Mirage pilot regrets killing Mig pilot in a dogfight respecting him as a worthy adversary - recounts the Dogfight

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Mirage pilot regrets killing Mig pilot in a dogfight respecting him as a worthy adversary - recounts the Dogfight

Narrative of a dogfight during the War of Attrition between Israel and Syria on May 12, 1970. Written by Israeli Mirage III pilot Asher Snir. From the Time-Life book "Air Combat".

I am a little sad. Amos, who is about 1,000 meters ahead of me, will shoot him down unceremoniously, and it really is not fair. The MiG is all alone, already in front of us, and does not know that he is about to confront a squadron commander and his deputy who, between them, have already put more than one MiG squadron out of business.

No, it is not fair. The MiG-17 is no match for our Mirages. But then this "no match" business is a booby trap; there are fight regimes in the lower and medium-speed ranges in which the MiG-17 out-turns the Mirage and whoever is seduced into following a MiG into these territories will get nailed but good.

Amos is closing fast on the MiG, but just as he gets into firing range the MiG breaks sharply up and to the right. He has seen us in time. It was a good maneuver on the MiG's part. An excellent maneuver. Amos pulls up and I enter for a pass and I see the MiG diving, turning sharply and presenting his entire back across my wind-screen. I configure the gunsight, estimate the range. Just as I am about to fire, the MiG twists forcefully and drops even lower. Damn! Screwed up my pass, that man, and I pull out and Amos enters. The man in the MiG takes advantage of the short respite to drop closer to the valley floor and to gather some airspeed, which he will need to continue the fight.

I see the MiG break again just in time, flying practically on the deck, successfully frustrating Amos's pass. I am on my way in. I pull above him, stronger and faster but I'm still unable to get a good shot.

He flies, that man, lower than I have ever seen, knows where to look and when, has excellent vision, and has the concentration and the attention to think clearly, to judge correctly when to do what and not to make any mistakes. I am beginning to understand that we have found a real adversary, and that this battle will be quite different. I could almost visualize the Syrian casting away all the approved rules - rules only applicable to pilots not as good, and situations not as desperate.

This is not the way to fight. One must not fly at such levels of risk that only success separates them from recklessness. But something told me with great certainty that, today and with this man, this was the only way. The entire periphery is etched in my memory as an express tunnel of eight and a half minutes with a series of entries and pull outs, three volleys which missed, and extremely hard physical effort. I remember him at least once at the bottom of my gunsight, which I could not lower further by even one millimeter because we were already among the treetops and he was a couple of agricultural terraces lower than I was.

I remember the Syrian pulling up after me once and both of us climbing out of the valley in cold rage. I remember Amos saying, "Watch out! He's coming after you!" and I, more alive and aware than I had ever been, knowing exactly how much speed the man in the MiG had on his gauge and that he was bluffing.

And so we kept getting further and further north, three madmen joined together till death do us part. The missile on my wingtip, a Sidewinder-B from America, sends a buzz through my headset from time to time to inform me that it "sees" the MiG. I know that I must not launch at this altitude because the missile will simply dive into the ground directly in front of me if I do not provide it with some room to sink before it has a chance to start homing and climbing.

For a long time I ignore it, until during one of the climb outs I see that the MiG is about to cross a wide valley at right angles. The man in the MiG does not know this yet, because all he can see from his altitude is the near ridge before the valley, and Amos is almost in firing range already and the Syrian must get busy again and break nicely and correctly among the treetops. So this is my chance.

I do not descend toward the MiG. Instead, I stay at altitude and close the range to 800 meters, the very heart of the missile's flight envelope, and I see the MiG's silver, fishlike silhouette evading Amos's Mirage once again and twisting northward, homeward. The MiG is skimming the rocks, following a narrowing valley that is turning into a dry river bed, climbing within its walls to the top of the ridge.


With the sight on the distant tailpipe, I hear the missile's battle cry at once. Before the Syrian has a chance to notice that the ground is about to fall away from under him, I launch. A sharp "whoosh!" and the missile is on its way.

The missile crossed the ridge successfully, still sinking, two seconds later, registering a new world record for low altitude flight by a missile. It continued to sink some more in the valley before it started climbing, homing steadily on the MiG.

Something caused the Syrian to do the very last thing in his life. Perhaps he saw the distant portion of the missile's smoke trail; perhaps he grew suspicious. When the missile was about fifty meters behind him, the man began a break to the right, still within the valley. It was too close and it was too late.

The last second of the brave and talented man's life is still etched in my memory: the missile with its thin smoke plume hiding beneath the wing; the large orange flash which was almost certainly a direct hit; the right wing breaking at the root; the fast, uncontrolled roll toward the missing wing; the grotesque spin of the stubby fuselage. Then came the unavoidable crash of the broken MiG into the distant, steep wall of the valley and the ugly black mushroom that sprouted from the green terrain.

The man in the MiG. A famous hero or an unknown just starting to blossom, he was deserving of one more thing, and to this day I hope that it was granted to him. I hope he died instantly when the missile hit and did not live that last second and never, never knew that he lost the battle.

From: http://www.reddit.com/r/his...
By netchicken: posted on 11-1-2014

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