Warfare Suez Crisis, 1956: The War of Stripes By Tom Cooper

Dr.Yahia Al Shaer

Mi Sergeant
MI.Net Member
Sep 14, 2020
Suez Crisis 1956..
Rare topics and details
copied from ACIG Webdomain

Important notice / remark

Its a pity, that the great "older version" of Internet Domain "ACIG", is nomore accessable.

That domain, had published, excellent topics, not only about the Middle East, but also about
the other many many world conflicts.

Those topics, were enriched, with rare photos, and graphics about those conflicts and in particular
the super excellent graphics of the deployed and applied Aircrafts ( Fighters, bombers ans others

It is my great plreasure, to republish their - special topcs - abut the Suez War 1956.

I must document, that the source origin of all these and complementing topics to be published in
this chapter here, are extracted from ACIG. http://www.acig.org

Suez Crisis, 1956: The War of Stripes
By Tom Cooper
Sep 24, 2003, 19:56



Suez Crisis, 1956: The War of Stripes
By Tom Cooper
Sep 24, 2003, 19:56

National Markings

In 1956 the Egyptian combat aircraft still wore the green-white-green colors, as already since the time before Egypt became a republic, in 1952. The roundel – carried in the six standard positons – consisted of a green center, with a white crescent and three white stars. The back of the mond was always turned towards the nose of the aircraft. The middle field of the roundel was white, and the outside was in green. Carefull observation of available pictures shows that the roundels on such aircraft like MiG-15, MiG-17, and Il-28 were of exactly the same size. They were, however, also smaller than usually described – or offered on decals of different manufacturers – when compared to the aircraft. Many drawings also place them in wrong place: the usual mistake is putting them too far forward (and too large) on the fuselages of MiG-15/17s and Il-28s, and also too close to the wingtips.

This seems to be based on the fact that on older aircraft – foremost the Vampires and Meteors – the roundels on the wings were indeed slightly larger than those carried on the booms or fuselage, respectively: in the case of the Vampires the reason was simply the diameter of the booms. On Sea Furies, this was not the case, and he roundels on the fuselage and the wings were in the same size.
All Egyptian combat aircraft and helicopters carried the fin flash, which consisted of green-white-green fields.

Camouflage Colors
Most of the Egyptian aircraft – especially those delivered from the USSR and Czechoslovakia – were left either bare metal overall, or – in the case of fighters delivered from the UK – painted silver-grey overall. There was only one exception between the combat aircraft operational in 1956: the Meteor NF.Mk.13 night-fighters, operated by the #10 Squadron, were painted Medium Sea Grey (BS637) overall, with camouflage in Dark Green (BS641) in standard camouflage pattern for this type (the same as used on examples operated by the RAF and other NATO air forces) on upper surfaces. The only other camouflaged aircraft in Egyptian service were Lancaster bombers, which by 1956 were completely obsolete and in the process of being retired. Painted in Medium Sea Grey (BS637) on upper surfaces and sides, and Matt Black (BS642) underneath, the Lancasters also wore no identification stripes.

Identification Stripes
All Egyptian fighters – including the older types now used as advanced trainers, such like Spitfires and Sea Furies – have got identification stripes around the fuselage and wing-tips. On Spitfires, Sea Furies, and Meteors, the identification stripe on the fuselage was white, some 40 to 50cm wide, and outlined with a 5cm wide green stripe on each side. The Vampires had no white stripe, but only the two 5cm green stripes, distanced some 40cm from each other. Neither bombers – such as Il-28s and Lancasters – nor helicopters had any identification stripes, and it seems that also the light training aircraft, foremost the Gomhouria T.Mk.1s, had no stripes either, although the newly-delivered Yak-11s and Zlins are known to have got them.

The MiG-15s and MiG-17s have also not got the white stripes on the fuselage. Instead, the MiG-17s carried 8cm wide black stripes, spaced by at some 40cm, while the MiG-15s carried 5cm wide black stripes, probably also spaced by 40cm.

All the fighters in Egyptian service also carried identification stripes applied around the wings (both on undersurfaces and upper sides), and here some uncertainties exist. All the types known to have carried such stripes on the wings – including MiG-15s, MiG-17s, Vampires, and Meteors (possibly also Sea Furies) – carried three such stripes: the two outside ones were 5cm wide, and the middle one 8cm. The total width of all three stripes with the spacing between them was 52cm. All three stripes were black: although some sources indicate they were green – or even red – no such reports could be confirmed, and photographic evidence shows these stripes to always have been darker than the green color of the national markings. The only difference between the stripes carried by various types in service with the EAF was that in the case of the Meteors the space between the stripes was also painted white.

There was, however, a difference in the placement of the wing-tip stripes: MiG-15s and MiG-17s carried them at an angle of 45° from the fuselage. On Vampires and Meteors they were painted parallel to the fuselage, albeit, in the case of Vampires the flaps were left free.

On Egyptian fighters produced in the UK serials were applied in European digits, and repeated – usually directly above – in Arabic characters. All serials were painted in Black, even if in some cases the color faded slightly due to the effects of the sun and sand. Of the Czech- and Soviet-built aircraft initially delivered to EAF, only the Il-28s and training aircraft were serialed: MiG-15s and MiG-17s initially carried none, or only very small four-digit construction numbers stenciled underneath the tailplanes. There are some uncertainties about the exact serials carried by different aircraft, and also few unknowns, therefore here all the known examples for different types, as well as closer explanations.

