Arab MiGs Volume 3: The 1967 War

Published: November 18th, 2016     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: Tom Cooper, David Nicolle, Lon Nordeen, and Patricia Salti
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 0982553994
Other Publication Information: Soft Cover, 8.25” x 11”, 256 pages
Price: $64.95
Product provided by: Casemate Publishing

Tom Cooper and David Nicolle's Arab MiG series is an incredible history that addresses the Arab air forces of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria and from 1955 through 1973. Although MiG aircraft dominate the story, all Post-WWII Arab aircraft are included. The authors have been able to access official archives as well as the combatants involved to provide a unique perspective of the Middle East conflicts. Volume one in this series, published November 19, 2009, covered the background of the Arab air forces from 1955 focusing on MiG-15 and MiG-17 fighters. Volume two, published October 19, 2011, addressed the Arab air force supersonic fighters from 1956 through 1967. Volume three in the Arab MiGs series focuses on the Arab air forces in the June 1967 War. Three additional volumes follow in this series, all with the same thick 256 glossy page count. I counted 148 black and white photographs, 28 color pictures, 17 color side profiles, and three maps. If you check out the Harpia product page, https://www.harpia-publishing.com/galleries/AMV3/index.html, you will find a few more page scans.

Tom Cooper, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1970 is a military aviation historian that has focused on Post-WWII Middle Eastern air forces. Tom traveled extensively though his military service and subsequently in his transportation business. Through his travels, Tom Cooper has established contacts and identified sources that have permitted him to bring a unique look to Asian and African military aviation. Mr. Cooper has written more than 400 articles and has authored (or co-authored) over 25 books. Aiming to deliver a complete picture, Tom is also an accomplished illustrator and color profiles are included in his books and articles.

Dr. David Nicolle, born in London in 1944, is a military historian specialized in the history of the Middle Ages, specifically, the Middle East. Dr. Nicolle worked for BBC Arabic and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. A prolific writer on military historical topics, his interests include military aviation in the Arab and Islamic theatre. He was a history professor at Yarmouk University in Jordan from 1983 till 1987. Dr. Nicolle has been quite prolific with dozens of television documentaries and more than one hundred books and even has a Wikipedia page.

Patricia Salti, of British nationality, worked on the staff of Crown Prince Hassan. She is the widow of Lt. Muwaffaq Salti, a Jordanian national hero, who was killed November 16, 1966, in air combat with Israeli Mirages. Lt. Muwaffaq Salti spent two years in the UK training with the Royal Air Force before returning to Jordan to fly Hawker Hunter jets. Patricia Salti has become a leading historian of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Lon Nordeen, from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lon has more than 35 years in the aerospace industry and is a historian specializing in Cold War armor and Middle East military aviation. He has authored more than 200 articles and a dozen books and has been featured in programs on The History Channel.

This third volume in the Arab MiGs series focuses on the 1967 Six Day War. Starting off with an introduction, acknowledgements, and two pages of abbreviations, this volume then addresses nearly 30 pages of addenda / errata from the first two volumes of Arab MiGs. The addenda / errata adds a substantial amount of additional photographs and information that has come to light since the first two volumes were published, kicked off with a Royal Egyptian Air Force Spitfire F.22 of May 1, 1950. Then we get into the meat of the Six Day War with seven Chapters. I would note that each of these chapters comes complete with footnotes at the chapter's end. Completing this volume are five appendices, a bibliography, and an index.

I was amazed at the superlative effort presented by the authors. I can remember television coverage of the war from my youth, but of course, the Arab side was poorly presented. The authors have never before seen data, stories, and photographs that enrich the storyline. This includes interviews and combat reports over the backdrop of the political upheaval of the time. I know such experiences are not necessarily accurate as the claims often can be inflated due to the heat of battle and don't necessarily stand up to scrutiny once the opposing side's story is included. Nevertheless, these first hand experiences put the reader inside the battle. The storyline follows event chronologically throughout the war. I was surprised at really how much of an advantage that the Israeli's really had in this conflict. Their superior organization and intelligence gathering ability left the Arabs grasping for straws. These command and execution mistakes were repeated over and over I know I shouldn't have been surprised, but after the Six Day war, the Arab air forces began camouflaging their aircraft. Since no real aircraft paint was available, car paint was used. No official specifications were used; the paint was just slapped on at random.

