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The Man Who Saved Korea BY THOMAS FLEMING

The Man Who Saved Korea

Matthew B. Ridgway, who brought a beaten Eighth Army back from disaster in 1951, was a thinking—and fighting—man’s soldier.

IF YOU ASKED A GROUP OF AVERAGE AMERICANS to name the greatest American general of the twentieth century, most would nominate Dwight Eisenhower, the master politician who organized the Allied invasion of Europe, or Douglas MacArthur, a leader in both world wars, or George C. Marshall, the architect of victory in World War II. John J.
Pershing and George S. Patton would also get a fair number of votes. But if you ask professional soldiers that question, a surprising number of them will reply: “Ridgeway.”
When they pass this judgment, they are not thinking of the general who excelled as a division commander and an army corps commander in World War II.
Many other men distinguished themselves in those roles. The soldiers are remembering the general who rallied a beaten Eighth Army from the brink of defeat in Korea in 1951.
THE SON OF A WEST POINTER who retired as a colonel of the artillery, Matthew Bunker Ridgeway graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1917.
Even there, although his scholastic record was mediocre, he was thinking about how to become a general. One trait he decided to cultivate was an ability to remember names. By his first-class year, he was able to identify the entire 750-man student body.
To his dismay, instead of being sent into combat in France, Ridgeway was ordered to teach Spanish at West Point, an assignment that he was certain meant the death knell of his military career.
(As it turned out, it was probably the first of many examples of Ridgway luck; like Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, he escaped the trench mentality that World War I experience inflicted on too many officers.)
Typically, he mastered the language, becoming one of a handful of officers who were fluent in the second tongue of the western hemisphere.
He stayed at West Point for six years in the course of which he became acquainted with its controversial young superintendent, Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, who was trying in vain to stop the academy from still preparing for the War of 1812.
In the 1920s and ’30s, Ridgeway’s skills as a writer and linguist brought him more staff assignments than he professed to want—troop leadership was the experience that counted on the promotion ladder.
But Ridgeway’s passion for excellence and commitment to the army attracted the attention of a number of people, notably that of a rising star in the generation ahead of him, George Marshall. Ridgeway served under Marshall in the 15th Infantry in China in the mid-1930s and was on his general staff in Washington when Pearl Harbor plunged the nation into World War II.
As the army expanded geometrically in the next year, Ridgeway acquired two stars and the command of the 82nd Division.
When Marshall decided to turn it into an airborne outfit, Ridgeway strapped on a parachute and jumped out of a plane for the first time in his life. Returning to his division, he cheerfully reported there was nothing to the transition to paratrooper.
He quieted a lot of apprehension in the division—although he privately admitted to a few friends that “nothing” was like jumping off the top of a moving freight train onto a hard roadbed.

Dropped into Sicily during the night of July 9, 1943, Ridgeway’s paratroopers survived a series of snafus. Navy gunners shot down twenty of their planes as they came over the Mediterranean from North Africa.
In the darkness their confused pilots scattered them all over the island. Nevertheless, they rescued the invasion by preventing the crack Hermann Göring panzer division from attacking the fragile beachhead and throwing the first invaders of Hitler’s Fortress Europe into the sea.
In this campaign, Ridgeway displayed many traits that became hallmarks of his generalship. He scored a rear-area command post.
Battalion and even company commanders never knew when they would find Ridgeway at their elbows, urging them forward, demanding to know why they were doing this and not that.
His close calls with small- and large-caliber enemy fire swiftly acquired legendary proportions. Even Patton, who was not shy about moving forward, ordered Ridgeway to stop trying to be the 82nd Division’s point man. Ridgeway pretty much ignored the order, calling it “a compliment.”
FROM PATTON, RIDGEWAY ACQUIRED ANOTHER COMMAND HABIT: the practice of stopping to tell lower ranks—military policemen, engineers building bridges—they were doing a good job. He noted the remarkable way this could energize an entire battalion, even a regiment.
At the same time, Ridgeway displayed a ruthless readiness to relieve any officer who did not meet his extremely high standards of battlefield performance. Celerity and aggressiveness were what he wanted. If an enemy force appeared on a unit’s front, he wanted an immediate deployment for flank attacks. He did not tolerate commanders who sat down and thought things over for an hour or two.

In the heat of battle, Ridgeway also revealed an unrivaled capacity to taunt the enemy. One of his favorite stunts was to stand in the middle of a road under heavy artillery fire and urinate to demonstrate his contempt for German accuracy. Aides and fellow generals repeatedly begged him to abandon this bravado. He ignored them.
Ridgeway’s experience as an airborne commander spurred the evolution of another trait that made him almost unique among American soldiers—a readiness to question, even to challenge, the policies of his superiors.
After the snafus of the Sicily drop, Eisenhower and other generals concluded that division-size airborne operations were impractical. Ridgeway fought ferociously to maintain the integrity of his division.
Winning that argument, he found himself paradoxically menaced by the widespread conclusion that airborne assault could solve problems with miraculous ease.
General Harold Alexander, the British commander of the Allied invasion of Italy, decided Ridgeway’s paratroopers were a God-given instrument for disrupting German defense plans. Alexander ordered the 82nd Airborne to jump north of Rome, seize the city, and hold it while the main army drove from their Salerno beachhead to link up with them.
Ridgeway was appalled. His men would have to fly without escort—Rome was beyond the range of Allied fighters—risking annihilation before they got to the target.
There were at least six elite German divisions near the city, ready and willing to maul the relatively small 82nd Airborne. An airborne division at this point in the war had only 8,000 men.
Their heaviest gun was a 75 pack howitzer, “a peashooter,” in Ridgeway’s words, against tanks. For food, ammunition, fuel, transportation, the Americans were depending on the Italians, who were planning to double-cross the Germans and abandon the war.

Ridgeway wangled an interview with General Alexander, who listened to his doubts and airily dismissed them. “Don’t give this another thought, Ridgeway. Contact will be made with your division in three days—five at the most,” he said.
RIDGEWAY WAS IN A QUANDARY. He could not disobey the direct orders of his superior without destroying his career. He told his division to get ready for the drop, but he refused to abandon his opposition, even though the plan had the enthusiastic backing of Dwight Eisenhower, who was conducting negotiations with the Italians from his headquarters in Algiers.
Eisenhower saw the paratroopers as a guarantee that the Americans could protect the Italians from German retribution.
Ridgeway discussed the dilemma with Brigadier General Maxwell Taylor, his artillery officer, who volunteered to go to Rome incognito and confer with the Italians on the ground.
Ridgeway took this offer to General Walter Bedell Smith, Alexander’s American chief of staff, along with more strenuous arguments against the operation.

Smith persuaded Alexander to approve Taylor’s mission. Taylor and an air corps officer traveled to Rome disguised as captured airrmen and met Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the acting prime minister, who was in charge of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, plans for the drop proceeded at a dozen airfields in Sicily. If Taylor found the Italians unable to keep their promises of support, he was to send a radio message with the code word innocuous in it.
In Rome, Taylor met Badoglio and was appalled by what he heard. The Germans were wise to the Italians’ scheme and had reinforced their divisions around Rome.
The 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division alone now had 24,000 men and 200 tanks—enough firepower to annihilate the 82nd Airborne twice over.
A frantic Taylor sent three separate messages over different channels to stop the operation, but word did not reach the 82nd until sixty-two planes loaded with paratroopers were on the runways warming their engines. Ridgeway sat down with his chief of staff, shared a bottle of whiskey, and wept with relief.
Looking back years later, Ridgeway declared that when the time came for him to meet his maker, his greatest source of pride would not be his accomplishments in battle but his decision to oppose the Rome drop. He also liked to point out that it took seven months for the Allied army to reach the Eternal City.
Repeatedly risking his career in this unprecedented fashion, Ridgeway was trying to forge a different kind of battle leadership. He had studied the appalling slaughters of World War I and was determined that they should never happen again.
He believed “the same dignity attaches to the mission given a single soldier as to the duties of the commanding general. . . . All lives are equal on the battlefield, and a dead rifleman is as great a loss in the sight of God as a dead general.”

Once more, his men had to surmount a mismanaged airdrop in which paratroopers drowned at sea and in swamps and lost 60 percent of their equipment. Ridgeway found himself alone in a pitch-dark field. He consoled himself with the thought that “at least if no friends were visible, neither were any foes.”
Ten miles away, his second-in-command, James Gavin, took charge of most of the fighting for the next twenty-four hours.
The paratroopers captured only one of their assigned objectives, but it was a crucial one, the town of Sainte-Mére-Eglise, which blocked German armor from attacking Utah beach. Ridgway was given a third star and command of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
By this time he inspired passionate loyalty in the men around him. Often it came out in odd ways. One day he was visiting a wounded staff officer in an aid station. A paratrooper on the stretcher next to him said, “Still sticking your neck out, huh, General?” Ridgeway never forgot the remark.
For him it represented the affection one combat soldier feels for another.

Less well known than his D-Day accomplishments was Ridgeway’s role in the Battle of the Bulge.
When the Germans smashed into the Ardennes in late December 1944, routing American divisions along a 75-mile front, Ridgeway’s airborne corps again became a fire brigade. The “battling bastards of Bastogne”—the 101st Airborne led by Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe—got most of the publicity for foiling the German lunge toward Antwerp.
But many historians credit Ridgeway’s defense of the key road junction of Saint-Vith as a far more significant contribution to the victory.
Ridgeway acquired a visual trademark, a hand grenade attached to his paratrooper’s shoulder harness on one side and a first-aid kit, often mistaken for another grenade, on the other strap.
He insisted both were for practical use, not for picturesque effect like Patton’s pearl-handled pistols. In his jeep he also carried an old .30-06 Springfield rifle, loaded with armor-piercing cartridges.
On foot one day deep in the Ardennes forest, trying to find a battalion CP, he was carrying the gun when he heard a “tremendous clatter.” Through the trees he saw what looked like a light tank with a large swastika on its side.
He fired five quick shots at the Nazi symbol and crawled away on his belly through the snow. The vehicle turned out to be a self-propelled gun. Inside it, paratroopers who responded to the shots found five dead Germans.
THIS WAS THE MAN—now at the Pentagon, as deputy chief of staff for administration and training—whom the army chose to rescue the situation in Korea when the Chinese swarmed over the Yalu River in early December 1950 and sent EUSAK (the Eighth U.S. Army in Korea) reeling in headlong retreat.
Capping the disarray was the death of the field commander, stumpy Major General Walton (“Johnnie”) Walker, in a jeep accident. Ridgeway’s first stop was Tokyo, where he was briefed by the supreme commander, Douglas MacArthur.
After listening to a pessimistic summary of the situation, Ridgeway asked: “General, if I get over there and find the situation warrants it, do I have your permission to attack?”

“The Eighth Army is yours, Matt,” MacArthur responded. “Do what you think best.”
MacArthur was giving Ridgeway freedom—and responsibility—he had never given Walker. The reason was soon obvious: MacArthur was trying to distance himself from a looming disaster.
Morale in the Eighth Army had deteriorated alarmingly while they retreated before the oncoming Chinese. “Bugout fever” was endemic. Within hours of arriving to take command, Ridgeway abandoned his hopes for an immediate offensive. His first job was to restore this beaten army’s will to fight.
He went at it with incredible verve and energy. Strapping on his parachute harness with its hand grenade and first-aid kit, he toured the front for three days in an open jeep in bitter cold. “I held to the old-fashioned idea that it helped the spirits of the men to see the Old Man up there in the snow and sleet . . . sharing the same cold miserable existence they had to endure,” he said.
But Ridgeway admitted that until a kindhearted major dug up a pile-lined cap and warm gloves for him, he “damn near froze.
Everywhere he went, Ridgeway exercised his fabulous memory for faces. By this time he could recognize an estimated 5,000 men at a glance. He dazzled old sergeants and MPs on lonely roads by remembering not only their names but where they had met and what they had said to each other.

But this trick was not enough to revive EUSAK. Everywhere Ridgeway found the men unresponsive, reluctant to answer his questions, even to air their gripes.
The defeatism ran from privates through sergeants all the way up to the generals. He was particularly appalled by the atmosphere in the Eighth Army’s main command post in Taegu. There they were talking about withdrawing from Korea, frantically planning how to avoid a Dunkirk.
In his first 48 hours, Ridgeway had met with all his American corps and division commanders and all but one of the Republic of Korea division commanders.
He told them—as he had told the staffers in Taegu—that he had no plans whatsoever to evacuate Korea. He reiterated what he had told South Korean president Syngman Rhee in their meeting: “I’ve come to stay. ”
But words could not restore the nerve of many top commanders. Ridgeway’s reaction to this defeatism was drastic: He cabled the Pentagon that he wanted to relieve almost every division commander and artillery commander in EUSAK.
He also supplied his bosses with a list of younger fighting generals he wanted to replace the losers. This demand caused political palpitations in Washington, where MacArthur’s growing quarrel with President Harry Truman’s policy was becoming a nightmare.
Ridgeway eventually got rid of his losers—but not with one ferocious sweep. The ineffective generals were sent home singly over the next few months as part of a “rotation policy.”
Meanwhile, in a perhaps calculated bit of shock treatment, Ridgeway visited I Corps and asked the G-3 to brief him on their battle plans. The officer described plans to withdraw to “successive positions.”
“What are your attack plans?” Ridgeway growled. The officer floundered. “Sir—we are withdrawing.” There were no attack plans. “Colonel, you are relieved,” Ridgeway said.

That is how the Eighth Army heard the story. Actually, Ridgeway ordered the G-3’s commanding officer to relieve him—which probably intensified the shock effect on the corps.
Many officers felt, perhaps with some justice, that Ridgeway was brutally unfair to the G-3, who was only carrying out the corps commander’s orders. But Ridgeway obviously felt the crisis justified brutality.
As for the lower ranks, Ridgeway took immediate steps to satisfy some of their gripes. Warmer clothing was urgently demanded from the States.
Stationery to write letters home, and to wounded buddies, was shipped to the front lines—and steak and chicken were added to the menu, with a ferocious insistence that meals be served hot.
Regimental, division, and corps commanders were told in language Ridgeway admitted was “often impolite” that it was time to abandon creature comforts and slough off their timidity about getting off the roads and into the hills, where the enemy was holding the high ground.
Again and again Ridgeway repeated the ancient army slogan “Find them! Fix them! Fight them! Finish them!”
As he shuttled across the front in a light plane or a helicopter, Ridgeway studied the terrain beneath him. He was convinced a massive Communist offense was imminent. He not only wanted to contain it, he wanted to inflict maximum punishment on the enemy.
He knew that for the time being he would have to give some ground, but he wanted the price to be high. South of the Han River, he assigned Brigadier General Garrison Davidson, a talented engineer, to take charge of several thousand Korean laborers and create a “deep defensive zone” with a trench system, barbed wire, and artillery positions.
RIDGEWAY ALSO PREACHED DEFENSE IN DEPTH to his division and regimental commanders in the lines they were holding north of the Han.
Although they lacked the manpower to halt the Chinese night attacks, he said that by buttoning up tight, unit by unit, at night and counterattacking strongly with armor and infantry teams during the day, the U.N. army could inflict severe punishment on anyone who had come through the gaps in their line.
At the same time, Ridgeway ordered that no unit be abandoned if cut off. It was to be “fought for” and rescued unless a “major commander” after “personal appraisal” Ridgeway-style—from the front lines—decided its relief would cost as many or more men.
Finally, in this race against the looming Chinese offensive, Ridgeway tried to fill another void in the spirit of his men. He knew they were asking each other, “What the hell are we doing here in this God-forgotten spot?” One night he sat down at his desk in his room in Seoul and tried to answer that question.
His first reasons were soldierly: They had orders to fight from the president of the United States, and they were defending the freedom of South Korea.
But the real issues were deeper—”whether the power of Western civilization, as God has permitted it to flower in our own beloved lands, shall defy and defeat Communism; whether the rule of men who shoot their prisoners, enslave their citizens and deride the dignity of man, shall displace the rule of those to whom the individual and his individual rights are sacred.”
In that context, Ridgeway wrote, “the sacrifices we have made, and those we shall yet support, are not offered vicariously for others but in our own direct defense.”

On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese and North Koreans attacked with all-out fury. The Eighth Army, Ridgeway wrote, “were killing them by the thousands,” but they kept coming.
They smashed huge holes in the center of Ridgeway’s battle line, where ROK divisions broke and ran. Ridgeway was not surprised—having met their generals, he knew most had little more than a company commander’s experience or expertise. Few armies in existence had taken a worse beating than the ROKs in the first six months of the war.
By January 2 it was evident that the Eighth Arrny would have to move south of the Han River and abandon Seoul. As he left his headquarters, Ridgeway pulled from his musette bag a pair of striped flannel pajama pants “split beyond repair in the upper posterior region.” He tacked them to the wall, the worn-out seat flapping. Above them, in block letters, he left a message:
The story swept through the ranks with predictable effect.

The Eighth Army fell back fifteen miles south of the Han to the defensive line prepared by General Davidson and his Korean laborers. They retreated, in Ridgeway’s words, “as a fighting army, not as a running mob.”
They brought with them all their equipment and, most important, their pride. They settled into the elaborate defenses and waited for the Chinese to try again.
The battered Communists chose to regroup. Ridgeway decided it was time to come off the floor with some Sunday punches of his own.
He set up his advanced command post on a bare bluff at Yoju, about one-third of the way across the peninsula, equidistant from the I Corps and X Corps headquarters.
For the first few weeks, he operated with possibly the smallest staff of any American commander of a major army.
Although EUSAK’s force of 350,000 men was in fact the largest field army ever led by an American general, Ridgeway’s staff consisted of just six people: two aides, one orderly, a driver for his jeep, and a driver and radio operator for the radio jeep that followed him everywhere.
He lived in two tents, placed end-to-end to create a sort of two-room apartment and heated by a small gasoline stove. Isolated from the social and military formalities of the main CP at Taegu, Ridgeway had time for “uninterrupted concentration” on his counteroffensive.
Nearby was a crudely leveled airstrip from which he took off repeatedly to study the terrain in front of him. He combined this personal reconnaissance with intensive study of relief maps provided by the Army Map priceless asset.”
Soon his incredible memory had absorbed the terrain of the entire front, and “every road, every cart track, every hill, every stream, every ridge in that area . . we hoped to control . . . became as familiar to me as . my own backyard,” he later wrote. When he ordered an advance into a sector, he knew exactly what it might involve for his infantrymen.

ON JANUARY 25, WITH A THUNDEROUS ERUPTION OF MASSED ARTILLERY, the Eighth Army went over to the attack in Operation Thunderbolt.
The goal was the Han River, which would make the enemy’s grip on Seoul untenable. The offensive was a series of carefully planned advances to designated “phase lines,” beyond each of which no one advanced until every assigned unit reached it.
Again and again Ridgeway stressed the importance of having good coordination, inflicting maximum punishment, and keeping major units intact. He called it “good footwork combined with firepower.” The men in the lines called it “the meat grinder.”
To jaundiced observers in the press, the army’s performance was miraculous. Rene Cutforth of the BBC wrote: “Exactly how and why the new army was transformed…from a mob of dispirited boobs…to a tough resilient force is still a matter for speculation and debate.”
A Time correspondent came closest to explaining it: “The boys aren’t up there fighting for democracy now. They’re fighting because the platoon leader is leading them and the platoon leader is fighting because of the command, and so on right up to the top.”
By February 10 the Eighth Army had its left flank anchored on the Han and had captured Inchon and Seoul’s Kimpo Airfield. After fighting off a ferocious Chinese counterattack on Lincoln’s birthday, Ridgeway launched offensives from his center and right flank with equal success.
In one of these, paratroopers were used to trap a large number of Chinese between them and an armored column. Ridgeway was sorely tempted to jump with them, but he realized it would be “a damn fool thing” for an army commander to do. Instead, he landed on a road in his light plane about a half hour after the paratroopers hit the ground.
M-1s were barking all around him. At one point a dead Chinese came rolling down a hill and dangled from a bank above Ridgeway’s head.
His pilot, an ex-infantryman, grabbed a carbine out of the plane and joined the shooting. Ridgeway stood in the road, feeling “that lifting of the spirits, that sudden quickening of the breath and the sudden sharpening of all the senses that comes to a man in the midst of battle.”
None of his exploits in Korea better demonstrates why he was able to communicate a fierce appetite for combat to his men.

Still another incident dramatized Ridgeway’s instinctive sympathy for the lowliest private in his ranks.
In early March he was on a hillside watching a battalion of the 1st Marine Division moving up for an attack. In the line was a gaunt boy with a heavy radio on his back. He kept stumbling over an untied shoelace. “Hey, how about one of you sonsabitches tying my shoe?” he howled to his buddies. Ridgeway slid down the snowy bank, landed at his feet, and tied the laces.
Fifty-four days after Ridgeway took command, the Eighth Army had driven the Communists across the 38th parallel, the line dividing North and South Korea, inflicting enormous losses with every mile they advanced.
The reeling enemy began surrendering by the hundreds. Seoul was recaptured on March 14, a symbolic defeat of tremendous proportions to the Communists’ political ambitions.
Ridgeway was now “supremely confident” his men could take “any objective” assigned to them. “The American flag never flew over a prouder, tougher, more spirited and more competent fighting force than was the Eighth Army as it drove north beyond the parallel,” he declared.
But he agreed with President Truman’s decision to stop at the parallel and seek a negotiated truce.
In Tokyo his immediate superior General Douglas MacArthur, did not agree and let his opinion resound through the media. On April 11 Ridgeway was at the front in a snowstorm supervising final plans for an attack on the Chinese stronghold of Chörwön, when a correspondent said, “Well, General, I guess congratulations are in order.”
That was how he learned that Truman had fired MacArthur and given Ridgeway his job as supreme commander in the Far East and as America’s proconsul in Japan.
Ridgeway was replaced as Eighth Army commander by Lieutenant General James Van Fleet, who continued Ridgeway’s policy of using coordinated firepower, rolling with Communist counter punches, inflicting maximum casualties.
Peace talks and occasionally bitter fighting dragged on for another twenty-eight months, but there was never any doubt that EUSAK was in Korea to stay.
Ridgeway and Van Fleet built the ROK Army into a formidable force during these months. They also successfully integrated black and white troops in EUSAK.

Later, Ridgeway tried to combine his “profound respect” for Douglas MacArthur and his conviction that President Truman had done the right thing in relieving him.
Ridgeway maintained that MacArthur had every right to make his views heard in Washington, but not to disagree publicly with the president’s decision to fight a limited war in Korea.
Ridgeway, with his deep concern for the individual soldier, accepted the concept of limited war fought for sharply defined goals as the only sensible doctrine in the nuclear age.
After leaving the Far East, Ridgeway would go on to become head of NATO in Europe and chairrnan of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Eisenhower.
Ironically, at the end of his career he would find himself in a MacArthuresque position. Secretary of Defense Charles E. (“Engine Charlie”) Wilson had persuaded Ike to slash the defense budget—with 76 percent of the cuts falling on the army.
Wilson latched on to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s foreign policy, which relied on the threat of massive nuclear retaliation to intimidate the Communists. Wilson thought he could get more bang for the buck by giving almost half the funds in the budget to the air force.
Ridgeway refused to go along with Eisenhower. In testimony before Congress, he strongly disagreed with the administration’s policy.
He insisted it was important that the United States be able to fight limited wars, without nuclear weapons. He said massive retaliation was “repugnant to the ideals of a Christian nation” and incompatible with the basic aim of the United States, “a just and durable peace.”

EISENHOWER WAS INFURIATED, BUT RIDGEWAY STOOD HIS GROUND—and in fact proceeded to take yet another stand that angered top members of the administration. In early 1954 the French army was on the brink of collapse in Vietnam. Secretary of State Dulles and a number of other influential voices wanted the United States to intervene to rescue the situation.
Alarmed, Ridgeway sent a team of army experts to Vietnam to assess the situation. They came back with grim information.
Vietnam, they reported, was not a promising place to fight a modern war. It had almost nothing a modern army needed—good highways, port facilities, airfields, railways. Everything would have to be built from scratch.
Moreover, the native population was politically unreliable, and the jungle terrain was made to order for guerrilla warfare. The experts estimated that to win the war the United States would have to commit more troops than it had sent to Korea.
Ridgeway sent the report up through channels to Eisenhower. A few days later he was told to have one of his staff give a logistic briefing on Vietnam to the president. Ridgeway gave it himself.
Eisenhower listened impassively and asked only a few questions, but it was clear to Ridgeway that he understood the full implications. With minimum fanfare, the president ruled against intervention.
For reasons that still puzzle historians, no one in the Kennedy administration ever displayed the slightest interest in the Ridgeway report—not even Kennedy’s secretary of state, Dean Rusk, who as assistant secretary of state for Far Eastern affairs in 1950–51 knew and admired what Ridgeway had achieved in Korea.
As Ridgeway left office, Rusk wrote him a fulsome letter telling him he had “saved your country from the humiliation of defeat through the loss of morale in high places.”

