The Vautour Pages

THE VAUTOUR IN THE IAF SERVICE

OPERATIONS BETWEEN 1958 TO THE SIX DAYS WAR


This section describes the operational activity of the Vautours, in both squadrons, between 1958 and 1967, till the Six Days War.


For other aspects of the Vautours' service see the relevant sections:
[ IAF Vautours - Contents page ]


1. The Vautours became operational in June 1958, with both squadrons.

2. Both squadrons entered operational status being still in course of conversion and proficiency training.

3. Between end of 1958 to 1966 the Arab-Israeli conflict concentrated in the Syrian aggression, its peak was the attempt to deviate the Jordan river sources from their natural path. (the basin of the Lake of Galilie, is Israel's most important water reservoire). The IAF was used as "Flying Artillery" to respond and to attack Syrian positions, many times during this period.

4. The Vautours participated in various operations, during those years :

a) Photo-Recce. sorties over the neighboring region (since 1959)
b) Day and night interception (till 1964)
c) Attacks on Syrian targets ("The war on the water sources"), beginning 1962.
d) Early operational sorties as EW platform.

5. Many mission-orders and alerts had been published through this period. Most alerts set a quartet of Vautour A (for attack), one or two Vautour N (nocturnal intercept) and one Vautour BR. Mission ordes for large scale attacks were planned for 2-3 Vautour formations, which was on the limit of the aircraft serviceability.

6. Starting August 1963 the combined Vautour squadron trained and functioned as one entity, long-range attacks and reconnaissance oriented.

7. In 1964, when the full "Moked" ("Focus") Operational Order was published, the Vautours, as all other IAFs fighters, trained and rehearsed constantly their missions.

8. During the first years of the Vautour service, two highly appreciated types of jets joined the IAF - the Super-Mystere (1958-1959), and the Mirage (1962 - 1964), causing the the Vautour crews to "fight" hard for recognition and proving the aircraft uniqueness.

9. Unfortunately, during those years the Vautours suffered many losses: 3 pilots were killed and 10 aircraft were lost. all in accidents.
* [ see the Losses section ].



CHRONOLOGY


The list of events given on this page is a collection of main operational activities. There was no intention to publish here a complete operations "logbook".

Ezer Weizman
In July 24, 1958, Col. Ezer Weizman was appointed IAF Commander. As the custom those days he was promoted to the rank of Major General only after a period of adjustment, in his case - in May 1959. Weizman was not an enthusiast of the Vautour, but after years of preparing the air force to its expected missions, he became convinced by the unique contribution of the Vautour in the Six Days War.

* Anyway - the decisive years of the Vautours' service fall into Weitzman's period as IAF Commander.


  • December 4, 1958 : [ Arrival of the first Super Mysteres ]

    December 31, 1958 inventory.
  • Sqn. 110: 20 [ A-17 + B-3 , one of them in repair ]
  • Sqn. 119: 7 N plus a flight of 5 Meteors N.F.13.

    Decenber 2, 1958. Nocturnal PR training mission
  • Y. Tsiddon and O.Erez flew a training mission, aimed to locate and photo hostile airfields. The crew used a genuine (quite primitive... but efficient) technique - to photo manually the image displayed on the "B" (navigator's) scope. This method was implemented regularly, but later discarded in favour of the full-camerae equippment of the Vautour BR.

    December 1958. Operation Order "R".
  • Facing the threat of U.A.R (United Arab Republic, a federation of Egypt and Syria), to perform air raids against Israeli centers , the IAF prepared an order for a preemptive strike on U.A.R. air bases.
  • For the first attacks the IAF assigned several dozens of aircraft, against Egyptian and Syrian airbases. This force included two formations (8 Vautour)against Egyptian targets.
  • [ The U.A.R. had that time ca. 150 Mig-17/15, 30 IL-28 and 15 Meteors, a total of 195 fighters and bombers ].

