Cold War on Cold War: Mirage IIIE vs U-2 Dragon Lady. June 1967. Historical Scenario.
A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Mediterranean Battleset and the HCDB2-170909 (or later) 1980-2025 era Platform Database. This scenario is designed with Advanced Scenario Editor Build 2017.013 and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.
This scenario is designed to be played from the Red/France side or from the Blue/US-UK side. You should play a few times first the Red side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Blue side.
Image: Article 389, serial no. 56-6722; Last of the original batch of U-2A Dragon Lady aircraft, on display at the USAF Museum. From late 1965 all (both USAF and CIA operational airframes) were painted Black Velvet colour, for visual spectre and slightly antiradar effects, and very probably this was the aspect of the very similar and probable U-2F intercepted by Pessidous, save adding two leading edge auxiliary fuel tanks and in-flight refuelling, boom type (U.S. Air Force Museum took by a serviceperson on duty and in consequence in public domain, and from Wikipedia Commons).
This is a very very tiny scenario simply developed from historical facts.
CIA and USAF clandestine U-2 flights in the Cold War were not only developed over potential enemies, also over doubtful allies.
Charles de Gaulle, as WWII reputed saviour of France, on his 1959-1969 presidential terms constructed an independent nuclear deterrent force for his country, improved the conventional forces and military industry, and quits the integrated NATO chain of command in 1966. In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO's integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France (including now almost forgotten USAF bases). Eventually some forty years later France announced its return to full participation from 2009.
As consequence some others allied countries decide to learn more about the real French capabilities.
Are relatively well known the U-2 carrier operations in French territories in the Pacific Ocean (Operation Fish Hawk, May 1964, two U-2G based on USS Ranger (CV-61) to overfly Mururoa Atoll waiting for the first French H-Bomb test), and are mentioned in the 2013 declassified (and disappointing) CIA's U-2 book, from page 247, but are not these operations over France.
Apparently after previous flights the high point of these was June 1967, when a Mirage IIIE piloted by Roger Pessidous equipped with the option of a auxiliary SEPR 844 rocket engine photographed probably a U-2F almost sure near Dijon and the CEA Valduc nuclear warheads facility, ending the U-2 overflies of France.
As relevant side note outcome of this scenario, the Mirage IIIE was introduced in April 1965 (Escadron de Chasse 2/13 "Alpes"), but only from 1968 in the Dijon-Longvic based 2e Escadre de Chasse (Escadron de Chasse 1/30 "Alsace", and the very famous Escadron de Chasse 1/2 "Cicognes"), employing Mirage IIIC yet in 1967, and the SEPR 844 rocket engine was introduced only in 1967. In consequence the Pessidious' Mirage IIIE in this operation was very probably a test aircraft, not integrated in the regular units and probably unarmed.
But if the things had gone wrong ...
Enrique Mas, August 22, 2021.