The report on Vietnam was almost the last act of Ridgeway’s long career as an American soldier. Determined to find a team player, Eisenhower did not invite him to spend a second term as chief of staff, as was customary. Nor was he offered another job elsewhere.
Although Ridgeway officially retired, his departure was clearly understood by Washington insiders as that rarest of things in the U.S. Army, a resignation in protest.
After leaving the army in 1955, Ridgeway became chairman and chief executive officer of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, in Pittsburgh. He retired from this post in 1960 and has continued to live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. At this writing he is 97. [Editor’s note: Ridgeway died at age 98 on July 26, 1993.]
When Ridgeway was leaving Japan to become commander of NATO, he told James Michener, “I cannot subscribe to the idea that civilian thought per se is any more valid than military thought.”
Without abandoning his traditional obedience to his civilian superiors, Ridgeway insisted on his right to be a thinking man’s soldier—the same soldier who talked back to his military superiors when he thought their plans were likely to lead to the “needless sacrifice of priceless lives.”
David Halberstam is among those who believe that Ridgeway’s refusal to go along with intervention in Vietnam was his finest hour. Halberstam called him the “one hero” of his book on our involvement in Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest.
But for the student of military history, the Ridgeway of Korea towers higher. His achievement proved the doctrine of limited war can work, provided those fighting it are led by someone who knows how to ignite their pride and confidence as soldiers. Ridgeway’s revival of the Eighth Army is the stuff of legends, a paradigm of American generalship.
Omar Bradley put it best: “His brilliant, driving uncompromising leadership [turned] the tide of battle like no other general’s in our military history.”
Not long after Ridgeway’s arrival in Korea, one of the lower ranks summed up EUSAK’s new spirit with a wisecrack: “From now on there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a Ridgeway.” MHQ

THOMAS FLEMING is a historian, novelist, and contributing editor of MHQ. He is at present working on a novel about the German resistance to Hitler.

Good News for a change! Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind Well I thought it was funny!

Wow! Theo Sparks has some real Brass ones to post this one!

Hard Nosed Folks Both Good & Bad Leadership of the highest kind Soldiering The Green Machine This great Nation & Its People War

Examples of Major Winters' Leadership – What an Army Line Officer should be like

Now I had been very lucky in my time in Mr Reagan’s Army. As I had for the most part had some pretty good Leadership. But this guy if half the stuff about him is true. Was leagues ahead of them.
It just goes to show, that when the shit hits the fan. Usually Folks like him show up and lead the way.
RIP Sir, as you really earned your pay! Grumpy

Leadership of the highest kind Stand & Deliver

This is what I call a Good Man!

This is when you can tell who is the Stand up guy. Since you just know that he thinks that nobody is looking at him. But still does the right thing for no thought of reward! Grumpy

Dear Grumpy Advice on Teaching in Today's Classroom Leadership of the highest kind War

45 years ago Today – The Yom Kippur War launched against Israel.

Image result for Yom Kippur War
This probably the Closest that the Arabs ever had to destroy the State Of Israel. If it had not been President Nixon standing up to the Soviets / Russians & airlifting guns, ammo & part via the Us Air Force. Plus the brilliant leadership of the Israelis like General Sharon. There probably would not be any Jews left in the Middle East! Grumpy

Yom Kippur War
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Yom Kippur War/October War
Part of the Arab–Israeli conflict and Cold War
Bridge Crossing.jpg
Egyptian forces crossing the Suez Canal on October 7
Date October 6–25, 1973
Location Both banks of the Suez CanalGolan Heights and surrounding regions
Result Israeli military victory[22]

  • Political gains for Egypt and Israel[23]
  • 1978 Camp David Accords
  • The Egyptian army occupied the eastern coast of the Suez Canal with the exception of the Israeli crossing point near Deversoir.[24]
  • The Israeli army occupied 1,600 km2(620 sq mi) of territory on the southwestern coast of the Suez Canal, within 100 km (60 mi) from Cairo, and encircled an Egyptian enclave in the east bank[24]
  • The Israeli army occupied 500 km2(190 sq mi) of the Syrian Bashan, on top of the Golan Heights, which brought it within 30 km (20 mi) of Damascus.[25]
Supported by:

Expeditionary forces:

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
  • 375,000[26]–415,000 troops
  • 1,700 tanks[27]
  • 3,000 armored carriers
  • 945 artillery units[28]
  • 440 combat aircraft

  • 650,000[26]–800,000[29]troops (200,000 crossed)[30]
  • 1,700 tanks (1,020 crossed)[31]
  • 2,400 armored carriers
  • 1,120 artillery units[28]
  • 400 combat aircraft
  • 140 helicopters[32]
  • 104 Navy vessels
  • 150 surface to air missile batteries (62 in the front line)[33]


  • 150,000[26] troops
  • 1,200 tanks
    800–900 armored carriers
  • 600 artillery units[28][34][35]

Expeditionary Forces*:




3,000 troops[40]


  • 914,000–1,067,500 troops
  • 3,430–3,600 tanks
  • 3,900–4,000 armored carriers
  • 1,720 artillery units
  • 452 combat aircraft
  • 140 helicopters
  • 104 navy vessels
  • 150 surface to air missile batteries
Casualties and losses
  • 2,521[41]–2,800[42][43]dead
  • 7,250[44]–8,800[42]wounded
  • 293 captured
  • 1,063 tanks destroyed, damaged or captured[45]
  • 407 armored vehicles destroyed or captured
  • 102–387 aircraft destroyed[46][47]
Egypt: 5,000[42]–15,000[48] dead

  • 8,372 captured[49]



  • 278 dead
  • 898 wounded[50]
  • 13 captured[49]


  • 23 dead
  • 77 wounded[50]


Total casualties:

The Yom Kippur WarRamadan War, or October War (Hebrewמלחמת יום הכיפורים‎, Milẖemet Yom HaKipurim, or מלחמת יום כיפורMilẖemet Yom KipurArabicحرب أكتوبر‎, Ḥarb ʾUktōbar, or حرب تشرينḤarb Tišrīn), also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, was a war fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel. The war took place mostly in Sinai and the Golanoccupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War—with some fighting in African Egypt and northern Israel.[56][57]Egyptian President Anwar Sadat‘s objectives were “to recover all Arab territory occupied by Israel following the 1967 war and to achieve a just, peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”[58]
The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which also occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.[59] Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights respectively. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. Egyptian forces crossed the cease-fire lines, then advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. After three days, Israel had mobilized most of its forces and halted the Egyptian offensive, resulting in a military stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains into Israeli-held territory. Within three days, however, Israeli forces had pushed the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Syria. Within a week, Israeli artillery began to shell the outskirts of Damascus, and Egyptian President Sadat began to worry about the integrity of his major ally. He believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during post-war negotiations; he therefore ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but their attack was quickly repulsed. The Israelis then counter-attacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards the city of Suez in over a week of heavy fighting that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.[61][62]
On October 22, a United Nations–brokered ceasefire unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt’s Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war.
The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab world had experienced humiliation in the lopsided rout of the Egyptian–Syrian–Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War but felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in this conflict. The war led Israel to recognize that, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, there was no guarantee that they would always dominate the Arab states militarily, as they had consistently through the earlier 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Suez Crisis, and the Six-Day War. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The 1978 Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and eventually left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.



The war was part of the Arab–Israeli conflict, an ongoing dispute that included many battles and wars since 1948, when the state of Israel was formed. During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel had captured Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, roughly half of Syria’s Golan Heights, and the territories of the West Bank which had been held by Jordan since 1948.[63]
On June 19, 1967, shortly after the Six-Day War, the Israeli government voted to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a permanent peace settlement and a demilitarization of the returned territories.[64][65][66] It rejected a full return to the boundaries and the situation before the war[67] and also insisted on direct negotiations with the Arab governments as opposed to accepting negotiation through a third party.[68]
This decision was not made public at the time, nor was it conveyed to any Arab state. Notwithstanding Abba Eban’s (Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1967) insistence that this was indeed the case, there seems to be no solid evidence to corroborate his claim. No formal peace proposal was made either directly or indirectly by Israel. The Americans, who were briefed of the Cabinet’s decision by Eban, were not asked to convey it to Cairo and Damascus as official peace proposals, nor were they given indications that Israel expected a reply.[69][70]
The Arab position, as it emerged in September 1967 at the Khartoum Arab Summit, was to reject any peaceful settlement with the state of Israel. The eight participating states – Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, and Sudan – passed a resolution that would later become known as the “three no’s”: there would be no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel. Prior to that, King Hussein of Jordan had stated that he could not rule out a possibility of a “real, permanent peace” between Israel and the Arab states.[71]
Armed hostilities continued on a limited scale after the Six-Day War and escalated into the War of Attrition, an attempt to wear down the Israeli position through long-term pressure. A ceasefire was signed in August 1970.
President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt died in September 1970. He was succeeded by Anwar Sadat. A peace initiative led by both Sadat and UN intermediary Gunnar Jarring was tabled in 1971. Sadat set forth to the Egyptian Parliament his intention of arranging an interim agreement as a step towards a settlement on 4 February 1971, which extended the terms of the ceasefire and envisaged a reopening of the Suez Canal in exchange for a partial Israeli pullback. It resembled a proposal independently made by Moshe Dayan. Sadat had signaled in an interview with the New York Times in December 1970 that, in return for a total withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, he was ready “to recognize the rights of Israel as an independent state as defined by the Security Council of the United Nations.” Gunnar Jarring coincidentally proposed a similar iniative four days later, on 8 February 1971. Egypt responded by accepting much of Jarring’s proposals, though differing on several issues, regarding the Gaza Strip, for example, and expressed its willingness to reach an accord if it also implemented the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. This was the first time an Arab government had gone public declaring its readiness to sign a peace agreement with Israel.[72]
In addition, the Egyptian response included a statement that the lasting peace could not be achieved without “withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories occupied since 5 June 1967.” Golda Meir reacted to the overture by forming a committee to examine the proposal and vet possible concessions. When the committee unanimously concluded that Israel’s interests would be served by full withdrawal to the internationally recognized lines dividing Israel from Egypt and Syria, returning the Gaza Strip and, in a majority view, returning most of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Meir was angered and shelved the document.[73] The United States was infuriated by the cool Israeli response to Egypt’s proposal, and Joseph Sisco informed Yitzhak Rabin that “Israel would be regarded responsible for rejecting the best opportunity to reach peace since the establishment of the state.” Israel responded to Jarring’s plan also on 26 of February by outlining its readiness to make some form of withdrawal, while declaring it had no intention of returning to the pre-5 June 1967 lines. Jarring was disappointed and blamed Israel for refusing to accept a complete pullout from the Sinai peninsula.[74]
Sadat hoped that by inflicting even a limited defeat on the Israelis, the status quo could be altered. Hafez al-Assad, the leader of Syria, had a different view. He had little interest in negotiation and felt the retaking of the Golan Heights would be a purely military option. After the Six-Day War, Assad had launched a massive military buildup and hoped to make Syria the dominant military power of the Arab states. With the aid of Egypt, Assad felt that his new army could win convincingly against Israel and thus secure Syria’s role in the region. Assad only saw negotiations beginning once the Golan Heights had been retaken by force, which would induce Israel to give up the West Bank and Gaza, and make other concessions.
Sadat also had important domestic concerns in wanting war. “The three years since Sadat had taken office … were the most demoralized in Egyptian history. … A desiccated economy added to the nation’s despondency. War was a desperate option.”[75] In his biography of Sadat, Raphael Israeli argued that Sadat felt the root of the problem was the great shame over the Six-Day War, and before any reforms could be introduced, he believed that that shame had to be overcome. Egypt’s economy was in shambles, but Sadat knew that the deep reforms that he felt were needed would be deeply unpopular among parts of the population. A military victory would give him the popularity he needed to make changes. A portion of the Egyptian population, most prominently university students who launched wide protests, strongly desired a war to reclaim the Sinai and was highly upset that Sadat had not launched one in his first three years in office.
The other Arab states showed much more reluctance to fully commit to a new war. Jordanian King Hussein feared another major loss of territory, as had occurred in the Six-Day War, in which Jordan lost all of the West Bank, territory it had conquered and annexed in 1948–49, which had doubled its population. Sadat also backed the claim of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the West Bank and Gaza and, in the event of a victory, promised Yasser Arafat that he would be given control of them. Hussein still saw the West Bank as part of Jordan and wanted it restored to his kingdom. Moreover, during the Black September crisis of 1970, a near civil war had broken out between the PLO and the Jordanian government. In that war, Syria had intervened militarily on the side of the PLO, estranging Hussein.
Iraq and Syria also had strained relations, and the Iraqis refused to join the initial offensive. Lebanon, which shared a border with Israel, was not expected to join the Arab war effort because of its small army and already evident instability. The months before the war saw Sadat engage in a diplomatic offensive to try to win support for the war. By the fall of 1973, he claimed the backing of more than a hundred states. These were most of the countries of the Arab LeagueNon-Aligned Movement, and Organization of African Unity.
Sadat had also worked to curry favour in Europe and had some success before the war. Britain and France sided with the Arab powers against Israel on the United Nations Security Council[when?].[citation needed] The US considered Israel an ally in the Cold War and had been supplying the Israeli military since the 1960s. Henry Kissinger believed that the regional balance of power hinged on maintaining Israel’s military dominance over Arab countries. Kissinger believed an Arab victory in the region would strengthen Soviet influence. Britain’s position, on the other hand, was that war between the Arabs and Israelis could only be prevented by the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and a return to the pre-1967 boundaries. On October 12, nearly one week into the war, the Cypriot government announced that it would “oppose the use of British bases in Cyprus as a springboard against Arab countries”, which further strained Anglo-American relations.[76]

Events leading up to the war

Four months before the war broke out, Henry Kissinger made an offer to Ismail, Sadat’s emissary. Kissinger proposed returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control and an Israeli withdrawal from all of Sinai, except for some strategic points. Ismail said he would return with Sadat’s reply, but never did. Sadat was already determined to go to war. Only an American guarantee that the United States would fulfill the entire Arab program in a brief time could have dissuaded Sadat.[77]
Sadat declared that Egypt was prepared to “sacrifice a million Egyptian soldiers” to recover its lost territory.[78] From the end of 1972, Egypt began a concentrated effort to build up its forces, receiving MiG-21 jet fighters, SA-2SA-3SA-6 and SA-7 antiaircraft missiles, T-55 and T-62 tanks, RPG-7 antitank weapons, and the AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missilefrom the Soviet Union and improving its military tactics, based on Soviet battlefield doctrines. Political generals, who had in large part been responsible for the rout in 1967, were replaced with competent ones.[79]
The role of the superpowers, too, was a major factor in the outcome of the two wars. The policy of the Soviet Union was one of the causes of Egypt’s military weakness. President Nasser was only able to obtain the materiel for an anti-aircraft missile defense wall after visiting Moscow and pleading with Kremlin leaders. He said that if supplies were not given, he would have to return to Egypt and tell the Egyptian people Moscow had abandoned them, and then relinquish power to one of his peers who would be able to deal with the Americans. The Americans would then have the upper hand in the region, which Moscow could not permit.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat

Nasser’s policy following the 1967 defeat conflicted with that of the Soviet Union. The Soviets sought to avoid a new conflagration between the Arabs and Israelis so as not to be drawn into a confrontation with the United States. The reality of the situation became apparent when the superpowers met in Oslo and agreed to maintain the status quo. This was unacceptable to Egyptian leaders, and when it was discovered that the Egyptian preparations for crossing the canal were being leaked, it became imperative to expel the Soviets from Egypt. In July 1972, Sadat expelled almost all of the 20,000 Soviet military advisers in the country and reoriented the country’s foreign policy to be more favourable to the United States. The Syrians remained close to the Soviet Union.
The Soviets thought little of Sadat’s chances in any war. They warned that any attempt to cross the heavily fortified Suez Canal would incur massive losses. Both the Soviets and Americans were then pursuing détente and had no interest in seeing the Middle East destabilized. In a June 1973 meeting with American President Richard Nixon, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had proposed Israel pull back to its 1967 border. Brezhnev said that if Israel did not, “we will have difficulty keeping the military situation from flaring up”—an indication that the Soviet Union had been unable to restrain Sadat’s plans.[80]
In an interview published in Newsweek (April 9, 1973), Sadat again threatened war with Israel. Several times during 1973, Arab forces conducted large-scale exercises that put the Israeli military on the highest level of alert, only to be recalled a few days later. The Israeli leadership already believed that if an attack took place, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) could repel it.
Almost a full year before the war, in an October 24, 1972, meeting with his Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sadat declared his intention to go to war with Israel even without proper Soviet support.[81] Planning had begun in 1971 and was conducted in absolute secrecy—even the upper-echelon commanders were not told of the war plans until less than a week prior to the attack, and the soldiers were not told until a few hours beforehand. The plan to attack Israel in concert with Syria was code-named Operation Badr (Arabic for “full moon“), after the Battle of Badr, in which Muslims under Muhammad defeated the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Egyptian war objectives

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat‘s objectives were “to recover all Arab territory occupied by Israel following the 1967 war and to achieve a just, peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict”.[82] Other than a flurry of Syrian missile attacks on Ramat David airbase and surrounding civilian settlements during the first days of the war,[56] the fighting took place in Sinai and the Golan Heights, territories that had been occupied by Israel since the end of the Six-Day War of 1967, and in the later stages, on the west side of the Suez canal in Egypt and in areas of the Golan beyond those held by Israel prior to the outbreak of war.[83][84][85]

Lead-up to the surprise attack

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Directorate of Military Intelligence‘s (abbreviated as “Aman”) Research Department was responsible for formulating Israel’s intelligence estimate. Their assessments on the likelihood of war were based on several assumptions. First, it was assumed correctly that Syria would not go to war with Israel unless Egypt did so as well. Second, the department learned from Ashraf Marwan, former President Nasser’s son-in-law and also a senior Mossadagent,[86] that Egypt wanted to regain all of the Sinai, but would not go to war until they were supplied MiG-23 fighter-bombers to neutralize the Israeli Air Force and Scud missiles to be used against Israeli cities as a deterrent against Israeli attacks on Egyptian infrastructure.
Since they had not received MiG-23s and Scud missiles had only arrived in Egypt from Bulgaria in late August and it would take four months to train the Egyptian ground crews, Aman predicted war with Egypt was not imminent. This assumption about Egypt’s strategic plans, known as “the concept”, strongly prejudiced the department’s thinking and led it to dismiss other war warnings.
By mid-1973, Aman was almost completely aware of the Arab war plans. It knew that the Egyptian Second and Third Armies would attempt to cross the Suez Canal and advance ten kilometres into the Sinai, followed by armored divisions that would advance towards the Mitla and Gidi Passes, and that naval units and paratroopers would then attempt to capture Sharm el-Sheikh. Aman was also aware of many details of the Syrian war plan. However, Israeli analysts, following “the concept”, did not believe the Arabs were serious about going to war.[87]
The Egyptians did much to further this misconception. Both the Israelis and the Americans felt that the expulsion of the Soviet military observers had severely reduced the effectiveness of the Egyptian army. The Egyptians ensured that there was a continual stream of false information regarding maintenance problems and a lack of personnel to operate the most advanced equipment. The Egyptians made repeated misleading reports about lack of spare parts that made their way to the Israelis. Sadat had so long engaged in brinkmanship that his frequent war threats were being ignored by the world.
In April and May 1973, Israeli intelligence began picking up clear signals of Egypt’s intentions for war, recognizing that it had the necessary divisions and bridging equipment to cross the Suez Canal and a missile umbrella to protect any crossing operation from air attack. However, Aman Chief Eli Zeira was still confident that the probability of war was low.[87]
In May and August 1973, the Egyptian Army conducted military exercises near the border, and Ashraf Marwan inaccurately warned that Egypt and Syria would launch a surprise attack on May 15. The Israeli Army mobilized in response to both exercises at considerable cost. These exercises were to ensure that the Israelis would dismiss the actual war preparations right before the attack was launched as another exercise.

Egyptian and Syrian military exercises

For the week leading up to Yom Kippur, the Egyptian army staged a week-long training exercise adjacent to the Suez Canal. Israeli intelligence, detecting large troop movements towards the canal, dismissed them as mere training exercises. Movements of Syrian troops towards the border were also detected, as were the cancellation of leaves and a call-up of reserves in the Syrian army. These activities were considered puzzling, but not a threat because, Aman believed, they would not attack without Egypt and Egypt would not attack until the weaponry they wanted arrived. Despite this belief, Israel sent reinforcements to the Golan Heights. These forces were to prove critical during the early days of the war.
On September 27 and 30, two batches of reservists were called up by the Egyptian army to participate in these exercises. Two days before the outbreak of the war, on October 4, the Egyptian command publicly announced the demobilization of part of the reservists called up during September 27 to lull Israeli suspicions. Around 20,000 troops were demobilized, and subsequently some of these men were given leave to perform the Umrah (pilgrimage) to Mecca.[88][89] Reports were also given instructing cadets in military colleges to resume their courses on October 9.[87]
On October 1, an Aman researcher, Lieutenant Binyamin Siman-Tov, submitted an assessment arguing that the Egyptian deployments and exercises along the Suez Canal seemed to be a camouflage for an actual crossing of the canal. Siman-Tov sent a more comprehensive assessment on October 3. Both were ignored by his superior.[87]
According to Egyptian General El-Gamasy, “On the initiative of the operations staff, we reviewed the situation on the ground and developed a framework for the planned offensive operation. We studied the technical characteristics of the Suez Canal, the ebb and the flow of the tides, the speed of the currents and their direction, hours of darkness and of moonlight, weather conditions, and related conditions in the Mediterranean and Red sea.”[59] He explained further by saying: “Saturday 6 October 1973 (10 Ramadan 1393) was the day chosen for the September–October option. Conditions for a crossing were good, it was a fast day in Israel, and the moon on that day, 10 Ramadan, shone from sunset until midnight.”[59] The war coincided that year with the Muslim month of Ramadan, when many Arab Muslim soldiers fast. On the other hand, the fact that the attack was launched on Yom Kippur may have helped Israel to more easily marshal reserves from their homes and synagogues because roads and communication lines were largely open, easing the mobilization and transportation of the military.[90]
Despite refusing to participate, King Hussein of Jordan “had met with Sadat and Assad in Alexandria two weeks before. Given the mutual suspicions prevailing among the Arab leaders, it was unlikely that he had been told any specific war plans. But it was probable that Sadat and Assad had raised the prospect of war against Israel in more general terms to feel out the likelihood of Jordan joining in.”[91]
On the night of September 25, Hussein secretly flew to Tel Aviv to warn Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir of an impending Syrian attack. “Are they going to war without the Egyptians, asked Mrs. Meir. The king said he didn’t think so. ‘I think they [Egypt] would cooperate.'”[92] This warning was ignored, and Aman concluded that the king had not told anything that was not already known. Throughout September, Israel received eleven warnings of war from well-placed sources. However, Mossad Director-General Zvi Zamir continued to insist that war was not an Arab option, even after Hussein’s warning.[93]Zamir would later remark that “We simply didn’t feel them capable [of war].”[93]
On the day before the war, General Ariel Sharon was shown aerial photographs and other intelligence by Yehoshua Saguy, his divisional intelligence officer. General Sharon noticed that the concentration of Egyptian forces along the canal was far beyond anything observed during the training exercises, and that the Egyptians had amassed all of their crossing equipment along the canal. He then called General Shmuel Gonen, who had replaced him as head of Southern Command, and expressed his certainty that war was imminent.[94]
On October 4–5, Zamir’s concern grew, as additional signs of an impending attack were detected. Soviet advisers and their families left Egypt and Syria, transport aircraft thought to be laden with military equipment landed in Cairo and Damascus, and aerial photographs revealed that Egyptian and Syrian concentrations of tanks, infantry, and surface-to-air (SAM) missiles were at an unprecedented high. According to declassified documents from the Agranat Commission, Brigadier General Yisrael Lior, Prime Minister Golda Meir’s military secretary/attaché, claimed that Mossad knew from Ashraf Marwan that an attack was going to occur under the guise of a military drill a week before it occurred, but the process of passing along the information to the Prime Minister’s office failed. The information ended up with Mossad head Zvi Zamir’s aide, who passed it along to Zamir at 12:30 am on 5 October. According to the claim, an unfocused and groggy Zamir thanked the aide for the information and said he would pass it along to the Prime Minister’s office in the morning.[86]On the night of October 5/6, Zamir personally went to Europe to meet with Marwan at midnight. Marwan informed him that a joint Syrian-Egyptian attack was imminent.[87] However, Marwan incorrectly told Zamir that the attack would take place at sunset.[95]
It was this warning in particular, combined with the large number of other warnings, that finally goaded the Israeli High Command into action. Just hours before the attack began, orders went out for a partial call-up of the Israeli reserves.[96]
The attack by the Egyptian and Syrian forces caught the United States by surprise. According to future CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he was briefing an American arms negotiator on the improbability of armed conflict in the region when he heard the news of the outbreak of war on the radio. On the other hand, the KGB learned about the attack in advance, probably from its intelligence sources in Egypt.[97]

Lack of Israeli pre-emptive attack

Upon learning of the impending attack, Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir made the controversial decision not to launch a pre-emptive strike.

The Israeli strategy was, for the most part, based on the precept that if war was imminent, Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike. It was assumed that Israel’s intelligence services would give, in the worst case, about 48 hours notice prior to an Arab attack.
Prime Minister Golda Meir, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan, and Chief of General Staff David Elazar met at 8:05 am the morning of Yom Kippur, six hours before the war began. Dayan opened the meeting by arguing that war was not a certainty. Elazar then presented his argument in favor of a pre-emptive attack against Syrian airfields at noon, Syrian missiles at 3:00 pm, and Syrian ground forces at 5:00 pm: “When the presentations were done, the prime minister hemmed uncertainly for a few moments but then came to a clear decision. There would be no preemptive strike. Israel might be needing American assistance soon and it was imperative that it would not be blamed for starting the war. ‘If we strike first, we won’t get help from anybody,’ she said.”[98] Prior to the war, Kissinger and Nixon consistently warned Meir that she must not be responsible for initiating a Middle East war.[99] On October 6, 1973, the war opening date, Kissinger told Israel not to go for a preemptive strike, and Meir confirmed to him that Israel would not.[100]
Other developed nations,[who?] being more dependent on OPEC oil, took more seriously the threat of an Arab oil embargo and trade boycott, and had stopped supplying Israel with munitions. As a result, Israel was totally dependent on the United States for military resupply, and particularly sensitive to anything that might endanger that relationship. After Meir had made her decision, at 10:15 am, she met with American ambassador Kenneth Keating in order to inform the United States that Israel did not intend to preemptively start a war, and asked that American efforts be directed at preventing war. An electronic telegram with Keating’s report on the meeting was sent to the United States at 16:33 GMT (6:33 pm local time).[101][60]
A message arrived later from United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger saying, “Don’t preempt.”[102] At the same time, Kissinger also urged the Soviets to use their influence to prevent war, contacted Egypt with Israel’s message of non-preemption, and sent messages to other Arab governments to enlist their help on the side of moderation. These late efforts were futile.[103] According to Henry Kissinger, had Israel struck first, it would not have received “so much as a nail”.[104][105]
David Elazar proposed a mobilization of the entire air force and four armored divisions, a total of 100,000 to 120,000 troops, while Dayan favored a mobilization of the air force and two armored divisions, totaling around 70,000 troops. Meir chose Elazar’s proposal.[106]

Combat operations

In the Sinai

Wreckage from an Egyptian Sukhoi Su-7 shot down over the Sinai on October 6 on display at the Israeli Air Force Museum.