    End of 1958 - day and night interception alerts
  • To face The frequent intrusions of Arab IL-28 over Israel both squadrons were set at interception alert.
    - {Already in April 4, 1958, four Egyptian IL-28 penetrated Israel, at night, dropped flares and probably took pictures, over Eilat, Tzrififn, Haifa and Ramat David}
    - {In November 25, a single IL-28 flew over Ramat David, without being spotted, an hour later it passed Eilat and disappeared into Egyptian territory}.
  • The pilots of Sqn. 110 were eager to prove their ability in air battle, and these alerts were the oppurtunity.
    2 Vautour A stood in 5 min. alert, during day light.
  • Sqn. 119 was ordered to stay at 15 min. alert (later - within 5 min. alert), for nocturnal intercept, with one Vautour IIN. The squadron had arranged shifts for 3 crews, each crew maintained its post twice a week. { Yoash Tsiddon wrote that on Saturdays or Holydays he used to volunteer to stay in alert ! }
  • Sqn. 119 was ordered later on (1959) , to set a second Vautour in a 15 min. alert for nocturnal intercept. This was frequently impossible because of too few serviceable Vautours, mainly due to radar malfunctions.

    January 28, 1959 - French Vautours visit in Ramat David
  • A detachment of 3 Vautour IIB, of the EB 1/92 "Bourgogne" sqn. stopped on its way to Djibouti, French Somalia, (s/n 612, 621 and 625) landed in Ramat David.
  • The French were hosted by Sqn. 110, Achikar Los-Eyal was the "ceremonies" officer in charge. Yoash Tsiddon was also present at this occasion.
  • The flight continued the same day, escorted by 3 Vautour A, up to the straits of Tiran (Southern end of Sinai).
  • A similar stopover occured when the detachment returned to France.
    [ Sources: A. Crosnier; A. Los-Eyal ]

    April 6, 1959 - Nocturnal intercept
  • A civil transporter, arriving from Jordan and directing west over the Dead sea, by night, was intercepted by a Vautour N ,causing the cargo plane to turn back to Jordan.

    June 7, 1959: First combat intercept attempt.
  • Two Vautour A of sqn. 110, training near the Gaza Strip region, were urged to intercept 4 Egyptian Mig-17s that had crossed the border, heading Dimona.
  • The Vautours pilots were Reuven Har-el and Moshe Ofer. Contact, at low level, was attained, and Ofer managed to aim and fired (only one cannon fired).
  • Since the Migs had the benefit of better acceleration three Migs retreated to their base at Bir-Gafgafa.
  • Several days later it was discovered that the fourth Mig was hit, but reached El-Arish base and performed an emergency landing.

    Mid. 1959
  • [ The first batch of Mig-19 arrived to Egypt. Its theoretical performance caused some concern among the IAF commanders ]

    August 31, 1959
  • Two Vautour A, of Sqn. 110, piloted by R. Har-el and Z. Tavor, flew to Rhodos to welcome and escort to Israel P.M. Ben Gurion, returning from Britain (in an EL-AL "Britania" airliner.

    September 27, 1959
  • An Egyptian IL-28 carried out a photo sortie above central Israel and dropped flares over Kibbutz Gezer.
  • One Vautour N was on alert, pilot - Adam Tzivoni (nav. - ?), but he didn't get permission to take off.

    October 10, 1959: First Vautour air battle against Mig-19.
  • Two Vautours of Sqn. 110 entered battle with 4 Egyptian Mig-19, one of the Migs was hit, and all four retreated to Sinai area.
    End of 1959:
  • The Syrian plan to deviate the Jordan sources was revealed. The syrians planned digging a canal starting at the high origins of the river. The work was intended to begin in 1962.

    February 1, 1960
  • An attempt to intercept a Syrian light (artillery observation) plane, which flew by night over the Kinneret lake, at 2,000 feet. [ O. Nachman and M. Ramati ], in two sorties, failed to reach contact, in those conditions.

