In 1943 the US Air-force launched Operation “Tidal Wave”. Designed to strip the Axis powers of petrol based fuels, a massive strike, involving 177 B-24 bombers, was ordered to take out the Romanian Ploiești oil refineries, which at the time provided about 30% of all Axis oil production.
The operation was a huge failure, with almost a hundred of the bombers never returning to base, 310 air-crewmen killed, and another 186 imprisoned.
Now that the anti-ISIS coalition has stepped up its fight against the Islamic State, it has found an apt name for a new mission targeting the self-proclaimed caliphate’s oil business: “Tidal Wave 2″.
Maybe whoever chose to name new operation after the legendary failure simply didn’t know his history. It is more likely, however, that the name was a deliberate choice, an act of defiance of sorts, that led the anti-ISIS coalition to name it’s latest effort to strip the Islamic State of its oil revenues after a failed attempt to do just the same to Nazi Germany.
Putting the fight against ISIS in the context of modern liberalism’s original struggle with Nazism during the first half of the 20th century, certainly helps convey the message that the West is taking this one seriously. For the US Airforce the operation might also present an opportunity to scratch a very, very old itch.
“Tidal Wave 2” targets all oil transport, refining and distribution facilities and infrastructure under ISIS control. The main innovation of the strategy consist of a change that is of great strategic, but also moral significance. Up until now coalition forces did not target trucks that were loaded with ISIS oil, because it was assumed that the drivers of the trucks were only very loosely – if at all – affiliated with the terror group.
Now that reports have shown that the sporadic bombings of the recent months have put barely a dent in ISIS oil production, the decision was made to declare the trucks fair game.
Estimates of ISIS’ earnings from selling oil and related products such as gasoline, range from $1 million a day to $5 million a day. This wide range is a telling indicator of the poor inteligence available on the Islamic State.
In order to warn the drivers, leaflets were dropped along the highway to warn drivers of the impending airstrike.
On November 16, such a Coalition strike destroyed 116 fuel trucks near Abu Kamal (video).
It is to be hoped that the new tactic is successful in stemming the flow of petrodollars into ISIS coffers and that ultimately “Tidal Wave 2” will be successful, were the 1943 operation failed.