The Sinai was once again the arena of conflict between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians had prepared for an assault across the canal and deployed five divisions totaling 100,000 soldiers, 1,350 tanks and 2,000 guns and heavy mortars for the onslaught. Facing them were 450 soldiers of the Jerusalem Brigade, spread out in 16 forts along the length of the Canal. There were 290 Israeli tanks in all of Sinai divided into three armored brigades,[107]and only one of these was deployed near the Canal when hostilities commenced.[108]
Large bridgeheads were established on the east bank on October 6. Israeli armoured forces launched counterattacks from October 6 to 8, but they were often piecemeal and inadequately supported and were beaten back principally by Egyptians using portable anti-tank missiles. Between October 9 and October 12 the American response was a call for cease-fire in place.[109] The Egyptian units generally would not advance beyond a shallow strip for fear of losing the protection of their surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries, which were situated on the west bank of the canal. In the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force had pummeled the defenseless Arab armies. Egypt (and Syria) had heavily fortified their side of the ceasefire lines with SAM batteries provided by the Soviet Union, against which the Israeli Air Force had no time to execute a Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses(SEAD) operation due to the element of surprise.[110][111] Israel, which had invested much of its defense budget building the region’s strongest air force, would see the effectiveness of its air force curtailed in the initial phases of the conflict by the SAM presence.
On October 9, the IDF chose to concentrate its reserves and build up its supplies while the Egyptians remained on the strategic defensive. Nixon and Kissinger held back on a full-scale resupply of arms to Israel. Short of supplies, the Israeli government reluctantly accepted a cease-fire in place on October 12 but Sadat refused.[112] The Soviets started an airlift of arms to Syria and Egypt. The American global interest was to prove that Soviet arms could not dictate the outcome of the fighting, by supplying Israel. With an airlift in full swing, Washington was prepared to wait until Israeli success on the battlefield might persuade the Arabs and the Soviets to bring the fighting to an end.[113] It was decided to counterattack once Egyptian armor attempted to expand the bridgehead beyond the protective SAM umbrella. The riposte, codenamed Operation Gazelle, was launched on October 15. IDF forces spearheaded by Ariel Sharon‘s division broke through the Tasa corridor and crossed the Suez Canal to the north of the Great Bitter Lake.
After intense fighting, the IDF progressed towards Cairo and advanced southwards on the east bank of the Great Bitter Lake and in the southern extent of the canal right up to Port Suez. It was important for the Americans that the fighting should be ended, when all parties could still emerge from the conflict with their vital interests and self-esteem intact. Hence they indicated an acceptance of Israeli advance while violating the ceasefire, but the U.S. did not permit the destruction of the Egyptian 3rd army corps.[114] Israeli progress towards Cairo was brought to a halt when the ceasefire was declared on October 24.

Egyptian attack

The 1973 War in the Sinai, October 6–15.

Anticipating a swift Israeli armored counterattack by three armored divisions,[115]the Egyptians had armed their assault force with large numbers of man-portable anti-tankweapons—rocket-propelled grenades and the less numerous but more advanced Saggerguided missiles, which proved devastating to the first Israeli armored counterattacks. Each of the five infantry divisions that was to cross the canal had been equipped with RPG-7rockets and RPG-43 grenades, and reinforced with an anti-tank guided missile battalion, as they would not have any armor support for nearly 12 hours.[116]
In addition, the Egyptians had built separate ramps at the crossing points, reaching as high as 21 metres (69 ft) to counter the Israeli sand wall, provide covering fire for the assaulting infantry and to counter the first Israeli armored counterattacks.[117] The scale and effectiveness of the Egyptian strategy of deploying these anti-tank weapons coupled with the Israelis’ inability to disrupt their use with close air support (due to the SAM shield) greatly contributed to Israeli setbacks early in the war.

Wreckage of an Israeli A-4 Skyhawk on display in Egypt’s war museum.

Egyptian Sukhoi Su-7 fighter jets conducting air strikes over the Bar Lev Line on 6 October

An Israeli Mirage IIIshot down by an Egyptian MiG-21

The Egyptian Army put great effort into finding a quick and effective way of breaching the Israeli defenses. The Israelis had built large 18 metre (59 foot) high sand walls with a 60 degree slope and reinforced with concrete at the water line. Egyptian engineers initially experimented with explosive charges and bulldozers to clear the obstacles, before a junior officer proposed using high pressure water cannons. The idea was tested and found to be a sound one, and several high pressure water cannons were imported from Britain and East Germany. The water cannons effectively breached the sand walls using water from the canal.[118]
At 2:00 pm on October 6, Operation Badr began with a large airstrike. More than 200 Egyptian aircraft conducted simultaneous strikes against three airbases, Hawk missile batteries, three command centers, artillery positions, and several radar installations.[119] Airfields at Refidim and Bir Tamada were temporarily put out of service, and damage was inflicted on a Hawk battery at Ophir. The aerial assault was coupled with a barrage from more than 2,000 artillery pieces for a period of 53 minutes against the Bar Lev Line and rear area command posts and concentration bases.[120]
Author Andrew McGregor claimed that the success of the first strike negated the need for a second planned strike.[121][122][123] Egypt acknowledged the loss of 5 aircraft during the attack. Kenneth Pollack wrote that 18 Egyptian aircraft were shot down, and that these losses prompted the cancellation of the second planned wave.[124] In one notable engagement during this period, a pair of Israeli F-4E Phantoms challenged 28 Egyptian MiGs over Sharm el-Sheikh and within half an hour, shot down seven or eight MiGs with no losses.[125][126] One of the Egyptian pilots killed was Captain Atif Sadat, President Sadat’s half-brother.[127]
Simultaneously, 14 Egyptian Tupolev Tu-16 bombers attacked Israeli targets in the Sinai with Kelt missiles, while another two Egyptian Tupolevs fired two Kelt missiles at a radar station in central Israel.[125] One missile was shot down by a patrolling Israeli Mirage fighter, and the second fell into the sea. The attack was an attempt to warn Israel that Egypt could retaliate if it bombed targets deep in Egyptian territory.[128]

An Egyptian MiG-17 shot down during the dogfight over Sharm el-Sheikh.

Under cover of the initial artillery barrage, the Egyptian assault force of 32,000 infantry began crossing the canal in twelve waves at five separate crossing areas, from 14:05 to 17:30, in what became known as The Crossing.[129] The Egyptians prevented Israeli forces from reinforcing the Bar Lev Line and proceeded to attack the Israeli fortifications. Meanwhile, engineers crossed over to breach the sand wall.[130][131] The Israeli Air Force conducted air interdiction operations to try to prevent the bridges from being erected, but took losses from Egyptian SAM batteries. The air attacks were ineffective overall, as the sectional design of the bridges enabled quick repairs when hit.[132]
Despite fierce resistance, the Israeli reserve brigade garrisoning the Bar-Lev forts was overwhelmed. According to Shazly, within six hours, fifteen strongpoints had been captured as Egyptian forces advanced several kilometres into the Sinai. Shazly’s account was disputed by Kenneth Pollack, who noted that for the most part, the forts only fell to repeated assaults by superior forces or prolonged sieges over many days.[133]The northernmost fortification of the Bar Lev Line, code-named ‘Fort Budapest‘, withstood repeated assaults and remained in Israeli hands throughout the war. Once the bridges were laid, additional infantry with the remaining portable and recoilless anti-tank weapons began to cross the canal, while the first Egyptian tanks started to cross at 20:30.[134]
The Egyptians also attempted to land several heli-borne commando units in various areas in the Sinai to hamper the arrival of Israeli reserves. This attempt met with disaster as the Israelis shot down up to twenty helicopters, inflicting heavy casualties.[135][136] Israeli Major General (res.) Chaim Herzog placed Egyptian helicopter losses at fourteen.[137] Other sources claim that “several” helicopters were downed with “total loss of life” and that the few commandos that did filter through were ineffectual and presented nothing more than a “nuisance”.[138] Kenneth Pollack asserted that despite their heavy losses, the Egyptian commandos fought exceptionally hard and created considerable panic, prompting the Israelis to take precautions that hindered their ability to concentrate on stopping the assault across the canal.[139]
Egyptian forces advanced approximately 4 to 5 km into the Sinai Desert with two armies (both corps-sized by western standards, included the 2nd Infantry Division in the northern Second Army). By the following morning, some 850 tanks had crossed the canal.[120] In his account of the war, Saad El Shazly noted that by the morning of October 7, the Egyptians had lost 280 soldiers and 20 tanks, though this account is disputed.[140][141]
Most Israeli soldiers defending the Bar Lev Line were casualties, and some 200 were taken prisoner.[31][142][143] In the subsequent days, some defenders of the Bar Lev Line managed to break through Egyptian encirclement and return to their lines, or were extracted during Israeli counterattacks that came later on. For the next several days, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) played a minimal role in the fighting largely because it was needed to deal with the simultaneous, and ultimately more threatening, Syrian invasion of the Golan Heights.[144]
Egyptian forces then consolidated their initial positions. On October 7, the bridgeheads were enlarged an additional 4 km, at the same time repulsing Israeli counterattacks. In the north, the Egyptian 18th Division attacked the town of El-Qantarah el-Sharqiyya, engaging Israeli forces in and around the town. The fighting there was conducted at close quarters, and was sometimes hand-to-hand. The Egyptians were forced to clear the town building by building. By evening, most of the town was in Egyptian hands. El-Qantarah was completely cleared by the next morning.[145]
Meanwhile, the Egyptian commandos airdropped on October 6 began encountering Israeli reserves the following morning. Both sides suffered heavy losses, but the commandos were at times successful in delaying the movement of Israeli reserves to the front. These special operations often led to confusion and anxiety among Israeli commanders, who commended the Egyptian commandos.[146][147] This view was contradicted by another source that stated that few commandos made it to their objectives, and were usually nothing more than a nuisance.[148] According to Abraham Rabinovich, only the commandos near Baluza and those blocking the road to Fort Budapest had measurable successes. Of the 1,700 Egyptian commandos inserted behind Israeli lines during the war, 740 were killed—many in downed helicopters—and 330 taken prisoner.[149]

Failed Israeli counter-attack

An Israeli M60 Patton tank destroyed in the Sinai.

On October 7, David Elazar visited Shmuel Gonen, commander of the Israeli Southern front—who had only taken the position three months before at the retirement of Ariel Sharon—and met with Israeli commanders. The Israelis planned a cautious counterattack for the following day by Abraham Adan‘s 162nd Armored Division.[150] The same day, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Tagar, aiming to neutralize Egyptian Air Force bases and its missile defense shield.[151][152]
Seven Egyptian airbases were damaged with the loss of two A-4 Skyhawks and their pilots. Two more planned attacks were called off because of the increasing need for air power on the Syrian front. The IAF carried out additional air attacks against Egyptian forces on the east bank of the canal, reportedly inflicting heavy losses. Israeli jets had carried out hundreds of sorties against Egyptian targets by the following day, but the Egyptian SAM shield inflicted heavy losses. IAF aircraft losses mounted to three aircraft for every 200 sorties, an unsustainable rate. The Israelis responded by rapidly devising new tactics to thwart Egyptian air defenses.[151][152]
On October 8, after Elazar had left, Gonen changed the plans on the basis of unduly optimistic field reports. Adan’s division was composed of three brigades totaling 183 tanks. One of the brigades was still en route to the area, and would participate in the attack by noon, along with a supporting mechanized infantry brigade with an additional 44 tanks.[153][154]The Israeli counterattack was in the direction of the Bar Lev strongpoints opposite the city of Ismailia, against entrenched Egyptian infantry. In a series of ill-coordinated attacks, which were met by stiff resistance, the Israelis suffered heavy losses.[155]
That afternoon, Egyptian forces advanced once more to deepen their bridgeheads, and as a result the Israelis lost several strategic positions. Further Israeli attacks to regain the lost ground proved futile.[155] Towards nightfall, an Egyptian counterattack was repulsed with the loss of 50 Egyptian tanks by the Israeli 143rd Armored Division, which was led by General Ariel Sharon, who had been reinstated as a division commander at the outset of the war. Garwych, citing Egyptian sources, documented Egyptian tank losses up to October 13 at 240.[156]

An Israeli Centurion tank operating in the Sinai.

Temporary stabilization

According to Herzog, by October 9 the front lines had stabilized. The Egyptians were unable to advance further,[157] and Egyptian armored attacks on October 9 and 10 were repulsed with heavy losses. However, this claim was disputed by Shazly, who claimed that the Egyptians continued to advance and improve their positions well into October 10. He pointed to one engagement, which involved elements of the 1st Infantry Brigade, attached to the 19th Division, which captured Ayoun Mousa, south of Suez.[158]
The Egyptian 1st Mechanized Brigade launched a failed attack southward along the Gulf of Suez in the direction of Ras Sudar. Leaving the safety of the SAM umbrella, the force was attacked by Israeli aircraft and suffered heavy losses.[158][159] Shazly cited this experience as a basis to resist pressure by Minister of War, General Ahmad Ismail Ali to attack eastward toward the Mitla and Gidi Passes.
Between October 10 and 13, both sides refrained from any large-scale actions, and the situation was relatively stable. Both sides launched small-scale attacks, and the Egyptians used helicopters to land commandos behind Israeli lines. Some Egyptian helicopters were shot down, and those commando forces that managed to land were quickly destroyed by Israeli troops In one key engagement on October 13, a particularly large Egyptian incursion was stopped and close to a hundred Egyptian commandos were killed.[94][unreliable source?]

The Egyptian failed attack

General Shazly strongly opposed any eastward advance that would leave his armor without adequate air cover. He was overruled by General Ismail and Sadat, whose aims were to seize the strategic Mitla and Gidi Passes and the Israeli nerve centre at Refidim, which they hoped would relieve pressure on the Syrians (who were by now on the defensive) by forcing Israel to shift divisions from the Golan to the Sinai.[160][161]

The 1973 War in the Sinai, October 15–24.

The 2nd and 3rd Armies were ordered to attack eastward in six simultaneous thrusts over a broad front, leaving behind five infantry divisions to hold the bridgeheads. The attacking forces, consisting of 800[162]–1,000 tanks[163] would not have SAM cover, so the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) was tasked with the defense of these forces from Israeli air attacks. Armored and mechanized units began the attack on October 14 with artillery support. They were up against 700[162]–750[163] Israeli tanks.
Preparatory to the tank attack, Egyptian helicopters set down 100 commandos near the Lateral Road to disrupt the Israeli rear. An Israeli reconnaissance unit quickly subdued them, killing 60 and taking numerous prisoners. Still bruised by the extensive losses their commandos had suffered on the opening day of the war, the Egyptians were unable or unwilling to implement further commando operations that had been planned in conjunction with the armored attack.[164] The Egyptian armored thrust suffered heavy losses. Instead of concentrating forces of maneuvering, except for the wadi thrust, Egyptian units launched head-on-attacks against the waiting Israeli defenses.[165]
The Egyptian attack was decisively repelled. At least 250 Egyptian tanks[166][167][168][169] and some 200 armored vehicles[167] were destroyed. Egyptian casualties exceeded 1,000.[169][170] Fewer than 40 Israeli tanks were hit and all but six of them were repaired by Israeli maintenance crews and returned to service,[167] while Israeli casualties numbered 665.[171]
Kenneth Pollack credited a successful Israeli commando raid early on October 14 against an Egyptian signals-intercept site at Jebel Ataqah with seriously disrupting Egyptian command and control and contributing to its breakdown during the engagement.[172]

Israel planned attack considerations

With the situation on the Syrian front stabilizing, the Israeli High Command agreed that the time was ripe for an Israeli counterattack and strike across the canal.
General Sharon advocated an immediate crossing at Deversoir at the northern edge of Great Bitter Lake. On October 9, a reconnaissance force attached to Colonel Amnon Reshef’s Brigade detected a gap between the Egyptian Second and Third armies in this sector.[163] According to General Gamasy, the gap had been detected by an American SR-71 spy plane.[173] Chief of Staff Elazar and General Chaim Bar-Lev, who had by now replaced Gonen as Chief of Southern Command, agreed that this was the ideal spot for a crossing. However, given the size of the Egyptian armored reserves, the Israelis chose to wait for an opportunity that would allow them to reduce Egyptian armored strength before initiating any crossing.
The opportunity arrived on October 12, when Israeli intelligence detected signs that the Egyptians were gearing up for a major armored thrust.[174] This was precisely the moment the Israelis were waiting for. They could finally utilize their advantages in speed, maneuver and tank gunnery, areas in which they excelled. Once Egyptian armored strength was sufficiently degraded, the Israelis would commence their own canal crossing.

Israeli breakthrough – Crossing the canal

Israeli tanks crossing the Suez Canal.

The Israelis immediately followed the Egyptian failed attack of October 14 with a multidivisional counterattack through the gap between the Egyptian 2nd and 3rd Armies. Sharon’s 143rd Division, now reinforced with a paratroop brigade commanded by Colonel Danny Matt, was tasked with establishing bridgeheads on the east and west banks of the canal. The 162nd and 252nd Armored Divisions, commanded by Generals Avraham Adan and Kalman Magen respectively, would then cross through the breach to the west bank of the canal and swing southward, encircling the 3rd Army.[175] The offensive was code-named Operation Stouthearted Men or alternatively, Operation Valiant.
On the night of October 15, 750 of Colonel Matt’s paratroopers crossed the canal in rubber dinghies.[176] They were soon joined by tanks ferried on motorized rafts and additional infantry. The force encountered no resistance initially and fanned out in raiding parties, attacking supply convoys, SAM sites, logistic centers and anything of military value, with priority given to the SAMs. Attacks on SAM sites punched a hole in the Egyptian anti-aircraft screen and enabled the Israeli Air Force to strike Egyptian ground targets more aggressively.[177]
On the night of October 15, 20 Israeli tanks and 7 APCs under the command of Colonel Haim Erez crossed the canal and penetrated 12 kilometres into mainland Egypt, taking the Egyptians by surprise. For the first 24 hours, Erez’s force attacked SAM sites and military columns with impunity. On the morning of October 17, it was attacked by the 23rd Egyptian Armored Brigade, but managed to repulse the attack. By this time, the Syrians no longer posed a credible threat and the Israelis were able to shift their air power to the south in support of the offensive.[178] The combination of a weakened Egyptian SAM umbrella and a greater concentration of Israeli fighter-bombers meant that the IAF was capable of greatly increasing sorties against Egyptian military targets, including convoys, armor and airfields. The Egyptian bridges across the canal were damaged in Israeli air and artillery attacks.[2]
Israeli jets began attacking Egyptian SAM sites and radars, prompting General Ismail to withdraw much of the Egyptians’ air defense equipment. This in turn gave the IAF still greater freedom to operate in Egyptian airspace. Israeli jets also attacked and destroyed underground communication cables at Banha in the Nile Delta, forcing the Egyptians to transmit selective messages by radio, which could be intercepted. Aside from the cables at Banha, Israel refrained from attacking economic and strategic infrastructure following an Egyptian threat to retaliate against Israeli cities with Scud missiles. Israeli aircraft bombed Egyptian Scud batteries at Port Said several times. The Egyptian Air Force attempted to interdict IAF sorties and attack Israeli ground forces, but suffered heavy losses in dogfights and from Israeli air defenses, while inflicting light aircraft losses on the Israelis. The heaviest air battles took place over the northern Nile Delta, where the Israelis repeatedly attempted to destroy Egyptian airbases.[2][179]

Securing the bridgehead

Despite the success the Israelis were having on the west bank, Generals Bar-Lev and Elazar ordered Sharon to concentrate on securing the bridgehead on the east bank. He was ordered to clear the roads leading to the canal as well as a position known as the Chinese Farm, just north of Deversoir, the Israeli crossing point. Sharon objected and requested permission to expand and breakout of the bridgehead on the west bank, arguing that such a maneuver would cause the collapse of Egyptian forces on the east bank. But the Israeli high command was insistent, believing that until the east bank was secure, forces on the west bank could be cut off. Sharon was overruled by his superiors and relented.[180]
On October 16, he dispatched Amnon Reshef’s Brigade to attack the Chinese Farm. Other IDF forces attacked entrenched Egyptian forces overlooking the roads to the canal. After three days of bitter and close-quarters fighting, the Israelis succeeded in dislodging the numerically superior Egyptian forces. The Israelis lost about 300 dead, 1,000 wounded, and 56 tanks. The Egyptians suffered heavier casualties, including 118 tanks destroyed and 15 captured.[181][182][183][184][185][186]

Egyptian response to the Israeli crossing

Israeli soldiers during the Battle of Ismailia. One of them has a captured Egyptian RPG-7.

The Egyptians meanwhile failed to grasp the extent and magnitude of the Israeli crossing, nor did they appreciate its intent and purpose. This was partly due to attempts by Egyptian field commanders to obfuscate reports concerning the Israeli crossing[187] and partly due to a false assumption that the canal crossing was merely a diversion for a major IDF offensive targeting the right flank of the Second Army.[188] Consequently, on October 16, General Shazly ordered the 21st Armored Division to attack southward and the T-62-equipped 25th Independent Armored Brigade to attack northward in a pincer action to eliminate the perceived threat to the Second Army.[189]
The Egyptians failed to scout the area and were unaware that by now, Adan’s 162nd Armored Division was in the vicinity. Moreover, the 21st and 25th failed to coordinate their attacks, allowing General Adan’s Division to meet each force individually. Adan first concentrated his attack on the 21st Armored Division, destroying 50–60 Egyptian tanks and forcing the remainder to retreat. He then turned southward and ambushed the 25th Independent Armored Brigade, destroying 86 of its 96 tanks and all of its APCs while losing three tanks.[189]

Destroyed Israeli M48 Patton tanks on the banks of the Suez Canal.

