The Ploesti Raid took place on Sunday, August 1, 1943 and, but for a navigational error which put the leading formation on a course away from the target, the operation might have resulted in the destruction of the seven chosen targets. However, by the time the mistake was realized, the defenses were on the alert and over 20 Liberators were brought down in and around Ploesti. A further 35 aircraft were lost. Although the operation resulted in the award of five Medals of Honor — America’s highest decoration for bravery — the cost was high: 308 airmen lost their lives and 208 were taken prisoner or interned. Out of the 1,753 men who are known to have set out on the mission, a total of 516 failed to return.