Monday, 25 December 2017

Iraqi Mirage F.1 EQ 5s over Baghdad - Recommended Aviation books

Ahead of Tom Cooper's " Iraqi Mirages " due next year, former Dassault Technician and French-expat in Mossoul during the Iraq-Iran war, Jean-Louis Bernard, has published his 'Heroes of Baghdad' detailing the exploits and service of the Mirage F.1 in Iraqi Air Force service. Coincidentally the January 2018 issue of 'Le Fana de l'Aviation' starts a four-part series on the same subject and features accounts from Saddam's Mirage pilots in the petrol tanker war against Iran..

By late 1983 the Iraq-Iran war is in its third year and has reached virtual stalemate. The Iraqis understand that they will have to change their strategy if they are to make any headway against the Iranians  and decide to up their war against the Iranian economy. During October 1984 the Iraqis take delivery of the latest variant of the Mirage F.1 - the Exocet-capable EQ5, an aircraft that has the capabilities to lead this 'new' offensive. The new aircraft are brought together as Squadron '81' on the air base at Qayarah south of Mossoul. This new book relates the missions and events that comprise the history of this notable Mirage unit.

the author's blog is here

More at

from the 14 May 1988 edition of the New York times;

".. Iraqi planes bombed an offshore terminal in the Strait of Hormuz today and set fire to five tankers, including two of the world's largest, in a stepped-up drive to destroy Iran's oil lifeline. At least 16 crew members were reported missing. One of the ships, the 235,000-ton Spanish tanker Barcelona, was said to be sinking. Two others, including the Seawise Giant, at 564,739 tons the largest vessel afloat, were blazing out of control hours after the mid-afternoon raid on the Larak Island oil terminal, shipping officials said. Gulf-based contacts said Iranian salvage tugs were fighting fires on the ships, some of which were moored together to transfer cargo. Iraq announced the raid five hours later, the 10th attack it says it has made against Iranian oil targets since April 29. To reach the Strait of Hormuz, the Iraqi jets flew more than 750 miles each way, requiring mid-air refueling en route. Reports of casualties varied widely. ... More than 500 ships have been damaged in the Iran-Iraq war, most of them since the fighting spilled into Persian Gulf lanes in 1984. Estimates by maritime agencies and other sources indicate that more than 300 seamen have been killed in the fighting, which has become known as the ''tanker war.'' The attacks were part of an intensified effort by Baghdad to cut off the export revenues that Teheran uses to finance the war against Iraq. The raid was the third in the last seven months against Larak, where international tankers pick up oil cargos brought from Kharg Island by Iranian ships. Five tankers were hit in the last Larak raid, on Dec. 22 - among them the Seawise Giant, which was damaged in the first raid last October. Both the Seawise Giant and the Burmah Endeavor, also one of the world's five largest vessels, are under charter to Iran as ''mother ships,'' or offshore storage tankers, at Larak. Most of the attacks have been against tankers owned or chartered by Iran, which must use the Persian Gulf sea lanes to export its oil...."

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