Egyptian artillery shelled the Israeli bridge over the canal on the morning of October 17, scoring several hits. The Egyptian Air Force launched repeated raids, some with up to twenty aircraft, to take out the bridge and rafts, damaging the bridge. The Egyptians had to shut down their SAM sites during these raids, allowing Israeli fighters to intercept the Egyptians. The Egyptians lost 16 planes and 7 helicopters, while the Israelis lost 6 planes.[190]
The bridge was damaged, and the Israeli Paratroop Headquarters, which was near the bridge, was also hit, wounding the commander and his deputy. During the night, the bridge was repaired, but only a trickle of Israeli forces crossed. According to Chaim Herzog, the Egyptians continued attacking the bridgehead until the cease-fire, using artillery and mortars to fire tens of thousands of shells into the area of the crossing. Egyptian aircraft attempted to bomb the bridge every day, and helicopters launched suicide missions, making attempts to drop barrels of napalm on the bridge and bridgehead. The bridges were damaged multiple times, and had to be repaired at night. The attacks caused heavy casualties, and many tanks were sunk when their rafts were hit. Egyptian commandos and frogmen with armored support launched a ground attack against the bridgehead, which was repulsed with the loss of 10 tanks. Two subsequent Egyptian counterattacks were also beaten back.[2]
After the failure of the October 17 counterattacks, the Egyptian General Staff slowly began to realize the magnitude of the Israeli offensive. Early on October 18, the Soviets showed Sadat satellite imagery of Israeli forces operating on the west bank. Alarmed, Sadat dispatched Shazly to the front to assess the situation first hand. He no longer trusted his field commanders to provide accurate reports.[191] Shazly confirmed that the Israelis had at least one division on the west bank and were widening their bridgehead. He advocated withdrawing most of Egypt’s armor from the east bank to confront the growing Israeli threat on the west bank. Sadat rejected this recommendation outright and even threatened Shazly with a court martial.[192] Ahmad Ismail Ali recommended that Sadat push for a cease-fire so as to prevent the Israelis from exploiting their successes.[191]

Israeli forces across the Suez

Israeli forces were by now pouring across the canal on two bridges, including one of indigenous design, and motorized rafts. Israeli engineers under Brigadier-General Dan Even had worked under heavy Egyptian fire to set up the bridges, and over 100 were killed and hundreds more wounded.[193] The crossing was difficult because of Egyptian artillery fire, though by 4:00 am, two of Adan’s brigades were on the west bank of the canal. On the morning of October 18, Sharon’s forces on the west bank launched an offensive toward Ismailia, slowly pushing back the Egyptian paratroop brigade occupying the sand rampart northward to enlarge the bridgehead.[2][194] Some of his units attempted to move west, but were stopped at the crossroads in Nefalia. Adan’s division rolled south toward Suez City while Magen’s division pushed west toward Cairo and south toward Adabiya.[195][196] On October 19, one of Sharon’s brigades continued to push the Egyptian paratroopers north towards Ismailia until the Israelis were within 8 or 10 km (5 or 6 mi) of the city. Sharon hoped to seize the city and thereby sever the logistical and supply lines for most of the Egyptian Second Army. Sharon’s second brigade began to cross the canal. The brigade’s forward elements moved to the Abu Sultan Camp, from where they moved north to take Orcha, an Egyptian logistics base defended by a commando battalion. Israeli infantrymen cleared the trenches and bunkers, often engaging in hand-to-hand combat, as tanks moved alongside them and fired into the trench sections to their front. The position was secured before nightfall. More than 300 Egyptians were killed and 50 taken prisoner, while the Israelis lost 18 dead. The fall of Orcha caused the collapse of the Egyptian defensive line, allowing more Israeli troops to get onto the sand rampart. There, they were able to fire in support of Israeli troops facing Missouri Ridge, an Egyptian-occupied position on the Bar-Lev Line that could pose a threat to the Israeli crossing. On the same day, Israeli paratroopers participating in Sharon’s drive pushed the Egyptians back far enough for the Israeli bridges to be out of sight of Egyptian artillery observers, though the Egyptians continued shelling the area.[197]
As the Israelis pushed towards Ismailia, the Egyptians fought a delaying battle, falling into defensive positions further north as they came under increasing pressure from the Israeli ground offensive, coupled with airstrikes. On October 21, one of Sharon’s brigades was occupying the city’s outskirts, but facing fierce resistance from Egyptian paratroopers and commandos. The same day, Sharon’s last remaining unit on the east bank attacked Missouri Ridge. Shmuel Gonen had demanded Sharon capture the position, and Sharon had reluctantly ordered the attack. The assault was preceded by an air attack that caused hundreds of Egyptian soldiers to flee and thousands of others to dig in. One battalion then attacked from the south, destroying 20 tanks and overrunning infantry positions before being halted by Sagger rockets and minefields. Another battalion attacked from southwest, and was stopped by fortified infantry. The Israelis managed to occupy one-third of Missouri Ridge. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan countermanded orders from Sharon’s superiors to continue the attack.[198][199] However, the Israelis continued to expand their holdings on the east bank. According to the Israelis, the IDF bridgehead was 40 km (25 mi) wide and 32 km (20 mi) deep by the end of October 21.[200]
On October 22, Ismailia’s Egyptian defenders were occupying their last line of defense, but managed to repel an Israeli attempt to get behind Ismailia and encircle the city, then push some of Sharon’s forward troops back to the Sweetwater Canal. The Israeli advance on Ismailia had been stopped 10 km south of the city. Both sides had suffered heavy losses.
On the northern front, the Israelis also attacked Port Said, facing Egyptian troops and a 900-strong Tunisian unit, who fought a defensive battle.[201] The Egyptian government claimed that the city was repeatedly bombed by Israeli jets, and that hundreds of civilians were killed or wounded.[202]
Adan and Magen moved south, decisively defeating the Egyptians in a series of engagements, though they often encountered determined Egyptian resistance, and both sides suffered heavy casualties.[194] Adan advanced towards the Sweetwater Canal area, planning to break out into the surrounding desert and hit the Geneifa Hills, where many SAM sites were located. Adan’s three armored brigades fanned out, with one advancing through the Geneifa Hills, another along a parallel road south of them, and the third advancing towards Mina. Adan’s brigades met resistance from dug-in Egyptian forces in the Sweetwater Canal area’s greenbelt. Adan’s other brigades were also held by a line of Egyptian military camps and installations. Adan was also harassed by the Egyptian Air Force. The Israelis slowly advanced, bypassing Egyptian positions whenever possible. After being denied air support due to the presence of two SAM batteries that had been brought forward, Adan sent two brigades to attack them. The brigades slipped past the dug-in Egyptian infantry, moving out from the greenbelt for more than eight kilometres, and fought off multiple Egyptian counterattacks. From a distance of four kilometres, they shelled and destroyed the SAMs, allowing the IAF to provide Adan with close air support.[203] Adan’s troops advanced through the greenbelt and fought their way to the Geneifa Hills, clashing with scattered Egyptian, Kuwaiti, and Palestinian troops. The Israelis clashed with an Egyptian armored unit at Mitzeneft and destroyed multiple SAM sites. Adan also captured Fayid Airport, which was subsequently prepared by Israeli crews to serve as a supply base and to fly out wounded soldiers.[204]
16 kilometres (10 mi) west of the Bitter Lake, Colonel Natke Nir’s brigade overran an Egyptian artillery brigade that had been participating in the shelling of the Israeli bridgehead. Scores of Egyptian artillerymen were killed and many more taken prisoner. Two Israeli soldiers were also killed, including the son of General Moshe Gidron. Meanwhile, Magen’s division moved west and then south, covering Adan’s flank and eventually moving south of Suez City to the Gulf of Suez.[205] The Israeli advance southward reached Port Suez, on the southern boundary of the Suez Canal.

The ceasefire and further battles

When the ceasefire came into effect, Israel had lost territory on the east side of the Suez Canal to Egypt –     , but gained territory west of the canal and in the Golan Heights –     .

A soldier with an Uzi next to a road sign reading "ISMAILIA 36"

An Israeli soldier on the road to Ismailia.

The United Nations Security Council passed (14–0) Resolution 338 calling for a ceasefire, largely negotiated between the U.S. and Soviet Union, on October 22. It called upon the belligerents to immediately cease all military activity. The cease-fire was to come into effect 12 hours later at 6:52 pm Israeli time.[206] Because this was after dark, it was impossible for satellitesurveillance to determine where the front lines were when the fighting was supposed to stop.[207] U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger intimated to Prime Minister Meir that he would not object to offensive action during the night before the ceasefire was to come into effect.[208]
Several minutes before the ceasefire came into effect, three Scud missiles were fired at Israeli targets by either Egyptian forces or Soviet personnel in Egypt. This was the first combat use of Scud missiles. One Scud targeted the port of Arish and two targeted the Israeli bridgehead on the Suez Canal. One hit an Israeli supply convoy and killed seven soldiers.[209] When the time for the ceasefire arrived, Sharon’s division had failed to capture Ismailia and cut off the Second Army’s supply lines, but Israeli forces were just a few hundred metres short of their southern goal—the last road linking Cairo and Suez.[210]
Adan’s drive south had left Israeli and Egyptian units scattered throughout the battlefield, with no clear lines between them. As Egyptian and Israeli units tried to regroup, regular firefights broke out. During the night, Elazar reported that the Egyptians were attacking in an attempt to regain land at various locations, and that nine Israeli tanks had been destroyed. He asked permission from Dayan to respond to the attacks and Dayan agreed. Israel then resumed its drive south.[211]
It is unclear which side fired first[212] but Israeli field commanders used the skirmishes as justification to resume the attacks. When Sadat protested alleged Israeli truce violations, Israel said that Egyptian troops had fired first. William B. Quandt noted that regardless of who fired the first post-ceasefire shot, it was the Israeli Army that was advancing beyond the October 22 ceasefire lines.[213]
Adan resumed his attack on October 23.[214][215] Israeli troops finished the drive south, captured the last ancillary road south of the port of Suez, and encircled the Egyptian Third Army east of the Suez Canal.[216] The Israelis then transported enormous amounts of military equipment across the canal, which Egypt claimed was in violation of the ceasefire.[212] Egyptian aircraft launched repeated attacks in support of the Third Army, sometimes in groups of up to 30 planes, but took severe losses.[217]
Israeli armor and paratroopers also entered Suez in an attempt to capture the city, but they were confronted by Egyptian soldiers and hastily raised local militia forces. They were surrounded, but towards night the Israeli forces managed to extricate themselves. The Israelis had lost 80 dead and 120 wounded, with an unknown number of Egyptian casualties, for no tactical gain (see Battle of Suez).[215][218]
The next morning, October 23, a flurry of diplomatic activity occurred. Soviet reconnaissance flights had confirmed that Israeli forces were moving south, and the Soviets accused the Israelis of treachery. Kissinger called Meir in an effort to persuade her to withdraw a few hundred metres and she indicated that Israel’s tactical position on the ground had improved.

Egypt’s trapped Third Army

Kissinger found out about the Third Army’s encirclement shortly thereafter.[219] Kissinger considered that the situation presented the United States with a tremendous opportunity and that Egypt was dependent on the United States to prevent Israel from destroying its trapped army. The position could be parlayed later into allowing the United States to mediate the dispute and wean Egypt from Soviet influence. As a result, the United States exerted tremendous pressure on the Israelis to refrain from destroying the trapped army, even threatening to support a UN resolution demanding that the Israelis withdraw to their October 22 positions if they did not allow non-military supplies to reach the army. In a phone call with Israeli ambassador Simcha Dinitz, Kissinger told the ambassador that the destruction of the Egyptian Third Army “is an option that does not exist.”[220]
Despite being surrounded, the Third Army managed to maintain its combat integrity east of the canal and keep up its defensive positions, to the surprise of many.[221] According to Trevor N. Dupuy, the Israelis, Soviets and Americans overestimated the vulnerability of the Third Army at the time. It was not on the verge of collapse, and he wrote that while a renewed Israeli offensive would probably overcome it, this was not a certainty,[222] and according to David Elazar chief of Israeli headquarter staff on December 3, 1973: “As for the third army, in spite of our encircling them they resisted and advanced to occupy in fact a wider area of land at the east. Thus, we can not say that we defeated or conquered them.”
David T. Buckwalter agrees that despite the isolation of the Third Army, it was unclear if the Israelis could have protected their forces on the west bank of the canal from a determined Egyptian assault and still maintain sufficient strength along the rest of the front.[223] This assessment was challenged by Patrick Seale, who stated that the Third Army was “on the brink of collapse”.[224] Seale’s position was supported by P.R. Kumaraswamy, who wrote that intense American pressure prevented the Israelis from annihilating the stranded Third Army.[225]
Herzog noted that given the Third Army’s desperate situation, in terms of being cut off from re-supply and reassertion of Israeli air superiority, the destruction of the Third Army was inevitable and could have been achieved within a very brief period.[226] Shazly himself described the Third Army’s plight as “desperate” and classified its encirclement as a “catastrophe that was too big to hide”.[227] He further noted that, “the fate of the Egyptian Third Army was in the hands of Israel. Once the Third Army was encircled by Israeli troops every bit of bread to be sent to our men was paid for by meeting Israeli demands.”[228]
Shortly before the ceasefire came into effect, an Israeli tank battalion advanced into Adabiya, and took it with support from the Israeli Navy. Some 1,500 Egyptian prisoners were taken, and about a hundred Egyptian soldiers assembled just south of Adabiya, where they held out against the Israelis. The Israelis also conducted their third and final incursion into Suez. They made some gains, but failed to break into the city center. As a result, the city was partitioned down the main street, with the Egyptians holding the city center and the Israelis controlling the outskirts, port installations and oil refinery, effectively surrounding the Egyptian defenders.[2][229]

Post war battles

On the morning of October 26, the Egyptian Third Army violated the ceasefire by attempting to break through surrounding Israeli forces. The attack was repulsed by Israeli air and ground forces.[230] The Egyptians also made minor gains in attacks against Sharon’s forces in the Ismailia area.[2] The Israelis reacted by bombing and shelling priority targets in Egypt, including command posts and water reserves.[231] The front was quieter in the Second Army’s sector in the northern canal area, where both sides generally respected the ceasefire.[2]
Though most heavy fighting ended on October 28, the fighting never stopped until January 18, 1974. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stated that “The cease-fire existed on paper, but the continued firing along the front was not the only characteristic of the situation between October 24, 1973 and January 18, 1974. This intermediate period also held the ever-present possibility of a renewal of full-scale war. There were three variations on how it might break out, two Egyptian and one Israeli. One Egyptian plan was to attack Israeli units west of the canal from the direction of Cairo. The other was to cut off the Israeli canal bridgehead by a link-up of the Second and Third Armies on the east bank. Both plans were based on massive artillery pounding of Israeli forces, who were not well fortified and who would suffer heavy casualties. It was therefore thought that Israel would withdraw from the west bank, since she was most sensitive on the subject of soldier’s lives. Egypt, at the time had a total of 1,700 first-line tanks on both sides of the canal front, 700 on the east bank and 1,000 on the west bank. Also on the west bank, in the second line, were an additional 600 tanks for the defense of Cairo. She had some 2,000 artillery pieces, about 500 operational aircraft, and at least 130 SAM missile batteries positioned around our forces so as to deny us air support.”[232]
The IDF acknowledged the loss of 14 soldiers during this postwar period. Egyptian losses were higher, especially in the sector controlled by General Ariel Sharon, who ordered his troops to respond with massive firepower to any Egyptian provocation.[233] Some aerial battles took place, and the Israelis also shot down several helicopters attempting to resupply the Third Army.[234]

Final situation on the Egyptian front

By the end of the war, the Israelis had advanced to positions some 101 kilometres from Egypt’s capital, Cairo, and occupied 1,600 square kilometres west of the Suez Canal.[235] They had also cut the Cairo-Suez road and encircled the bulk of Egypt’s Third Army. The Israelis had also taken many prisoners after Egyptian soldiers, including many officers, began surrendering in masses towards the end of the war.[236] The Egyptians held a narrow strip on the east bank of the canal, occupying some 1,200 square kilometres of the Sinai.[236] One source estimated that the Egyptians had 70,000 men, 720 tanks and 994 artillery pieces on the east bank of the canal.[237] However, 30,000 to 45,000 of them were now encircled by the Israelis.[238][239]
Despite Israel’s tactical successes west of the canal, the Egyptian military was reformed and organized. Consequently, according to Gamasy, the Israeli military position became “weak” for different reasons, “One, Israel now had a large force (about six or seven brigades) in a very limited area of land, surrounded from all sides either by natural or man-made barriers, or by the Egyptian forces. This put it in a weak position. Moreover, there were the difficulties in supplying this force, in evacuating it, in the lengthy communication lines, and in the daily attrition in men and equipment. Two, to protect these troops, the Israeli command had to allocate other forces (four or five brigades) to defend the entrances to the breach at the Deversoir. Three, to immobilize the Egyptian bridgeheads in Sinai the Israeli command had to allocate ten brigades to face the Second and Third army bridgeheads. In addition, it became necessary to keep the strategic reserves at their maximum state of alert. Thus, Israel was obliged to keep its armed force-and consequently the country-mobilized for a long period, at least until the war came to an end, because the ceasefire did not signal the end of the war. There is no doubt that this in total conflict with its military theories.”[240] For those reasons and according to Dayan, “It was therefore thought that Israel would withdraw from the west bank, since she was most sensitive on the subject of soldier’s lives.” The Egyptian forces didn’t pull to the west and held onto their positions east of the canal controlling both shores of the Suez Canal. None of the Canal’s main cities were occupied by Israel; however, the city of Suez was surrounded.
Egypt wished to end the war when they realized that the IDF canal crossing offensive could result in a catastrophe.[241]The Egyptian’s besieged Third Army could not hold on without supply.[24][228] The Israeli Army advanced to 100 km from Cairo, which worried Egypt.[24] The Israeli army had open terrain and no opposition to advance further to Cairo; had they done so, Sadat’s rule might have ended.[242]

On the Golan Heights

Initial Syrian attacks

President Hafez al-Assad (right) with soldiers, 1973.

A map of the fighting on the Golan Heights.

In the Golan Heights, the Syrians attacked two Israeli armored brigades, an infantry brigade, two paratrooper battalions and eleven artillery batteries with five divisions (the 7th9th and 5th, with the 1st and 3rd in reserve) and 188 batteries. At the onset of the battle, the Israeli brigades of some 3,000 troops, 180 tanks and 60 artillery pieces faced off against three infantry divisions with large armor components comprising 28,000 Syrian troops, 800 tanks and 600 artillery pieces. In addition, the Syrians deployed two armored divisions from the second day onwards.[34][35][243][244] To fight the opening phase of a possible battle, before reserves arrived, Israeli high command had conforming to the original plan allocated a single armored brigade, the 188th, accepting a disparity in tank numbers of eighteen to one.[245] When the warning by King Hussein of an imminent Syrian attack was conveyed, Elazar at first only assigned two additional tank companies from 7th Armored Brigade: “We’ll have one hundred tanks against their eight hundred. That ought to be enough”.[246] Eventually, his deputy, Israel Tal, ordered the entire 7th Armored Brigade to be brought up.[247] Efforts had been made to improve the Israeli defensive position. The “Purple Line” ran along a series of low dormant volcanic cones, “tels”, in the north and deep ravines in the south. It was covered by a continuous tank ditch, bunker complexes and dense minefields. Directly west of this line a series of tank ramps were constructed: earthen platforms on which a Centurion tank could position itself with only its upper turret and gun visible, offering a substantial advantage when duelling the fully exposed enemy tanks.[248]
The Syrians began their attack at 14:00 with an airstrike by about a hundred aircraft and a fifty-minute artillery barrage. The two forward infantry brigades, with an organic tank battalion, of each of the three infantry divisions then crossed the cease-fire lines, bypassing United Nations observer posts. They were covered by mobile anti-aircraft batteries, and equipped with bulldozers to fill-in anti-tank ditches, bridge-layer tanks to overcome obstacles and mine-clearance vehicles. These engineering vehicles were priority targets for Israeli tank gunners and took heavy losses, but Syrian infantry at points demolished the tank ditch, allowing their armor to cross.[249]
At 14:45, two hundred men from the Syrian 82nd Paratrooper Battalion descended on foot from Mount Hermon and around 17:00 took the Israeli observation base on the southern slope, with its advanced surveillance equipment. A small force dropped by four helicopters simultaneously placed itself on the access road south of the base.[250] Specialised intelligence personnel were captured. Made to believe that Israel had fallen, they disclosed much sensitive information.[251] A first Israeli attempt on 8 October to retake the base from the south was ambushed and beaten off with heavy losses.[252]
During the afternoon 7th Armored Brigade was still kept in reserve and the 188th Armored Brigade held the frontline with only two tank battalions, the 74th in the north and the 53rd in the south.[253] The northern battalion waged an exemplary defensive battle against the forward brigades of the Syrian 7th Infantry Division, destroying fifty-nine Syrian tanks for minimal losses.[254] The southern battalion destroyed a similar number, but facing four Syrian tank battalions from two divisions had a dozen of its own tanks knocked out.[255] At bunker complex 111, opposite Kudne in Syria, the defending company beat off “determined” and “bravely” pressed attacks by the Syrian 9th Infantry Division; by nightfall it was reduced to three tanks, with only sixty-nine anti-tank rounds between them.[256] Further successful resistance by the southern battalion was contingent on reinforcements.[255]
Direct operational command of the Golan had at first been given to the 188 AB commander, Yitzhak Ben-Shoham, who ordered the 7th AB to concentrate at Wasset.[257] The 7th AB commander, Avigdor Ben-Gal, resented obeying an officer of equal rank and went to the Northern Command headquarters at Nafah, announcing he would place his force in the northern sector at the “Quneitra Gap”, a pass south of the Hermonit peak and the main access to the Golan Heights from the east. Northern Command was in the process of moving their headquarters to Safed in Galilee and the senior staff officers were absent at this moment, having expected the Syrian attack to start at 18:00. Operations officer Lieutenant-Colonel Uri Simhoni therefore improvised an allocation of the tactical reserves, thereby largely deciding the course of the battle.[258] The Armored School Centurion Tank Battalion (71st TB) was kept in general reserve. The 77th Tank Battalion of 7th AB was sent to Quneitra. Two companies of the 75th Mechanised Infantry Battalion, arrived in the morning, of the same brigade were sent to the southern sector. Also 82nd TB had to reinforce the south. However, Ben-Gal had split off a company of this battalion to serve as a reserve for his own brigade.[259] Another company, soon after arriving in the south, was ambushed by an infiltrated Syrian commando force armed with Sagger missiles and almost entirely wiped out.[260] As a result, effective reinforcement of the southern Golan sector was limited to just a single tank company.[261]

An Israeli Centurion tank. It was considered in many respects superior to the Soviet T-54/55.[262]

At 16:00, Yitzhak Hofi, head Northern Command, shortly visited Nafah and split command of the Golan front: the north would be the responsibility of 7th AB, to which 53rd TB would be transferred. Command of 188th AB would be limited to the south, taking over 82nd TB.[263] The first wave of the Syrian offensive had failed to penetrate, but at nightfall a second, larger, wave was launched. For this purpose each of the three infantry divisions, also committing their organic mechanised brigade with forty tanks, had been reinforced by an armored brigade of about ninety tanks. Two of these brigades were to attack the northern sector, four the southern sector.[264]

Successful defense of the Quneitra Gap by the 7th Armored Brigade

Over four days of fighting, the 7th Armored Brigade in the north under Avigdor Ben-Gal managed to hold the rocky hill line defending the northern flank of their headquarters in Nafah, inflicting heavy losses on the Syrians. In the night of 6/7 October, it beat off an attack of the Syrian 78th Armoured Brigade, attached to the 7th Infantry Division.[265] On 7 October, 7th AB had to send part of its reserves to the collapsing southern sector. Replenishment from the Nafah matériel stock became impossible. Syrian High Command, understanding that forcing the Quneitra Gap would ensure a total victory on the Golan, decided to commit its strategic armored reserves. During the night of 7/8 October, the independent 81st Armored Brigade, equipped with modern T-62‘s and part of the presidential guard, attacked but was beaten off.[266] After this fight, the Israeli brigade would refer to the gap as the “Valley of Tears”.[267]Syrian Brigadier-General Omar Abrash, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, was killed on 8 October when his command tank was hit as he was preparing an attempt by 121st Mechanised Brigade to bypass the gap through a more southern route.[268]
Having practiced on the Golan Heights numerous times, Israeli gunners made effective use of mobile artillery.[249] During night attacks, the Syrian tanks had the advantage of active illumination infrared night vision equipment, which was not a standard Israeli equipment. The close distances during night engagements, negated the usual Israeli superiority in long-range duels. 77th Tank Battalion commander Avigdor Kahalani in the Quneitra Gap generally managed to hold a second tank ramp line.[249]

Israeli tank on the Golan Heights during the Arab–Israeli War

In the afternoon of October 9, Syrian command committed the Republican Guard independent 70th Armored Brigade, equipped with T-62’s and BMP-1s.[269] To hold the gap, 7th AB could by now muster only some two dozen tanks, elements from the 77th, 74th, 82nd and 71st Tank Battalion. Israeli command had directed all reserves to the threatened southern sector, trusting that the northern sector was secure. Fighting in daylight proved to be advantageous to the Syrians: the better armored T-62’s were hard to destroy at long range and their high-velocity 115 mm smoothbore guns were quite accurate at medium ranges, despite the lack of a rangefinder. Taking losses and hit by an intense artillery barrage, the Israeli Centurions withdrew from their tank ramps. The situation was restored by an ad hoc force of thirteen tanks formed by Lt. Col. Yossi Ben-Hanan from repaired vehicles and stray crews. The Syrians abandoned their last breakthrough attempt, having lost since 6 October some 260 tanks in the Quneitra Gap.[270]

Syrian breakthrough in the southern Golan

Abandoned Syrian T-62 tanks on the Golan Heights.

