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Syrian aircrew casualties in the Bekaa Valley 1982.

Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?
 

Awol

LE
Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?
Shot down by Israeli aircraft or ground fire (or both)?

I’ve never even heard of it happening.
 
Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?

In the Eastern sector on the Thursday morning 10th June I saw two Migs flying together get hit almost simultaneously and the pilot bail out from one of them before they crashed. His parachute landed somewhere ahead of where we advancing. On an Israeli forum recently a fellow NCO from another company told me he saw one of the M60 tank crews we were working with take the bailed pilot prisoner.
I also remember long after the actual war, Israeli TV news showed footage of Syrian prisoners, including a pilot who was playing an Oud his family had been able to send him via the Red Cross or UN.
 
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Shot down by Israeli aircraft or ground fire (or both)?

I’ve never even heard of it happening.

"The Israeli pilots kept the advantage. “I can only tell you that, within half an hour, we shot down about 26 MiGs,” Ivry said. After two hours Ivry called off the SAM attacks. The tally grew so that by noon on Friday, when a cease-fire took effect, IAF pilots had shot down 82 airplanes without losing any in air combat."

 
Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?

By the end of the first week we had seen so many Syrian planes shot down that the joke that developed among us squaddies on the ground went "Why are Syrian pilots issued with cash before they fly to Lebanon? - To pay for the taxi home."
 
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Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?
It would depend whether you believe Syrian sources. However, it (Op Mole Cricket 19) was an eye opener not just for the Syrians but the Soviets themselves. Syria admitted to 60 (of an estimated over 80) aircraft downed and 19 pilots killed:
......The Syrians themselves were forced to admit the loss of 60 aircraft and the deaths of 19 of their pilots [Adam J. Hebert, ‘The Wars of Eighty-Two’, Air Force Magazine, April 2007].
 
Hi all,
In the 1982 Bekaa Valley mass shootdown , the Israelis claimed to have shot down 80 plus MiGs,mostly MiG-21s, for virtually no damage to themselves. Does anyone have a number for the amount of Syrian pilots that were lost? I assume that there were a number of survivors but there seems to be little or no record about it. Any ideas?

I found this, which looks interesting but I can't vouch for the details, other than IAF Cpt Ahiaz, which I remember.

Note in this list most of the Syrian planes shot down were Mig 23s - which matches what I saw.

The list also doesn't mention a Mig my APC crew watched being shot down on 7th June, when we were a bit north of Marjayoun.

Interesting that the list claims that the Mig 25 shot down by a tweaked IDF Hawk battery was a false report. I posted an article about the incident on Arrse - I think in the Israeli Boneyard thread.
 
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The Henry Jackson Society report misquotes the source it references; the Syrians didn't admit 19 pilots killed (according to that source) but in fact claimed 19 kills against the Israelis.

The problem is that the Syrians and the Soviets pumped out a fair amount of propaganda, claiming all sorts of successes for their kit, and the information as to casualties is variable. Most of the material which might have the answer is in my office (which I may get back to some time before Easter...). I have a vague recollection of seeing a suggestion that somewhere between 25% and 35% of the Syrian pilots were killed, but don't hold me to that.
 

Tyk

LE
Why the huge disparity? I know the IDF tend to be good, but 80+ to 0 is bonkers if the kit is even marginally equal.
Were the Syrians just utter bonk or was the MiG 23 & 25 hugely inferior with crappy missiles? I can only assume all 3, but that's a total guess.
 
Why the huge disparity? I know the IDF tend to be good, but 80+ to 0 is bonkers if the kit is even marginally equal.
Were the Syrians just utter bonk or was the MiG 23 & 25 hugely inferior with crappy missiles? I can only assume all 3, but that's a total guess.
"For the Syrians, the battle was hopeless, tactically and psychologically. Selective airborne communications jamming frazzled the airwaves for the Syrian MiG-21s and MiG-23s and cut them off from ground control.
Ivry described their lack of confidence as the Syrian fighter pilots launched and came up into the fight without any idea of the interception route they would run. When they did try something, the interceptions attempted by the MiG pilots were “not very efficient,” in Ivry’s opinion.
Listening in the command post, Ivry heard the Israeli fighters shooting down “sometimes two or three out of four” of the Syrians. “And the more they came, the lack of confidence on their side was increased.” Psychologically, as Ivry said of the Syrian pilots’ state of mind, “you’re losing and losing.” He went on, “Once you start to lose, you think, ‘Well, I’m going to be a target, and I’m going to go over there because I’ve been summoned?'”

