Wings of Madness | The Bloodiest Battle in the History of American Aerial Combat

By Vincent dePaul Lupiano

Draft 1 Posted Date: 7/22/2016

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Narrative Nonfiction

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About the Book:

Through the eyes of one pilot, Robert Sternfels, "The Wings of Madness" takes the reader through Operation Tidal Wave, a poorly planned low-level mission that involved 178 B-24 bombers that bombed the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, on 1 August 1943. The story is related mainly from Sternfels perspective, who lives today in Laguna Beach, California. With Major Sternfels’ cooperation and a storehouse of detail as well as unpublished photographs, the book reveals the mis-steps and myopic planning that resulted in the loss of nearly 500 airman during the 26 minutes they flew over Ploesti, as well as the aftermath and cover-up of the planners' mistakes. At the time, Ploesti was providing Nazi Germany with 30% of its oil requirement; thus, the Germans had a grave interest in protecting the refinery from attack. The story unfolds through the eyes of four participants: Major Sternfels, the pilot of one of the B-24 named the Sandman; Colonel Keith Compton, the commanding officer of one of the lead bomb groups; Colonel John “Killer” Kane, also a leader of a participating bomb group; and Luftwaffe Generalleutnant Alfred Gerstenberg, the German officer in charge of the defense of Ploesti. *** The book explains the mission, exams its mis-management and aftermath, and relates its heroism. The mission holds the distinction of awarding five airmen Congressional Medals of Honor, the highest number for any battle of WWII.

About the Author:

Vincent dePaul Lupiano is a freelance writer focusing on corporate communications such as speech writing, video scripts, white papers, etc. He has published three books and written two screenplays.

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