In the southern sector, the Israeli Barak Armored Brigade had to defend a much flatter terrain.[271] It also faced two-thirds of the Syrian second wave, while fielding at this time less than a third of the operational Israeli tanks. Beside these objective draw-backs, it suffered from ineffective command. Ben-Shoham initially still had his headquarters in Nafah, far from his sector. He did not realise a full war was in progress and tended to spread the 53rd TB platoons along the entire line, to stop any Syrian incursion. Also, he failed to coordinate the deployment of 82nd TB and 53rd TB.[272] The commander of 53rd TB, Lieutenant-Colonel Oded Eres, sent the two arriving companies of 82nd TB to his right flank and centre.[273] No further reinforcement materialising, he urgently ordered the southern company to the north again; it was ambushed on the way. His left flank at Kudne remained unreinforced, although the defending company had increased the number of operational tanks to eight. This was the main axis of the Syrian 9th Infantry Division and its commander, Colonel Hassan Tourkmani, ordered the remnants of an organic tank battalion to be sacrificed forcing the minefield belt.[274] Subsequently, the Syrian 51st Armored Brigade bypassed bunker complex 111 after dark. It then overran the Israeli supply compound at the Hushniya cross-roads.[275] Parts of the 75th Mechanised Infantry Battalion had been concentrated at Hushniya, but they did not consist of its two organic tank companies; they were M-113 units. Lacking modern antitank weapons, Israeli infantry was ineffective at stopping Syrian armor.[276] The 51st AB passing through the Kudne/Rafid Gap turned northwest to move along the Petroleum Road or “Tapline Road”, which provided a diagonal route across the heights, running straight from Hushniya to Nafah, the Israeli Golan headquarters, in the rear of the Quneitra Gap.[277]
Israeli command was initially slow to realise that a breakthrough had taken place. Their main concern was that the Syrians would occupy some forward bunker complex or settlement.[278] The fact that the defending tank platoons were still intact was seen as proof that the line had not been broken. Ben-Shoham around 18:30 moved his headquarters to the south. Reports of Syrian radio traffic at Hushniya, of Israeli reserve tanks passing columns of Syrian tanks in the dark and of enemy tanks moving at the rear of the observation post on Tel Saki, were dismissed by him as misidentifications.[279] Only when two tanks parked in the dark near his staff vehicles and were recognised for T-55s when hastily driving away upon being hailed, he understood that a large Syrian tank unit had infiltrated his lines.[280]
As a result, no regular units were directed to block a Syrian advance to Nafah. Ben-Shoham had ordered Lieutenant Zvika Greengold, who, about to be trained as a tank company commander, had arrived at Nafah unattached to any combat unit, to gather some crews and follow him to the south with a few tanks to take command of the bunker complex 111 and 112 tank forces which had lost all officers. Three miles south of Nafah base, Greengold was warned by a truck convoy that there were Syrian tanks ahead.[281] These belonged to the 452st Tank Battalion, hurrying north to surprise Nafah. Confronted at short range with a first group of three T-55’s, Greengold’s Centurion destroyed them in quick succession. He then moved parallel to the road to the south, hitting advancing Syrian tanks in the flank and destroying another ten until he approached Hushniya. From this the commander of 452st TB, Major Farouk Ismail, concluded that he had been ambushed by a strong Israeli tank unit and concentrated his remaining vehicles in a defensive position at Hushniya.[282]Greengold decided not to reveal how precarious the Israeli situation was, in radio contact with Ben-Shoham hiding the fact that his “Force Zvika” consisted of only a single tank.[283]
The next 9th Infantry Division unit to participate in the second wave, the 43rd Mechanised Infantry Brigade, entered the Golan at Kudne, but then sharply turned to the right advancing over the lateral “Reshet” road behind the Purple Line in the direction of Quneitra. Israeli 1st Infantry Brigade elements warned 7th Armored Brigade of the danger. Ben Gal then released the 82nd TB company he had held back, commanded by Captain Meir “Tiger” Zamir, and sent it to the south to cover his flank. Zamir ambushed the Syrian brigade; directing their fire with the xenon light projector on one of his tanks his company destroyed a dozen vehicles.[284] At dawn he surprised the enemy column from the rear and dispersed the remnants of 43 MIB, having knocked-out all of its forty tanks.[285]

Israeli strategic response

Around midnight, Hofi, at Safed, began to understand the magnitude of the Syrian breakthrough. He warned chief-of-staff Elazar that the entire Golan might be lost. Overhearing this message, an alarmed Dayan decided to personally visit the Northern Command headquarters.[286] In the late night, Hofi informed Dayan that an estimated three hundred Syrian tanks had entered the southern Golan. No reserves were available to stop a Syrian incursion into Galilee. Visibly shaken by this news, the Israeli minister of defence ordered the Jordan bridges to be prepared for detonation.[287] Next, he contactedBenjamin Peled, commander of the Israeli Air Force. He shocked Peled by announcing that the Third Temple was about to fall. The IAF had just made a successful start with Operation Tagar, a very complex plan to neutralise the Egyptian AA-missile belt. Overruling objections by Peled, Dayan ordered to immediately carry out Operation Doogman 5 instead, the destruction of the Syrian SAM-belt, to allow the IAF to halt the Syrian advance.[288] As there was no time to obtain recent information on the location of the batteries,[289] the attempt was a costly failure. The Israelis destroyed only one Syrian missile battery but lost six Phantom II aircraft.[290] As a result, the IAF was unable to make a significant contribution to the defensive battle on the Golan. Over both fronts together, on 7 October only 129 bombardment sorties were flown.[291] It also proved impossible to restart Tagar, curtailing IAF operations on the Sinai front for the duration of the war.[292]
Less pessimistic than Dayan, Elazar was not ready yet to abandon the Golan Heights.[293] Israeli High Command had a strategic reserve, consisting of the 146th Ugda that was earmarked for Central Command, controlling the eastern border with Jordan. In the evening of 6 October, Elazar had considered sending this division to the collapsing Sinai front in view of the initial defensive success at the Golan. The unexpected crisis led to an about-face. Priority was given to the north because of its proximity to Israeli population centers as TiberiasSafedHaifa and Netanya. Elazar ordered that, after mobilisation, the 146th Ugda was to reconquer the southern Golan.[294] This division would take some time to deploy. Some smaller units could be quickly mobilised to bolster the defenses. The Syrians had expected it to take at least twenty-four hours for Israeli reserves to reach the front lines; in fact, they began to join the fight only nine hours after the war began, twelve hours after the start of the mobilisation.[295] The Golan position had been at only 80% of its planned strength for the defensive phase of a full war with Syria.[296] Northern Command had a headquarters reserve consisting of a unnumbered rapid deployment Centurion tank battalion. Also, the 71st Mechanised Infantry Battalion, with two organic tank companies, of the 188th AB had not yet been activated. During the night of 6/7 October, these two battalions were gradually brought up.[297]
Around 01:00, 7 October, the 36th Ugda was activated as a divisional headquarters under Brigadier Rafael Eitan, to take direct command of the northern front.[298] The 7th AB did not have this division as its original destination. It was an elite active General Headquarters reserve, moved from the Sinai to the Golan in reaction to the Syrian build-up. Under the original mobilisation Plan Gir (“Chalk”), the 36th Ugda was to be expanded by the 179th Armored Brigade. In the evening of 6 October, it was considered to send this brigade to the Sinai instead but this option was abandoned after the Syrian breakthrough. To speed up the relocation of 7th AB to the north, this brigade had left its tanks at Tasa, the main mobilisation complex of the Sinai, and used the stocked vehicles of the 179th AB to rebuild itself at Nafah. In turn, the 179th AB began to mobilise in eastern Galilee, from the mobilisation complex at the foot of the Golan Heights, using the stocked vehicles of the 164th Armoured Brigade. This latter brigade was earmarked for the 240th Ugda, a division to be held in reserve. Assuming that a sustained Syrian offensive would have led to crippling Arab tank losses, 36th Ugda and 240th Ugda were in the prewar planning intended to execute an advance in the direction of Damascus, Operation Ze’ev Aravot (“Desert Wolf”). All remaining stocked Centurions in the north were eventually used to rebuild 7th and 188th AB in the night of 9/10 October. The 164th AB was ultimately sent to the Sinai, to activate itself using the old 7th AB matériel.[299] Also the 679th Armored Brigade was intended to join the 240th Ugda and ordered to mobilise at noon 6 October.[300] Reservists of both brigades arriving at the Galilee army depots were quickly assigned to tanks and sent to the front, without waiting for the crews they trained with to arrive,[301] machine guns to be installed, or the tank guns to be calibrated, a time-consuming process known as bore-sighting.[302] Elements of such larger units were during 7 October fed into the battle piece-meal.[303]

The collapse of the 188th Armored Brigade

The Syrian first and second wave had in total numbered about six hundred tanks, half of which had been lost by the morning of 7 October. By this time, the Israelis had committed about 250 tanks to battle.[304] Of the initially arriving reserves, the 71 MIB was used to block an advance by the westernmost elements of the Syrian 9th Infantry Division towards the Bnot Yaacov Bridge, the crucial connection between Galilee and Nafah. In the late evening of 6 October, the NCTB advanced from Nafah towards Hushniya, attempting to seal the breakthrough point. The attack, running into prepared positions occupied by a superior force of T-55s, was a dismal failure, leaving all of its officers dead or wounded. Greengold incorporated the remnants of the unit into his “Force Zvika”.[305]
By the early morning of 7 October, all attempts to patch the breach in the main defensive line of the southern sector became futile because also the center and right flank of the 188th AB had started to collapse.[306] During the night, it had largely managed to hold its ground against continuous attacks, inflicting severe losses on the Syrians with accurate cannon fire, hoping to buy time for reserve forces to reach the front lines. Some tank crews sacrificed themselves rather than voluntarily give ground.[244] Gradually, the fighting subsided.[307] Dawn revealed that the Syrian 5th Infantry Division under the cover of darkness had at numerous points bridged the tank ditch and cleared corridors through the minefield belt. The situation of 188th AB was rendered even more hazardous by the presence in its rear of the Syrian 9th Infantry Division. It was decided to abandon the southern Golan. In the night, many artillery and logistic units had already withdrawn, some slipping through the columns of 9th ID, others being destroyed by them. Civilian Jewish settlements had been evacuated. The same now happened with most fortifications,[308] except bunker complex 116.[309] Ben-Shoham with his staff outflanked the Syrian penetration via a western route and reached the north.[310] The 82nd TB company that had reinforced the center, commanded by Eli Geva, had the previous evening destroyed about thirty Syrian tanks. It now successfully crossed the axis of 9th ID to the north.[311] Of the originally thirty-six tanks of 53rd TB, twelve remained. Eres hid them in the crater of Tel Faris,[312] where a surveillance base was located. In the late evening of 7 October, he would successfully break out to the west.[313]
The Syrian 5th ID subsequently occupied the plateau of the southern Golan. Ben-Shoham tried to maintain a foothold on the access roads by small groups of APCs manned by the 50th Paratrooper Battalion,[314] but these were easily brushed aside. The Syrian 47th Armored Brigade advanced along the escarpment to the north, in the direction of the Bnot Yaacov Bridge. The 132nd Mechanised Infantry Brigade positioned itself east of El Al, on the road along the Jordan border, running to the south of Lake Tiberias. Israeli General Dan Lener in the late night activated the divisional headquarters of the 210th Ugda to take control over the sector between the lake and the Bnot Yaacov Bridge but he had no regular units to hold this line.[315] For the moment, he could do little more than personally halt retreating troops and vehicles on the more southern Arik Bridge and send them over the River Jordan again. Israeli command feared that the Syrians would quickly exploit this situation by advancing into Galilee. Dayan in the morning of 7 October called Shalhevet Freier, the director-general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, to a meeting with Golda Meir to discuss the possible arming of nuclear weapons. Meir rejected this option.[316] The Syrian mechanised brigades in this area did not continue the offensive but began to entrench themselves in strong defensive positions. They had been forbidden by Al-Assad to approach the River Jordan, for fear of triggering an Israeli nuclear response.[317]
The original Syrian offensive plan Al-Aouda (“The Return”), devised by Major-General Adul Habeisi, had emphasized the element of tactical surprise. It was known to the Syrians that the 188th AB normally rotated its two tank battalions on the Purple Line, so that on any given moment just thirty-three tanks were guarding the tank ditch. Infiltrations by commando teams armed with Saggers were planned to quickly isolate these ten tank platoons from reinforcement by tactical reserves.[318] Simultaneously, helicopter-borne commando attacks at the Jordan bridges, landing during conditions of dusk to avoid the IAF, would isolate the Golan Heights from strategic reinforcements. Night attacks by the three Syrian infantry divisions would then fragment the weakly-held forward Israeli defensive positions. To conclude the operation and deter any Israeli attempt to reconquer the Golan, the Syrian 1st and 3rd Armored Division would advance onto the plateau. This way, it was hoped to take the Golan within thirty hours.[319] Coordination with Egypt forced a change of plans. The Egyptians wanted hostilities to start at noon;[320] in the end they agreed to a compromise time of 14:00.[321] The Syrian helicopter attacks were cancelled.[322] Now uncertain of a successful outcome, the Syrians became less committed to the attack. They decided to keep one armored division as a strategic reserve, together with the two presidential guard independent armored brigades, which fielded the most modern tank matériel.[323]
Greengold fought running battles in this area with Syrian armor for twenty hours, sometimes with his single tank and at other times as part of a larger unit, changing tanks half a dozen times as they were knocked out. Greengold suffered burn injuries, but stayed in action and repeatedly showed up at critical moments from an unexpected direction to change the course of a skirmish.[277] For his actions, he received Israel’s highest decoration, the Medal of Valor.
Brigade Commander Colonel Shoham was killed on the second day, along with his second-in-command and operations officer, as the Syrians desperately tried to advance towards the Sea of Galilee and Nafah. At this point, the Barak Brigade was no longer a cohesive force, although surviving tanks and crewmen continued fighting independently. The Syrians were close to reaching the Israeli defenders at Nafah, yet stopped the advance on Nafah’s fences at 1700; the pause lasted all night, allowing Israeli forces to form a defensive line.[244] It is surmised that the Syrians had calculated estimated advances, and the commanders in the field did not want to diverge from the plan.

An abandoned Syrian T-55tank on the Golan Heights.

Israel retakes the southern Golan

The tide in the Golan began to turn as arriving Israeli reserve forces were able to contain the Syrian advance. Beginning on October 8, the Israelis began pushing the Syrians back towards the pre-war ceasefire lines, inflicting heavy tank losses. Another Syrian attack north of Quneitra was repulsed. The tiny Golan Heights were too small to act as an effective territorial buffer, unlike the Sinai Peninsula in the south, but it proved to be a strategic geographical stronghold and was a crucial key in preventing the Syrians from bombarding the cities below. The Israelis, who had suffered heavy casualties during the first three days of fighting, also began relying more heavily on artillery to dislodge the Syrians at long-range.

The aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on the Syrian General Staff headquarters in Damascus.

On October 9, Syrian FROG-7 surface-to-surface missiles struck the Israeli Air Force base of Ramat David, killing a pilot and injuring several soldiers. Additional missiles struck civilian settlements. In retaliation, seven Israeli F-4 Phantoms flew into Syria and struck the Syrian General Staff Headquarters in Damascus. The jets struck from Lebanese airspace to avoid the heavily defended regions around the Golan Heights, attacking a Lebanese radar station along the way. The upper floors of the Syrian GHQ and the Air Force Command were badly damaged. A Soviet cultural center, a television station, and other nearby structures were also mistakenly hit. One Israeli Phantom was shot down.[324] The strike prompted the Syrians to transfer air defense units from the Golan Heights to the home front, allowing the Israeli Air Force greater freedom of action.[249]
On October 9, as the last Syrian units were being driven from the Golan Heights, the Syrians launched a counterattack north of Quneitra. As part of the operation, they attempted to land heli-borne troops in the vicinity of El Rom. The counterattack was repulsed, and four Syrian helicopters were shot down with total loss of life.[325] By October 10, the last Syrian unit in the central sector was pushed back across the Purple Line, the pre-war ceasefire line. After four days of intense and incessant combat, the Israelis had succeeded in ejecting the Syrians from the entire Golan.[249]

Israeli advance towards Damascus

A decision now had to be made—whether to stop at the post-1967 border or to continue advancing into Syrian territory. The Israeli High Command spent all of October 10 debating well into the night. Some favored disengagement, which would allow soldiers to be redeployed to the Sinai (Shmuel Gonen‘s defeat at Hizayon in the Sinai had taken place two days earlier). Others favored continuing the attack into Syria, towards Damascus, which would knock Syria out of the war; it would also restore Israel’s image as the supreme military power in the Middle East and would give Israel a valuable bargaining chip once the war ended.[326]
Others countered that Syria had strong defenses—antitank ditches, minefields, and strongpoints— and that it would be better to fight from defensive positions in the Golan Heights (rather than the flat terrain deeper in Syria) in the event of another war with Syria. However, Prime Minister Golda Meir realized the most crucial point of the whole debate:

It would take four days to shift a division to the Sinai. If the war ended during this period, the war would end with a territorial loss for Israel in the Sinai and no gain in the north—an unmitigated defeat. This was a political matter and her decision was unmitigating—to cross the purple line. … The attack would be launched tomorrow, Thursday, October 11.[326]

Israeli artillery pounds Syrian forces near the Valley of Tears.

Quneitra village after Israeli shelling, showing a church and an elevated car

On October 11, Israeli forces pushed into Syria and advanced towards Damascus along the Quneitra-Damascus road until October 14, encountering stiff resistance by Syrian reservists in prepared defenses. Three Israeli divisions broke the first and second defensive lines near Sasa, and conquered a further 50 square kilometres of territory in the Bashan salient. From there, they were able to shell the outskirts of Damascus, only 40 km away, using M107 heavy artillery.
On October 12, Israeli paratroopers from the elite Sayeret Tzanhanim reconnaissance unit launched Operation Gown, infiltrating deep into Syria and destroying a bridge in the tri-border area of Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. The operation disrupted the flow of weapons and troops to Syria. During the operation, the paratroopers destroyed a number of tank transports and killed several Syrian soldiers. There were no Israeli casualties.[327]
As the Syrian position deteriorated, Jordan sent an expeditionary force into Syria. King Hussein, who had come under intense pressure to enter the war, told Israel of his intentions through U.S. intermediaries, in the hope that Israel would accept that this was not a casus belli justifying an attack on Jordan. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declined to offer any such assurance, but said that Israel had no intention of opening another front.[328] Iraq also sent an expeditionary force to Syria, consisting of the 3rd and 6th Armoured Divisions, some 30,000 men, 250–500 tanks, and 700 APCs.[36][4][329] Israeli jets attacked Iraqi forces as they arrived in Syria.[330]
The Iraqi divisions were a strategic surprise for the IDF, which had expected 24-hour-plus advance intelligence of such moves. This turned into an operational surprise, as the Iraqis attacked the exposed southern flank of the advancing Israeli armor, forcing its advance units to retreat a few kilometres in order to prevent encirclement. Combined Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian counterattacks prevented any further Israeli gains. However, they were unable to push the Israelis back from the Bashan salient, and suffered heavy losses in their engagements with the Israelis. The most effective attack took place on October 20, though Arab forces lost 120 tanks in that engagement.[330]
The Syrian Air Force attacked Israeli columns, but its operations were highly limited because of Israeli air superiority, and it suffered heavy losses in dogfights with Israeli jets. On October 23, a large air battle took place near Damascus during which the Israelis shot down 10 Syrian aircraft. The Syrians claimed a similar toll against Israel.[331] The IDF also destroyed the Syrian missile defense system. The Israeli Air Force utilized its air superiority to attack strategic targets throughout Syria, including important power plants, petrol supplies, bridges and main roads. The strikes weakened the Syrian war effort, disrupted Soviet efforts to airlift military equipment into Syria, and disrupted normal life inside the country.[332]
On October 22, the Golani Brigade and Sayeret Matkal commandos recaptured the outpost on Mount Hermon, after a hard-fought battle that involved hand-to-hand combat and Syrian sniper attacks. An unsuccessful attack two weeks prior had cost the Israelis 23 dead and 55 wounded and the Syrians 29 dead and 11 wounded, while this second attack cost Israel an additional 55 dead and 79 wounded.[333] An unknown number of Syrians were also killed and some were taken prisoner. An IDF D9 bulldozer supported by infantry forced its way to the peak. An Israeli paratroop force, landing by helicopter took the corresponding Syrian Hermon outposts on the mountain, killing more than a dozen Syrians while losing one dead and four wounded. Seven Syrian MiGs and two Syrian helicopters carrying reinforcements were shot down as they attempted to intercede.[334]

Northern front de-escalation

The Syrians prepared for a massive counteroffensive to drive Israeli forces out of Syria, scheduled for October 23. A total of five Syrian divisions were to take part, alongside the Iraqi and Jordanian expeditionary forces. The Soviets had replaced most of the losses Syria’s tank forces had suffered during the first weeks of the war.
However, the day before the offensive was to begin, the United Nations imposed its ceasefire (following the acquiescence of both Israel and Egypt). Abraham Rabinovich claimed that “The acceptance by Egypt of the cease-fire on Monday [October 22] created a major dilemma for Assad. The cease-fire did not bind him, but its implications could not be ignored. Some on the Syrian General Staff favored going ahead with the attack, arguing that if it did so Egypt would feel obliged to continue fighting as well … Others, however, argued that continuation of the war would legitimize Israel’s efforts to destroy the Egyptian Third Army. In that case, Egypt would not come to Syria’s assistance when Israel turned its full might northward, destroying Syria’s infrastructure and perhaps attacking Damascus“.[40]
Ultimately, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad decided to cancel the offensive. On October 23, the day the offensive was to begin, Syria announced that it had accepted the ceasefire, and ordered its troops to cease fire, while the Iraqi government ordered its forces home.
Following the UN ceasefire, there were constant artillery exchanges and skirmishes, and Israeli forces continued to occupy positions deep within Syria. According to Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam, Syria’s constant artillery attacks were “part of a deliberate war of attrition designed to paralyse the Israeli economy”, and were intended to pressure Israel into yielding the occupied territory.[335] Some aerial engagements took place, and both sides lost several aircraft. In spring 1974, the Syrians attempted to retake the summit of Mount Hermon. The fighting lasted for more than a month and saw heavy losses on both sides, but the Israelis held their positions.[234] The situation continued until a May 1974 disengagement agreement.

Jordanian participation

The U.S. pressed King Hussein to keep Jordan out of the war.[336] Though King Hussein of Jordan initially refrained from entering the conflict, on the night of October 12–13 Jordanian troops deployed to the Jordanian-Syrian frontier to buttress Syrian troops, and Jordanian forces joined Syrian and Iraqi assaults on Israeli positions on October 16 and October 19. Hussein sent a second brigade to the Golan front on October 21.[337] According to historian Assaf David, declassified U.S. documents show that the Jordanian participation was only a token to preserve King Hussein’s status in the Arab world.[338]The documents reveal that Israel and Jordan had a tacit understanding that the Jordanian units would try to stay out of the fighting and Israel would try to not attack them.[338]

Final situation on the Syrian front

The Israeli Army advanced to a 40 km distance from Damascus[24] from where they were able to shell the outskirts of Damascus using M107 heavy artillery.

The war at sea

Diagram of the Battle of Latakia

Diagram of the Battle of Baltim

On the first day of the war, Egyptian missile boats bombarded the Sinai Mediterranean coast, targeting Rumana and Ras Beyron, Ras Masala and Ras Sudar on the Gulf of Suez, and Sharm el-Sheikh. Egyptian naval frogmen also raided the oil installations at Bala’eem, disabling the massive driller.[339]
The Battle of Latakia, between the Israeli and Syrian navies, took place on October 7, the second day of the war. Five Israeli missile boats heading towards the Syrian port of Latakia, sank a Syrian torpedo boat and minesweeper before encountering five Syrian missile boats. The Israelis used electronic countermeasures and chaff to evade Syrian missiles, then sank all five Syrian missile boats. This revolutionary engagement, the first between missile boats using surface-to-surface missiles, proved the potency of small, fast missile boats equipped with advanced ECM packages. The battle also established the Israeli Navy, long derided as the “black sheep” of the Israeli military, as a formidable and effective force in its own right. The port of Latakia was the site of another engagement between October 10–11, when Israeli missile boats fired into the port, targeting two Syrian missile boats spotted maneuvering among merchant ships. Both Syrian vessels were sunk, and two merchant ships were mistakenly hit and sunk.
October 7 also witnessed the Battle of Marsa Talamat. Two Israeli Dabur class patrol boats patrolling in the Gulf of Suez encountered two Egyptian Zodiac boats loaded with Egyptian naval commandos, a patrol boat, backed up by coastal guns. The Israeli patrol boats sank both Zodiacs and the patrol boat, though both suffered damage during the battle.[340]
The Battle of Baltim, which took place on October 8–9 off the coast of Baltim and Damietta, ended in a decisive Israeli victory. Six Israeli missile boats heading towards Port Said encountered four Egyptian missile boats coming from Alexandria. In an engagement lasting about forty minutes, the Israelis evaded Egyptian Styx missiles using electronic countermeasures and sank three of the Egyptian missile boats with Gabriel missiles and gunfire.[341][342][343][344][345] The Battles of Latakia and Baltim “drastically changed the operational situation at sea to Israeli advantage”.[346]
Five nights after the Battle of Baltim, five Israeli patrol boats entered the Egyptian anchorage at Ras Ghareb, where over fifty Egyptian small patrol craft, including armed fishing boats mobilized for the war effort and loaded with troops, ammunition and supplies bound for the Israeli side of the Gulf, were based. In the battle that followed, 19 Egyptian boats were sunk, while others remained bottled up in port.[229]
The Israeli Navy had control of the Gulf of Suez during the war, which made possible the continued deployment of an Israeli SAM battery near an Israeli naval base close to the southern end of the Suez Canal, depriving the Egyptian Third Army of air support and preventing it from moving southward and attempting to capture the southern Sinai.[347]
Israeli commandos from Shayetet 13, the Israeli Navy’s elite special unit, infiltrated the Egyptian port of Hurghada on the night of October 9–10 and sank a Komar-class missile boat after four previous attempts had failed. After another infiltration attempt failed, the commandos successfully infiltrated Hurghada again on the night of October 21–22 and heavily damaged a missile boat with M72 LAW rockets. During one of the raids, the commandos also blew up the port’s main docking pier. On October 16, Shayetet 13 commandos infiltrated Port Said in two Hazir mini-submarines to strike Egyptian naval targets. During the raid, the commandos sank a torpedo boat, a coast guard boat, a tank landing craft, and a missile boat. Two frogmen went missing during the operation.[348][unreliable source?] On October 18, Israeli frogmen set off an explosion that severed two underwater communications cables off Beirut, one of which led to Alexandria and the other to Marseilles. As a result, telex and telecommunications between the West and Syria were severed, and were not restored until the cables were repaired on October 27. The cables had also been used by the Syrians and Egyptians to communicate with each other in preference to using radio, which was monitored by Israeli, U.S. and Soviet intelligence. Egypt and Syria resorted to communicating via a Jordanian radio station in Ajloun, bouncing the signals off a U.S. satellite.[349]
On October 11, Israeli missile boats sank two Syrian missile boats in an engagement off Tartus. During the battle, a Sovietmerchant ship was hit by Israeli missiles and sank.[350]

A Syrian oil terminal in Baniyasafter being shelled by Israeli Sa’ar 3-class missile boats

Having decisively beaten the Egyptian and Syrian navies, the Israeli Navy had the run of the coastlines. Israeli missile boats utilized their 76mm cannons and other armaments to strike targets along the Egyptian and Syrian coastlines, including wharves, oil tank farms, coastal batteries, radar stations, airstrips, and other targets of military value. The Israeli Navy even attacked some of Egypt’s northernmost SAM batteries.[351][352] The Israeli Navy’s attacks were carried out with minimal support from the Israeli Air Force (only one Arab naval target was destroyed from the air during the entire war).[229]
The Egyptian Navy managed to enforce a blockade at Bab-el-Mandeb. Eighteen million tons of oil had been transported yearly from Iran to Israel through the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. The blockade was enforced by two Egyptian destroyers and two submarines, supported by ancillary craft. Shipping destined for Israel through the Gulf of Eilat was halted by the Egyptians. The Israeli Navy had no means of lifting the blockade due to the long range involved, and the Israeli Air Force, apparently also incapable of lifting the blockade, did not challenge it. The blockade was lifted on November 1, after Israel used the surrounded Egyptian Third Army as a bargaining chip. The Egyptians unsuccessfully attempted to blockade the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, and mined the Gulf of Suez to prevent the transportation of oil from the Bala’eem and Abu Rudeis oil fields in southwestern Sinai to Eilat in southern Israel. Two oil tankers, of 48,000 ton and 2,000 ton capacity, sank after hitting mines in the Gulf.[353][354] According to Admiral Ze’ev Almog, the Israeli Navy escorted tankers from the Gulf to Eilat throughout the war, and Israeli tankers sailing from Iran were directed to bypass the Red Sea. As a result of these actions and the failure of Egypt’s Mediterranean blockade, the transport of oil, grain and weapons to Israeli ports was made possible throughout nearly the entire war. A post-war survey found that during the entire war period, Israel suffered no oil shortages, and even sold oil to third parties affected by the Arab oil embargo.[229] This claim was disputed by Edgar O’Ballance, who claimed that no oil went to Israel during the blockade, and the Eilat-Ashdod pipeline was empty by the end of the war.[355]
Israel responded with a counter-blockade of Egypt in the Gulf of Suez. The Israeli blockade was enforced by naval vessels based at Sharm el-Sheikh and the Sinai coast facing the Gulf of Suez. The Israeli blockade substantially damaged the Egyptian economy. According to historian Gammal Hammad, Egypt’s principal ports, Alexandria and Port Safaga, remained open to shipping throughout the war.[339] Throughout the war, the Israeli Navy enjoyed complete command of the seas both in the Mediterranean approaches and in the Gulf of Suez.[356]
During the last week of the war, Egyptian frogmen carried out three or four raids on Eilat. The attacks caused minor damage, but created some alarm.[349]
According to Israeli and Western sources, the Israelis lost no vessels in the war.[341][342][357][358] Israeli vessels were “targeted by as many as 52 Soviet-made anti-ship missiles”, but none hit their targets.[359] According to historian Benny Morris, the Egyptians lost seven missile boats and four torpedo boats and coastal defense craft, while the Syrians lost five missile boats, one minesweeper, and one coastal defense vessel.[357] All together, the Israeli Navy suffered three dead or missing and seven wounded.