Around 16:30 on 10th of June, only a few hours after we had endured a major blue on blue from the IAF, we experienced one such "not-very-efficient" attack when a Mig suddenly appeared right in front of us (we were dispersed half way up both sides of a narrowish valley, banked fully on its side while turning (so I was looking straight "down" into the cockpit) and as if in slow motion, tossed a single iron bomb into the centre of the valley where there was no one and no vehicles at all, and scarpered.
We were able to compare this bumbling and ineffective technique with the way the IAF Phantoms had come at us out of nowhere a few hours earlier, with devastating accuracy and effect.
 
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mogreby

Old-Salt
Not the Bekaa but south-east Beirut, Tuesday 8 June we'd just started breakfast in the school so 0805, 0810 something like that. Three loud explosions nearby, the first of which broke most to the windows closely followed by the second and then a moment or two later the third. Amazingly although the glass went onto the food and tables none of the kids were hurt.

I was told at the time it was a Mig-23 chased by an F15 and the Mig going into a nearby hill. An Armenian colleague later produced and gave me a piece of twisted metal from the Mig. Except I didn't believe him, it had lots of protruding rivets and looked really rough. (I'd never been close to a Mig and expected it to be sleek and shiny).

I binned the metal, wish I hadn't now as it probably was from the Mig but the Mig might have been a 21 rather than a 23.
 
The Henry Jackson Society report misquotes the source it references; the Syrians didn't admit 19 pilots killed (according to that source) but in fact claimed 19 kills against the Israelis.

The problem is that the Syrians and the Soviets pumped out a fair amount of propaganda, claiming all sorts of successes for their kit, and the information as to casualties is variable. Most of the material which might have the answer is in my office (which I may get back to some time before Easter...). I have a vague recollection of seeing a suggestion that somewhere between 25% and 35% of the Syrian pilots were killed, but don't hold me to that.

about ten years ago I was reading an interview with a Syrian resident of the Damascus area who had decided to join the rebels. Among his criticism of the Assad regime, one of the things he mentioned was that in June 1982 the Syrian press and defence ministry reported to the Syrian people that they had achieved a great victory over the Israelis.
 
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mogreby

Old-Salt
about ten years ago I was reading an interview with a Syrian resident of the Damascus area who had decided to join the rebels. Among his criticism of the Assad regime, one of the things he mentioned was that in June 1982 the Syrian press and defence ministry reported to the Syrian people that they had had a great victory over the Israelis.
Driving the remaining kids out of Beirut and down to Jordan we had to transit Syria towards the end of the second week of the invasion. We weren't stopping for chats with people but the civilians we did come into contact with at sandwich shops etc. all seemed pretty bullish about the air war and wanted us to confirm what the news was telling them.
 
Driving the remaining kids out of Beirut and down to Jordan we had to transit Syria towards the end of the second week of the invasion. We weren't stopping for chats with people but the civilians we did come into contact with at sandwich shops etc. all seemed pretty bullish about the air war and wanted us to confirm what the news was telling them.

The regime doesn't seem to have changed much - it routinely reports that its AD shoots down nearly all Israeli missiles, which is the exact opposite of what really happens.

Were you working with these kids in the framework of an NGO? It sounds like you have material for a book about your experiences there.
 

mogreby

Old-Salt
The regime doesn't seem to have changed much - it routinely reports that its AD shoots down nearly all Israeli missiles, which is the exact opposite of what really happens.

Were you working with these kids in the framework of an NGO? It sounds like you have material for a book about your experiences there.
I was a volunteer in a school for deaf kids - it was set up/run by Dutch Anglican priests but there was no problem with me not believing (unlike at militia checkpoints in the city where non belief in a deity was not an option) and the kids were from all sorts of backgrounds, rich, poor, Lebanese, Palestinian, Christian, Muslim. Easter and Christmas were celebrated as were Eids.

I have wondered about a book but would have to tell my mum some of the things that happened that she is blissfully unaware of to date. Don't hold your breath.
 
I have wondered about a book but would have to tell my mum some of the things that happened that she is blissfully unaware of to date. Don't hold your breath.

In 2015 I was looking for the phone no. of a distant lost relative whose name I couldn't remember, I Googled her son's name (which I remembered cos he was a big shot in the IAF). The first thing that came out was this
which mentioned that in 1961 he had to bail out when their Vautour crashed into the briny in bad weather.
When I was eventually able to contact his mum and visit her at her old folks home, I mentioned to her how I had found her phone number and about reading how her son had bailed out over the sea.
She replied slowly in a curious tone "Tell me more about this - about him bailing out over the sea."
 
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