EAF East Zone
- 5 Sqn, (12 aircraft), on Fayd

Meteor F.Mk.4: Originally five Meteor F.Mk.4s were ordered, of which two were delivered in January 1950. The order was then enlargened to 12, with the remaining following by May of the same year. The first five examples delivered to EAF carried serials 1401 thru 1405, the following seven 1406 thru 1412, and the last four 1415 thru 1418. All were operated by the 20th Sqn, based at Almaza, before that unit transferred to MiG-15s. It is known that the 1410 survived the war in 1956.


Meteor T.Mk.7: a total of three was ordered initially, but only one example was confirmed as being delivered, and this was serialed “1400”. The remaining two examples, plus three additional from RAF stocks, should have been delivered in September 1955, and serialed 1413, 1414, and 1439 thru 1441, but this remains unconfirmed. The serials were carried in European and Arabic digits above each other, between the roundel and the identification stripes on the rear fuselage. Initially, it had only two black identification stripes, but these were later replaced by the “standardized” white stripe, outlined with two green stripes.

Meteor F.Mk.8: a total of 19 were ordered in October 1949, plus five more in December 1950, but the deliveries were suspended in the same year. Instead, in December 1952 four exRAF aircraft were refurbished and delivered in February 1953. Of the remaining eight, four were then sold to Brazil, and four to Israel. Only in 1955 were eight exRAF additional examples delivered to Egypt. The serials should have been 1415 thru 1426 (1424 was shot down by the Israelis on 31 October 1956, and another example was lost during British or French attacks on the ground).

- 20 Sqn MiG-15, (15), on Kibrit: no specific details known.


- 30 Sqn MiG-15, (15), on Abu Swayr: no specific details known

- 31 Sqn Vampire FB.52, (18), on Kasfareet:


- 40 Sqn Vampire FB.52, (10), on Fayd: The first Vampires for EAF (actually, at the time it was still the Royal Egyptian Air Force) were delivered from DeHavilland, in the UK, and all painted in silver-grey overall. They carried two 8cm black stripes on the booms, and the standard three stripes on the wing-tips, parallel to the fuselage, but discontinued over the flaps. The original serials in European style were carried - in black - between the roundel and the identification stripes, but later applied also in Arabic style between the identification stripes. They should have carried serial numbers 1500 thru 1547 and 1570 thru 1581, however, it is unknown how many were exactly delivered from the UK. Between 1952 and 1955 additional examples were purchased in Italy, after Egypt and the UK could not agree about the project for their licence production at Heluwan (the works were already built, but so much time spent with negotiations, that finally the Egyptians were not interested producing what was meanwhile an obsolete design). The first 13 Italian-built Vampires were at best recognizible by their large black anti-glare pannels in front of the cockpit, and they carried the serials 1524 thru 1537. The exact serials carried by the aircraft 14 thru 58 remain unknown, although it is believed that these were 1548 thru 1569, and from 1581 upwards. For example, the aircraft 1567 and 1569, shot down by Israeli interceptors on 25 August 1955, were almost certainly Italian-built examples.


At al-Arish also a number of remarkably realistic wooden mock-up Vampires were parked around the airfield. One of them was serialled "1582".

- FTU Meteor F.Mk.4/F.Mk.8, (14), on Fayd: a small number of Meteors from the 5th Sqn were based on Fayd, where they were used for advanced training; no specific details about their markings are known.

- MiG OTU MiG-15UTI, (between 6 and 12), on Fayd: bare metal overall, no identification stripes carried, no other specific details known.

- Il-28 OTU Il-28 (20) on Luxor: no specific details known, but it is possible that some of the aircraft that carried the letters instead of serials (see bellow, in description of 8 or 9 Sqn) belonged actually to this unit.


EAF, Central Zone
- 1 Sqn MiG-17, (between 6 and 12), on Almaza:
MiGs delivered to EAF in 1955 and 1956 carried only very small four-digit serials, possibly – but far from certainly – based on the construction numbers, applied on the engine inspection plates and underneath the tailplanes. Therefore hardly any are known. In the case of the MiG-15s, only one exception is known, the example 2703, in which case the serial was applied to engine inspection cowling. In the case of MiG-17s, only two examples flown by the 1st Sqn from Almaza are known, 8044 and 8047.


- 2 Sqn Vampire FB.52, (15), on Cairo West:
no specific details known.
Vampire T.Mk.55: natural metall overall, Dayglo-Orange stripe instead of the identification strip on the boom, on it the black serial in Arabic digits only: 1422


Sea Fury FB.11: silver-grey overall, known serals were 701, 702, 703, Initially operated by the 1st, stationed at Almazah, then by the 2nd Sqn EAF, stationed at al-Arish, the Sea Furies finally ended as reserve and training aircraft.


- 3 Sqn C-47 (20) on Almaza: no specific details known.

- 4 Sqn Beechcraft and misc. other, (number unknown), on Dekhlia: no specific details known.

- 7 Sqn C-46, (20), on Almaza: Natural metall overall, black serial behind the roundel on the rear fuselage: 1001 (crashed near Cairo, in February 1953).

- 8 & 9 Sqn Il-28, (29), on Inchas: early after their delivery to EAF, these bombers seems to have carried single letters as their only identification markings. The photographs taken in autumn 1955 show them being marked – for example – as A, E, F, and N. This practice was obviously discontinued as the number of delivered airframes increased. Later on, they have got the standard EAF serials consisting of four digits. Known examples are 1712, 1714, 1716, and 1729, on which the serials were applied underneath underneath the cockpit, slightly above the middle of the fuselage.

- 10 Sqn Meteor NF.13, (5), on Almaza: All were painted in Medium Sea Grey/Dark Green over, and Aluminium under. Six night-fighters were ordered for EAF, and delivered iin 1954. The serials were 1427 thru 1432. The airframe with serial 1438 was also reported as being prepared for delivery to Egypt, but noting more is known about this aircraft.

