Alternate History

Recife disaster (Napoleon's World)

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The Recife disaster is the name generally attributed to a military incident that occured on October 9, 1985 during the NATO assault on the region surrounding the city of Recife in northeastern Brazil. Part of Operation Blue Dawn, which outlined the full operational movement of Colombian forces from Teresina and Fortaleza east and southeast towards Recife, the incident involved a miscommunication with a fighter-bomber squadron of United States Navy F-14 Tomcats which flew into a highly concentrated area of anti-aircraft defenses, with all fourteen planes being shot down, most by surface-to-air missile batteries and three by Brazilian S-17 interceptor fighters stationed at Camarajibe Air base outside of the city.

An attempted US Navy rescue mission staged from the USS John Hancock failed, with one helicopter being shot down and the other two being forced to retreat. One of the six F-14's flying cover for the helicopters was shot down as well.

The Recife disaster was the worst single aviation loss suffered by the United States since the Pacific War and prompted the continued withdrawal of American logistical and aerial support for the Brazilian War, at least for several months. American aerial support of Colombian and ERB forces resumed in July of 1986, although by then American aerial involvement was significantly limited due to a lessened need.

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