    February 1960, "Rotem" affair
  • That month Egyptian armoured forces entered Sinai without being noticed.
  • A photo sortie was carried out in February 23, by the Vautour BR 33 [ pilot: Y. Sarig, navigator: A. Los-Eyal, escorted by a Vautour IIA, [ piloted by Y. Agassi 110 Sqn. Com. ]
  • The original mission was a IAF demand, regarding the Egyptian airfields at the vicinity of the Suez Canal, but the IDF-HQ /I-Branch requested some information about the ground forces as well.
  • This mission was carried out jointly with a quartet of Super Mysteres, which patrolled high above the Northern end of the canal.
  • The pair of Vautours was discovered by its vapour trails, and two Mig-17 made an attempt of intercept. The Super Mysteres were already short of fuel and left the theatre to the single armed Vautour of the two. The Vautours climbed to 50,000 feet and although Agassi gained superiority over a Mig he was not allowed to open fire.
  • Inspite of this interference the mission was completed, and a series of photos along the Suez Canal were shot, from North to South. This sortie lasted 1h and 40 min.
  • The developed films caused much embarrassment, discovering that a whole Egyptian army's camps were deserted and the forces "disappeared".
  • The same team returned next morning, February 24 to another photo sortie , escorted by two Super Mysteres, to try to locate the "lost" army, in Sinai. Some misunderstanding with the S.M.B.2s, connected to timing, caused the stop of this flight and all the four aircraft returned to their bases. But a short time afterwards, the same formation returned to carry out the photo mission, and this time discovered that the Egyptian forces ( a Field-Army of 5 divisions, with 500 to 600 tanks ), deployed in the area between Jebel-Livni to El-Arish, North-East Sinai, very near to the Israeli border !.
    * {In parallel with this flight a Mystere also carried out a photo sortie over the nearer area between Gaza Strip and El-Arish}.
  • The discovery resulted in a general-alert of the IDF. being ready to carry out an immediate response , according to previously prepared plans, in order to meet the Egyptians as far as possible from the Israeli borders.
  • The IAF had two mission orders ready:
    a) "Rotem": Attacking Egyptian ground forces.
    b) "Peten": Air-borne raid by paratroopers in cargo planes and helicopters, supported by an aerial umbrella.
  • During the next days several more PR flights were accomplished, to achieve close surveillance over the enemy's movements.
  • The crisis was solved without use of force. The Egyptian forces retreated, at last, in the beginning of March.
  • One of the important deductions was to enhance the PR capabilities of the Vautour.

    June 27, 1960 - Long-range escort mission
  • Two elderly frigates of the Israeli Navy, deployed in Eilat, were sold to Ceylon. The journey of the ships, along the Eilat gulf to the Red Sea was well in the range of Egyptian and Saudi posts. A special danger was expected when passing near the Egyptian base of Guardaqa , which was equipped with long-range coastal cannons.
  • Vautours of sqn. 110 maintained a constant aerial escort, well into their range limits (over 900 km. of distance).
  • The first pair was piloted by Y. Somech and Moshe Ofer, followed by Reuven Har-el and others.
  • These sorties lasted for ca. 2h. 40 min. from t/o, Ramat David, to landing.
  • This was the first operational demonstration to the long range capability of the Vautour. [Sources: Moshe Ofer & Reuven Har-el ]

    July 14, 1961 - PR day sortie
  • A PR sortie over Syrian posts, in daylight, was performed. The crew: R. Har-el and G. Bar-Nir, flying the BR-31.

    September 24, 1961, first long-range night PR sortie
  • A night PR sortie to distant targets in Egypt was carried out. The area covered was that near the Suez Canal (Fa-id, Kabrit and more) and Bir-Gafgafa. This was the first identification of the biggest AB in Sinai.
  • The flight was performed by Y. Agasi & G. Bar-nir, in the Vautour BR-35, unescorted. The sortie lasted 1h & 30 min.

    September 27, 1961, first nocturnal intrcept
  • A single Vautour N #65 (Sqn. 119) was involved in two interceps during one flight.
  • At first the crew [ B.Z. Simkin-Zohar and M. Ramati ], was directed Southwards, after two enemy targets had been spotted advancing from El-Arish area. These two Egyptian planes retreated to their base.
  • Meanwhile two more penetrations, of IL-28, were observed. one one over the coast line, area of Tel Aviv, heading Sinai, the second - Over Samaria, heading Yzreel valley (Ramat David region).
  • The crew was ordered to chase the southern target. When the Vautour reached to a 400 m. range from the IL-28, it was already over the border line. Zohar fired 40 rounds, the Ilyushin, possibly hit, continued to its base.

    January 23, 1962, an exceptional night PR sortie, Egypt.
  • Vautour B 35, manned with two pilots (R. Har-el & Y.Sarig as navigator) performed a dangerous nocturnal PR sortie over the Egyptian "Delta".
  • The aircraft flew very low (100 feet) over the Med. Sea. and entered Egypt's coastline from North - near the Lybian border, then turned south and eastwards.
  • Difficulties in navigation (based on civil maps), made the pilots to change the planned course. The pilot turned followe the main roads in order to identify the first target: Cairo West AB.
  • The base was taken by surprise, A-A fire was shot, but the Vautour filmed the area.
  • On their way back they prformed a pass over Cairo (city), and photographed three more AFBs in the Delta : Inshas, Abu- Sweir and Mansura. This daring sortie supplied valuable data for the IDF and the IAF intelligence.

