Egyptian Chronicles: The October War Anniversary : The hero of the first Air strike myth

Friday, October 7, 2011

The October War Anniversary : The hero of the first Air strike myth

airshows yesterday on
For 30 years we were taught that Mubarak was the hero of the first air forces strike that paralyzed the IDF and gave them a big lesson to the end of this talk that distorted the image of the war forever in the eyes of younger generations.
Not less than 210 pilots have participated in the first air strike and some of them did not make it like Atef Al Sadat yet for 30 years that strike was summarized in Mubarak only as if Mubarak was the only man that fought in the war. For 30 years Mubarak and his hypocrite media ruined for the Egyptian people and the Egyptian war’s heroes with his claim that only him made the attack successful with his first air strike plan.
Mohamed Hassenein Heikal opened the door of the hero of first air strike myth when he claimed in one of his interviews that as someone who was closed to Sadat during the war he knew that the initial plan of the war did not include the air strike and that Sadat only added for psychological reasons to restore confidence in the most destroyed forces during the six days defeat. Heikal claimed that he attended a meeting with Sadat and late Field Marshal Ahmed Ismail who spoke about the plan of the war in front of him as well as Gihan Sadat !! “Of course I highly doubt that the two men will speak about the plan of the war in front of him or the former first lady” 
Like he always does Heikal created a controversy making the Egyptian air forces angry , yet if it were not for his claim the pilots , the true heroes of the first air strike would not have spoken to the media to reveal what we do not know.
Aside of defending the importance of this strike in the war’s plan and restoring back it victory to their effort and not to a single man that turned in a dictator , the 1973 air forces pilots revealed that Mubarak made a huge mistake in the war that cost us a lot in what is known as the “Helicopter's massacre”
It turns out on the 6th of October 1973 at 4:30 PM there was going to be an operation behind the enemy’s line to stop the advance of the IDF to the Suez canal. An Egyptian special forces unit would be transferred by a helicopter and that helicopters would be covered  by EAF fighters. The operation started , the helicopters went and Hosni Mubarak as a 1st air forces commander did not give his orders at time to the EAF fighters. The helicopters went with the unit and they were downed and it was officially branded as the helicopters' massacre. It is unclear why he did not give the order in time as far I searched. For 30 years this massacre was omitted from our history , no one for nearly 30 years read or heard anything about this second air strike.
Personally I once heard some hints from couple of years ago about the helicopters’ massacre from a air forces veteran who suddenly stopped his talk as if it were  a taboo before the revolution.
The first airstrike pilots brought up this to the media and to the public to in order to send a clear message  : If you want to blame or attack Mubarak in the war , blame him on the Helicopters’ massacre but do not disrespect the first air strike.
I got their message and I totally support them , already I believe the real hero was them and not Mubarak. What the EAF did in 1973 war was unimaginable considering the fact that it was nearly destroyed in the six days war.
The air forces veterans also began to speak more and more about Hosni Mubarak who seemed to be a real lucky son of gun like no other when it comes to career. According to them Mubarak’s only capability was to work , work and work but with no planning capability like other late commanders like Salah Manawy and Alaa Barkat. “ actually when you think about it  it is not surprising at all”
After 1973 war : Left to right Mubarak , Shaker, Ismail
Now some will ask on how a man with no planning capability would plan for the first air strike !? Well the answer will be simply that he did not plan for it , it was someone else , the Saad El Shazly of EAF aka late Air Marshal Mahmoud Shaker Abdel Monam. "1926-1980"
Just like Saad El Shazly , that man’s memory in the Egyptian war history was omitted starting from the day Mubarak became the president and the myth of the Air Strike’s hero was made by the hypocrite regime media.
Mahmoud Shaker was the first on his class in 1949 in the Royal air forces school as well as the first on training courses whether in Egypt or outside that made him deserve to become the commander of air forces in 1972 according to seniority as well as the fact that he was been the first one on his class and training courses. When Sadat appointed Mubarak as the air forces commander , he appointed Shaker the next day as the second commander of Egyptian air forces. Oh yes the second commander of Egyptian air forces and do not ask me how because from what I read this was the first and last time in the history of air forces “I believe worldwide” but if it were not for the official obituary published in Al Ahram newspaper in 1980 posted by Ahmed Shaker “his son on Facebook” I would not have believed it easily.
in 1980 
In 1975 late Sadat appointed him as the air forces commander after appointing Mubarak as a vice president. Now according to details emerging lately Shaker was the one that really put the plan of the first air strike not Mubarak !!
Ahmed Shaker told Al Masry Al Youm that when Mubarak was a president , he contacted their family asking them all the photos that including Shaker and him in the Air forces !! Ahmed Mahmoud Shaker is at last speaking to the media and he currently has got that Facebook page about his late father whom I am hope that we can honor as he should especially in these days.
Strangely just like El Shazly there is nearly no mention for the man in the war museum , only a tiny picture in the October 6th war Panorama. Late Air marshal Shaker was the longest serving Air forces commander in Egypt after the October war by the way. 
Gihan Sadat in her usual annual round of interviews at October War/ Sadat anniversary admitted that appointing Mubarak as a vice president was a mistake. It was his biggest mistake yet I hope Mrs. Sadat would say that her husband chose Mubarak because he wanted to have a vice president with no popularity in the army and in the public like Abdel Ghanny El Gamsy.


  1. Actually, there is not a single commander in the egyptian army, nor any army for that matter, who does the planning for anything. It might surprise you because in egypt we used to have a leader who does everything, but that is not true in the army.
    Planning is the responsibility of the chief of staff or the chief of operations. Making decisions is the responsibility of the leader. This is true for all units, starting from batalion(katiba)level till the general command(alqiada ala'ma)

  2. The 1973 war, was the one where the Israeli counterattack put Moshe Dayan on the west side of the Suez Canal, appproaching Cairo from the south. Then a cease-fire was called, in which everyone returned to the pre-war positions. The Sinai and the Suez Canal were subsequently returned to Egypt, as part of the peace treaty.

    After the 1967 defeat, the Soviet Union rebuilt the Egyptian armed forces from the ground up. Egypt was "socialist" then. It was widely rumored at the time, that Russian pilots flew the Egyptian combat aircraft during the fighting. Didn't help. The Israelis had superior US-made equipment, and more-experienced flyers.

    Egyptian propaganda, where night is day and defeats are all victories.


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