The Chapters include:

  • Introduction
    Acknowledgements
  • Abbreviations
  • Addenda/Errata: Arab MiGs, Volume 1 and 2 [Page 26]
  • 5 June 1967, Attack on Egypt
    • Operation Moked: Myths and Reality [Page 45]
    • Blitz Before Snap
    • The End of Meliz Air Base
    • Struck in the Locker Room: Fayid
    • Prime Target: Abu Suweir
    • Knock-Out at Inchas, Cairo West and Beni Suweif
    • Gridlock at GHQ
    • Search for Aircraft
    • The Secret of Israel's Success
    • Bonanza in Hurghada
    • Dial M for Kill
    • Cheating Fate
  • Fighting the Lost Battle
    • Amer in Panic
    • Air Group 1 Hits Back
    • Drama at Cairo West
    • 7 June: Reorganization
    • The Algerian Mystery
    • 8 June: Textbook Operations [Page 107]
    • The Setback
    • Collecting Pieces
  • Hesitant Jordanians, Waiting Iraqis
    • The King's Late Decision
    • Rush Hour in Mafraq
    • Table 1: RJAF Order of Battle, 5 June 1967
    • Uncertainty in Baghdad [Page 120]
    • Isolated Queen's Pawn
    • Table 2: IrAF Order of Battle, 5 June 1967
    • Airfield 'H-3'
    • Last-Minute Preparations
  • Two Hours Over Jordan
    • Contradictions in Amman
    • Lost Keys
    • Targeting Controversy
    • Raid on Kfar Sirkin [Page 136]
    • Attack on 'Netanya Air Base'
    • Chaos Over the West Bank
    • Like a Bolt From the Blue
    • Light Work in Amman
  • The H-3 Saga
    • Spoiled Revenge
    • Iraqi Counterattack
    • Second Attempt Frustrated
    • Jordanian Contingent
    • Disastrous Third Raid
    • Rescue Attempts [Page 166]
    • Second Ezra
  • Syria Alone
    • Expecting Victory [Page 175]
    • Table 3: SyAAF Order of Battle, 5 June 1967
    • Cat and Mouse over Galilee
    • Ad Hoc Attacks
    • Bloody Afternoon
    • MiG-21s at T.4
    • Onslaught on Syria
    • Fall of the Golan
  • Repercussions
    • Statistics
    • Claims and Reality
    • Jolted Leaders
    • Air Forces and Coup Attempts
    • Soviet Re-Supply for Egypt
    • Table 4: Numbers of UARAF Aircraft by Type
    • Investigating a Failure
    • Return to Working Order
    • Table 5: Unknown UARAF Fighter Air Brigades, 1967-69
    • Soviet and Czechoslovak Advisors
    • Tough Times
    • Back to Battle [Page 216]
  • Appendix I: Known Serial Numbers of Iraqi MiG-19s and MiG-21s, 1960-67
  • Appendix II: Known Serial Numbers of Iraqi Yl-28s and Tu-16s, 1965-67
  • Appendix III: Hawker Hunter Deliveries to Jordan before June 1967
  • Appendix IV: The Story of Saif-ul-Azam's Hunter [Page 232]
  • Appendix V: Colours of Arab MiG-21s and Su-7s in the mid-1960s [Page 239]
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Tom Cooper, David Nicolle, Lon Nordeen, and Patricia Salti have delivered an incredible tome on the Arab - Israeli Six Day War, a conflict that still has ramifications even today. I must state that this is not a mere photographic essay, but an in-depth pursuit that will take you some time to assimilate. I had seen this book at IPMS Nationals, but had passed it by. Now I need to go buy the two predecessor volumes. The rare photographs are aligned with the timeline and illustrate the text greatly. My thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!

  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Page 26
    Page 26
  • Page 45
    Page 45
  • Page 107
    Page 107
  • Page 120
    Page 120
  • Page 136
    Page 136
  • Page 166
    Page 166
  • Page 175
    Page 175
  • Page 216
    Page 216
  • Page 232
    Page 232
  • Page 239
    Page 239

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