Under Enemy Fire: New exclusive video from attack helicopter shows how Mali War began

Launched on Jan. 11, 2013, at the request of the Malian authorities and the United Nations, the French operation in Mali kicked off with a raid performed by attack helicopters to stop the progression of a column of jihadist elements in the center of the country.

10 months later, footage recorded during the first moments of Operation Serval, recorded on the very first day by the French Army and obtained by France2 has emerged.

The first action was led by Gazelle helicopters with the 4ème Régiment d’Hélicoptères des Forces spéciales (RHFS), armed with HOT missiles and 20 mm caliber guns.

During the raid, one of the choppers was hit and forced to land, a French pilot was deadly wounded by small arms fire.

The scenes of the opening attack by Gazelle and Cougar helicopter are part of an exceptional film that shows the progress of the French military in northern Mali, the hunt for Islamist fighters , the destruction of their positions in the mountains or in the desert.

H/T to Mars Attaque Blog for the heads-up

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.