    March 16, 1962, IDF raid on Taufic,Syrian fortified post.
  • (operation "Snunit"). First Vautours ground attack
  • This raid on these fortified posts was carried out after long and constant Syrian shelling and shooting civil Israeli villages, "Kibbutzim" and instalations.
  • The Syrian reacted to the raid by a massive artillery shelling, The IDF artillery counter-fire was insufficient and the Syrian continued firing.
  • At 04:10 three Vautours took off to attack the syrian forces. The pilots were R. Har-el (leader), Y. Shacar (with No. 20), Menachem Bar (Wing no.1 commander, and Y. Sarig). Y.Sarig, had to return due to a technical problem.
  • Y. Shachar attacked first with four 250 kg. bombs but missed the Syrian battery by some 200 m. M. Bar dived through the clouds to locate the target and bombed with more accuracy. The attack was lightened by flares dropped from the leader's aircraft.
  • This was the first ground attack of the Vautours, but on the whole, was quite inaccurate.

    March 18, 1962, a chase after an IL-28.
  • A Syrian IL-28 flew a night photo sortie and was intercepted by a Vautour A, ( pilot Y. Agassi ?).
  • The pursuit after the IL-28 was stopped by the IAF Commander, when both aircraft were over Damascus suburbs.

    [ April 7, 1962 : Arrival of the first Mirage-IIICJ ]

A line of Egyptian Mig-17, 1957. It was an agile fighter and a good attacker. The IL-28 troubled the IAF by continous photo-recce sorties over Israel. All attempts of interception failed. The two-engined super-sonic Mig-19, was used as escort for the IL-28. It proved to be less successful than previously expected.


    July 1962, Syrian shelling Israeli Kibutzim south to the Kinneret lake (Lake of Galilie).
  • Sqn. 110 was set on 60 min. alert for ground attack, with a pair of Vautours.
  • Each Vautour was armed with 6x250 kg. bombs (internally) plus 4x120 kg. bombs (underwings), all bombs were of the HE type, with immediate fuses.
  • The event ended without the air force involvement.

    October 2, 1962, PR sortie, Sinai
  • Vautour BR 35 performed a PR sortie over Sinai, with the crew [ Y. Shachar & O. Erez ].
  • Some electricity problem caused interruption of the flight. The heating system didn't function, and being at 40,000' the crew suffered of the freezing cold. Radio communication was also impossible.
  • Shachar approached Tel-Noff without lights, landed, and on the runway the common "balancin" problem occured (it stuck). Shachar managed to finish the landing by gentle steering, and the wing remained almost intact.
    - [Y. Shachar was merited a IAF Commander notification for this flight ]

    Alerts - end of 1962
  • Sqn. 110 was ordered to set 6 Vautours IIA, in 5 min. (3 aircraft) and 15 min. (another 3) alert for attack. Armament: 6x250 kg. bombs (in the weapons bay) plus 4x250 kg. bombs underwings, all bombs with "Tadmor" proximity fuses.
  • Sqn. 119: 2 Vautours IIN in 5 min. intercept alert, beginning half an hour before sunset, lasting till half an hour after sunrise.

    Beginning of 1963, Operation Order "N"
  • This order was prepared as a reaction to the Syrian digging a bypass canal.
  • The order included bombing , by all types of IAF fighters, the Syrian posts and the work sites.
  • Several times was the IAF ready to execute this order, but it never carried out, and finally cancelled.

