- "Holy shit! Knight 3's been hit! ATC, this is Knight 4, I don't have room for takeoff."
- —Maj. Keenan Lotheric The Valais Air Base Bombing, (officially Operation Super Circus), also known as the Valais Air Raid, was a preemptive air strike carried out by the Osean Air Force against the joint Belkan-Ustian Valais Air Base. It was the first official combat sortie of the Osean Continental War. In addition, it was the first direct attack on Valais Air Base since the Belkan War, nearly 30 years prior.
Prior to Operation Super Circus, Valais Air Base had been used as a staging area for the training exercise Warhammer II, also known as Crimson Lance. This exercise, overseen by the Independent State Allied Forces and undertaken by the eastern countries of the Osean Continent, was performed in April-August of 2019. In the years following, the Osean Federation grew increasingly unstable, eventually leading to the assassination of President Vincent Harling at his fourth inauguration
Using the unpredictable weather patterns of the Valais Mountain Range to their advantage, a flight of Osean combat aircraft consisting of three B-52 Stratofortresses, two A-6E Intruders and F-5E Tiger II escort fighters were able to get within considerable distance to Valais, before detection on radar. These bombers, attackers and fighters had been given orders to completely sanitize the airspace surrounding Valais, to provide air dominance for the Free Republic of Osea, which had begun a multi-front offensive against the nations of Ustio, Belka and Sapin.
However, the battle would not be without resistance. After air raid sirens had been sounded, every pilot stationed at the base was ordered to take off and engage the Osean attack force. After strafing runs performed by the A-6's, the only squadron able to get airborne was the 7th Air Division, 22nd Reserve Fighter Squadron, or Knight Squadron. The flight, consisting of three MiG-21Bis' and one F-4E Phantom II, were given clearance to take off and shoot the Osean aircraft down. Just after lifting off, however, Knight 3's aircraft was struck by a bomb, killing her and her Radar-Intercept Officer (RIO) instantly. With this new obstacle, the remaining Knight Squadron pilots were forced to fly over the wreckage of Knight 3's craft. Once in the air, the three pilots were ordered to shoot down all Osean aircraft, and did so with haste, to prevent their base from being destroyed. After the Osean aircraft had been shot down, Knight 4 had been targeted on friendly radar as an enemy craft, despite his and AWACS Spirit Eye's dismissal. Regardless, his aircraft was shot down, and he safely ejected.
While the attack was able to kill Knight 3 and damage several BAF and UAF aircraft, along with two hangars, the total damages to Valais Air Base were superficial, with the base's combat capability still largely intact. After Knight 4 ejected, the pilot was returned to Valais, where it was announced that he had become an Ace, having shot down two B-52's, one F-5 and one A-6E. Afterward, the Belkan Air Command had garnered new confidence in itself.
With this new confidence, the BAF placed its full faith on Knight Squadron, who they believed had proven themselves in combat that day.