warsaw airlift The Allied Warsaw Airlift between August 4 and September 18, 1944 was conducted by Polish, British, South African, and American pilots flying from Celone and Brindisi, Italy. Only one airdrop, on September 18, by USAAF pilots, departed from Great Britain, and landed, on its way home, on a Russian airfield in Poltava. Until then Russians had not allowed Allied planes supporting the Warsaw Uprising to land and resupply on their airfields or fly over the territories that they occupied. DOCUMENTS ]

RAF flights from Italy, conducted without fighters' escort, arrived in Warsaw within six hours at the nightfall. The planes had to descent to an altitude of 500 feet at a speed of no more than 140 miles an hour to release their cargo. Drop off areas were marked by insurgents with torches in the form of a diamond and a 'T'. The largest, high-altitude, daytime airdrop consisting of 110 B-17s protected by P-51s fighters took place on September 18, by the USAAF.

Allied planes dropped a total of 239 tons of supplies in the Warsaw region in the course of 11 missions, with a 45 percent recovery rate by insurgents. An estimated 360 airmen and 34 planes were lost.
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Map redrawn from: Norman Davies. Rising '44