- 11 Sqn Il-14, (20), on Almaza: Silver overall. Except national no other markings but small black serial on the rear fuselage: 1101 (personal aircraft of President Nasser, shot down by Israeli Meteor NF.Mk.13 on th enight of 28/29 October 1956).

Flying Academy at Bilbeis
- Yak-11:
sky-blue overall, with yellow fuselage and wing bands. Serials – probably 500 thru 530 – were applied in black on the fuselage band. One of the known examples is 524.

- He Gomhouria T.Mk.1 (Bücker Bü.181): over 300 of these light trainers were build under licence at the works in Heluwan. Aluminium overall, roundel on the rear fuselage, and national colors on the fin.

- Unknown Unit, forward deployed on al-Arish:
Mraz Sokol: silver-grey overall, large roundel and the flash on the fin with a large black serial in between, sooty engine cowling: 311 (shot-up and captured by the Israelis on al-Arish AB), 322 (captured intact at al-Arish).

Other aircraft and helicopters the deployment of which remains unknown:
Mi-1: color unknown (see picture in the article "Suez Crisis, 1956").

- S-51 Dragonfly: silver-grey overall, roundel on the boom, and it the small black code F-10 (former REAF Royal Flight)

- Halifax A.Mk.9
As the 8th and 9th Sqn EAF were in the process of re-equipping with Il-28s, Egyptian Halifax and Lancaster bombers were apparently not operational any more at the time of the Suez Crisis. Nevertheless, they could be found on different airfields: at least five Lancasters are known to have been destroyed by FAA fighter-bombers at Cairo West alone.

Egyptian Halifax A.Mk.9 were sold as "demilitarized" aircraft to Egypt, without any armament. Their civilian registrations and REAF (later EAF) serials were:

G-ALVM=REAF 1161 (the last Halifax A.9 produced, the RT938)

REAF has also purchased "demilitarized" Lancaster bombers. Their RAF serials and REAF (later EAF) serials were:
PA476=REAF 1801
PA441=REAF 1802
SW308=REAF 1803
TW894=REAF 1804
PA435=REAF 1805
PA391=REAF 1806
TW890=REAF 1807
SW313=REAF 1808
TW656=REAF 1809

The exact details about their camouflage painting are unclear. According to one version, Egyptian Halifax and Lancaster bombers were painted in Medium Sea Grey (BS637) over, and Matt Black (BS642) under. According to other version, Halifax bombers had also Dark Green color in addition to Medium Sea Grey on upper surfaces. Roundels were carried in six places: on both upper and underside of the wings, and - somewhat smaller - on both sides of the fuselage. As both sales were kept secret, in several cases, the crescent moon and stars were overpainted in green before delivery, in order to keep their destination unclear. National flash was carried on the fin. REAF/EAF serials were carried in white, in front of the fin, and construction numbers right underneath. Before delivery also civilian registrations were applied in white, slightly larger than the REAF serials; these were removed once the aircraft arrived in Egypt.

The following artwork depicts EAF Halifax A.Mk.9 "1161":


In 1950, REAF also acquired 19 reconditioned Spitfire F.Mk.22s. These were painted in like Sea Furies, but carried no white or green bands around the fuselage, and their REAF (later EAF) serials were applied in black, on the fuselage in front of the fin. Egyptian Spitfire F.Mk.22s - few of which were still operational in October 1956 - were:

PK541=REAF 680
PK435=REAF 681
PK484=REAF 682
PK512=REAF 683
PK598=REAF 685
PK374=REAF 686
PK502=REAF 687
PK517=REAF 688
PK562=REAF 689
PK600=REAF 690
PK390=REAF 691
PK509=REAF 692
PK327=REAF 693
PK524=REAF 694
PK319=REAF 695
PK314=REAF 696
PK323=REAF 697
PK516=REAF 698
PK356=REAF 699

Older aircraft, such like Spitfire F.Mk.IXs, Fiat G.55s, etc., carried camouflage colors as at the time of their delivery: for example, the Spitfires (most of which were already inoperational by 1956) and Fiats were left in Light Stone (BS361)/Very Light Stone (BS366).



Shortly before the Suez Campaign, in 1956, the IDF/AF went through a series of considerable reorganizations as large numbers of jet fighters were acquired from France. Several units transferred from one aircraft type to the other within a relatively short period of time. Consequently – and despite efforts to standardize the camouflage patterns and the application of serials, but also because of the efforts to conceal the exact number of available aircraft – camouflage patterns were changed, and also only a very small number of aircraft wore squadron insignia. Quite a few examples are known about aircraft from the same unit being painted – or left bare metal overall – in several different patterns. Nevertheless, by late October 1956 the camouflage pattern of Pale Pinkish Tan (or “Pale Sand”)/Slate Blue over, and Pale Grey under became pretty widespread, even if quite a few aircraft wore Green instead of Slate Blue. All the Meteors and most of the Ouragans were left in bare metal overall.

National Markings
The “Star of David” was carried usually on six positions. All Mosquitoes had their roundels outlined in blue.

Identification Stripes
Identification stripes were applied on Israeli aircraft only on 1 and 2 November 1956, and usually in a completely different manner than on British or French aircraft. Several Mystére IVAs were seen carrying narrow yellow-black-yellow-black-yellow stripes, like applied on French Mystéres.

Ramat David
- 69 Sqn (res.)B-17 (2 in reserve):
bare metal overall, no other details are known. By October 1956 only two remained operational, both of which were meanwhile fitted with chin and ventral turrets (missing in 1948). One was also fitted with nose radar for the maritime patrol role.