    1963, Operations Orders "Ayit"
  • This was a more detailed derivative of "N" order, dealing with four escalating stages, ranging, according to severity, from Ayit Alef ("A") to Ayit Daled ("D").
    * "Alef": a limited aerial response to Syrian shelling.
    * "Bet": attacking Syrian artillery aimed to damage the Israeli "Water Transporter", at the north-west side of the lake.
    * "Gimel": Attacking Syrian artillery aimed to any civil Israeli targets.
    * "Dalet": A massive attack on Syrian posts, bases and army formations, located farther from the border.
  • The "A" order was rehearsed by the IAF squadrons, being in continuous periods of alerts, from January 10, 1963 onwards.
  • Four to eight Vautours IIA, depending on the situation, were on alert according to this order, armed for ground attack with 6 bombs (internally) plus 2 or 4 bombs, or 2 bombs plus 2 Napalm tanks, under the wings.
  • Sqn. 110 also set one IIBR on alert for photo sortie.
  • The night intercept alert of sqn. 119 continued (by one Vautour N).
  • The "N" and "A" orders were often updated, on the basis, among others, of the Vautours PR intelligence flights.
  • The "Ayit" plan was almost executed once, when the Syrians shelled civil population along the border.

    March, 20, 1963. PR sortie to Ras-Banas
  • Y. Sarig and A. Meltzer-Inbar (with B 31), escorted by Y. Shachar (flying the A 18) carried out a long range sortie, to locate and photo Ras Banas AB (Upper Egypt). The distance was ca. 960 km, and the sortie's duration was around 2h & 30 min.
  • This was the sole PR missiom to this airfield till the Six Days War.


    July 1963
  • Sqn. 119 transferred its Vautours to sqn. 110 towards the conversion to Mirage fighters.
  • The inventory of sqn. 119 was, just before disbanding, 4 Vautours N ( 61, 62, 65, 67, plus one, 69, in France for missile trials), and 4 Meteors N.F.13 . The Meteors were withdrawn as the Ns were moved to Sqn. 110.
  • The gross strength of Sqn. 110, August 1963 was 20 :
    * A - 12
    * N - 4 (plus one in France); one ( No. 61 ?) retaining night intercept capability for several months more.
    * BR - 3.


    July 29, 1963. PR sortie to eastern Syria
  • This day sortie was intended to identify a newly built air base, near Tadmor (Palmira). in the Syrian desert.
  • The mission was performed by two Vautours: BR 33 [ crew: Y. Shachar + O. Erez ] escorted by [ G. Magen, with No. 18 ], in a high altitude flight, at 14:00, with the sun rays creating perfect shadows, they discovered a new runway at T-4 Syrian AB, and took photo shots.

    August 1963, alert for night attack.
  • The conversion of the Vautour IIN to the attack role added the night- attack sorties to the alert orders.
  • Sqn. 110 retained, till 1964, its alert for night interception, using one N aircraft, which still had its radar unremoved.



    October 18, 1963: Discovering the SAM-2
  • One of the most daring PR sorties was performed, during daylight, in a very low flight, in order to validate the information about the existence of SAM-2 batteries in Heluan region, Delta zone. Two Vautours, one as escort, flew this mission and returned safely, with fine photo-documented proof. The B returned to landing with one engine off. (crews: Y. Sarig and A. Eyal with the B 35 ; Ovadia Nachman, Sqn. commander, escorted).


    August 25-26, 1964. Night PR sortie - El-Maza (Damascus)
  • "Battle Cry" was the name of an order to attack, by night, Arab airfields. In this framework several nocturnal sorties were planned to photo Syrian and Lebanese airbases.
  • August 25: M. Saar [ with the navigator - ? ] took off at 22:20, but due to bad weather and difficulties of navigation, they returned.
  • Several hours later, August 26, 01:20, Y. sarig took off for the mission with the B 35. His navigator was Yosef Tzuk (vice-comm. of Sqn. 109, Mysteres).
  • They flew very low, in a full moon light, and climbed to 2,000' over the military airfield of El-Maza. The airfield was active and its instalations and aircraft were clearly visible.
  • Sarig and Tzuk counted, independently, the parking Migs. They couldn't agree about the correct number {Sarig - 15, Tzuk - 7}, so Sarig decided to pass VERY low in order to count again. It happened that at the same time a transport plane was approaching to landing, so the Vautour, mistakened to be the transporter was allowed to land... The Vautour touched the runway, 15 migs counted, and - back to the air. Only then the A-A guns woke up, and the airfield, as well as part of Damascus, were darkened. The Vautour climbed away, and at 20,000' a A-A shell exploded quite close.
  • The crew continued its mission, photoing Damier, Beirut and Riek (Lebanon) fields.


