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The Raid on the Baja oil platform was a fictional military operation launched by the United States military, against paramilitary forces associated with the criminal organisation, SPECTRE. Led by CIA operative, Felix Leiter, six American helicopters attacked a W.W. Petroleum oil platform that served as a satellite control facility, under the command of Ernst Blofeld. The battle occurred in the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds are Forever.

Background

Circa 1971[1], Ernst Stavro Blofeld kidnapped and assumed the place of reclusive billionaire, Willard Whyte; using the industrialist's considerable resources to construct an orbital directed energy weapon designed by Professor Dr. Metz. While Metz naively believed the weapon to be a means of securing world peace, Blofeld intended to blackmail the superpowers - auctioning off nuclear supremacy to the highest bidder. After being forced to retreat to the safety of his satellite control centre (an ostensibly Whyte-owned oil platform off the coast of Baja California) Blofeld gained the world's attention by destroying nuclear arsenals in China, the Soviet Union and the United States.

Raid

Bond travelled to the oil platform and was captured in an attempt to sabotage the weapon. With no response from the international community, Blofeld trained the weapon on Washington DC. Shortly afterwards, the spy managed to untether a weather balloon to signal his waiting American allies. From Whyte's private helicopter, Felix Leiter led a squadron consisting of two Bell UH-1 Iroquois and three Hughes OH-6A Cayuses against Blofeld's force of approximately thirty men armed with Madsen M50s (plus unarmed technicians). In addition, the rig was equipped with four concealed Oerlikon 20mm cannons and at least two Browning M2 Aircraft machine guns.

During the attack, the Cayuses repeatedly hit the rig with rocket projectiles; whilst the pair of UH-1s strafed the platform with machine gun fire from their door-mounted Browning M1919s. At least 30 SPECTRE ground troops were killed by the bombardment, with the Americans losing a UH-1 and a Cayuse. In the ensuing chaos, Blofeld abandoned his men and attempted to escape using a midget submarine, but Bond gained control of the submarine's launch crane and repeatedly rammed the sub into the satellite control room. The onslaught culminated in the rig violently exploding; cutting the connection with the satellite and effectively neutralising it. Confirmed survivors included Bond and jewel smuggler, Tiffany Case.

According to the film's producers, Blofeld was originally planned to escape in the vessel; with Bond pursuing him, hanging from a weather balloon.[2] However, due to budget constraints, the film's conclusion had to be severely curtailed.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Lamont, Peter [2015] (1st Nov 2016). The Man with the Golden Eye: Designing the James Bond Films (in English). Signum Books, p.47. ISBN 0995519110. “Dr. Metz's security pass is dated 7/5/71.” 
  2. Oil Rig Attack: Diamonds Are Forever Ultimate Edition, Disc 2 [DVD]. MGM Home Entertainment.
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