- 105 Sqn, P-51D Mustang (13): Slate Blue (or Dark Green)/Pale Sand over, Pale Grey under, white serial on the rear fuselage: 19 (shot down on 31. October), 42 (unknown if Slate Blue or Dark Green used), 53 (Slate Blue/Pale Sand over, wearing invasion stripes; damaged by 30mm AA shell on 2 November),

- 110 Sqn (res.):
Mosquito FB.Mk.VI:
The exact number of Mosquito FB.Mk.VIs purchased for IDF/AF goes into several dozens (a total of 80 Mosquitoes of all marks were acquired between 1949 and 1956), and initially two units were equipped with them. Aluminium overall, roundel outlined with blue black serial on the rear fuselage: 2112, 2113, 2114. Squadron insignia was carried on the doors on the right side of the cockpit.

Mosquito T.Mk.33: Some 14 exRoyal Navy aircraft were acquired by the Israelis in 1954 and 1955. Pale Sand/Slate Blue over, Pale Grey under, invasion stripes on the rear fuselage, no serial could be seen; Aluminium overall, black serial on the rear fuselage: 39.

Mosquito T.Mk.III: Three examples of this training version were purchased in 1951 from France. Light Grey overall, spinners in an unknown color (red or black), black serial on the rear fuselage: 63.
(total of 13 planes)

- 119 Sqn Meteor NF.Mk.13: Tan/Dark Green over, Pale Grey under, black radome, white serial on the rear fuselage: 50 (shot down the EAF Il-14 on the night of 28/29 October 1956).

- EC.3/2/199 Sqn Mystére IVA, (18 French fighters): “proper” invasion 1ft (33cm) stripes in yellow and black on the rear fuselage and mid wings. Red lightning bolt/flash along the fuselage, black code on the mid-fuselage: 2-SF, 2-SR (EC.3/2).

- EC.1/2 Cigones/201 Sqn Mystére IVA (18 French fighters): yellow lightning - outlined in black - along the fuselage, black code on mid-fuselage: 2-EG, E-EL.

- 147 Sqn (res.) Kaydet (training, liaison):
no specific details known.

- EC.1/1 Corse (and several aircraft of the EC.1/3 Navarre) /200 Sqn, F-84F Thunderstreak (18 French fighters):
invasion strips on the rear fuselage in front of the roundel, three red diagonal strips over the fin and the rear fuselage, red ring around the intake, red wingtips, Israeli markings, US serial in black on the fin, code in black on the nose with the last letter repeated in the middle of the fin: (5)29109/1-NX. Diagonal green stripes on the fin, with US serial and the last letter of the code: (5)2110/1-PX.


Tel Nov
- 103 Sqn
Pale Tan/Green over, Pale Grey under, no other markings;
C-47/DC-3/Dakota (total of 19 planes): Pale Tan/Green over, Paley Grey under, small serial on the rear fuselage: 04.

- 115 Sqn
Meteor T.Mk.7:
Aluminium overall small black serial on the rear fuselage: A (for “Aleph”), 13, 15.

Mosquito PR.Mk.XVI (5): At least seven Mosquito PR.Mk.XVIs were purchased by Israel between 1948 and 1951 (from France) as well as from the UK (in 1956). By ale Sand/Slate Blue over, Pale Grey under, invasion stripes on the rear fuselage and wings, black serial on the rear fuselage: 90 (w/o after emergency landing after recce mission over Syria, in November 1956); Light Grey overall, black serial on the rear fuselage: 69.

This unit also operated several Mosquito F.Mk.XXXs (night-fighter version), about which no specific details are known.

- 116 Sqn P-51D Mustang (16): Pale Sand/Slate Blue over, Pale Grey under, invasion strips on the rear fuselage and the wings, white serials on the rear fuselage: 04, 38, 56, 71 (made emergency landing due to mechanical problem on 4 September 1956), notgelandet wegen eines technischen Defekts am 4. September 1956); 73 (shot down near Ras Nasrani on 2 November), 146


- 117 Sqn (11 aircraft in total)
Meteor F.Mk.8:
First aluminium overall, and then Tan/Dark Green over, aluminium under and around the cockpit hood, white serial on the rear fuselage: 11; Aluminium overall, small black serial on the rear fuselage: 05, 205, 212.


Meteor FR.Mk.9: no specific details known.

- 101 Sqn Mystére IVA (16 operational):
Bare metall overall, black serial behind the cockpit and on the top of the fin: 26, 44, 50, 52, 81 (the first, the second and the last with invasion stripes; No. 44 also wore a "kill-marking" for an Egyptian MiG shot down in 1956, in the form of an immitation of the EAF roundel of the time); Dark Green/Tan over, Pale Grey under, white serial on the nose: 09; Pale Sand/Mid Brown/Dark Green over, Pale Grey under, white serial on the nose: 62; Pale Sand/Brown over, Paley Grey under, white serial on the nose: 93. Bare metall overall, red bolt along the whole fueslage, black serial under the cockpit and the fin: 630.


- 113 Sqn Ouragan (22): Bare metall overall, large black serial underneath the cockpit: 5642 (coded 4.X.FRB during the transfer). Bare metall overall, invasion stripes on the rear fuselage, black serial under the cockpit: 28; Pale Sand/Slate Blue over, Pale Grey under, Sharkmouth on the nose (later also seen in Tan/Dark Green over, Pale Grey under, with white, and then black serial under the cockpit): 29; Pale Sand/Slate Blue over, Pale Grey under, white serial under the cockpit: 383 (repeated black on the fin), 49, 53; bare metall overall, black serial under the cockpit and on the top of the fin: 56; Bare metall overall, sharkmouth on the nose, black serial underneath the cockpit: 44, 59. During the fighting in 1956 almost all the aircraft carried also a red „lightning“ on the drop tanks.


