Time: 12:15 at 20.7.1969
Formation: Epstein - Bnaya. Plane: Shahak (Mirage) no. 82.
Result: MiG-17 shot down with cannon.
Around June, when the War of Attrition was at its peak and the armor and infantry were pressed to their limits, the IDF decided to involve the IAF. In preparation for air-to-surface attacks, several battles were initiated around Jebel Jalala, in order to make our aerial superiority known to the Egyptians. Then, after a large number of enemy planes had been shot down - with the 'First Combat' Squadron still playing a minor role in all this - the IAF was given the challenge of paralyzing Egypt's artillery. The first operation began on July 20th, and began with the destruction of the few SA-2 sites in the area, followed by massive attacks on all of the enemy artillery, armor and infantry forces in the Canal zone.
At the time, the 'First Combat' Squadron was in Refidim with a sextet in readiness: Yoeli - Shohat, Epstein - Bnaya, Spector - Gordon.
In the noon hours, in the break between our attacks, the Egyptians put a few formations into the air, for attacks. Yoeli - Shohat were scrambled first, towards Ismailia, and we were scrambled right after them. We were directed straight to a rendezvous east of the Canal.
We accelerated and threw off the detachable fuel tanks. In the Canal zone, we found a MiG-17 quartet returning west, with Yoeli and Shohat taking on the rear pair. Yoeli shot one of them and immediately hit his wing and shot him down. Shohat sat on the other one and started fighting him, while the front pair broke away and disappeared westward.
The MiG passed the Canal westward, and from this moment onward the dogfight was between us four and him, with everything happening right over the city. Shohat fought him for about three or four minutes, during which he was behind him at good range but a very high G. He kept missing him, until he ran out of ammunition. Yoeli then announced he was going in, but he came in too fast and overflew the MiG.
I went in, latched on to him at a range of 250-350 and started trying to hit him. The speed was about 400 plus, the G was very high throughout, the sights were low. I tried a few bursts, but despite the good tracking, there were no hits. I kept chasing him until he switched his tilt once. Then I gave a long burst that hit the tail between the altitude rudder and the directional flap. That part [of the plane] appeared to be crushed, and the MiG immediately ceased to maneuver. There was no fire and it didn't blow up. I left him and told Bnaya to go in. Yoeli went in, but he was out of bullets. Bnaya went in, but that same second the MiG turned over and, from an altitude of about 1000 feet, dove into the ground at a 90 degree angle and exploded. The pilot did not bail out. I followed him [with my gaze] all the way down to the ground and I saw the pilot sitting inside. Apparently he had been hit, or his controls had completely gone.