Atrocities against Israeli prisoners

Syrian atrocities

Syria ignored the Geneva Conventions and many Israeli prisoners of war were tortured or killed.[360] Advancing Israeli forces, re-capturing land taken by the Syrians early in the war, came across the bodies of 28 Israeli soldiers who had been blindfolded with their hands bound and summarily executed.[361] In a December 1973 address to the National Assembly, Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass stated that he had awarded one soldier the Medal of the Republic for killing 28 Israeli prisoners with an axe, decapitating three of them and eating the flesh of one of his victims.[362] The Syrians employed brutal interrogation techniques utilizing electric shocks to the genitals. A number of Israeli soldiers taken prisoner on Mount Hermon were executed. Near the village of Hushniye, the Syrians captured 11 administrative personnel from the Golan Heights Force, all of whom were later found dead, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs. Within Hushniye, seven Israeli prisoners were found dead, and another three were executed at Tel Zohar. Syrian prisoners who fell into Israeli captivity confirmed that their comrades killed IDF prisoners.[363]
Some Israeli POWs reported having their fingernails ripped out while others were described as being turned into human ashtrays as their Syrian guards burned them with lit cigarettes.[364] A report submitted by the chief medical officer of the Israeli army notes that, “the vast majority of (Israeli) prisoners were exposed during their imprisonment to severe physical and mental torture. The usual methods of torture were beatings aimed at various parts of the body, electric shocks, wounds deliberately inflicted on the ears, burns on the legs, suspension in painful positions and other methods.”[365]Following the conclusion of hostilities, Syria would not release the names of prisoners it was holding to the International Committee of the Red Cross and in fact, did not even acknowledge holding any prisoners despite the fact they were publicly exhibited by the Syrians for television crews.[366] The Syrians, having been thoroughly defeated by Israel, were attempting to use their captives as their sole bargaining chip in the post-war negotiations.[367] One of the most famous Israeli POWs was Avraham Lanir, an Israeli pilot who bailed out over Syria and was taken prisoner.[368] Lanir died under Syrian interrogation.[125][369][370] When his body was returned in 1974, it exhibited signs of torture.[369]

Egyptian atrocities

Israeli historian Aryeh Yitzhaki estimated that the Egyptians killed about 200 Israeli soldiers who had surrendered. Yitzhaki based his claim on army documents. In addition, dozens of Israeli prisoners were beaten and otherwise mistreated in Egyptian captivity.[371]
Individual Israeli soldiers gave testimony of witnessing comrades killed after surrendering to the Egyptians, or seeing the bodies of Israeli soldiers found blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. Avi Yaffe, a radioman serving on the Bar-Lev Line, reported hearing calls from other soldiers that the Egyptians were killing anyone who tried to surrender, and also obtained recordings of soldiers who were saved from Egyptian firing squads. Photographic evidence of such executions exists, though some of it has never been made public. Photos were also found of Israeli prisoners who were photographed alive in Egyptian captivity, but were returned to Israel dead.[371][372]
The order to kill Israeli prisoners came from General Shazly, who, in a pamphlet distributed to Egyptian soldiers immediately before the war, advised his troops to kill Israeli soldiers even if they surrendered.[371]

Participation by other states

Failure of the U.S. intelligence community

The U.S. intelligence community—which includes the CIA—failed to predict in advance the Egyptian-Syrian attack on Israel. A U.S. intelligence report as late as October 4 still stated that “We continue to believe that an outbreak of major Arab–Israeli hostilities remains unlikely for the immediate future”.[373] However, one U.S. government source that was able to predict the approaching war was Roger Merrick, an analyst working for the INR (Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the State Department), but his conclusions were ignored at the time, and the report he had written to that effect was only rediscovered by U.S. government archive officials in 2013.[374]

U.S. aid to Israel

Based on intelligence estimates at the commencement of hostilities, American leaders expected the tide of the war to quickly shift in Israel’s favor, and that Arab armies would be completely defeated within 72 to 96 hours.[375] On October 6, Secretary of State Kissinger convened the National Security Council‘s official crisis management group, the Washington Special Actions Group, which debated whether the U.S. should supply additional arms to Israel. High-ranking representatives of the Defense and State Departments opposed such a move. Kissinger was the sole dissenter; he said that if the U.S. refused aid, Israel would have little incentive to conform to American views in postwar diplomacy. Kissinger argued the sending of U.S. aid might cause Israel to moderate its territorial claims, but this thesis raised a protracted debate whether U.S. aid was likely to make it more accommodating or more intransigent toward the Arab world.[376]

An Israeli M48 Patton captured by Egyptian forces

By October 8, Israel had encountered military difficulties on both fronts. In the Sinai, Israeli efforts to break through Egyptian lines with armor had been thwarted, and while Israel had contained and begun to turn back the Syrian advance, Syrian forces were still overlooking the Jordan River and their air defense systems were inflicting a high toll on Israeli planes.[377][378][379] It became clear by October 9 that no quick reversal in Israel’s favor would occur and that IDF losses were unexpectedly high.[380]
During the night of October 8–9, an alarmed Dayan told Meir that “this is the end of the third temple.”[378] He was warning of Israel’s impending total defeat, but “Temple” was also the code word for Israel’s nuclear weapons.[379] Dayan raised the nuclear topic in a cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of “last resort”.[381] That night Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20-kiloton-of-TNT (84 TJ) tactical nuclear weapons for Jericho missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase.[379] They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total defeat, but the preparation was done in an easily detectable way, likely as a signal to the United States.[381] Kissinger learned of the nuclear alert on the morning of October 9. That day, President Nixon ordered the commencement of Operation Nickel Grass, an American airlift to replace all of Israel’s material losses.[382] Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger told Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear”.[379] However, subsequent interviews with Kissinger, Schlesinger, and William Quandt suggested that the nuclear aspect was not a major factor in the decision to re-supply. These officials cited the ongoing Soviet re-supply effort and Sadat’s early rejection of a ceasefire as the primary motivators.[383] European countries refused to allow U.S. airplanes carrying supplies for Israel to refuel at their bases, fearing an Arab oil embargo, with the exception of Portugal and the Netherlands. Portugal permitted the United States to use a leased base in the Azores,[384] and the defence minister of the Netherlands, apparently acting without consulting his cabinet colleagues, secretly authorised the use of Dutch airfields.[385]

A cargo plane with its access door open, men, and a tank

An M60 delivered during Operation Nickel Grass

Israel began receiving supplies via U.S. Air Force cargo airplanes on October 14,[386] although some equipment had arrived on planes from Israel’s national airline El Al before this date. By that time, the IDF had advanced deep into Syria and was mounting a largely successful invasion of the Egyptian mainland from the Sinai, but had taken severe material losses. According to Abraham Rabinovich, “while the American airlift of supplies did not immediately replace Israel’s losses in equipment, it did allow Israel to expend what it did have more freely”.[387] By the end of Nickel Grass, the United States had shipped 22,395 tons of matériel to Israel. 8,755 tons of it arrived before the end of the war.[388] American C-141 Starlifter and C-5 Galaxy aircraft flew 567 missions throughout the airlift.[389] El Al planes flew in an additional 5,500 tons of matériel in 170 flights.[390][391] The airlift continued after the war until November 14. The United States delivered approximately 90,000 tons of materiel to Israel by sealift by the beginning of December, using 16 ships.[388] 33,210 tons of it arrived by November.[392]
By the beginning of December, Israel had received between 34 and 40 F-4 fighter-bombers, 46 A-4 attack airplanes, 12 C-130 cargo airplanes, 8 CH-53 helicopters, 40 unmanned aerial vehicles, 200 M-60/M-48A3 tanks, 250 armored personnel carriers, 226 utility vehicles, 12 MIM-72 Chaparral surface-to-air missile systems, three MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile systems, 36 155 mm artillery pieces, seven 175 mm artillery pieces, and large quantities of 105 mm, 155 mm and 175 mm ammunition. State of the art equipment, such as the AGM-65 Maverick missile and the BGM-71 TOW, weapons that had only entered production one or more years prior, as well as highly advanced electronic jamming equipment, was also sent. Most of the combat airplanes arrived during the war, and many were taken directly from United States Air Forceunits. Most of the large equipment arrived after the ceasefire. The total cost of the equipment was approximately US$800 million (US$4.41 billion today).[390][391][393][394]
On October 13 and 15, Egyptian air defense radars detected an aircraft at an altitude of 25,000 metres (82,000 ft) and a speed of Mach 3 (3,675 km/h; 2,284 mph), making it impossible to intercept either by fighter or SAM missiles. The aircraft proceeded to cross the whole of the canal zone, the naval ports of the Red Sea (Hurghada and Safaga), flew over the airbases and air defenses in the Nile delta, and finally disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean Sea. The speed and altitude were those of the U.S. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a long-range strategic-reconnaissance aircraft. According to Egyptian commanders, the intelligence provided by the reconnaissance flights helped the Israelis prepare for the Egyptian attack on October 14 and assisted it in conducting Operation Stouthearted Men.[395][396][397]

Aid to Egypt and Syria

Soviet supplies

Two damaged armored personnel carriers. An Israeli flag is next to them.

A Syrian BMP-1 captured by Israeli forces

Starting on October 9, the Soviet Union began supplying Egypt and Syria by air and by sea. The Soviets airlifted 12,500–15,000 tons of supplies, of which 6,000 tons went to Egypt, 3,750 tons went to Syria and 575 tons went to Iraq. General Shazly, the former Egyptian chief of staff, claimed that more than half of the airlifted Soviet hardware actually went to Syria. According to Ze’ev Schiff, Arab losses were so high and the attrition rate so great that equipment was taken directly from Soviet and Warsaw Pact stores to supply the airlift.[398] Antonov An-12 and AN-22 aircraft flew over 900 missions during the airlift.[399]
The Soviets supplied another 63,000 tons, mainly to Syria, by means of a sealift by October 30.[400][401] Historian Gamal Hammad asserts that 400 T-55 and T-62tanks supplied by the sealift were directed towards replacing Syrian losses, transported from Odessa on the Black Sea to the Syrian port of Latakia. Hammad claimed that Egypt did not receive any tanks from the Soviets,[402] a claim disputed by Schiff, who stated that Soviet freighters loaded with tanks and other weapons reached Egyptian, Algerian and Syrian ports throughout the war.[citation needed] The sealift may have included Soviet nuclear weapons, which were not unloaded but kept in Alexandria harbor until November to counter the Israeli nuclear preparations, which Soviet satellites had detected (Soviet intelligence informed Egypt that Israel had armed three nuclear weapons).[403] American concern over possible evidence of nuclear warheads for the Soviet Scud missiles in Egypt contributed to Washington’s decision to go to DEFCON 3.[379] According to documents declassified in 2016, the move to DEFCON 3 was motivated by Central Intelligence Agency reports indicating that the Soviet Union had sent a ship to Egypt carrying nuclear weapons along with two other amphibious vessels.[404] Soviet troops never landed, though the ship supposedly transporting nuclear weapons did arrive in Egypt. Further details are unavailable and may remain classified.

Soviet active aid

On the Golan front, Syrian forces received direct support from Soviet technicians and military personnel. At the start of the war, there were an estimated 2,000 Soviet personnel in Syria, of whom 1,000 were serving in Syrian air defense units. Soviet technicians repaired damaged tanks, SAMs and radar equipment, assembled fighter jets that arrived via the sealift, and drove tanks supplied by the sealift from ports to Damascus. On both the Golan and Sinai fronts, Soviet military personnel retrieved abandoned Israeli military equipment for shipment to Moscow.[405] Soviet advisors were reportedly present in Syrian command posts “at every echelon, from battalion up, including supreme headquarters”. Some Soviet military personnel went into battle with the Syrians, and it was estimated that 20 were killed in action and more were wounded. In July 1974, Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres informed the Knesset that high-ranking Soviet officers had been killed on the Syrian front during the war. There were strong rumors that a handful were taken prisoner, but this was denied. However, it was noted that certain Soviet Jews were allowed to emigrate just after the war, leading to suspicions of a covert exchange. The Observer wrote that seven Soviets in uniform were taken prisoner after surrendering when the Israelis overran their bunker. The Israelis reportedly took the prisoners to Ramat David Airbase for interrogation, and treated the incident with great secrecy.[406][407]
Israeli military intelligence reported that Soviet-piloted MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor/reconnaissance aircraft overflew the Canal Zone.[408]

Soviet threat of intervention

October 24. A UN-arranged meeting between IDF Lt. Gen. Haim Bar-Lev and Egyptian Brigadier General Bashir Sharif in Sinai.[409]

On October 9, the Soviet cultural center in Damascus was damaged during an Israeli airstrike, and two days later, the Soviet merchant ship Ilya Mechnikov was sunk by the Israeli Navy during a battle off Syria. The Soviets condemned Israeli actions, and there were calls within the government for military retaliation. The Soviets ultimately reacted by deploying two destroyers off the Syrian coast. Soviet warships in the Mediterranean were authorized to open fire on Israeli combatants approaching Soviet convoys and transports. There were several recorded instances of Soviet ships exchanging fire with Israeli forces. In particular, the Soviet minesweeper Rulevoi and the medium landing ship SDK-137, guarding Soviet transport ships at the Syrian port of Latakia, fired on approaching Israeli jets.[350]
During the cease-fire, Henry Kissinger mediated a series of exchanges with the Egyptians, Israelis and the Soviets. On October 24, Sadat publicly appealed for American and Soviet contingents to oversee the ceasefire; it was quickly rejected in a White House statement. Kissinger also met with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin to discuss convening a peace conference with Geneva as the venue. Later in the evening (9:35 pm) of October 24–25, Brezhnev sent Nixon a “very urgent” letter. In that letter, Brezhnev began by noting that Israel was continuing to violate the ceasefire and it posed a challenge to both the U.S. and USSR. He stressed the need to “implement” the ceasefire resolution and “invited” the U.S. to join the Soviets “to compel observance of the cease-fire without delay”. He then threatened “I will say it straight that if you find it impossible to act jointly with us in this matter, we should be faced with the necessity urgently to consider taking appropriate steps unilaterally. We cannot allow arbitrariness on the part of Israel.”[410][411] The Soviets were threatening to militarily intervene in the war on Egypt’s side if they could not work together to enforce the ceasefire.
Kissinger immediately passed the message to White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig, who met with Nixon for 20 minutes around 10:30 pm, and reportedly empowered Kissinger to take any necessary action.[410] Kissinger immediately called a meeting of senior officials, including Haig, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, and CIA Director William Colby. The Watergate scandal had reached its apex, and Nixon was so agitated and discomposed that they decided to handle the matter without him:

When Kissinger asked Haig whether [Nixon] should be wakened, the White House chief of staff replied firmly ‘No.’ Haig clearly shared Kissinger’s feelings that Nixon was in no shape to make weighty decisions.[412]

The meeting produced a conciliatory response, which was sent (in Nixon’s name) to Brezhnev. At the same time, it was decided to increase the Defense Condition (DEFCON) from four to three. Lastly, they approved a message to Sadat (again, in Nixon’s name) asking him to drop his request for Soviet assistance, and threatening that if the Soviets were to intervene, so would the United States.[412]
The Soviets placed seven airborne divisions on alert and airlift was marshaled to transport them to the Middle East. An airborne command post was set up in the southern Soviet Union, and several air force units were also alerted. “Reports also indicated that at least one of the divisions and a squadron of transport planes had been moved from the Soviet Union to an airbase in Yugoslavia“.[413] The Soviets also deployed seven amphibious warfare craft with some 40,000 naval infantry in the Mediterranean.
The Soviets quickly detected the increased American defense condition, and were astonished and bewildered at the response. “Who could have imagined the Americans would be so easily frightened,” said Nikolai Podgorny. “It is not reasonable to become engaged in a war with the United States because of Egypt and Syria,” said Premier Alexei Kosygin, while KGB chief Yuri Andropov added that “We shall not unleash the Third World War.”[414] The letter from the U.S. cabinet arrived during the meeting. Brezhnev decided that the Americans were too nervous, and that the best course of action would be to wait to reply.[415] The next morning, the Egyptians agreed to the American suggestion, and dropped their request for assistance from the Soviets, bringing the crisis to an end.

Other countries

Plaque commemorating the supply of 8 East German Air Force MiG-21s to Syria during the war, on display at the Flugplatzmuseum Cottbus

In total, Arab countries added up to 100,000 troops to Egypt and Syria’s frontline ranks.[26] Besides Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, several other Arab states were also involved in this war, providing additional weapons and financing. In addition to its forces in Syria, Iraq sent a single Hawker Hunter squadron to Egypt. The squadron quickly gained a reputation amongst Egyptian field commanders for its skill in air support, particularly in anti-armor strikes.[416]
However, nearly all Arab reinforcements came with no logistical plan or support, expecting their hosts to supply them, and in several cases causing logistical problems. On the Syrian front, a lack of coordination between Arab forces led to several instances of friendly fire.[5][4]

  • Algeria sent a squadron each of MiG-21s and Su-7s to Egypt, which arrived at the front between October 9 and October 11. It also sent an armored brigade of 150 tanks, the advance elements of which began to arrive on October 17, but reached the front only on October 24, too late to participate in the fighting. After the war, during the first days of November, Algeria deposited around US$200 million with the Soviet Union to finance arms purchases for Egypt and Syria.[5] Algerian fighter jets however did participate in attacks together with Egyptians and Iraqis.[417]
  • Cuba sent approximately 4,000 troops, including tank and helicopter crews to Syria, and they reportedly engaged in combat operations against the IDF.[7][418][419]
  • East German Communist Party leader Erich Honecker directed the shipment of 75,000 grenades, 30,000 mines, 62 tanks and 12 fighter jets to Syria.[420]
  • 20 North Korean pilots and 19 non-combat personnel were sent to Egypt.[421] According to Shlomo Aloni, the last aerial engagement on the Egyptian front, which took place on December 6, saw Israeli F-4s engage North Korean-piloted MiG-21s.[422] The Israelis shot down one MiG, and another was mistakenly shot down by Egyptian air defenses. Egyptian sources said that the North Koreans suffered no losses but claimed no aerial victories in their engagements.[217][234][421]
  • According to Chengappa, several Pakistan Air Force pilots flew combat missions in Syrian aircraft, and shot down one Israeli fighter.[423][424][425]
  • Libya, which had forces stationed in Egypt before the outbreak of the war, provided one armored brigade and two squadrons of Mirage V fighters, of which one squadron was to be piloted by the Egyptian Air Force and the other by Libyan pilots. Only Egyptian-manned squadrons participated in the war.[417] Libyan armored brigade stationed in Egypt never took an active part in the war.[417] Libya also sent financial aid.[426]
  • Saudi Arabia sent 3,000 soldiers to Syria, bolstered by a battalion of Panhard AML-90 armored cars.[40] One of the Panhards was later captured by the Israelis near Golan Heights and displayed to the media as proof of Saudi involvement.[2] The Saudi armor was deployed primarily in rearguard actions[2] but also performed active reconnaissance for the Iraqi and Jordanian expeditionary forces between October 16 and October 19.[citation needed]During that time, it participated in two major engagements and the IDF claimed that most of the armoured car battalion was destroyed.[citation needed] The Saudis acknowledged only minor losses, including the loss of 4 AMLs.[2]
  • Kuwait dispatched 3,000 soldiers to Syria.[40] These arrived with additional Jordanian and Iraqi reinforcements in time for a new Syrian offensive scheduled for October 23, which was later cancelled.[40] Kuwaiti troops were also sent to Egypt.[427][better source needed][428] Kuwait also provided financial aid.[429]
  • Morocco sent one infantry brigade to Egypt and one armored regiment to Syria.[416][429] 6 Moroccan troops were taken prisoner in the war.
  • Tunisia sent 1,000–2,000 soldiers to Egypt, where they were stationed in the Nile Delta and some of them were stationed to defend Port Said.[4]
  • Lebanon sent radar units to Syria for air defense.[430] Lebanon however did not take part in the war.[431]
  • Sudan deployed a 3,500-strong infantry brigade to Egypt. It arrived on October 28, too late to participate in the war.

Non-state participants:

  • An infantry brigade composed of Palestinians was in Egypt before the outbreak of the war.[4][429]

Palestinian attacks from the Lebanese border

During the course of the war, Palestinian militias from southern Lebanon launched several attacks on Israeli border communities. All of the attempts to infiltrate Israel failed and in all clashes 23 militants were killed and 4 were captured. Most of the activity was focused on Katyusha rocket and anti-tank missile fire on Israeli border communities. In the attacks some civilians were injured, mostly lightly and damage was made to property. In 10 October, after Palestinian militants fired some 40 rockets on Israeli communities, Chief of Staff David Elazar and chief of the Northern CommandYitzhak Hofi, requested to deploy a force which will cleanse Lebanese villages from Palestinian militants, but the request was declined by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan.[432]


The Arab armies (with the exception of the Jordanians), were equipped with predominantly Soviet-made weapons while Israel’s armaments were mostly Western-made. The Arabs’ T-54/55s and T-62s were equipped with night vision equipment, which the Israeli tanks lacked, giving them an advantage in fighting at night, while Israel tanks had better armor and/or better armament.[citation needed] Israeli tanks also had a distinct advantage while on the ramps, in the “hull-down” position where steeper angles of depression resulted in less exposure. The main guns of Soviet tanks could only depress 4 degrees. By contrast, the 105 mm guns on Centurion and Patton tanks could depress 10 degrees.[433]

Type Arab armies IDF
AFVs Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan used T-34T-54T-55T-62PT-76 and M48 Patton, as well as SU-100/152 World War II vintage self-propelled guns. M50 and M51 Shermans with upgraded engines, M48 PattonM60 PattonCenturionPT-76 and T-54/55. All tanks were upgraded with the British 105 mm L7 gun, prior to the war.
APCs/IFVs BTR-40BTR-152BTR-50BTR-60 APC’s & BMP 1 IFV’s M2 /M3 Half-trackM113
Artillery 152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20)BM-21D-30 (2A18) HowitzerM1954 field gun152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20) M109 self-propelled howitzerM107 self-propelled gunM110 self-propelled howitzerM50 self-propelled howitzer and Makmat 160 mm self-propelled mortarObusier de 155 mm Modèle 50Soltam M-68 and 130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
Aircraft MiG-21MiG-19MiG-17Dassault Mirage 5Su-7B, Hawker HunterTu-16Il-28Il-18Il-14An-12Aero L-29 A-4 SkyhawkF-4 Phantom IIDassault Mirage IIIDassault Super MystèreIAI Nesher
Helicopters Mi-6Mi-8 Super FrelonSea StallionAB-205
AAW SA-6 GainfulSA-3 GoaSA-2 GuidelineZSU-23-4Strela 2 MIM-23 HawkMIM-72 ChaparralBofors 40 mm gun
Infantry weapons AK-47AKMHakimRasheedRPKRPDPKMSVDPort SaidBrowning Hi-PowerBeretta M1951TT-33Makarov PMF1 grenadeRGD-5 grenadeRPG-43 anti-tank grenadeRKG-3 anti-tank grenadeDShK HMG, RPG-7AT-3 Saggerand B-11 recoilless rifle FN FALUziM16CAR-15M14AK-47Karabiner 98kLee-EnfieldFN MAGBrowning Hi-PowerBeretta M1951M26A2 grenadeM2HB BrowningSuper BazookaSS.11M72 LAW (only received during the war), BGM-71 TOW (received during the war), RL-83 Blindicide and M40 recoilless rifle
Sea to Sea Missiles P-15 Termit Gabriel
Air-to-Air Missiles K-13 Shafrir 2, AIM-9 SidewinderAIM-7 Sparrow
Air-to-Ground Missiles AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile

Home front during the war

The war created a state of emergency in the countries involved in fighting. Upon the outbreak of war, air raid sirenssounded throughout Israel. During the war, blackouts were enforced in major cities. The Egyptian government began to evacuate foreign tourists, and on October 11, 1973, the Egyptian ship Syria left Alexandria to Piraeus with a load of tourists wishing to exit Egypt. The U.S. Interest Section in Cairo also requested U.S. government assistance in removing U.S. tourists to Greece.[434] On October 12, Kissinger ordered the U.S. Interest Section in Cairo to speed up preparations for the departure of U.S. tourists staying in Egypt, while notifying such actions to the IDF in order to avoid accidental military operations against them.[435]


Israel suffered between 2,521[10][41][48] and 2,800 killed in action.[42] An additional 7,250[436] to 8,800[42] soldiers were wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured.[49] Approximately 400 Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled but returned to service after repairs.[45] A major Israeli advantage, noted by many observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to combat.[170][437] The Israeli Air Force lost 102 airplanes: 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres. Two helicopters, a Bell 205 and a CH-53, were also lost.[46] According to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, nearly half of these were shot down during the first three days of the war.[54] IAF losses per combat sortie were less than in the preceding Six-Day War of 1967.[438]

An Israeli Air Force Mirage IIIC. Flag markings on the nose credit this particular aircraft with 13 aerial kills.

Downed Israeli Mirage

Arab casualties were known to be much higher than Israel’s, though precise figures are difficult to ascertain as Egypt and Syria never disclosed official figures. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000 (5,000 Egyptian and 3,000 Syrian) killed and 18,000 wounded.[42] The highest estimate is 18,500 (15,000 Egyptian and 3,500 Syrian) killed.[48] Most estimates lie somewhere in between the two, with the Insight Team of the London The Sunday Times combined Egyptian and Syrian losses of 16,000 killed.[10] and yet another source citing a figure of some 15,000 dead and 35,000 wounded.[52] U.S. estimates placed Egyptian casualties at 13,000.[439] Iraq lost 278 killed and 898 wounded, while Jordan suffered 23 killed and 77 wounded.[50] Some 8,372 Egyptians, 392 Syrians, 13 Iraqis and 6 Moroccans were taken prisoner.[49][440]
Arab tank losses amounted to 2,250[52][441] though Garwych cites a figure of 2,300.[53] 400 of these fell into Israeli hands in good working order and were incorporated into Israeli service.[52] Between 341[42] and 514[54] Arab aircraft were shot down. According to Herzog, 334 of these aircraft were shot down by the Israeli Air Force in air-to-air combat for the loss of only five Israeli planes.[54] The Sunday Times Insight Team notes Arab aircraft losses of 450.[10] 19 Arab naval vessels, including 10 missile boats, were sunk for no Israeli losses.[55]


Kissinger pushes for peace

File:1974 in Golan.ogv

1974 news report about warfare on the Golan prior to the May disengagement accords

On October 24, the UNSC passed Resolution 339, serving as a renewed call for all parties to adhere to the ceasefire terms established in Resolution 338. Most heavy fighting on the Egyptian front ended by October 26, but clashes along the ceasefire lines and a few airstrikes on the Third Army took place. With some Israeli advances taking place, Kissinger threatened to support a UN withdrawal resolution, but before Israel could respond, Egyptian national security advisor Hafez Ismail sent Kissinger a stunning message—Egypt was willing to enter into direct talks with Israel, provided that it agree to allow non-military supplies to reach the Third Army and to a complete ceasefire.
About noon on October 25, Kissinger appeared before the press at the State Department. He described the various stages of the crisis and the evolution of U.S. policy. He reviewed the first two weeks of the crisis and the nuclear alert, reiterated opposition to U.S. and Soviet troops in the area and more strongly opposed unilateral Soviet moves. He then reviewed the prospects for a peace agreement, which he termed “quite promising”, and had conciliatory words for Israel, Egypt and even the USSR. Kissinger concluded his remarks by spelling out the principles of a new U.S. policy toward the Arab–Israeli conflict saying:[442]

Our position is that … the conditions that produced this war were clearly intolerable to the Arab nations and that in the process of negotiations it will be necessary to make substantial concessions. The problem will be to relate the Arab concern for the sovereignty over the territories to the Israeli concern for secure boundaries. We believe that the process of negotiations between the parties is an essential component of this.

Quandt considers, “It was a brilliant performance, one of his most impressive.” One hour later the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 340. This time the ceasefire held, and the fourth Arab–Israeli war was over.

Disengagement agreement

UN Emergency Forces at Kilometre 101

Disengagement talks took place on October 28, 1973, at “Kilometre 101” between Israeli Major General Aharon Yariv and Egyptian Major General Abdel Ghani el-Gamasy. Ultimately, Kissinger took the proposal to Sadat, who agreed. United Nations checkpoints were brought in to replace Israeli ones, nonmilitary supplies were allowed to pass, and prisoners-of-war were to be exchanged.
summit conference in Geneva followed in December 1973. All parties to the war – Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – were invited to a joint effort by the Soviet Union and the United States to finally usher peace between the Arabs and Israelis. This conference was recognized by UN Security Council Resolution 344 and was based on the Resolution 338, calling for a “just and durable peace”. Nevertheless, the conference was forced to adjourn on January 9, 1974, as Syria refused attendance.[443]
After the failed conference Henry Kissinger started conducting shuttle diplomacy, meeting with Israel and the Arab states directly. The first concrete result of this was the initial military disengagement agreement, signed by Israel and Egypt on January 18, 1974. The agreement commonly known as Sinai I had the official name of Sinai Separation of Forces Agreement. Under its terms, Israel agreed to pull back its forces from the areas West of Suez Canal, which it had occupied since the end of hostilities. Moreover, Israeli forces were also pulled back on the length of the whole front to create security zones for Egypt, UN and Israel, each roughly ten kilometres wide. Thus Israel gave up its advances reaching beyond the Suez canal, but it still held nearly all of Sinai. It became the first of many such Land for Peace agreements where Israel gave up territory in exchange for treaties.[444]
On the Syrian front, skirmishes and artillery exchanges continued taking place. Shuttle diplomacy by Henry Kissinger eventually produced a disengagement agreement on May 31, 1974, based on exchange of prisoners-of-war, Israeli withdrawal to the Purple Line and the establishment of a UN buffer zone. The agreement ended the skirmishes and exchanges of artillery fire that had occurred frequently along the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line. The UN Disengagement and Observer Force (UNDOF) was established as a peacekeeping force in the Golan.
The peace discussion at the end of the war was the first time that Arab and Israeli officials met for direct public discussions since the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Response in Israel

Though the war reinforced Israel’s military deterrence, it had a stunning effect on the population in Israel. Following their victory in the Six-Day War, the Israeli military had become complacent. The shock and sudden reversals that occurred at the beginning of the war inflicted a terrible psychological blow to the Israelis, who had hitherto experienced no serious military challenges.[445]
A protest against the Israeli government started four months after the war ended. It was led by Motti Ashkenazi, commander of Budapest, the northernmost of the Bar-Lev forts and the only one during the war not to be captured by the Egyptians.[446] Anger against the Israeli government (and Dayan in particular) was high. Shimon Agranat, President of the Israeli Supreme Court, was asked to lead an inquiry, the Agranat Commission, into the events leading up to the war and the setbacks of the first few days.[447]
The Agranat Commission published its preliminary findings on April 2, 1974. Six people were held particularly responsible for Israel’s failings:

  • Though his performance and conduct during the war was lauded,[448] IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar was recommended for dismissal after the Commission found he bore “personal responsibility for the assessment of the situation and the preparedness of the IDF”.
  • Aman Chief, Aluf Eli Zeira, and his deputy, head of Research, Brigadier-General Aryeh Shalev, were recommended for dismissal.
  • Lt. Colonel Bandman, head of the Aman desk for Egypt, and Lt. Colonel Gedelia, chief of intelligence for the Southern Command, were recommended for transfer away from intelligence duties.
  • Shmuel Gonen, commander of the Southern front, was recommended by the initial report to be relieved of active duty.[449] He was forced to leave the army after the publication of the Commission’s final report, on January 30, 1975, which found that “he failed to fulfill his duties adequately, and bears much of the responsibility for the dangerous situation in which our troops were caught.”[450]

Rather than quieting public discontent, the report—which “had stressed that it was judging the ministers’ responsibility for security failings, not their parliamentary responsibility, which fell outside its mandate”—inflamed it. Although it had absolved Meir and Dayan of all responsibility, public calls for their resignations (especially Dayan’s) intensified.[449] In the December 1973 legislative election, Meir’s Alignment party lost five Knesset seats.
On April 11, 1974, Golda Meir resigned. Her cabinet followed suit, including Dayan, who had previously offered to resign twice and was turned down both times by Meir. A new government was seated in June, and Yitzhak Rabin, who had spent most of the war as an advisor to Elazar in an unofficial capacity, became Prime Minister.[451]
In 1999, the issue was revisited by the Israeli political leadership to prevent similar shortcomings from being repeated. The Israeli National Security Council was created to improve coordination between the different security and intelligencebodies, and the political branch of government.

Response in Egypt

For the Arab states (and Egypt in particular), Arab successes during the war healed the psychological trauma of their defeat in the Six-Day War, allowing them to negotiate with the Israelis as equals. Because of the later setbacks in the war (which saw Israel gain a large salient on African soil and even more territory on the Syrian front),[not in citation given] some believe that the war helped convince many in the Arab world that Israel could not be defeated militarily, thereby strengthening peace movements and delaying the Arab ambition of destroying Israel by force.[452]
General Shazly had angered Sadat for advocating the withdrawal of Egyptian forces from Sinai to meet the Israeli incursion on the West Bank of the Canal. Six weeks after the war, he was relieved of command and forced out of the army, ultimately going into political exile for years. Upon his return to Egypt, he was placed under house arrest.[453] Following his release, he advocated the formation of a “Supreme High Committee” modeled after Israel’s Agranat Commission in order to “probe, examine and analyze” the performance of Egyptian forces and the command decisions made during the war, but his requests were completely ignored.[454] He published a book, banned in Egypt, that described Egypt’s military failings and the sharp disagreements he had with Ismail and Sadat in connection with the prosecution of the war.[455]
The commanders of the Second and Third Armies, Generals Khalil and Wasel, were also dismissed from the army.[453]The commander of the Egyptian Second Army at the start of the war, General Mamoun, suffered a heart attack,[170] or, alternatively, a breakdown, after the Egyptian defeat during the October 14 Sinai tank battle, and was replaced by General Khalil.[456][457]

Response in Syria

In Syria, Colonel Rafik Halawi, the Druze commander of an infantry brigade that had collapsed during the Israeli breakthrough, was executed before the war even ended.[453] He was given a quick hearing and sentenced to death; his execution was immediate.[458] Military historian Zeev Schiff referred to him as Syria’s “sacrificial lamb”.[458] The Syrians however offered vehement denials that Halawi was executed and expended great efforts trying to debunk the allegation.[459] They claimed he was killed in battle with Israel and threatened severe punishment to anyone repeating the allegation of execution.[459] Their concern stemmed from a desire to maintain Syrian Druze loyalty to Assad’s regime and prevent Syrian Druze from siding with their co-religionists in Israel.[459] On July 7, 1974, Halawi’s remains were removed from a Syrian military hospital and he was interred in Damascus at the “Cemetery of the Martyrs of the October War” in the presence of many Syrian dignitaries.[459] One analyst noted that the presence of so many high-level officials was unusual and attributed it to Syrian efforts to quell any suggestion of execution.[459]

Response in the Soviet Union

According to Chernyaev, on 4 November 1973, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev said:

We have offered them (the Arabs) a sensible way for so many years. But no, they wanted to fight. Fine! We gave them technology, the latest, the kind even Vietnam didn’t have. They had double superiority in tanks and aircraft, triple in artillery, and in air defense and anti-tank weapons they had absolute supremacy. And what? Once again they were beaten. Once again they scrammed [sic]. Once again they screamed for us to come save them. Sadat woke me up in the middle of the night twice over the phone, “Save me!” He demanded to send Soviet troops, and immediately! No! We are not going to fight for them.[460]

Oil embargo

In response to U.S. support of Israel, the Arab members of OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, decided to reduce oil production by 5% per month on October 17. On October 19, President Nixon authorized a major allocation of arms supplies and $2.2 billion in appropriations for Israel. In response, Saudi Arabia declared an embargo against the United States, later joined by other oil exporters and extended against the Netherlands and other states, causing the 1973 energy crisis.[461]

Long-term effects

Egyptian–Israeli disengagement agreement

Another Egyptian–Israeli disengagement agreement, the Sinai Interim Agreement, was signed in Geneva on September 4, 1975, and was commonly known as Sinai II. This agreement led Israel to withdraw from another 20–40 km with UN forces buffering the vacated area. After the agreement, Israel still held more than two thirds of Sinai, which would prove to be a valuable bargaining chip in the coming negotiations.[462]

Egyptian–Israeli Camp David Accords

The Yom Kippur War upset the status quo in the Middle East, and the war served as a direct antecedent of the 1978 Camp David Accords.[223] The Accords resulted in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty, the first ever between Israel and an Arab state. According to George Friedman, the war gave the Israelis increased respect for the Egyptian military and decreased their confidence in their own, and caused the Israelis to be uncertain whether they could defeat Egypt in the event of another war. At the same time, the Egyptians recognized that despite their improvements, they were defeated in the end, and became doubtful that they could ever defeat Israel militarily. Therefore, a negotiated settlement made sense to both sides.[463]
Rabin’s government was hamstrung by a pair of scandals, and he was forced to step down in 1977. In the elections that followed, the right-wing Likud party won a majority in the Knesset, and Menachem Begin, the party’s founder and leader, was appointed Prime Minister. This marked a historic change in the Israeli political landscape: for the first time since Israel’s founding, a coalition not led by the Labor Party was in control of the government.

Egyptian President Anwar Sadatand Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., during which President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords, September 18, 1978.

Sadat, who had entered the war in order to recover the Sinai from Israel, grew frustrated at the slow pace of the peace process. In a 1977 interview with CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, Sadat admitted under pointed questioning that he was open to a more constructive dialog for peace, including a state visit. This seemed to open the floodgates, as in a later interview with the same reporter, the normally hard-line Begin – perhaps not wishing to be compared unfavorably to Sadat – said he too would be amenable to better relations. On November 9, 1977, Sadat stunned the world when he told parliament that he would be willing to visit Israel and address the Knesset. Shortly afterward, the Israeli government cordially invited him to address the Knesset. Thus, in November of that year, Sadat took the unprecedented step of visiting Israel, becoming the first Arab leader to do so, and so implicitly recognized Israel.
The act jump-started the peace process. United States President Jimmy Carterinvited both Sadat and Begin to a summit at Camp David to negotiate a final peace. The talks took place from September 5–17, 1978. Ultimately, the talks succeeded, and Israel and Egypt signed the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979. Israel subsequently withdrew its troops and settlers from the Sinai, in exchange for normal relations with Egypt and a lasting peace, with last Israeli troops exiting on April 26, 1982.[464] There is still no formal peace agreement between Israel and Syria to this day.
Many in the Arab world were outraged at Egypt’s peace with Israel. Sadat, in particular, became deeply unpopular both in the Arab world and in his own country. Egypt was suspended from the Arab League until 1989. Until then, Egypt had been “at the helm of the Arab world”.[465] Egypt’s tensions with its Arab neighbors culminated in 1977 in the short-lived Libyan–Egyptian War.
Sadat was assassinated two years later on October 6, 1981, while attending a parade marking the eighth anniversary of the start of the war, by Islamist army members who were outraged at his negotiations with Israel.


A destroyed Syrian T-62 stands as part of an Israeli memorial commemorating the battle of the ‘Valley of Tears’, Northern Golan Heights.

October 6 is a national holiday in Egypt called Armed Forces Day. It is a national holiday in Syria as well, where it is called “Tishreen Liberation Day”.[466] Marking the 35th anniversary in 2008, Hosni Mubarak said that the conflict “breathed new life” into Egypt. He said Egypt and Syria’s initial victories in the conflict eased Arab bitterness over Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War and ultimately put the two nations on a path of peaceful coexistence.[467]
In Egypt, many places were named after the date of October 6 and Ramadan10th, which is the equivalent day in the Islamic calendar. Examples of these commemorations are 6th October Bridge in Cairo and the cities of 6th of Octoberand 10th of Ramadan.
In addition, the Museum of the October 6 War was built in 1989 in the Heliopolis district of Cairo. The center of the museum is occupied by a rotunda housing a panoramic painting of the struggle between Egyptian and Israeli armed forces. The panorama, the creation of which was outsourced to a group of North Korean artists and architects, is equipped with engines to rotate it 360° during a 30-minutes presentation accompanied by commentary in various languages.[468] A similar museum, which was also built with North Korean assistance—the October War Panorama—operates in Damascus.[469]
In Latrun, a Yom Kippur War exhibit can be found at The Armored Corps Museum at Yad La-Shiryon.[470]

