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F-15I 007 seen at Hatzerim during the Flight
School Graduation Show. (photo, IPMS Israel)
(69 Tayeset "Ha'patishim" - The Hammers Squadron)
Role: Bomber, later Fighter-Bomber
69 squadron introduced itself with a bang on 15 July l948, when it
delivered bombs on Cairo and two other targets during the delivery flight
of the three ex-USAAF B-17's which were to comprise its initial strength.
Following their arrival at Ekron, the unit moved to a permanent base at
Ramat David. The B-17's operated throughout the second phase of the War
of Independence, carrying out some 200 missions, until the arrival of the
armed truce in January l949. It appears that only aircraft 1602 carried the
well known Mickey Mouse marking on its fin.
After the end of the War of Independence, two of the B-17s were
equipped with radar for maritime patrol use. The B-17s moved from Ekron
to Hatzor in 1951. The unit amalgamated with 103 sqn in late 1954, but the
B-17s were placed in storage around June/July 1956. 69 squadron was
specially reactivated on 25 October 1956 for the Sinai Campaign. Missions
included a night raid on the Egyptian garrison at Sharm el Sheikh on the
4th of November. The unit was disbanded in late 1956, shortly after the
end of the campaign, and the remaining two B-17s retired.
Under the command of Major Avihu Ben Nun (an ex-Mystere IVA pilot, and
future IDF/AF commander), 69 sqn was reformed in October 1969 at Ramat
David as the second F-4E Phantom II squadron, shortly after 201 sqn had
reformed on the type. During the War of Attrition, 69 and 201 squadrons
together lost nine aircraft over Egypt in the period January-August 1970.
Eight new aircraft were delivered from July 1970 to replace these losses.
It is at present impossible to identify specific 69 sqn operations
during the Yom Kippur war of 1973, but Phantom squadrons were extensively
used in the air defence and SAM suppression roles, suffering considerable
losses in the latter mission. 69 squadron lost six aircraft on 7 October
1973 alone, but claimed about 20 victories and flew some 600 ground attack
Two RF-4Es were received from the first batch delivered between
February and April 1971, but these aircraft were later pooled into a
central reconnaissance unit (see 'V' sqn). A few years ago the RF-4Es were
again returned to the combat squadrons.
During the late 1970's, F-4E's were often engaged in strikes on PLO
positions in Lebanon, cumulating in the June 1982 invasion: Operation Peace
For Galilee. The unit wa disbanded during the mid 1990s, and is now preparing to take on the F-15I version of the Strike Eagle.
Figure 1 shows then unit badge in its present form, during the 1970s
it was presented simply as an equal-sided shield without the outer disk.
|F-4Es 230 and 169 demonstrate the locally|
designed in-flight refuelling probe fitted to this type.
(photo, Israeli Air Force)
|F-4E serial 312 taxies out at it's Tel Nof base.|
(photo, Israeli Air Force)
||15 July 1948-? July 1948
|| ? July 1948-1949
|Boeing B-17G||3||15 July 1948 - June 1956||-||1601,1602,1603
|Boeing B-17G||2||25 October 1956 - November 1956||1||
|F-4E||22||October 1969 - 1995?||2,3||235,123,203,
|RF-4E||2||Spring 1971 - late 73||2,3||489
|RF-4E||2||1981 - 1995?||2,3||485
|F-15I||21||February 1998 - Present|| ||001
Figures 1 & 2 courtesy of Amos Dor