Wings Over Sinai

The Egyptian Air Force During The Sinai War, 1956

Tom Cooper, David Nicolle, Gabr Ali Gabr

 
Date Published :
May 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
profusely illustrated with b&w photos, 8pp color profiles, photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781911096610
Pages : 80
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
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In stock
$35.00
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Overview
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Sixty years since the tripartite aggression of France, Great Britain and Israel against Egypt, this is the first account about Egyptian military operations during the Suez War of 1956 (or ‘Suez Crisis’, as it is known in the West). Based on research with the help of official Egyptian documentation and recollections of crucial participants, this book provides an unique and exclusive insight into the ‘other side’ of a war that many consider has marked ‘the end of the British Empire’. From the Western point of view, the situation is usually explained in quite simple terms: in retaliation for President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Universal Suez Canal Company - and thus the strategically important waterway of the Suez Canal - France and Great Britain (operating in concert with Israel) launched the operation codenamed 'Musketeer'. Divided into three phases, each shaded into the other; this aimed at obliterating the Egyptian Air Force, occupying the whole of the Suez Canal and toppling Nasser’s government. From the Egyptian point of view, backgrounds were much more complex than this. Striving to modernize the country, a new and inexperienced government in Cairo launched a number of major projects, including one for the construction of a gigantic Asswan Dam on the Nile. The only Western power ready to help finance this project, the USA conditioned its support with basing rights for its military. With the last British soldiers still about to leave the country - and thus end Egypt’s occupation by foreign powers for the first time in 2,000 years - Nasser found this unacceptable. Around the same time, Egypt found itself under pressure from Israeli raids against border posts on the Sinai. Left without a solution, Cairo decided to nationalize the Suez Canal in order to finance the Aswan Dam project, but also to start purchasing arms from the Soviet Union. In an attempt to bolster Egyptian defenses without antagonizing Western powers, Nasser concluded the so-called ‘Czech Arms deal’ with Moscow - resulting in the acquisition of Soviet arms via Czechoslovakia. Little known in Cairo at the time, such moves tripped several ‘red lines’ in Israel and in the West - in turn prompting aggression that culminated in a war. Wings over Sinai is, first and foremost, an account of the battle for survival of the Egyptian Air Force (EAF). Caught in the middle of conversion to Soviet-types, this proved more than a match for Israel, but were hopelessly ill-prepared to face the military might of Great Britain and France too. Sustained, days-long air strikes on Egyptian air bases caused heavy damage, but were nowhere near as crippling as the losses usually claimed and assessed by the British, French and Israelis. The EAF not only survived that conflict in quite a good order, but also quickly recovered. This story is told against the backdrop of the fighting on the ground and the air and naval invasion by British and French forces. Richly illustrated with plenty of new and previously unpublished photographs, maps (and 15 color profiles), this action-packed volume is illustrates all aspects of camouflage, markings and various equipment of British and Soviet origin in Egyptian military service as of 1956.

About The Author
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Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defence-related publications.

David Nicolle is a leading expert on the history of medieval warfare, in particular the Crusades and Middle Eastern warfare, and he is a prolific writer of books on these subjects as well as articles and magazine articles.

Among his many previous works are The Hundred Years War; The Mongol Warlords;Saladin and the Saracens; The Crusades; The Medieval Warfare Sourcebook; Hattin 1187 and Fighting for the Faith.

Late Air Vice Marshal Gabr Ali Gabr PhD (EAF, ret.) served as the pilot of a De Havilland Vampire fighter jet during the Suez War, 1956. After concluding higher military education at the Air Warfare Institute in 1960, he served as an instructor in air tactics at the Air Warfare Institute in 1962-64. Between 1966-67, he was a staff officer during the June 1967 War and went on to be chief of the Operational Training Branch in 1968-73; he was also chief of of the Operations Group during the October 1973 War with Israel. After serving as an instructor in the art of operations and as the chief air force chair at High War College from 1977 until 1982, he received his PhD at Nasser High Academy in 1989. He then moved into writing and has since published seven books and dozens of studies and articles on the history of air warfare in Egypt and abroad.

REVIEWS
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"I was just ten years old in 1956, but I do remember very well, the newspaper headlines and the news broadcasts of the time talking about the "Suez Crisis", and this fine book confirms, indeed that the crisis really was the final nail in the coffin of the British Empire. Comprehensive and very readable."

- Books Monthly

“With this one written very much from the Egyptian point of view, I found this an interesting one to read, throwing some new light on this episode in the history of the Middle East conflicts. As a modeller the colour profiles and the many photos are very handy references.”

- Military Model Scene, April 2017

“This is an excellent book of a relatively obscure area of military history which will be interesting for the aircraft enthusiast and also model makers looking for a different subject. Recommended.”

- Scale Military Modeller International, April 2017

“A fantastic insight...well put together and laid out using high grade glossy paper stock and is very well priced giving you value for money.”

- Aviation Enthusiast Book Club

"A highly recommended and refreshingly balanced viewpoint of a significant period of Middle Eastern history."

- Military Modelling

"With good detail, an extensive bibliography and copious endnotes, this deserves a read."

- Aeroplane Magazine

“Colour profiles by Tom Cooper provide valuable modelling references…the authors are refreshingly dispassionate in their assessment of the EAF's strengths and weaknesses.”

- Airfix Model World

“Students of Middle East conflict will welcome this fresh, competent perspective on the 1956 Suez War. I found Helion's vital volume pungently provocative – and intensely illuminating. Robustly recommended!”

- Cybermodeler

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