the snare is broken, and we are escaped-Psalms 124:7
Operation Entebbe Shaul Golan with a disguised Mercedes within a Hercules
Hercules Myths and Legends
It was a breezy summer day; global warming was still in the future. The wind caressed the tall building, which didn’t bend under that soft pressure. On that Saturday morning, a little girl was trying to find her house in the concrete jungle far below the watching deck of the skyscraper. Her mother was petrified and failed to alert her daughter that a USAF bomber was approaching the building. This couldn’t be real.
At 9:40 AM Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr. hit the building with his B25 bomber. Very little damage was caused; the building closed for the rest of the weekend, but next Monday it was reopened almost as usual.
This isn’t a futuristic description eulogizing some avant-garde construction technology. It happened on July 28, 1945. The victim was the Empire State Building in New York, which survived even the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The latter fell on September 11, 2001.
Super Hercules—Shimshon Delivery Ceremony
The Western derisive attitude towards sturdy technologies is difficult to understand. Most American skyscrapers constructed since the second half of the 20th Century use a variety of construction techniques based on a combination of light frames and unsafe balancing systems barely capable of keeping the building upright under normal conditions of use.
Beating any of these skyscrapers with a baseball bat may lead to serious damage to the building framework. The tower replacing the Twin Towers is being built using the same principles of its predecessors is another sign something systemic is wrong in America. Americas seemed to have learned nothing from the event—at least on its architectural angles.
The same is true for aircrafts. Most Westerners probably would dismiss the Lockheed C-130 Hercules as an old turboprop military transport aircraft, unworthy of a second look. Yet, sophisticated watchers would recognize the merits of a sturdy technology that have survived more than half a century of military service.
The Hercules performed its first flight in 1954. The Super-Hercules performed its first flight in 1996 and is in operational service since 1999. On June 27, 2013, Israel received its first Super-Hercules.
Rhinoceros and Samson in Syria?
Hercules aircrafts have a long history within the IDF. The picture opening this article shows a Mercedes within a Hercules during Operation Entebbe in 1976. During operations Solomon and Moses, the Karnaf Squadrons (“Karnaf” is Hebrew for “Rhinoceros”) carried thousands of Ethiopians to Israel. The two IAF Hercules Squadrons have carried along the years heavy tasks despite their being perceived as low-tech tools.
The IAF Command probably understood that naming an aircraft “Rhinoceros” is a bit awkward. The old two squadrons are being unified these days. The Super-Hercules would have a new, dedicated squadron and a new code name. “Shimshon” is “Samson” in Hebrew; the Biblical name is derived from “Shemesh,” sun. The new unit, owning three aircrafts, is scheduled to become operative in April 2014.
Israeli media reported that the aircraft would be able to carry 92 fighters or 64 paratroopers. Its undisclosed range is improved as compared with the original aircraft. The delivery ceremony took place in Georgia, where the plane will remain for few months. The reason is that additional, undisclosed technologies are being installed; apparently some of them by IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) and related industries.
Why now? A few days ago, before finding about IAF’s new toy, I published IDF’s Syrian Blitzkrieg. The article started:
“In 1988, Israel conducted what until then was its largest military exercise. ‘Ba’al HaHalomot’ (Dreams’ Owner) was the first and only attempt of the IDF to see if its Vertical Bypass Division could deliver its promise to open a second front for the IDF.* A very young officer in the unit’s headquarters, I was impressed for an unforgettable event: an M-113 troops carrier stuck on the boarding ramp of a Hercules airplane. In the subsequent mayhem, I was troubled by a different issue: when would the exercise be implemented?”
Has the IAF just answered my question?
full version at http://roitov.com/articles/hercules.htm
* Israel occupies a strategic spot. Two important oil pipelines cross its territory. Between 1935 and 1948, the Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline transported crude oil from the oil fields of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa. Nowadays they function with crude oil brought with ships. The point marked H2 in the map is considered strategic by the IDF since it is the largest plain along the pipeline’s path. As mentioned in The Cross of Bethlehem, this is the chosen area for opening a second IDF frontline against a ground attack by means of a vertical bypass. This pipeline may become of immense importance in the new geopolitical scenario developing in the Middle East.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.