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U.S.S. Liberty

AdmiralAttack mapobservation planeUSS LibertyUSS LibertyUSS Libertytorpedo damageUSS LibertyattackdamageUSS Liberty FlagUSS Liberty Memorial

By now everybody on the Liberty was well aware that their ship was being examined very, very carefully. The first thing Ennes did was to order a new flag (measuring five feet by eight feet) to be run up the main mast.

Two planes did not seem to have any markings.

The Noratlas made three more over flights of the Liberty: at 1030 hours – this time passing directly over the Liberty at a very low level, probably not more than 200 feet: and at 1126 hours; and at 1220 hours.

At 1405 hours three Mirages each armed with 72 rockets and two 30-mm cannons appeared at super speed. There was no circling. They unloaded everything they had in 7 minutes. 

After the attack the Liberty had 621 holes in its sides and decks, including over 100 rocket holes six to eight inches wide: and not counting the shrapnel damage.

Twenty minutes later, there was a second air attack by several Mystere fighters. They were slower than the Mirages and therefore they easily dropped canisters of napalm all over the decks of the ship.

Phase two of the attack was executed by three Israeli motor torpedo boats (MTBs) opening up with their 0.20-mm and 0.40-mm guns.  They also fired three torpedoes.   One struck the communications room dead center killing 25 men instantly. 

After this he Liberty was now listing nine degrees and the MTBs were circling slowly, directing their canon fire at the ship’s bridge and any activity that could be seen on the deck and, also, at the ship’s waterline in an apparent effort to explode its boilers.

“Prepare to abandon ship,” was ordered and the lifeboats were lowered.  The MTBs immediately shot the lowered life boats to pieces and then they shot up the life boats that were still on the deck.

Then the MTBs in unison left the boat in formation and positioned themselves five miles away.

 Then two large Israeli SA-321 Super Frelon helicopters slowly circled the stricken ship. Both were clearly marked with a large Star of David.  Their doors were opened and many armed troops could be seen.

The MTBs returned at the same time, accompanied by two unmarked, armed jets.  Then all of a sudden all the attacking military crafts left in a hurry.  The mayday call put out by the Liberty was picked up by the Aircraft carriers the carriers U.S.S. Saratoga and the U.S.S. America .  There were eight jet fighters on their way to destroy all attackers. 

The Saratoga’s planes were hardly in the air when McNamara’s voice was heard over Sixth Fleet radios, “Tell the Sixth Fleet to get those aircraft back immediately!”

Fortunately there were no further attacks.