SkyKnight Presents: “IAF-Part 8: Raid on Entebbe”

On June 27, 1976 an Air France airliner was hijacked enroute from Israel to Paris, and diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. In response, Israel mounted a daring rescue mission on July 4 using C-130 transports carrying over 100 IDF commandos and escorted by Phantom jet fighters. After flying some 2,500 miles from Israel to Uganda, the Israeli force rescued the hostages within an hour after landing. It was the most daring rescue mission of a generation, that would restore morale for the country and go on to shape modern Israel.

BRIEFING

 Summer 1976 

In America, we are celebrating our Bicentennial; Jimmy Carter wins the democratic presidential nomination;  The movies ‘Logan’s Run’, ‘The Omen’, and ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ premier; ‘Happy Days’ is the #1 TV show; Apple Computer is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; Air France and British Airways begin flying the Concorde into Washington Dulles International; and the Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars.

 

IN ISRAEL…

In 1976, Israeli self-confidence is low. The country had been rocked by the surprise attack of the Yom Kippur war in 1973, which had felt like a brush with collective catastrophe. It had also watched, powerless, as 11 of its athletes had been held hostage, then killed at the Olympic games in Munich in 1972. On June 27, 1976, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is notified of the hijacking of an Air France A300 airliner with 248 passengers onboard by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two members of German Revolutionary Cells. The flight, which had originated in Tel Aviv with the destination of Paris, was diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. The Ugandan government is providing support for the hijackers, and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who was apparently informed of the hijacking from the beginning, welcomed the hostages personally.  After moving all hostages from the aircraft to the old terminal building, the hijackers separated the Israelis and Jews from the larger group and forced them into a separate room. The 4 hijackers are demanding the release of 53 Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel and four other countries, and have threatened to kill the hostages if their demands are not met.

 

THE OPERATION

After days of negotiations, 148 non-Israeli hostages are released and flown out to Paris. But Ninety-four Israeli passengers along with the 12-member Air France crew, remained, and were threatened with death. With a diplomatic resolution increasingly unlikely, the IDF acted on information provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and devised a military operation to rescue the hostages. With the Ugandan government providing assistance to the hijackers, any plans had to account for armed resistance from the Army of Uganda.

‘Operation Thunderbolt’ took place at night, and utilized the C-130 Hercules. The transport planes carried support vehicles and over 100 of Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal commandos over 2,500 miles to Uganda for the rescue operation. The four Hercules were escorted by F-4E Phantoms and accompanied by two Boeing 707 jets, one to serve as a command post, the other as a field hospital – to treat what they anticipated would be many injured. To avoid radar, they flew extraordinarily low – at one point no more than 35ft off the ground.

The Israelis learned that Idi Amin was due to spend the weekend on a diplomatic trip out of Uganda, so they assembled a motorcade of vehicles dressed up to look as if they were the dictator and his party returning from their trip, in order to deceive the Ugandan Army upon arrival at the airport terminal. As the commandos burst into the terminal building, one hijacker was killed instantly, followed by two more shortly after. Meanwhile a fellow soldier on a megaphone shouted in Hebrew and English: “Lie down, don’t get up, we are Israeli soldiers.”

While the terminal was being assaulted, the other three C-130 Hercules landed and unloaded armored personnel carriers to provide airport defense during the operation, and to destroy the Soviet-built Ugandan MiG fighters based there, to prevent them from pursuing. The operation lasted just 50 minutes on the ground . All the hijackers, and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed. Of the 106 remaining hostages, 102 were rescued and four were killed. During the operation, five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, unit commander Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. Netanyahu was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, who would go on to become Prime Minister of Israel. 

The success of the operation resulted in restoring national pride and global respect paid to Israel’s military capabilities. Their foes had to account for the possibility that Israel might travel halfway across the world to free its people, if that’s what it took. Entebbe helped establish the notion that Israel’s reach was simply too long for it to be defeated militarily, and would go on to shape modern Israel’s bold responses to future threats.

 

 

YOUR TASKING

The Black Knights will recreate “Operation Thunderbolt”, and attempt to rescue the hostages held captive at Entebbe. Recreating this unique mission calls for roles in Combined Arms, as well as C-130 and F-4 pilots.  Hercules pilots will be tasked with arriving at Entebbe undetected, landing your C-130 aircraft at night, and unloading your commandos, APC and support vehicles.  The Combined Arms role will carry out the assault on the terminal, repel the Ugandan Army, and destroy the MiG fighters on the ground. After securing the airport and safety of the hostages, the C-130 transports must load everyone aboard and exfil Entebbe before the Ugandan Army can respond in force. F-4 Phantom pilots will be charged with escorting the transports.

 

INTEL
Mossad has provided the following intelligence taken 24 hours prior during a chartered flight from Entebbe Airport.

  • 10 MiG-21 and 4 MiG-17 based at the airport.  Ugandan Army Air conducts two-ship sorties from the airport about 3 times a week. 
  • Motor Pool with 2 unmanned APC and multiple transport vehicles (unarmed) located on northeast side of airport by Kilo 3
  • Ugandan Army barracks located next to control tower and terminal building.  At least 1 unmanned APC spotted there.
  • Three possible Entry Points identified that could be used by Ugandan Army reinforcements to breach the airport perimeter once we begin our assault.
  • All 106 Hostages and 7 terrorist last reported inside the terminal building.  At least 20 Ugandan Army regulars observed in nearby barracks as well as outside terminal

Click on Intel Photos to Enlarge

 

AIR TASKING ORDER
Sayeret Matkal (Combined Arms)

  • 2 Required
  • Callsign “Sierra Mike”
  • SM1 Tasking: Conduct raid on terminal and secure hostages
  • SM2 Tasking: Secure airport and destroy MiGs on ramp
  • Radio Comms: 124.8

 

Karnaf FLT (C-130 Hercules)

  • Minimum 3 – Max of 4
  • Callsign “Kilo”
  • Kilo-1 Tasking: Land at Entebbe undetected & deliver SM1 commandos and motorcade
  • Kilo-2 thru 4 Tasking: Land after K1 and unload SM2 APCs, then safely load evacuate with Israeli citizens
  • Radio Comms: 124.8

 

Kurnass FLT (F-14B as F-4E Phantom)

  • Callsign “Kurnass”
  • Tasking: Escort C-130 Hercules transports
  • Armament: 4 x AIM-9; 4 x AIM-7
  • Multi-Crew available
  • Radio Comms: Radio 1 Discrete: 256; Radio 2: 124.8
  • Set BINGO to 3000 to reach Nairobi Refuel point

 

Phalcon FLT (B-707)

  • NPC
  • Callsign “Falcon”
  • Tasking: CCC
  • Radio Comms: 124.8

 

Lifeguard FLT (B-707)

  • NPC
  • Callsign “Lifeguard”
  • Tasking: Airborne Hospital.  Available on-call by SM to evac extensive casualties
  • Radio Comms: 124.8
 

PILOT DUTY ROSTER

Enter your Callsign and confirm your availability for this mission by selecting either

(Flying) or (Grounded)

 

Mission Roles as previously determined during trainex:

Kilo1 = Airdog

Kilo2 = Hook

Kilo3 = Floundog (Vulcan as backup)

Kilo4 = SkyKnight

SM1 = Rico

SM2 = Baldawg

Kurnass 1 = Zero

Kurnass 2 = Skunk

Kurnass 3 = Mafia

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