Aircraft and Armor of the Suez Canal Crisis


NorthWest Scale Modelers (NWSM) is an informal scale-modeling club based out of Seattle’s Museum of Flight. This internationally renowned museum is located on Boeing Field in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. The club has a very experienced and knowledgeable membership that is responsible for maintaining a themed display of mostly scale aircraft models located at the entrance to the “Wings Café”: the museums glass-walled restaurant affording diners a great view of the airports active runway.


The theme of this display was the aircraft (and some armor) that participated in the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. This short conflict entailed the use of a broad range of aircraft on all sides that included RAF Hunters, and Canberra’s, Egyptian Mig-17’s and Meteor’s, French Corsairs and F-84’s, and Israeli B-17’s and P-51’s. This eclectic collection of aircraft, some wearing the yellow and black stripes of the Israeli/Anglo-French coalition, made for a striking display.


The Combatants:


Egypt’s air force was equipped with older British jets, as well as newer Russian designs, with which its pilots were still becoming familiar. Due to Egypt’s inability to control the skies above their territory, British and French air strikes destroyed many Egyptian aircraft on the ground.


Israel began its attack with a daring paratrooper drop deep inside the Sinai. It’s experienced pilots provided capable support to their ground forces despite the large numbers of obsolescent WWII designs they flew. Effective airpower helped the Israeli’s capture the entire peninsula in just four days.


High-altitude British bombers attacked Egyptian airfields from Cyprus and Malta with poor results. Tactical fighter-bombers, launched from aircraft carriers and land bases proved more effective in destroying the Egyptian Air Force in a few days. Ground forces quickly joined the battle by parachute or helicopter.


French paratroopers were dropped onto key areas around the North end of the canal while carrier-borne fighter-bombers provided effective ground support. French Fighters were also responsible for protecting Israeli airbases; some even repainted with Israeli insignia.

The Aircraft: