Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Six days that changed the world
Forty years ago today, in a short, efficient and decisive blow, approximately 300 Egyptian aircraft, including bombers, fighters and helicopters, were destroyed in less than 2 hours. The main air threat against Israel was eliminated and the Israel Defence Forces achieved air supremacy when Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi aircraft attacked targets in Israel. Once it was clear that King Hussein, the Jordanian leader, had chosen to undertake a military campaign on the Jerusalem front, the Israel Air Force turned to the Jordanian airfields in Amman and Mafrak and destroyed a large part of the Jordanian Air Force.
When the confrontation was further extended on the same day over Syria and Iraq, Israeli aircraft continued their combat against these countries and also destroyed their aircraft. Airfields attacked in Syria included Damascus, Damir and Seikel. In Iraq, the H-3 airfield in the vicinity of the Jordanian border was attacked.
Before the end of the first day of fighting, the air forces of the participating Arab states had been destroyed, thereby determining the fate of the entire war. Israeli armoured forces could then fight the battle under "clear skies", and air force pilots were free to provide support to IDF ground forces in all the sectors, the breakthrough and transportation axes without leaving the rear of the State of Israel in danger of air attack. Israel Air Force losses in the fateful day of the battle were a total of 20 aircraft. Twelve pilots were killed, five were wounded and four captured.