids that intensified in April, 1944.

Enemy flak and engine trouble brought down their aircraft short of the target. It was Moore’s first mission, in an unfamiliar aircraft, with a crew he had met only moments before take-off. He bailed out into a completely unknown and rugged country, and was confronted by local militia carrying axes and firearms. The men were part of a larger nationalist army—Chetniks. Fiercely anti-communist, the Chetniks desperately wanted Allied help. The Chetniks guided Moore and hundreds of other airmen, traveling in rugged mountains to get them to a safe zone for rescue.

Moore and his airmen bailed out into a country that was at war with itself as well as the Germans. The Chetniks under the leadership of Gen. Draja Mihailovich were engaged not only in a war with the Nazi occupiers, they were also at odds with an army of their fellow countrymen, called Partisans, under the leadership of communist-leaning Josip Tito. Mihailovich and his Chetniks, in part to show solidarity with the Allies, guided downed American airmen to a secret airstrip in the mountains south of Belgrade. Mihailovich and American intelligence cooperated in Operation Halyard, the secret mission to rescue almost 500 airman and return them to their base.

Following the war, many of the surviving airmen shared their story with family and friends. A few wrote about their adventure, and a few of those stories made it into print. Moore’s hometown newspaper ran a lengthy piece shortly after his return. Now has Moore put together the complete experience, as a way to honor his wartime crewmen.

 

Reviews
"One Mission to Ploesti is an important contribution to our understanding of World War II. Robert P. Moore's story takes the reader along on a journey through the complex and dangerous landscapes of the Balkans. A good read for any fan of World War II history."
- Gregory A. Freeman, author, The Forgotten 500
"Robert Moore takes the reader along as his B-17 crew 'bailed out' and struggled to survive the Nazi regime as members of the 'Forgotten Five Hundred.' This is a must read for all historians."
- Colonel James A. Swanke (ret). Executive Officer, Air Base Arizona, Commemorative Air Force.

 

 

About the Author
Robert P. Moore was part of the “Greatest Generation” that fought World War II. Bob’s escape and rescue stayed with him long after his military service, and he researched the topic often. Robert, one of the last surviving crewmen of his B-17 bomber, died in Gilbert, AZ in 2017.

 

 

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