    November 12-14, 1964. A wide incident at the Syrian border.
  • The Syrian began the actual digging of the canal diverting Jordan river waters.
  • The Israeli government decided to resist these attempts by all means, declaring Syrian acts as "Casus Belli".
  • The IAF was set in a high-degree of "Ayit" alert (Nov. 12).
  • Sqn. 110 assigned, for night attack, 2 formations of 3 Vautours each. In each trio two were attackers and one was to drop flares). Time for alert was set to 30 min.
  • In case of day attack four Vautours stood by, loaded with 6x250 kg. bombs (internally), 2 drop tanks and 2 x 500 kg. bombs underwings. Fuses were of the "7-12" type.
  • Besides these - one IIBR was in 30 min. alert for night PR. This Vautour was equipped with 6 cameras: 3 K-38/36", 1 K-38/24", 1 Chase, and one K-37 night camera.
  • The IAF attacked on 13/11 according to "Ayit Gimel (C)" order.
  • Five Vautours, originally 2 formations that merged during flight to the targets, a pair and a threesome, participated.
  • The crews were:
    * [Y.Sarig & A. Inbar - leaders N 62 ,(Y. Sarig, then sqn.110 commander ] and [ M. Gil ] ;
    * [ I. Golan, leader ], [ O. Einav, A 18 ] and [ B. Gafni ].
  • The formation attacked, dropping a total of 32 bombs (14x500 kg. & 18x250), in two passes, followed by 3 passes of strafing. The hits were significantly accurate { better than all the other types' results !! }.
  • The IAF attack was, in general, badly controlled and a "mass" of attacking aircraft was created, but luckily no accidents occured, except for light damages which had been caused by A-A fire.
  • One Vautour IIBR, escorted by 2 Mirages, flew next day (Nov. 14), a PR sortie to estimate the results. [ B - No. ?, crew: - ? ]
  • This was the first massive operational attack of the Vautours, attack which proved the aircraft and crews' capabilities, and the ground-attack tactics.


    March 1965: Operation Order "Sachaf".
  • This order was a response to the Syrian advance in digging the canal (already 5 km. long). The policy was to exploit any Syrian fire (sometimes initiated by Israel), to bomb the canal work site and its installations.

    May 13, 1965, "Tel Dan" incidents
  • That day Israeli tanks shelled long-distance targets and hit Syrian equipment. (This technique was developed by Gen. Tal, Armoured Forces commander, that personally participated in that "tank-sniper" fire).
  • Four Vautours were in air, according to the "S" order, but there was no need for an aerial attack. The 4 pilots were: [ G. Magen ] [ I. Daniel ] [ H. Bodinger ], later joined by [ Y. Sarig ].


    July 1965, Operation Order "B..".
  • An enlarged derivative of "Sachaf", as the Syrian had begun a second canal path, in the central region of the plateau, trying to avoid the Yarmukh (a Jordan river tributary) from reaching into Israeli territory.




    July 18,22,23, 1965. PR sorties -Syria
  • Three sorties to study Damier (Dumayr) airfield, were performed by [ O. Einav & E. Raz ]

    August 12. 1965.
  • Following a fire incident, the IAF entered "B" alert, but no order to attack was given.



    October 13, 1965. PR sortie, Sinai.
  • A photo sortie, over Egyptian ground forces in Sinai was carried out . [ O. Einav & E. Raz , BR-33 ]


    Fall of 1965:
  • "Moked" plan, in its full version, wass published. Sqn. 110, as all other IAF units, trained and rehearsed ground attacks according to the planned targets in Egypt and in Syria.



    End of 1965:
  • Sqn. 110 held an inventory of (approx.) 17 Vautours [ A-11, N-4, BR-2 ], two more { A no. 20 and N no. 66 } had been actually lost, one to be repaired till end of 1966.


    February 13, 1966.
  • After a heavy Syrian mortars' shelling, 4 Vautours took off for ground attack, but didn't get approval to carry it out.

    May 1. 1966, Operation Order "L"
  • This order, another derivative of "Sachaf", was published.


    July 13/14, 1966, Putting an end to Syrian water deviation plans (Operation "Ruach")
  • A massive attack, by Vautours and Super-Mysteres, of the working sites in the Yarmukh river zone.
  • Sqn. 110 assigned, according to "L" order, 8 aircraft: a formation (4) to attack, a second (of 3) to stay in a "awaiting circle", plus one IIBR in alert.
  • In 14/7 the two formations took off. The crews were:
    * First formation: [ L.Tzur & E.Raz - leaders] [ Y. Somech, then Wing Commander ] [ G. Magen ] and [ I. Daniel ].
    * Second formation: [ I. Golan ] [ G. Goren ] [ Y. Rafaeli ].
  • The first formation attacked as planned.
  • After the attack a PR sortie was carried out, by [ crew: B. Gafni & A. Meltzer-Inbar ].
  • This aerial attack put an end to the Syrian plans to deviate the water sources.