Beersheba & Eilat
- 100 Sqn Piper PA/L-18 Cub (15):
Pale Tan/Slate Blue over, probably Pale Grey under, white serials between the roundel and the fin, (proper) invasion stripes right behind the cockpit: 47 (damaged by MiG-15 attack on 30 October), 55, 67.

- 140 Sqn T-6 Harvard (17):


Suez Crisis, 1956: The War of Stripes
By Tom Cooper
Sep 24, 2003, 19:56

Great Britain

During the final preparations for onslaught against Egypt, on 31 October and 1 November almost all RAF aircraft have got “invasion stripes” as well. This decision was based on a similar order from the days of the Allied invasion in Normandy, in 1944, when all the involved aircraft have got similar stripes in order to make their recognition easier. The main reason for the application of the “invasion stripes” in the case of aircraft involved in the Operation Musketeer, however, was the interception of several RAF bombers and recce aircraft on 31 October and the morning of 1 November, which made it clear to the British that, due to the EAF remaining active, and a large number of pretty similar-looking aircraft being used on both sides, an easy mean of recognition was needed.

The original order for the application of the invasion stripes was for three yellow strips, with two black strips in the middle, each 1ft (33cm) wide – on smaller aircraft. Larger aircraft were to get the stripes in the same order, but 2ft wide. Helicopters and Valiant bombers were not to be marked in this way (although the Vickers Company later re-touched invasion stripes on several pictures of Valiants that took part in attacks against Egypt).
As result of the order, all the British aircraft – regarding if RAF or Fleet Air Arm (FAA) – gave got the stripes, but their application varied considerably.

UK (Cyprus)
RAF Akrotiri

Due to the lack of Yellow paint on Cyprus, the RAF had to improvise. Therefore, all the aircraft stationed there have got 2ft wide stripes in a mix of Middle Stone (taken from Army depots) and Golden Yellow. In most cases the stripes were very hastily applied with brush: no forms, and no sprays were used (in descriptions bellow, the numbers in brackets designate the number of aircraft attached to the unit; it must be remarked, however, that this is very provisional, as during the campaign it was usual for different crews to use aircraft from other units).

- 6 Sqn, Venom FB.Mk.4, (16): Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green over, PR-Blue under: WR379, WR382/C (damaged during attack on Kibrit, on 1 November), WR400/R, WR404/X (flown by Sqn. Ldr. Peter Ellis into attack aganst Kasfareet and Kibrit, on 1 November, and then against Abu Swayr), WR408, WR410/N, WR413, WR436, WR440, WR472, WR473/U, WR474, WR476, WR477, WR479, WR481.

- 8 Sqn Venom, FB.Mk.4, (16): Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green over, PR-Blue under. Serials of aircraft belonging to 8 Sqn were often over-painted: WR376/Y, WR399/T, WR405/B, WR428, WR432/R, WR445, WR446/S, WR473/U (damaged by AAA on 1 November), WR480, WR484, WR485/C, WR487/A, WR488, WR489/D, WR501, WR505/B (p.242), WR509 (flown by Sqn. Ldr. Blyth into attack against Abu Swayr on 1 November, then against Kasfareet and Kibrit), WR528, WR532/R, WR548.

- 249 Sqn, Venom FB.Mk.4, (15): Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green over, PR-Blue under. White code on the nose: WR298, WR375, WR398/H, WR412/T, WR420/T, WR439, WR443/Y, WR444/E, WR487, WR489/D, WR492/U (destroyed EAF Meteor on Abu Swayr, on 1 November, while flown by Flg. Off. Dave Williams), WR497/B, WR499/V (flown by Sqn. Ldr. Maitland into attack against Kibrit, on 1 November), WR502, WR504/Z, WR506/W (flown by Flt.Lt. Charlie Slade into CAP on 1 November), WR507/S, WR527/C, WR529, WR531/R, WR533/F.
Drop tanks of all Venoms were silver overall.

- 1 Sqn, Hunter F.Mk.5, (12): Dark Sea Grey/Dark Green over, Aluminium under, black serial on the rear fuselage, invasion strips ahead of the roundel on the rear fuselage, squadron insignia on the nose, code in black on the fin and the flaps: WP180/F, WP188/X.

- 34 Sqn, Hunter F.Mk.5, (12): camouflage and markings as above, invasion strip behind the roundel on the rear fuselage: WP124, WP130/S, WP132/T, WP136/N, WP142/w, WP185/E.

- 13 Sqn:
Canberra PR.Mk.7, (should be 7 planes, but some aircraft and crews of the 58 Sqn were added, as well as T.Mk.4s of the 61 Sqn): Aluminium overall, squadron number in red on the rear fuselage, 30cm strips applied roughly over the serial: WE137, WH775, WH799 (ex58 Sqn, shot down 8 November over Syria, while flown by Flt. Lt. Hunter/Flg. Off. Urquart-Pullen/; Urquart-Pullen KIA), WH801 (damaged by EAF MiG-15 on 1 November, while flown by Flg.Off Jim Campbell and Flg.Off. R. J. Toseland), WJ821, WT548.

Canberra T.Mk.4: WJ858 (13 Sqn), WT479 (61 Sqn).

- 39 Sqn, Meteor NF.Mk.13, (8): Medium Sea Grey/Dark Green over, Medium Sea Grey under, black serial, code in white on the fin: WM317/J (39. Sqn).

