Six-Day War: June 1967

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Evidence of a Jewish presence in Israel dates back 3,400 years. When the British conquered the area in 1917, they named it Palestine and set out the boundaries. On the 14th May 1948, the last British forces left Haifa, allowing the Jewish Agency, led by David Ben-Gurion, to declare the creation of the State of Israel.

From that time on, Israel has had disputes with its Arab neighbours over borders, river water and use of the Suez Canal.

The Six-Day War was fought between Israel and its Arab neighbours Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The countries of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also supplied troops and arms to the Arab forces.

The outbreak of war came when Israel decided their only chance of surviving the seemingly inevitable war, was to strike first. On the 5th June, at 7:45 Israeli time, the Israeli Air Force launched Operation Focus. All but twelve of their about 200 operational aircraft took part in a a mass attack against Egypt's airfields. The Egyptian airforce had about 450 combat aircraft, all of them Soviet with many MiG-21s. Over 300 Egyptian aircraft were destroyed and 100 Egyptian pilots killed.

Israel's casualties at the end of the war were 759 dead and about 3,000 wounded. Arab casualties were about 15,000.

Dassault Mirage III 1961, French/ Israel, 1,460 mph

This was Europe's first fighter capable of Mach 2 speeds, the Mirage III was simple, robust, cheap and available to anyone who afford it.

The Israeli Mirage IIICs first engaged the MiG-21 on the 7th April 1967 when six Syrian MiG-21's were shot down by the Israeli Mirages.

By the end of the Six-Day War, Mirages claimed to have shot down 29 Mig 21s, 16 Mig 19s & 10 Mig 17s using their 2× 30 mm DEFA 552 cannon, and first generation (Matra 530 or the Shafrir I) air-to-air missiles, that the Israel pilots described as extremely unreliable.


Dassault Mirage III

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 1961, Russian/Arab, 1,385 mph

The MiG-21 first faced Israeli Mirage IIICs on the 7th April 1967, when six Syrian MiG-21's were shot down by the Israeli Mirages.

This was a time of tension leading up to the Six-Day War. On the first day of the Six-Day War, most of the Egyptian Mig-21s were destroyed on the ground, although some of the pilots managed to take off to try and defend their air bases.

There seem to be no confirmed kills of a Mirage III by any Mig. The poor record of MiGs in the Six-Day War is said to have been because of poor pilot training, problems with gun sights and almost useless first generation soviet air- to-air missiles.


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

Hawker Hunter 1956, British/Arab 715 mph

The Hawker Hunter was a jet fighter aircraft that served for many years with the Royal Air Force and was exported to 19 other air forces.

Six Hunters were shot down by Israeli fighters during the Six-Day War, 2 from Jordan, 3 from Iraq and one from Lebanon. Hunters of that time were armed with 4x 30 mm ADEN cannon.

Hunters of the Iraqi air force are said to have done well during the Six-Day War.

While flying a Hunter out of an Iraqi Airbase, Flt. Lt. Saiful Azam, of the Pakistan Air Force serving in Iraq, shot an Israeli Dassault Super Mystere and a Mirage IIIC. There were more claims of Hunter victories that were unconfirmed.


Hawker Hunter

Dassault Super Mystere 1958, French/ Israel, 743 mph

The Super Mystere served with the French Air Force until 1977, and 36 were sold to the Israeli Air Force in 1958.

The aircraft took part in the Six-Day War where they were said to be liked by the Israeli pilots, who claimed they were a match for the Arab MiG-19s in air-to-air combat.

The Mystere was credited with shooting down 2 MiG-21s, 2 MiG-17s, and two Jordanian Hawker Hunters.

Armed with 2W 30 mm DEFA cannon and first generation (Matra 530 or the Shafrir I) air-to-air missiles, that the Israel pilots described as unreliable.


Dassault Super Mystère
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