    August 15, 1966. PR sortie, Egypt.
  • A sortie which located and 'shot' SAM-2 batteries along the Suez Canal was performed.



    October 30, 1966. PR sortie, Syria.
  • A photo sortie to Saikal AB, Syria, was carried out.



    End of 1966 and onwards: .
  • after the conversion the Vautour N-"70" to carry EW "Yabelet" , first operational sorties had been carried out over enemy targets.

    August 15, 1966 : The Sea of Galilie ("Kinneret") incident
  • An Israeli navy LCM was attacked by the Syrian during a patrol in the Kinneret.
  • This incident developed to mutual shootings and shelling, and the IAF was orderd to intervene.
  • A formation of three Vautours, armed with 2 x 500 kg bombs each, attacked fortified positions along the margins of the Syrian Plateau and finally imposed ceasefire.

    { 1960 - 1967 - VARIOUS DATES }.
  • During this period many PR sorties had been carried out, mapping all the neighboring countries important targets. Of these some are still considered secret.




Sources: [iaf-site] [iaf-hst3] [ amos dor ] [ as-50 ] [ "defence 50" album ][aloni ]
and: [ A. Tzivoni, G. Bar-Nir. M. Ramati, M. Ofer, Y. Sarig, A. Los Eyal, R. Har-el, O. Nachman ]


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Summary of the first decade

1. In retrospect, the first ten years were a preparation for the peak: the Vautours outstanding service in the Six Days War.

2. From the early start the Vautours were continually improved, upgraded and adapted to versatile missions. The Vautours of the mid. Sixties' became a real strategic, long-arm of the IAF.

3. The few aircraft acquired, and their crews, took part in a vast array of activities, operations, conversion, training, testing, etc., all in parallel and under time stress.

4. The crucial first years, between 1957 to 1960/1 were dedicated to the Vautour's study and preparing the infra-structure for its future missions. This was true for all the three basic roles of the aircraft: strike/attack, all-weather intercept and photo-reconnaissance.

5. From 1960, but very clearly from 1964 onwards, the Vautours proved their attack capabilities, participating in local operations against Syrian posts, carrying incomparable bomb loads.

6. The handful of Vautours converted to PR missions supplied most valuable intelligence, gathered in daring, lomg range sorties. This capability was proved already in 1960, and more significantly - from 1962 onwards.

7. Achievments of night/all-weather intercept were somewhat less successful. All the attempts to shoot down the IL-28 failed, but the causes can't be related solely to the Vautour's capability.

8. The Vautour fought air battles against "pure" fighters, as the Mig-17, as an equal rival, proving its self-defence ability.

9. The Vautours' readiness to full war operations, was achieved by converting the two-seaters, N and BR, to the advanced role of leading and navigating attack formations (since 1964).

10. Many doctrine principles were developed by the Vautours commanders and crewmen. Those were implemented in future eras, on more technology -advanced platforms.

11. The Vautours were also the main test besd of the time, paving way to many kinds of arms and equipment to be adapted to other types of IAF aircraft.

12. Unfortunately, the Vautours suffered many losses during this period, 3 crewmen killed and 10 aircraft lost, all in accidents. These was the sad price for a harsh and difficult service.

When Did they Rest ??

13. It is really a wonder when one realizes the immense load that had been imposed on the Vautours' crews and aircraft !

14. During the first decade of their service, 1957 to 1967, we count so many missions in such a density, that it's very hard to imagine the several tenths of men and the two dozens of aircraft actually doing all these, and in parallel ! Training, converting new personnel, repairing and refurbishing, developing, testing, installing new equipment, AND... being in almost constant operational alert, updating mission orders and rehearsing them !!!.
ABOVE ALL - many accidents, with losses, occured, which normally could affect any kind of activity.






IMPROVEMENTS &UPGRADES IAF VAUTOURS CONTENTS PAGE THE SIX DAYS WAR


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This page was last updated: July 13, 2002

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