RAF Nicosia
- 10 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.2, (should be 8, but 9 serials available):
Medium Sea Grey/Light Slate Grey over, PR Blue or Light Slate Grey under, white serials, squadron insignia on the drop tanks: WH640 (white-black-white-black-white stripes), WH646, WH665, WH667, WH668, WH672, WH853, WJ518, WJ975,

- 15 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.2, (8): Aluminium overall, black serials on the rear fuselage: WD951, WD961, WD980, WF916 /returned to UK), WH724, WJ976, WK107, WK132, XA536 (replacement aircraft).

- 18 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.2, (8 target markers): WH919, WJ648, WJ719, WJ728, WJ733, WJ751, WJ752, WJ753.

- 27 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.2, (8): Medium Sea Grey/Green over, Light Slate Grey under: WH729, WH732 (flown by Wg. Cdr. Peter Helmore in raid against Radio Cairo, on 2 November), WH742, WH860, WJ578, WJ604, WJ723, WK112.


- 44 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.21 (8): aluminium overall, squadron insignia (white pheasant) on the fin: WH178, WH717, WH718, WH959, WH967.

- 61 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.2 (should be 10, but 11 serials available): aluminium overall, squadron crest on the nose: WH724, WH740, WH907, WH908, WH910, WH915 (failed to start on 30 October due to nose wheel retracting while still on the ground), WH918, WH951, WJ636, WJ642, WJ647.

- 139 (Jamaica) Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.6(BS) (12 target markers): black and yellow strip on the fin: WJ767, WJ768, WJ773, WJ774, WJ776, WJ778, WT302, WT306, WT369, WT370, WT371 (damaged in action, crashed on 6 November in Nicosia, killing the crew), WT372.

RAF Tymbou
- 30 Sqn, Valetta C.1:

- 84 Sqn, Valetta C.1: VW196, VW202/C, VX562.

- 114 Sqn, Valetta C.1: bare metal overall, black serial on the fuselage and code on the fin: VW150, VW161, VW811, VW817, VW844, VW850/850, WJ496.

- 70 Sqn, Hastings C.1/C.2: TG535, TG577, TG612, TG621, TG665, WJ328.

- 99 Sqn, Hastings C.1/C.2: WD497 (pooled aircraft with the 511 Sqn).

- 511 Sqn, Hastings C.1/C.2: white upper sides and roof, bare metall lower sides and under, blue bolt along the fuselage, title ROYAL AIR FORCE TRANSPORT COMMAND in black on the upper side of the fuselage, squadron number in a diamond on the fin: TG510, TG531, TG551, TG604/GAC, WD475/GAQ, WD495/GAN, WJ329/JAM.

UK (Malta)
RAF Luqa
- 138 Sqn, Valiant B.Mk.1 (8):
Aluminium overall, black serial, squadron insignia on the nose: WP215, WP220, WZ363, WZ 384, WZ400, WZ401, WZ402.

- 148 Sqn, Valiant B.Mk.1 (5): XD816 (bombed Almaza on 30 October), XD815, XD816 (flown by Flt.Lt. Dave Blomeley DFC AFC on 30 October), XD817, XD819.

- 207 Sqn, Valiant B.Mk.1 (6): WP219, WZ304, WZ404, WZ405, XD812, XD813.


- 214 Sqn, Valiant B.Mk.1, (5): WZ377, WZ379, WZ393, WZ395, WZ397

- 12 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.6, (should be 7, 9 serials available, of which two are for an aircraft that was replaced, and its replacement): squadron insignia (red fox) on the fin: WH951, WH954, WH956 (returned to UK 27 October), WH958, WH963, WH965, WH968 (replacement), WH970, WH971.

- 101 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.6, (8): aluminium overall, flash on the nose, squadron insignia on the fin: WH945, WH948, WJ756, WJ758, WJ760, WJ761, WJ762, WJ764.

- 109 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.6, (7): WH977, WJ771, WJ772, WJ781 (flown by Flt. Lt. I. N. Wilson on 1 November), WJ782, WJ783, WT210, WT303.

- 37 Sqn Shackleton MR.2: no specific details known.

- 38 Sqn Shackleton MR.2: no specific details known.

HMS Falcon/RNAS Hal Far
Note: some other Canberra-equipped units were also stationed on this base, but not on permanent basis.
9 Sqn, Canberra B.Mk.6, (7): aluminium overall, squadron insignia on the fin, red bolt and small Union Jack on the nose: WH961, WH969, WH972, WH973, WH974, WH977, WH981, WH995, WT205.

RAF in Jordan
The British units stationed in Jordan were based there as a precaution for the case of a larger conflict with Israel. They did not participate in the fighting against Egypt.
RAF Amman

- 32nd Sqn Venom FB.Mk.1: no specific details known.

With exception of helicopters and Skyraiders, all the FAA aircraft were camouflaged in Extra Dark Sea Grey over, and Sky under. Squadron insignia was almost always carried on the nose or bellow the cockpits. Carrier codes (J for HMS Eagle, Z for HMS Albion, and B or O for HMS Bulwark) were carried in black or white on the fin. The crews of FAA squadrons took great care to apply the Invasion stripes properly and carefully around the serials on the fuselage and the wings. In some cases this took so long, that several aircraft were noticed on which there was enough time only to apply yellow stripes. One such example is the NAS 800 Sea Hawk FB.5 XE391/109Z from HMS Albion.

HMS Eagle (J)
NAS 830, Wyvern S.Mk.4 (9):
codes were overpainted by invasion stripes: VZ758/376, WN325/373, WN328/374, WN330/379, WP337/378, WP338/377.

