by Robert Taylor
Recounting an action during the largest jet-to-jet battle in history
Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – is the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar and in Israel is marked by a national holiday but on that day in 1973 the unexpected happened. At 14.00 hours on 6 October the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israeli positions. Thousands of Egyptian troops swarmed across the Suez Canal into Israeli-held Sinai whilst in the north nearly 1,500 Syrian tanks backed by artillery thrust west towards Israel.
Largely unprepared, Israel reeled however within hours it mobilised its fighting reserves and began a ferocious battle to stem the enemies advance. As Israeli tanks and infantry rushed to hold the front line and, in the north, push the enemy back, Israeli Air Force jets overhead fought a heroic battle to regain the initiative and control of the skies. It was grim work. Both Egyptian and Syrian forces were equipped with hundreds of Soviet-supplied SAM missiles but the tide of war was turning and a battered Israeli Air Force now went on the counter-offensive. And amongst their main targets were the heavily-defended Egyptian air bases that lay deep in the Nile delta.
Robert Taylor’s powerful and dramatic painting depicts one such strike that took place on 14 October 1973 during the final stages of the war when Israeli F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers made simultaneous strikes against the Egyptian air bases at Mansoura and Tanta north of Cairo.
After the first wave struck the elite Egyptian MiG-21 units at El Mansoura, the other Phantom squadrons attacked Tanta in waves, turning to dog-fighting immediately after dropping their ordnance. Tanta was also home to two squadrons of Libyan Mirage 5s and the ensuing air battle was so intense that at one point more than 180 fighter aircraft were involved. Despite bitter opposition, the successful IAF missions eliminated much of the effectiveness of the Eygptian Air Force and its Libyan allies.
|Overall size: 23½" x 34"||Available in the following editions|
|400||Limited edition||Signed by 22 pilots and navigators who flew the Phantom during the Yom Kippur war||$320|
|25||Artist's proof||As above||$565|
|10||Double remarque||As above||$1975|
|50||Giclée Studio proof||Giclée on canvas - 21" x 36" - signed by the artist||$765|
|The Signatories (pilots)|
|Brigadier General Amir Nachumi – scored 14 victories in total, 7 in the F-4 and 7 in the F-16.|
|Brigadier General Shlomo Egozy – 10 victories, 2 in the Mirage and 8 in the F-4, Israel’s highest-scoring F-4 ace.|
|Colonel Eitan Peled – he was credited with at least 6 victories, all in the Phantom|
|Maj Gen Avihu Ben-Nun – 4 victories, 2 in the F-4 and 2 in the Mirage, Commanding Officer of the IAF between 1987-1992.|
|Brigadier General Yoram Agmom – scored 6 victories, 4 in the Phantom and 2 in the Mirage, including the first ever Mirage kill.|
|Colonel Naftali Maimon – he scored 3 victories all in the Phantom.|
|Brigadier General Yoel Feldsho – 4 victories, 1 in the F-4 and 3 in the F-15, flew the longest bombing mission ever in Oct 1985.|
|Brigadier General Shamuel Ben-Rom – credited with at least 2 victories in the F-4.|
|Brigadier General Uri Bakal – he was on one occasion forced to eject from his F-4 after suffering a direct hit.|
|Brigadier General Zvi Kanor – he was credited with at least 1 victory in the Phantom.|
|Colonel Amnon Gurion – as a Pilot he was officially credited with 2 victories in the F-4.
|Major Meir Shani – scored at least 2 victories in the F-4 with Navigator Abraham Ashael, before being shot down and taken POW.|
|Colonel Shmuel Gordon – he scored at least 1 victory while flying the Phantom before moving onto the F-16.
|Colonel Dani Shaki – he shot down 3 MiGs in the F-4 on his first combat mission with Amir Nachumi.|
|Lieutenant General Dani Halotz – scored 3 victories in the F-4, becoming the IAF Commanding Officer and later Army Chief of Staff.|
|The Signatories (navigators)|
|Brigadier General Itzchak Amitay – scored 5 victories in the F-4 including 3 on a single day.|
|Lieutenant Colonel Yair David – while flying the F-4 he was shot down but recovered in a daring Combat Search and Rescue mission.|
|Brigadier General Moshe Bartov – credited with at least 1 victory flying the Phantom.|
|Brigadier General Abraham Ashael – scored at least 2 victories in the F-4 with Pilot Meir Shani before becoming a POW.|
|Colonel Yehoar Gal – scored 2 victories in the F-4, flying with Pilots Eitan Peled and Dani Halotz.|
|Colonel Eli Tovel – while flying the F-4 he ejected having been shot down but was later recovered.
|Lieutenant Colonel Achikar Eyal – scored 1 victory in the F-4 which was the Phantom’s first aerial kill for the IAF.|
(with matching serial numbers to "Double Strike" while stocks allow)
A Masterworks pencil print depicting IAF Sqdn.Cdr. Avaham Lanir flying an Israeli Air Force Mirage III, scoring a victory over a Syrian MiG-21 on 9 November 1972.
Signed by six double Aces of the IAF.
17¾" x 25" - $220
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