Operation Eagle Claw 1980

The disastrous bid to end the Iran hostage crisis

Operation Eagle Claw 1980 cover


A fully illustrated history of the disastrous 1980 attempt to rescue the 53 US Embassy hostages in Tehran, which involved the new Delta Force and a complex series of airlifts, hides and refueling stops in the Iranian desert.

Following months of negotiations after the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran on November 4 1979, President Jimmy Carter ordered the newly formed Delta Force to conduct a raid into Iran to free the hostages. The raid, Operation Eagle Claw, was risky to say the least. US forces would have to fly into the deserts of Iran on C-130s; marry up with carrier-based RH-53D helicopters; fly to hide sites near Tehran; approach the Embassy via trucks; seize the Embassy and rescue the hostages; board the helicopters descending on Tehran; fly to an airbase captured by more US forces; and then fly out on C-141s and to freedom. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly given the complexity of the mission, things went wrong from the start and when the mission was called off at the refueling site at Desert One, the resulting collision between aircraft killed eight US personnel.

This title tells the full story of this tragic operation, supported by maps, photographs, and specially-commissioned bird's-eye-views and battlescenes, which reveal the complexity and scale of the proposed rescue and the disaster which followed.

Table of Contents

Initial Strategy
The Plan
The Raid
The Aftermath
Analysis and Conclusion

Product details

Published Mar 24 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 80
ISBN 9781472837837
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Raid
Short code RAID 52
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Justin Williamson

Justin Williamson is a career US diplomat who has…


Jim Laurier

Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives i…


Johnny Shumate

Johnny Shumate works as a freelance illustrator li…


Alan Gilliland

Alan Gilliland, a contributor to more than 70 Ospr…


Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases

Free US delivery on orders $35 or over