NAS 892, Sea Venom FAW.Mk.21: WW154/448J, WW190, WW277/447, WW286/452.

NAS 893, Sea Venom FAW.Mk.21 (9): aircraft carried no carrier codes: WW149, WW193/096, WW205/090, WW206, WW208, WW209, WW212, WW218/092, WW223/098, WW261, WW256/094, WW270, WW281/095 (flown by Lt.Cdr. Joh Willcox, hit 1 C-46 but then damaged and Flt.Off. Olding (RAF) injured), WW282, WW285/091, WW287.

NAS 897, Sea Hawk FGA.Mk.6 (11): WV907/190 (flown by Lt. Cdr. Rawborne on 1 November attack against blockship in Suez Canal), XE340, XE362/194, XE367/197, XE271/199, XE377/195, XE379, XE381/192, XE388, XE439/200, XE441/198, XE448/191.

NAS 899, Sea Hawk FGA.Mk.6: WM928/461, WM944/458, WN111/466, XE364/485, XE382, XE383, XE387, XE392/490, XE399/468, XE401/492, XE402/486, XE404, XE447, XE457/487.

NAS 849, Flight A Skyraider AEW.Mk.1: The FAA purchased a total of 50 Syraider AEW.1s. Glossy Sea Blue overall, white code and serial on the fuselage, white carrier code on the fin, 30cm stripes: WJ954/417J, WV181/414.

SAR Flight, Whirlwind HAR.Mk.3 (2): The unit was deployed in three flights on three different carriers. Embarked were helicopters: WV199/T, WV203/V, WV204/Q, WV205/W, WV220/Y, WV222/P, WV223/U, WV224/S, XJ400/X, XG587/Z.

HMS Albion (Z)
NAS 800, Sea Hawk FGA.Mk.4 (12):
XE391/109, XE400/107, XE411/108, XE435/104 (flown by Lt. Cdr. Tibby into attack against Bilbeis on 1 November 1956), XE436/103, XE437/102, XE438/105, XE454/101, XE455/100.

NAS 802, Sea Hawk FB.Mk.3 (11): WM911, WM922/132 (lost 24 October), WM938/131, WM963/136, WM971/133 (lost 5 November), WM977, WM979, WM995 (damaged by AAA while flown by Lt. John Ford, on 2 November 1956; shown on the artwork bellow), WM996/135, WN109/139, WN118/137, WV995/138.


NAS 809, Sea Venom FAW.Mk.21: Squadron insignia on the nose, black code on the fin under the carrier code in white on a red field: XG620/226, XG665, XG669/224, XG677/225, XG670/220 (Lt. Cdr. Ron Shilcock/Lt. John Hackett lead strike against Almaza, damaged 5 MiG-15s on 1 November), XG673/227, XG677/225, XG679/220 (lost 1 October 1956)

NAS 849, Flight C Skyraider AEW.1: WT947/422, WV178/424.

SAR Flight, Whirlwind HAR.Mk.3 (2): no specific details known.

HMS Bulwark (B or O)
NAS 804, Sea Hawk FGA.Mk.6:
XE365/171, XE378/168, XE383/166, XE389/162, XE392/163, XE393/164, XE394/165, XE396/167, XE407/160, XE409/161, XE461/170.
WM944/?, WN115/466B,

NAS 810, Sea Hawk FGA.Mk.4: Code in White on Red fin: XE405/232, XE333/233B, XE335/234, WV796/?, XE403/238 (flown by Lt. Cdr. Peter Lamb into attack against Cairo West, destroyed 1 Il-28), XE375/239.

NAS 895, Sea Hawk FB.Mk.3: WM928/460, WM923/457, WM926/461, WM937/?, WM962/465.

Ship’s Flight, Avenger AS.Mk.4/5 (2 COD): Glossy Sea Blue overall, white codes on the fuselage, carrier code on the fin: XB373/981B.

SAR Flight Dragonfly HR.Mk.3 (3): WG720/984, WG750/985, WP502/983.

HMS Theseus
NAS 845, Whirlwind HAS.22:
Extra Dark Sea Grey over, Sky under, black serial, code in white on the nose: WV204/P.

HMS Ocean
JHU, Whirlwind HAR.2:
Dark Green/Brown overall, white code and serial on the fuselage: XJ764/7, XJ765/8, XK968/9, XK969/10, XK970/11, XK986/12.

Sycamore HC.14: Dark Green/Brown overall, white code and serial on the fuselage: XG500/1, XG502/2, XG507/3, XG515/4, XG523/5, XG548/6.


Suez Crisis, 1956: The War of Stripes
By Tom Cooper
Sep 24, 2003, 19:56

Armée de’l Air

All aircraft of the French Air Force were left in bare metal overall.

Invasion Stripes
A large percentage of French aircraft – especially the F-84Fs - have got their stripes applied in haste and very crudely. Also, due to the lack of Yellow paint on Cyprus, all the Thunderstreaks that have got the invasion stripes (quite a number has not got any) have got 1ft (33cm) stripes in (from forward to the rear of the aircraft) White-Silvergrey-White-Black-Yellow, or, in the case of most RF-84Fs, Yellow-Silvergrey-White-Black-Yellow.

Armée de’l Air
- EC.1/1 Corse, F-84F (unkn.):
1ft invasion stripes in White-Silvergrey-White-Black-Yellow, three red strips diagonally over the fin, serial on the fin, code on the nose, unit insignia behind the cockpit, and French markings: (5)28068/1-NF, (5)29102/1-NL, (5)28903/1-NA, (5)280943/1-NM; invasion strips in white-silver grey-yellow-black-yellow: (5)28903/1-NA, (5)289111/1-N?, (5)28914/1-NK.


