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F-15I 007 seen at Hatzerim during the Flight
School Graduation Show. (photo, IPMS Israel)

Unit History


69 Squadron

(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 missions.

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)

Air Bases:
Base Duration
Ekron 15 July 1948-? July 1948
Ramat David ? July 1948-1949
Ekron 1949-1951
Hatzor 1951-November 1956
Ramat David October 1969-198?
Hatzerim 198?-1995?
Tel Nov late 1997-Present

Aircraft Used:
Type Qty Service Badge Example Serials
Boeing B-17G315 July 1948 - June 1956-1601,1602,1603
Boeing B-17G225 October 1956 - November 19561 
F-4E22October 1969 - 1995?2,3235,123,203, 209,225,230,235,269,310,315
RF-4E2Spring 1971 - late 732,3489
RF-4E21981 - 1995?2,3485
F-15I21February 1998 - Present 001

Unit Insignia:
Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3
Figures 1 & 2 courtesy of Amos Dor



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First Created: 9 January 1998 - Last Revised: 20 September 1999
Copyright © 1998 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk