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Ramsay Douglas Potts Jr

Military

Major Ramsay Potts flew 41 combat missions in WWII, including deep penetrations from England to the Messerschmidt factory at Weiner Neustadt, Austria and German synthetic fuel plants. On 21 November 1942, he was engaged by 5 JU-88's over the Bay of Biscay, of which his crew shot down 2 of the JU-88's.

When he came to the Mediterranean Theatre in 1942, he was a senior pilot in the 93rd Bomb Group, and commanded one of the group's long range B-24 Liberator squadrons, the 330th Bomb Squadron. He performed the first night bombing missions on port docks and shipping at Bizerte, Tunisia. He led his squadron on the daring low level attack against the oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania on August 1, 1943. Taking off from the Benghazi desert airfield at dawn, the 26 year old Major Potts, flying his B-24D, 41-24147, The Duchess, was leading his squadron, assigned to the second formation of the 93rd Bomb Group, of the 178 bombers on the raid. To achieve maximum surprise, the aircraft flew at very low level, and were timed to arrive over the target within a very short period in order to saturate the very heavy ground and air defenses.

Over the mountains of Albani, bad weather disrupted the B-24 formations, splitting the force in two and leaving Potts and his squadron unexpectedly in the leading element.

Just short of the target, the Mission Commander, Gen. Uzal Ent ordered his pilot, Col. Kieth Compton to turn east toward Bucharest, away from their assigned course north to Ploesti.

Potts was one of the pilots who broke radio silence and shouted warnings to Gen. Ent and Col. Compton in the 376th Bombing Group's lead aircraft, Teggie Ann, but Ent ignored the warnings, and ordered Compton to continue east, compromising the intricate attack plan.

The delay caused by the wrong turn, resulted in the 93rd Bomb Group, and several of the 376th Bomb Group's pilots to turn back north to bomb their assigned targets, the Concordia Vega Refinery, White II, and the Unirea Sepranta refinery, code named White III, approaching the refinery area at from the south over the worst of the anti aircraft defenses, and at the same time as the 98th and the 44th Bomb Groups were approaching the same area, but from the north !

Within minutes, the rogue planes from the 93rd and the 376th began bombing the Astra Romano Refinery complex, and, quickly, those refineries were covered in explosions, flames, and dense smoke, which began taking down the airplanes along with the the flak guns and barrage balloon cables and explosives tied to them. The bombers from the 98th, and the 44th Bomb Groups, flying at 250 feet into their targets from the north, had to avoid others coming from the south, including those from Potts's 93rd and some from the 376th, coming at them head on.

Potts led his 12 bombers to drop their bombs into what a military publication called "merciless fire from almost every conceivable ground defense weapon". During the attack, Potts's aircraft, The Duchess, was badly damaged, and some of his crew were wounded by flak. Escaping from the target, his bombers were attacked by enemy fighters all the way to the Ionian Sea, where the straggler bombers became widely scattered, destroying the mutual defense they provided for one another.

Potts managed to keep his bomber flying despite severe damage to the flight control cables that a crewman repaired, and he was one of a small number to return to Benghazi after almost 14 hours in the air. On landing back at Benghazi, The Duchess, had more than 50 fist sized holes in the wings and fuselage. For his part in the raid, Major Potts was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. During his career, Ramsay Potts was also awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with many oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the British Distinguished Flying Cross, the French Croix De Guerre, and 2 bombing group Presidential Unit Citations. Ramsay Potts retired from The Air Force with the rank of Major General. He died on May 28, 2006.

Service

People

  • Keith Compton

    Military | Lieutenant General | B-24 Command Pilot - Squadron Commander - Commanding Officer | 376th Bomb Group
    Keith Karl Compton was an American Air Force Lieutenant General who was Vice Commander in Chief, in the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command. He flew as the Element Lead Aircraft's Command Pilot with Gen. Uzal Ent, the Ploesti Mission...

  • Uzal Ent

    Military | Major General | Commanding General | 376th Bomb Group
    Uzal Girard Ent was an American Army Air Force officer who served as the commander of the 9th Air Force and subsequently the 2nd Air Force during World War II. He flew as mission commander on the Aug 1, 1943, Ploesti oil refinery raid, Operation Tidal...

  • James Gott

    Military | Captain | Navigator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Captain James Gott was assigned as the navigator to the 330th Bomb Squadron, the , 93rd Bomb Group, in the 8th Air Force. After completing their required combat missions, the crew of, Hot Stuff, the B-24D, 41-23728, were tasked with flying General...