- EC.1/3 Navarre, F-84F (18): (5)29030/3-HK (flown by Cde. Payen, CO EC.3/3), (5)28946/3-HN, (5)29370/3-HR.

- EC.2/3 Champagne, F-84F (6): code in black on the nose, unit insignia behind the cockpit, details about other markings unknown, (5)28899/3-I?, (5)28947/2-IV, (5)29520/3-IS.

- EC 3/1 Argonne, F-84F (attached to other units): three wide green stripes diagonally over the fin, very thin (around 6in/12-15cm) invasion stripes in yellow-black-yellow-black-yellow around the rear fuselage, immediately behind the airbreake, US serial retained and the last letter of the code – in black - on the fin: (5)29034/1-PJ; details about other markings unknown: ?/1-PP; crudely applied 1ft stripes around the rear fuselage and mid wing: (5)27300/1-PW.


- EC.3/3 Ardennes, F-84F (18): invasion stripe in white-silvergrey-white-black-yellow: (5)28842/3-VW, (5)28848/3-??, (5)28885/3-??, (5)28947/3-VI, (5)28953/3-VH, (5)29075/3-VS, (5)29078/3-VN, (5)29079/2-VX.


Other F-84Fs known to have participated in the Operation “Musketeer”, albeit not known with which units:
(5)27205, (5)28955

- ER 1/33 Belfort, RF-84F (all temporarily attached to "ER.4/33"): bare metal overall, invasion stripes in yellow-black-white-black-yellow: (5)1-1709/33-CF, (5)27285/33-CR, (5)27300/33-CC, (5)27327/33-CP, (5)27395/33-CO, (5)2????/33-CJ


- ER.2/33 Savoie, RF-84F (5): 27325/33-OD

- ER.3/33 Moselle, RF-84F: bare metal overall, invasion stripes in yellow/black/white/black/yellow: (5)27321/33-DG, (5)27325/33-DD, (5)27329/33-DH.

- ET 1/61 Touraine, Noratlas (10):
Bare metal overall, invasion stripes on the booms, black code on the boom: 123/61-ET;

- ET 2/61 Maine, Bréguet 761S (?): Bréguet white roof and aluminium the rest, black code on the rear fuselage: 61-PD (also similarly painted aircraft of the same type, as well as some 763s, belonging to Air France, Sud-Est Armagnacs of SAGETA, and some other civilian aircraft were used for troop transport).

- ET 3/61 Poitou, Noratlas (10): bare metal overall, invasion stripes on joint of booms and fin, squadron insignia behind the cockpit: 09/61-QH, 61-QV.

- ET 1/62 Algérie, Noratlas (10 + 5 Dakotas): no specific details known.

- ET 2/62 Sénégal: no specific details known.

- ET 2/64 Anjou: "properly" applied 2ft black and yellow stripes around the rear boom and mid wing, white "C" on fin in blue circle: 64-KC.

All French naval aircraft were painted in Glossy Sea Blue overall. Although this color was already dark enough, the crews took the order for the application very seriously, and applied not only yellow, but also black stripes in a very clearn manner. There were only very few exceptions from this rule. All aircraft had the unit code sprayed in white on the rear fuselage. The French national colors were applied on the rudder.

- 14F, F-4U-7 Corsair:
The F-4U-7 was an all-levels variant specially produced after WWII for French requirements, and during the 1950s 94 became operational with four combat and three training units of the French naval aviation. Unit insignia (arrow-launching Poseidon) was applied on the fin: 1333720/14:F.2 (no invasion stripes at all); 133690/14.F.9 (no black stripes, only yellow); 14:F.10 ("proper" invasion stripes).

- 9F, 10 TBM-3W2 and TBM-3S Avenger: The French purchased no less but 140 TBM-3Es, TBM-3S/3S5s, TBU-3Us, and TBM-3W2s, and these were operated by 4F, 6F, and 9F during the 1950s. The 9F was the only unit involved in the Suez Campaign. The aircraft had the unit insignia (white swan on light blue mond) on the fin: 9.F.14, 9.F.15.

- 23S, HUP-2 Pedro (2): unit code on the rear-engine cowling: 23.S.7.

- 15F, F4U-7 Corsair (18):
unit insignia (white skull with red scarf and black eye-cover on irregular black field on the fin): 133654/15.F.11 ("proper" stripes, went overboard during landing on LaFayette, on 2 November), 15.F.13, 15.F.17.

- 14F (section), F-4U-7 Corsair (4): for details, see under Arromanches; only the code of one these four Corsairs is known: 14.F.7.

- 23S, HUP-2 Pedro (2): no specific details known.

1st Fighter Squadron:
- Meteor T.Mk.7:
Two T.7s, serialed 91 and 92 were accepted by SyAF on 10 June 1950, at Moreton Valence, but their delivery was postponed by arms-embargo, and instead they were turned to France. In September 1952, two exMoS Meteors were refurbished and sold to the SyAF instead.

- Meteor F.Mk.8: 12 Meteor F.8s were delivered to Syria between December 1952 and March 1953, and were later followed by seven exRAF examples, refurbished before delivery.

- Meteor FR.Mk.9: Two FR.9s (exRAF WB133 and WX972) were refurbished and delivered to Syria in 1956 as well.

? Night Fighter Squadron
- Meteor NF.Mk.13:
Syria has got six night-fighters, serialled 471 thru 476, equipping a single night-fighter squadron, about which almost nothing is known, except that it transferred to MiG-17PFs in the early 1960s.


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Dr. Yahia Al Shaer

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