The Six Day War: Day One, the Air War

In the Air

Egypt and its Arab allies had the been recipients of massive amounts of aid from Soviet Russia. But on the morning of June 5, 1967, Israel found herself alone.

Yet instead of bemoaning her portion, or falling into inertia waiting for her enemies to pour across her borders, she took action. Having trained for months in rapid refitting of Jet fighters, the IAF had reached a point of efficiency where they could fly 4 sorties a day to the 2 of most modern air forces.  At 7:14 in the morning almost her entire air force took to the air, minus 12 fighters left behind to guard the air space. The target, the Egyptian Air Force.

The Egyptian Air Force was the most modern in the mideast, consisting of over 420 top of the line Russian fighters and bombers, such as the Mig-21 and the Tu-16 Badger.  The IAF had its fighters come in low below radar, but Israel had help from the Egyptians as well. They had worried that some generals flying in to visit the troops in the Sinai might be shot down by Egyptian rebels, so they had their entire air defense system shut down.  Within two hours almost the entire Egyptian Air Force had been destroyed on the ground. (the Egyptian government-run radio promptly reported that 70 Israeli planes had been shot down and that they had won a significant victory)

This piece of misinformation, along with the fact Egypt lied to Jordan, telling them that planes Jordan had spotted on their radar were Egyptians attacking Israel, when in fact they were returning Israeli fighters, led Jordan to attack Israel. The IAF then turned its attention on both the Jordanian and Syrian Air Forces, destroying almost all of Jordans aircraft and two-thirds of the cutting edge war planes supplied to Syria by Russia. When the sun set on the first day, Israel controlled the air, though in the following days a bomber from Lebanon and a few other enemy air craft would be shot down.


About notmanynoble

woodcutter from Washington State
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