  • Gilbert Hadley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Gilbert Ben Hadley ...

  • Raymond Hubbard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Raymond B. Hubbard was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron in Libya, North Africa, 1943. He flew in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and Radio...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II, for his leadership, courage, and heroism for...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew his B-24D, he named, The Squaw, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at...

  • Walter Stewart

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    In 1941, Walter Stewart was a 24 year old, U.S. Army Air Force cadet at the University of Utah. He wrote, "We were pulling guns around with horses as a plane flew overhead. Jack Adamson, who had been my Morman mission companion, said to me, "There's a...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. John S. Young was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Bored with college at SMU in Dallas, and knowing the country was headed for war, he joined the Army Air Force early in 1941 and began training as an aviation cadet. He was known as "Johnny" or ...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 453rd Bomb Group

    453rd Bomb Group

    Group
    As well as strategic bombardment missions, the 453rd Bomb Group also ferried cargo on two occasions. They hauled petrol, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944 and dropped ammunition, food and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1-March-1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15-May-1942 the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida to continue advanced flight training and also to fly anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico; they...

  • 330th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24147 The Duchess - Evelyn

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named, The Duchess, was in the 8th Air Force, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 330th Bombing Squadron in Britain. - Transferred temporarily (TDY) to the 9th Air Force in North Africa and flew on Operation Tidal Wave to bomb the oil refineries...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B-24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57...

Associated Place

  • Hardwick

    Military site : airfield
    Planned as an RAF bomber airfield, Hardwick was used first by the 310th Bomb Group, equipped with B-25 Mitchells. In December 1943, the B-24 Liberators of the 93rd Bomb Group moved in, and remained until the end of the war, flying over 330 missions....

  • Holmsley South

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42, Holmsley South opened in September 1942 as a Coastal Command base before construction was complete. It eventually had three concrete runways, 35 pan and three loop hardstandings, and five T2 hangars. The 1st American residents,...

  • Old Buckenham

    Military site : airfield
    Allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a bomber base in 1942, Old Buckenham was built during 1942-43 with three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. The station was the exclusive home for the 453rd Bomb Group, equipped...

  • Benina

    Military site : airfield

  • Mellaha

    Military site : airfield

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Born Memphis, Tennessee 24 October 1916

Son of Ramsay Douglas Potts Sr and Ann Clifton [Van Dyke] Potts.

Based 1942 – 1944

Assigned to 330BS, 93BG, 8AF USAAF.

Died Boynton Beach, FL 28 May 2006
Buried Arlington National Cemetery June 2006

Arlington National Cemetery
Columbarium 8 L-10-2

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2021 15:28:04 Kickapoo Changes to place associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2021 15:22:29 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2021 15:20:00 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Into The fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
06 September 2021 15:15:01 Kickapoo Changes to biography and person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 16:46:16 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, events and unit associations
Sources

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49300397/ramsay-douglas-potts

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2021 12:28:50 judsonbeckwith@gmail.com Changes to firstname and biography
Sources

I am Ramsay's grandson, Judson Ramsay Potts Beckwith. His name has been spelled incorrectly. It is R-A-M-S-A-Y

Date Contributor Update
22 June 2021 08:49:41 Emily Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

Added stations and amended unit associations as per information provided in Obituary in the Telegraph, 14 August 2006, Air Force Combat Units of World War II and Air Force Historical Research Agency

Date Contributor Update
20 September 2019 10:15:30 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 93rd Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 03:53:57 Kickapoo Changes to biography
Sources

The Telegraph ---- The Washington Post ---- Find - A - Grave

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 03:32:27 Kickapoo Changes to role
Sources

The Telegraph - 14 Aug 2006 ---- The Washington Post

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 03:29:31 Kickapoo Changes to firstname
Sources

he Telegraph - 14 Aug 2006 ---- The Washington Post

Date Contributor Update
03 May 2019 03:26:47 Kickapoo Changes to middlename, suffix, highest rank, biography, awards, unit associations and mission associations
Sources

The Telegraph - 14 Aug 2006 ---- The Washington Post

Date Contributor Update
17 June 2017 15:21:57 Al_Skiff Changes to media associations
Sources

Key Image ID.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:21:55 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / self, obit Washington Post May 31, 2006; In Search of Peace, pg 108 (photo)

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