The German oil supply was tight throughout the war, and was a controlling factor for German military operations. During 1944, the chief source of supply, and the only source for aviation gasoline, was 13 synthetic plants throughout Germany. Thus synthetic oil targets became the highest priority targets in 1944 during WW II. Even without much help from the Luftwaffe, these targets would become very deadly due to the “dreaded 88’s”.
Merseburg’s Leuna I.G.Farbenindustries was to be one of the most dangerous targets of the War. The 14th Flak Division responsible for protecting Leuna had 28,000 troops, 18,000 RAD personnel, 6,000 male and 3,050 female auxiliaries, 900 Hungarian and Italian 'volunteers', 3,600 Russian Hiwis, and 3,000 others, thus making up a total of 62,550 persons. As the most heavily defended industrial target in Europe, Leuna would become so dark from flak, German smoke pots, and exploding oil tanks that the pilots had difficulty in viewing their target as the rear bombers came into the target area.
Leuna bombing from May 12, 1944 to April 5, 1945 cost the Eighth Air Force 1,280 airmen. In three separate attacks by the Eighth, 119 planes were lost and not one bomb fell on the Leuna works
From the first attack to the end, production at Leuna averaged 9 percent of capacity. There were 22 attacks on Leuna, 20 by the Eighth Air Force and 2 by the RAF. Due to the urgency of keeping this plant out of production, many of these missions were dispatched in difficult bombing weather. Consequently, the order of bombing accuracy on Leuna was not high as compared with other targets. To win the battle with Leuna a total of 6,552 bomber sorties were flown against the plant, 18,328 tons of bombs were dropped and an entire year was required.
Credits: the B-17 model is from "Wings of Power". The sky BG is from mayyang.com
Artwork edited Painter 12, GIMP, Piant.net and VUE. Thanks for Looking. Cheers, Mike