See also



  1. Jump up^ Kumaraswamy, P. R. (2013-01-11). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Routledge. p. 235. ISBN 9781136328954.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k Edgar O’Ballance. No Victor, No Vanquished: The Yom Kippur War (1979 ed.). Barrie & Jenkins Publishing. pp. 28–370. ISBN 978-0214206702.
  3. Jump up^ “An unknown story from the Yom Kippur war: Israeli F-4s vs North Korean MiG-21s”The Aviationist. June 24, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d e Hussain, Hamid (November 2002). “Opinion: The Fourth round — A Critical Review of 1973 Arab–Israeli War”Defence Journal. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009.
  5. Jump up to:a b c Shazly, p. 278.
  6. Jump up^ Mahjoub Tobji (2006). Les officiers de Sa Majesté: Les dérives des généraux marocains 1956–2006. 107: Fayard. ISBN 978-2213630151.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Perez, Cuba, Between Reform and Revolution, pp. 377–379. Gott, Cuba, A New History, p. 280.
  8. Jump up^ Israelyan, Victor (2010-11-01). Inside the Kremlin During the Yom Kippur War. Penn State Press. p. 101. ISBN 0271041188.
  9. Jump up^ Herzog (1975). The War of Atonement. Little, Brown and Company.. Foreword.
  10. Jump up to:a b c d Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, p. 450.
  11. Jump up^ Luttwak; Horowitz (1983). The Israeli Army. Cambridge, MA: Abt Books.
  12. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2004). The Yom Kippur War. Schocken Books. p. 498.
  13. Jump up^ Kumaraswamy, PR (March 30, 2000). Revisiting The Yom Kippur War. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-7146-5007-4.
  14. Jump up^ Johnson; Tierney. Failing To Win, Perception of Victory and Defeat in International Politics. pp. 177, 180.
  15. Jump up^ Liebman, Charles (July 1993). “The Myth of Defeat: The Memory of the Yom Kippur war in Israeli Society” (PDF)Middle Eastern Studies. London: Frank Cass. 29 (3): 411. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 7, 2013.
  16. Jump up^ “Israel’s victory came at the cost of heavy casualties, and Israelis criticized the government’s lack of preparedness.” YOM KIPPUR WAR at
  17. Jump up^ “The 1973 war thus ended in an Israeli victory, but at great cost to the United States.” The 1973 Arab-Israeli War at website of Office of the Historian
  18. Jump up^ Simon Dunstan (2007-09-18). The Yom Kippur War: The Arab-Israeli War of 1973. p. 205. ISBN 9781846032882.
  19. Jump up^ Asaf Siniver (2013). The Yom Kippur War: Politics, Legacy, Diplomacy. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-933481-0(p. 6) “For most Egyptians the war is remembered as an unquestionable victory- militarily as well as politically … The fact that the war ended with Israeli troops stationed in the outskirts of Cairo and in complete encirclement of the Egyptian third army has not dampened the jubilant commemoration of the war in Egypt.” (p 11) “Ultimately, the conflict provided a military victory for Israel, but it is remembered as ‘the earthquake’ or ‘the blunder'”
  20. Jump up^ Ian Bickerton (2 February 2012). The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Guide for the Perplexed. A&C Black. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4411-2872-0the Arab has suffered repeated military defeats at the hand of Israel in 1956, 1967, and 1973
  21. Jump up^ P.R. Kumaraswamy (11 January 2013). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Routledge. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-136-32888-6(p. 184) “Yom Kippur War … its final outcome was, without doubt, a military victory  … ” (p. 185) ” …  in October 1973, that despite Israel’s military victory”
  22. Jump up^ See [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]
  23. Jump up^ Loyola, Mario (7 October 2013). “How We Used to Do It – American diplomacy in the”National Review. p. 1. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  24. Jump up to:a b c d e Morris, 2011, Righteous Victims, p. 437
  25. Jump up^ Morris, 2011 p.433, “Bashan … 500 square kilometers … which brought it within 20 miles of Damascus”
  26. Jump up to:a b c d e Rabinovich. The Yom Kippur War. p. 54.
  27. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, p. 372–373.
  28. Jump up to:a b c The number reflects artillery units of caliber 100 mm and up
  29. Jump up^ Herzog. p. 239. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. Jump up^ “Yom Kippur War”
  31. Jump up to:a b Shazly, p. 244.
  32. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 272.
  33. Jump up^ Haber & Schiff, pp. 30–31.
  34. Jump up to:a b USMC Major Michael C. Jordan (1997). “The 1973 Arab–Israeli War: Arab Policies, Strategies, and Campaigns”. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  35. Jump up to:a b Major George E. Knapp (1992). “4: Antiarmor Operations on the Golan Heights”. Combined Arms in battle since 1939. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  36. Jump up to:a b c Rabinovich, p. 314.
  37. Jump up^ Bar-On, Mordechai (2004). A Never Ending Conflict. Greenwood Publishing. p. 170.
  38. Jump up^ Bourne, Peter G. (1986). Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.[page needed]
  39. Jump up to:a b c “Le jour où Hassan II a bombardé Israël”Le Temps. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  40. Jump up to:a b c d e Rabinovich, pp. 464–465.
  41. Jump up to:a b Schiff, A History of the Israeli Army, p. 328.
  42. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k Garwych, p. 243.
  43. Jump up^ Journal “الأهرام”,”Al Ahram”. 14 October 1974
  44. Jump up^ Rabinovich. The Yom Kippur War. p. 497.
  45. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 496
  46. Jump up to:a b “White House Military Briefing” (PDF). Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  47. Jump up^ “القوة الثالثة، تاريخ القوات الجوية المصرية.” Third Power: History of Egyptian Air Force Ali Mohammed Labib. pp. 187
  48. Jump up to:a b c d e Herzog, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, 1974, p. 87.
  49. Jump up to:a b c d e f “Ministry of Foreign Affairs”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  50. Jump up to:a b c Dunstan, p. 200.
  51. Jump up^ Rabinovich p. 497
  52. Jump up to:a b c d Rabinovich, pp. 496–497.
  53. Jump up to:a b Garwych p. 244
  54. Jump up to:a b c d Herzog, p. 260.
  55. Jump up to:a b Herzog, War of Atonement, p. 269.
  56. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, Abraham (2004). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. Schoken Books. p. 260. ISBN 0-8052-1124-1.
  57. Jump up^ Herzog, Chaim (1998). War of Atonement: The Inside Story of the Yom Kippur war, 1973. Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-307-2.
  58. Jump up^ James Bean and Craig Girard (2001). “Anwar al-Sadat’s grand strategy in the Yom Kippur war” (PDF). National War College. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  59. Jump up to:a b c El-Gamasy (1993). The October War: Memoirs of Field Marshal El-Gamasy of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press. p. 181.
  60. Jump up to:a b Quandt, William (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967 (Third ed.). USA: University of California Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9780520246317.
  61. Jump up^ Hammad (2002), pp.237–276
  62. Jump up^ Gawrych (1996), p.60
  63. Jump up^ Shlomo Ben-Ami (2005). Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli–Arab Tragedy. Phoenix. ISBN 978-0-7538-2104-6.
  64. Jump up^ Herzog, Heroes of Israel, p. 253.
  65. Jump up^ Seth S. King (1967-06-30). “Israeli aims tied to 6 vital areas”The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  66. Jump up^ Drew Middleton (1967-06-01). “Latin nations bid Israel withdraw”The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  67. Jump up^ “Main Mideast Proposals”New York Times. 1967-06-20. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  68. Jump up^ Smith, Terrebce (1967-08-15). “A Mediated Peace Rejected by Eban”New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  69. Jump up^ Shlaim, Avi (2014). The Iron Wall – Israel and the Arab World (Paperback 2014 ed.). Penguin Books. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-141-03322-8The decision of 19 June read, “Israel proposes the conclusion of a peace agreement with Egypt based on the international border and the security needs of Israel.” The international border placed the Gaza strip within Israel’s territory. … it makes no mention of a request by Eban to transmit these terms to Egypt and Syria. … One is left with the impression that Eban was more interested in using the cabinet decision of 19 June to impress the Americans than to engage the governments of Egypt and Syria in substantive negotiations
  70. Jump up^ Shlomo Ben-Ami (2005). Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli–Arab Tragedy. Phoenix. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7538-2104-6But was there on 19 June 1967 an Israeli peace overture towards Syria and Egypt? Did the Israeli cabinet end its deliberations on that day with a decision to convey concrete peace proposals to its Arab neighbors along the lines as discussed in the Cabinet, or perhaps ask the American administration to do so on its behalf? Notwithstanding Abba Eban’s (Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1967) insistence that this was indeed the case, there seems to be no solid evidence to corroborate his claim. No formal peace proposal was made either directly or indirectly by Israel. The Americans, who were briefed of the Cabinet’s decision by Eban, were not asked to convey it to Cairo and Damascus as official peace proposals, nor were they given indications that Israel expected a reply. At the meeting of 19 June the Israeli government developed policy guidelines; it did not discuss a peace initiative, nor did it ever formalise it as such.
  71. Jump up^ “Eban rejects aid in settling crisis”The New York Times. 1967-06-27. p. 3. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  72. Jump up^ Podeh, Elie (2015). Chances for Peace: Missed Opportunities in the Arab-Israeli Conflict (First ed.). USA: University of Texas Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9781477305614.
  73. Jump up^ Podeh, p.106.
  74. Jump up^ Podeh p.107.
  75. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 13.
  76. Jump up^ Hughes, Geraint (2008-06-11). “Britain, the Transatlantic Alliance, and the Arab-Israeli War of 1973”Journal of Cold War Studies10 (2): 3–40. ISSN 1531-3298. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  77. Jump up^ Henry Kissinger (1 September 2011). Years of Upheaval: The Second Volume of His Classic Memoirs. Simon and Schuster. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-85720-718-0It was in France on May 20, 1973. … We had a formal meeting on the upper floor and, after lunch, I walked with Ismail in the garden in the spring sunshine. In these beautiful … Ismail remained cool to my scheme of separating sovereignty and security. He called this ‘diluted sovereignty,’ but said he would check with Sadat and let me know. I never heard from him. The American official who had found the meeting place reported to me that after I left, Ismail, visibly dispirited and glum, had sat alone in the garden for a long time contemplating the waterfall. … For Ismail knew that Sadat was determined on war. Only an American guarantee that we would fulfill the entire Arab program in a brief time could have dissuaded him.
  78. Jump up^ Morris 2001, p. 390.
  79. Jump up^ Heikal, 22.
  80. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 39.
  81. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 25.
  82. Jump up^ James Bean and Craig Girard (2001). “Anwar al-Sadat’s grand strategy in the Yom Kippur war” (PDF). National War College. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  83. Jump up^ Herzog, Chaim (1998). War of Atonement: The Inside Story of the Yom Kippur war, 1973. Greenhill Books. ISBN 1-85367-307-2.
  84. Jump up^ Denis Joseph Sullivan; Kimberly Jones (2008). Global Security Watch—Egypt: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-275-99482-2 Sadat’s goals were the` return of Sinai and the reopening of the Suez Canal … to reengage the U.S in middle east diplomacy
  85. Jump up^ Benny Morris (25 May 2011). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–1998. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 396. ISBN 978-0-307-78805-4Sadat and Assad ‘sought to regain the territories lost in 1967. Neither aimed to destroy Israel, though during the opening hours of the conflict, its leaders could not be sure of it.’
  86. Jump up to:a b Mossad’s tip-off ahead of Yom Kippur “War did not reach prime minister, newly released papers show”, Times of Israel, 20 September 2012.
  87. Jump up to:a b c d e “Israeli Intelligence and the Yom Kippur War of 1973”. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  88. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 207.
  89. Jump up^ Gawrych 1996, p. 24.
  90. Jump up^ Schiff, p. 12
  91. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 51.
  92. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 50.
  93. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 57.
  94. Jump up to:a b Sharon, Gilad: Sharon: The Life of a Leader (2011).
  95. Jump up^ Blum, Howard (July 13, 2007). “Who killed Ashraf Marwan?”The New York Times.
  96. Jump up^ Doron Geller, “Israeli Intelligence and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 November 27, 2005. Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  97. Jump up^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, Basic Books, 2006.[page needed]
  98. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 89.
  99. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (1 January 1977). Decade of Decisions: American Policy Toward the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 1967–1976. University of California Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-520-03469-3Kissinger and Nixon consistently warned Israel that she must not be responsible for initiating a Middle east war
  100. Jump up^ The national security archive, declassified archival records, The October War and U.S. Policy.
  101. Jump up^ “Government of Israel Concern about possible Syrian and Egyptian attack today”United States Department of State. October 6, 1973. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  102. Jump up^ Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, p. 755.
  103. Jump up^ William B. Quandt, Peace Process, p. 105.
  104. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 454.
  105. Jump up^ Rabinovich, Abraham (12 September 2013). “Three years too late, Golda Meir understood how war could have been avoided”The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  106. Jump up^ Gawrych 1996, p. 27.
  107. Jump up^ Rabinovich, prologue.
  108. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 62.
  109. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 109–112. University of California Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7between October 9 and October 12 … the American response … call for cease-fire … in place … arms for Israel began to flow in modest quantities
  110. Jump up^ Abudi, Joseph (October 1, 2003). “The missile did not bend the wing”Journal of the Israeli Air Force (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  111. Jump up^ Abudi, Joseph (October 2005). “[What between ‘challenge’ and ‘model’]” (PDF) (in Hebrew). The Fisher Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 11, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
  112. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 109–112. University of California Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7Nixon and Kissinger held back on a full scale … resupply effort … short of supplies, the Israeli government reluctantly accepted a cease-fire in place on October 12 … but … Sadat refused
  113. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 114. University of California Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7Soviet arms must not be allowed to dictate the outcome of the fighting. … Israeli success on the battlefield had become an important factor in persuading the Arabs and the Soviets to bring the fighting to an end. … With an airlift in full swing, Washington was prepared to wait until … realities on the battlefield led to a change of Egyptian and Soviet calculations
  114. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 116. University of California Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7it was of prime importance that the fighting should be ended … when all parties could still emerge from the conflict with their vital interests and self esteem intact … the airlift … the Soviets must see that the united states could deliver more than they could; p. 123 the U.S. would not permit the destruction of the 3rd army corps.
  115. Jump up^ Shazly, pp. 224–225.
  116. Jump up^ Shazly, pp. 225–226.
  117. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 189.
  118. Jump up^ Shazly, pp. 55–56.
  119. Jump up^ Garwych, p. 28.
  120. Jump up to:a b Abouseada, Hamdy Sobhy. “The Crossing of the Suez Canal, October 6, 1973 (The Ramadan War)” (PDF). USAWC strategy research project. U.S. Army War College: 9. OCLC 45004992.
  121. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 232
  122. Jump up^ Hammad, pp.90–92, 108.
  123. Jump up^ McGregor, Andrew (2006). A Military History of Modern Egypt: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Ramadan War. Westport, Conn: Praeger Security International. ISBN 978-0-275-98601-8., p. 278.
  124. Jump up^ Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness (Pollack), p. 108.
  125. Jump up to:a b c Rabinovich, p. 115.
  126. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 125.
  127. Jump up^ Gawrych, p. 81.
  128. Jump up^ The Yom Kippur War 1973: The Sinai – Simon Dunstan and Kevin Lyles.
  129. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 228.
  130. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 229.
  131. Jump up^ Nassar, Galal (October 8–14, 1998). “Into the breach, dear friends”Al-Ahram Weekly (398). Cairo. para. 10. Archived from the original on May 6, 2003.
  132. Jump up^ Cohen, Israel’s Best Defense, p. 354.
  133. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 11.
  134. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 233.
  135. Jump up^ Haber & Schiff, p. 32.
  136. Jump up^ Schiff, p. 294.
  137. Jump up^ Herzog, The War of Atonement, Little, Brown and Company, 1975, p. 156.
  138. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 169, 170.
  139. Jump up^ Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–1991, University of Nebraska Press, p. 110
  140. Jump up^ “Israel Air Force”. Archived from the original on October 12, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  141. Jump up^ Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–1991, University of Nebraska Press, p. 108.
  142. Jump up^ Hammad, p. 133.
  143. Jump up^ Nicolle & Cooper p. 40.
  144. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 112.
  145. Jump up^ Hammad, pp. 712–714.
  146. Jump up^ Hammad, pp.717–722
  147. Jump up^ Gawrych 1996, p. 38. In his memoirs, Adan, commenting on one of the commando operations in the north, noted that “Natke’s experience fighting the stubborn Egyptian commandos who tried to cut off the road around Romani showed again that this was not the Egyptian Army we had crushed in four days in 1967. We were now dealing with a well-trained enemy, fighting with skill and dedication.”
  148. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 169–170.
  149. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 354.
  150. Jump up^ Gawrych 1996, pp. 41–42.
  151. Jump up to:a b Dunstan and Lyles, p. 64.
  152. Jump up to:a b [1][dead link]
  153. Jump up^ Gawrych, 1996, pp. 43–44.
  154. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 234.
  155. Jump up to:a b Gawrych 1996, pp. 44–52.
  156. Jump up^ Gawrych 2000, pp. 192, 208.
  157. Jump up^ Herzog, 1982, pp. 255–256.
  158. Jump up to:a b Shazly, p. 241.
  159. Jump up^ Herzog 1982, p. 256.
  160. Jump up^ Herzog, 1982, p. 258.
  161. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 317.
  162. Jump up to:a b Schiff, A History of the Israeli Army, p. 310.
  163. Jump up to:a b c Zabecki, David T. (December 3, 2008). “Arab–Israeli Wars: 60 Years of Conflict”. Chinese Farm, Battle of The. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  164. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 353.
  165. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 355.
  166. Jump up^ Haber & Schiff, p. 144.
  167. Jump up to:a b c Pollack, p. 117.
  168. Jump up^ Van Creveld, Martin (1975). Military Lessons of the Yom Kippur War: Historical Perspectives (PDF). Sage. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8039-0562-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2014.
  169. Jump up to:a b Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, Random House, p. 260.
  170. Jump up to:a b c John Pike. “Operation Valiant: Turning the Tide in the Sinai 1973 Arab–Israeli War CSC 1984”. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  171. Jump up^ Yom Kippur War: Embattled Israeli Bridgehead at Chinese Farm
  172. Jump up^ Pollack, Kenneth, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–91, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 116, 126 & 129.
  173. Jump up^ El-Gamasy, p. 276.
  174. Jump up^ Herzog, 1982, pp. 257–258.
  175. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 118.
  176. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 374–375.
  177. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 389–391.
  178. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 511.
  179. Jump up^ Pollack, pp. 124–25
  180. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 393–393.
  181. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 425.
  182. Jump up^ Sharon, Gilad: Sharon: The Life of A Leader (2011)
  183. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 427.
  184. Jump up^ Pollack, pp. 118–19.
  185. Jump up^ Hammad (2002), pp. 335–408.
  186. Jump up^ Gawrych (1996), pp. 62–64.
  187. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 129
  188. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 119.
  189. Jump up to:a b Pollack, pp. 119–20.
  190. Jump up^ Boyne, p. 181
  191. Jump up to:a b Pollack, p. 120.
  192. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 401.
  193. Jump up^ Dunstan, p. 107.
  194. Jump up to:a b Gawrych, p. 223
  195. Jump up^ Herzog, The War of Atonement, Little, Brown and Company (1975), pp. 236–7.
  196. Jump up^ Pollack, p. 122.
  197. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 428–429.
  198. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 120.
  199. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 445.
  200. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 121.
  201. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 122.
  202. Jump up^ The Leader-Post, October 25, 1973, issue.
  203. Jump up^ Boyne, p. 183.
  204. Jump up^ Hoyne, p. 205.
  205. Jump up^ Boyne, p. 214
  206. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 452.
  207. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 458.
  208. Jump up^ “22 October Memorandum of Conversation between Meir and Kissinger” (PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  209. Jump up^ Adan, p. 284.
  210. Jump up^ Gawrych, pp. 73–74.
  211. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 463.
  212. Jump up to:a b The October War and U.S. PolicyCollapse of the Ceasefire.
  213. Jump up^ William B. Quandt, Peace Process, p. 120.
  214. Jump up^ Piccirilli, Major Steven J (1989). “The 1973 Arab Israeli war”. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  215. Jump up to:a b Gawrych, 1996, p. 73.
  216. Jump up^ Hammad, pp. 483, 487–490.
  217. Jump up to:a b Nicolle, David & Cooper, Tom: Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 units in combat.
  218. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 466–475.
  219. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 465
  220. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 487.
  221. Jump up^ Gawrych, p.74
  222. Jump up^ Dupuy, pp. 543–545, 589.
  223. Jump up to:a b David T. Buckwalter, The 1973 Arab–Israeli War.
  224. Jump up^ Seale, Patrick; McConville, Maureen (1988). The Struggle for the Middle East (Revision 1995 ed.). USA: University of California Press. p. 227. ISBN 0520069765.
  225. Jump up^ Kumaraswamy, P. R. (2000). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Psychology Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-313-31302-4.
  226. Jump up^ Herzog, Arab–Israeli Wars, p. 283.
  227. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 293.
  228. Jump up to:a b Shazly, p. 323.
  229. Jump up to:a b c d “Archived copy” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  230. Jump up^ “Department of State Operations Center, Situation Report in the Middle East as of 10/26/73” (PDF). Retrieved October 22,2011.
  231. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 486
  232. Jump up^ Dayan, Moshe (1992). Story of My Life. Da Capo. p. 568.
  233. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 493.
  234. Jump up to:a b c Aloni, Shlomo: Arab–Israeli Air Wars, 1947–82.
  235. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 477.
  236. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 467.
  237. Jump up^ Neff, p. 306.
  238. Jump up^ Johnson and Tierney, p. 176.
  239. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 295.
  240. Jump up^ El-Gamasy, p. 302.
  241. Jump up^ Morris, 2011, Righteous Victims, p. 436
  242. Jump up^ Kenneth W. Stein (1999). Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin, and the Quest for Arab–Israeli Peace. Psychology Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-415-92155-8By putting a territorial noose around the Third army and sitting about sixty miles from Cairo, Israeli forces had open terrain and no opposition to move on Cairo; had they done so Sadat’s rule might have ended.
  243. Jump up^ Peter Caddick-Adams, “Golan Heights, battles of”, The Oxford Companion to Military History, ed. Richard Holmes. Oxford University Press, 2001.[page needed]
  244. Jump up to:a b c O’Ballance (1978). Chapter 7: “The Syrians attack”, pp. 119–146.
  245. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 158
  246. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 57
  247. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 64
  248. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 159
  249. Jump up to:a b c d e Rashba, Gary (October 1998). “Yom Kippur War: Sacrificial Stand in the Golan Heights”. Military History magazine via HISTORYnet.
  250. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 171
  251. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 172-173
  252. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 282
  253. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 88-105
  254. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 100
  255. Jump up to:a b Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 105
  256. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 103
  257. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 161
  258. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 162
  259. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 107
  260. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 118
  261. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 170
  262. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 291–293.
  263. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 173-174
  264. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 174
  265. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 140-144
  266. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 193-197
  267. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 196
  268. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 202
  269. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 227
  270. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 240
  271. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 178-179
  272. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 163, 179
  273. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 108
  274. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 123-124
  275. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 125
  276. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 127
  277. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, Abraham (September 25, 1998). “Shattered Heights: Part 1”The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on March 11, 2005. Retrieved June 9, 2005.
  278. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 177
  279. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 178
  280. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 179
  281. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 182-183
  282. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 136
  283. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 184-185
  284. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 138-139
  285. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 158-159
  286. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 187
  287. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 194
  288. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 195
  289. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 198
  290. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 199
  291. Jump up^ Bar-Joseph (2012), p. 220
  292. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 200
  293. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 157
  294. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 189
  295. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 185
  296. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 106
  297. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 134-135
  298. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 188
  299. Jump up^ Bar-Joseph (2012), p. 227
  300. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 170
  301. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 190
  302. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 209
  303. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 171
  304. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 218
  305. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 185-186
  306. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 155
  307. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 193
  308. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 206
  309. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 233
  310. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 207
  311. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 218-219
  312. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 155
  313. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 231-233
  314. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 136-137
  315. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 178
  316. Jump up^ Rabinovich (2017) p 246-247
  317. Jump up^ Richard B. Parker (ed.), 2001, The October War—A Retrospective Gainsville: University of Florida Press, p 102–3; p 119
  318. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 55
  319. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 58
  320. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 60
  321. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 64
  322. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 65
  323. Jump up^ Asher & Hammel (1987), p. 63
  324. Jump up^ “The Air Raid on the Syrian General Command”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  325. Jump up^ The Daily Telegraph, October 9, 1973 issue, page 2
  326. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 304.
  327. Jump up^ המלחמה שלי רב-אלוף שאול מופז (מיל):300 קילומטר בעומק סוריה (in Hebrew).[unreliable source?]
  328. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 433.
  329. Jump up^ Pollack, Arabs at War, 2002, p. 167, gives total numbers for the Iraqi force by the end of the conflict as 60,000 men, more than 700 T-55 tanks, 500 APCs, more than 200 artillery pieces, two armored divisions, two infantry brigades, twelve artillery battalions, and a special forces brigade.
  330. Jump up to:a b Dunstan, Simon: The Yom Kippur War: The Arab–Israeli War of 1973[page needed]
  331. Jump up^ Situation Report in the Middle East as of 1200 EDT, October 23, 1973, Department of State Operations Center
  332. Jump up^ Ophir, Noam (October 2006). צילו הארוך של הסקאד [The Long Shadow of the Scud] (in Hebrew). Israeli Air Force Official Website. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016.
  333. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 450
  334. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 450–451.
  335. Jump up^ Jonathan B. A. Bailey. Field Artillery and Firepower. Naval Institute Press, 2004, p. 398. ISBN 1-59114-029-3.
  336. Jump up^ William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 114. University of California Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7The U.S. influence with king Hussein had helped keep Jordan out of the war.
  337. Jump up^ David Rodman, “Friendly Enemies: Israel and Jordan in the 1973 Yom Kuppur War”, The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 6 No. 1 (January 2012), pp. 95–96.
  338. Jump up to:a b Ofer Aderet (September 12, 2013). “Jordan and Israel cooperated during Yom Kippur War, documents reveal”Haaretz.
  339. Jump up to:a b Hammad, pp. 100–101.
  340. Jump up^ Almog, “Israel’s Navy beat the odds”, United States Naval Institute — Proceedings (March 1997), Vol. 123, Iss. 3; p. 106.
  341. Jump up to:a b Dunstan, The Yom Kippur War, p. 114.
  342. Jump up to:a b Bolia, Overreliance on Technology: Yom Kippur Case Study Archived September 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  343. Jump up^ Rabonovich, The Boats of Cherbourg, pp. 256–262.
  344. Jump up^ Dupuy, Elusive Victory, pp. 562–563.
  345. Jump up^ Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, p. 312.
  346. Jump up^ Vego, Naval Strategy and Operations in Narrow Seas (Routledge: 1999), at p. 151.
  347. Jump up^ Almog, Ze’ev (March 1997). “Israel’s Navy beat the odds” – United States Naval Institute – Proceedings (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute)[page needed]
  348. Jump up^ “Shayetet 13”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  349. Jump up to:a b O’Ballance, p. 157.
  350. Jump up to:a b “How did the U.S.S. Little Rock and her Crew Participate in the Arab–Israeli Yom Kippur War?”. USS Little RockAssociation. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  351. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 212–213.
  352. Jump up^ Safran, Nadav: Israel—The Embattled Ally, p. 312
  353. Jump up^ El Gammasy, The October War, 1973 pp. 215–216.
  354. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 287.
  355. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 160.
  356. Jump up^ Herzog (1975), pp. 268–269.
  357. Jump up to:a b Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 432.
  358. Jump up^ Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, p. 314.
  359. Jump up^ Annati, Anti-ship missiles and countermeasures—part I (ASM), Naval Forces (2001), Vol. 22, Iss. 1; p. 20.
  360. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 279, 429.
  361. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 429, 449.
  362. Jump up^ Official Gazette of Syria (11 July 1974).
  363. Jump up^ Schiff, p. 90.
  364. Jump up^ “War and Lack of Inner Peace” Archived May 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Michael S. Arnold, The Jerusalem Post, September 17, 1999.
  365. Jump up^ “Statement in the Knesset on the treatment of Israeli prisoners of war in Syria by Defence Minister Peres and Knesset Resolution- 12 June 1974”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  366. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, p. 429.
  367. Jump up^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 449–450.
  368. Jump up^ Sarna, Igal (2000), The Man Who Fell Into a Puddle: Israeli Lives, Vintage Books/Random House, pp. 144–148.
  369. Jump up to:a b Sarna, p. 148.
  370. Jump up^ Yemini, Galya (April 2, 2008). “Noam Lanir plans to float Empire Online at $1b value”Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved October 22,2011.
  371. Jump up to:a b c “Israeli veterans offer accounts of Egyptian atrocities in ’73 war”Houston Chronicle. August 26, 1995. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  372. Jump up^ “Pow Expose”. IsraCast. March 9, 2007. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  373. Jump up^ Matthew T. Penney, “Intelligence and the 1973 Arab–Israeli War” in President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, symposium held by CIA, January 30, 2013. Archived October 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  374. Jump up^ William Burr (ed.), “State Department Intelligence and Research Predicted 1973 Arab–Israeli War”, The National Security Archive at George Washington University.
  375. Jump up^ October 6 conversation between Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Chinese Ambassador to the United States Huan Chen. Transcript. George Washington University National Security Archive.
  376. Jump up^ George LenczowskiAmerican Presidents and the Middle East (1990), p. 129.
  377. Jump up^ William B. Quandt, Peace Process, p. 109.
  378. Jump up to:a b “Violent Week: The Politics of Death”Time. April 12, 1976. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  379. Jump up to:a b c d e Farr, Warner D. “The Third Temple’s Holy of Holies: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons“. Counterproliferation Paper No. 2, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College, September 1999.
  380. Jump up^ October 9, 1973, conversation (8:20–8:40 am) between Israeli Ambassador to the United States Simcha Dinitz, military attaché General Mordechai Gur, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Peter Rodman. Transcript George Washington University National Security Archive.
  381. Jump up to:a b Cohen, Avner. “The Last Nuclear Moment” The New York Times, October 6, 2003.
  382. Jump up^ October 9, 1973, conversation (6:10–6:35 pm) between Israeli Ambassador to the United States Simcha Dinitz, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Peter Rodman. Transcript George Washington University National Security Archive.
  383. Jump up^ Colby, Elbridge; Cohen, Avner; McCants, William; Morris, Bradley; Rosenau, William (April 2013). “The Israeli ‘Nuclear Alert’ of 1973: Deterrence and Signaling in Crisis” (PDF). CNA. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2014.
  384. Jump up^ “A tale of two fleets: a Russian perspective on the 1973 Naval standoff in the Mediterranean”. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  385. Jump up^ [2] Archived April 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  386. Jump up^ Krisinger, Chris J. “Operation Nickel Grass – Airlift in Support of National Policy” Archived January 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Aerospace Power Journal, Spring 1989.
  387. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 491.
  388. Jump up to:a b Haber & Schiff, p. 382.
  389. Jump up^ John Lacomia. “Remember When … Operation Nickel Grass”. Travis: Air Force. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  390. Jump up to:a b Shazli p.275–276
  391. Jump up to:a b Haber & Schiff, p. 282.
  392. Jump up^ Shazly. p. 276. … the USA mounted a seaborne resupply operation of 33,210 tons by October 30 Missing or empty |title=(help)
  393. Jump up^ Gawrych 1996, p. 56.
  394. Jump up^ “McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Essential Aircraft in the Air Warfare in the Middle East”. Retrieved March 28,2010.
  395. Jump up^ El Gamasy, The October War, 1973, p. 276.
  396. Jump up^ Shazly, pp. 251–252.
  397. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 182.
  398. Jump up^ Schiff, 303
  399. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 275.
  400. Jump up^ Shazly, pp. 274–275. Shazly states that ” …  the Soviet Union mounted a sea-borne resupply operation: no less than 63,000 tons, mainly to Syria, by October 30″
  401. Jump up^ Quandt, 25–26 (pdf pages 37–38), gives the airlift total as approximately 12,500 tons; Quandt 23 (pdf page 35) gives the sealift total as approximately 63,000 tons.
  402. Jump up^ Hammad, p. 382.
  403. Jump up^
  404. Jump up^ Naftali, Tim. “CIA reveals its secret briefings to Presidents Nixon and Ford”. CNN. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  405. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 325.
  406. Jump up^ O’Ballance, pp. 165–166.
  407. Jump up^ Porter, Bruce D. – The USSR in Third World Conflicts, Soviet Arms and Diplomacy in Local Wars, p. 135.
  408. Jump up^ “White House Military Briefing, October 22” (PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  409. Jump up^ Boyne, Walter J. (2002). The Yom Kippur War: And the Airlift Strike That Saved Israel. Macmillan. pp. Insert 6. ISBN 9780312320423. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  410. Jump up to:a b William B Quandt,Peace Process, p. 121.
  411. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 479.
  412. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 480.
  413. Jump up^ “Effects-Based Operations: the Yom Kippur War Case Study” (PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  414. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 484.
  415. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 485.
  416. Jump up to:a b Shazly, pp. 277–278.
  417. Jump up to:a b c Kuwaraswamy. p.60. “On the Egyptian front, the Libyan (manned by Egyptians), Algerian and Iraqi squadrons took part in bombing Israeli targets and providing air assistance to ground operations. Additional Arab forces operating on the Egyptian front were a Libyan armored brigade and a Kuwaiti infantry battalion which had been deployed in Egypt before the war, and an Algerian armored brigade which arrived on 17 October. Neither of these units took an active part in the war. After the cease-fire went into effect, a Sudanese infantry brigade also arrived in the front.”
  418. Jump up^ Perez, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution, pp. 377–379.
  419. Jump up^ Bourne, Peter G. (1986), Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.
  420. Jump up^ Fisher, Marc (28 February 1993). “E. Germany Ran Antisemitic Campaign in West in ’60s”. Washington Post.
  421. Jump up to:a b Shazly, pp. 83–84.
  422. Jump up^ Israeli F-4s Actually Fought North Korean MiGs During the Yom Kippur War
  423. Jump up^ Bidanda M. Chengappa (1 January 2004). Pakistan: Islamisation Army And Foreign Policy. APH Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-81-7648-548-7.
  424. Jump up^ Simon Dunstan (20 April 2003). The Yom Kippur War 1973 (2): The Sinai. Osprey Publishing. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-84176-221-0. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  425. Jump up^ P. R. Kumaraswamy (11 January 2013). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-136-32895-4.
  426. Jump up^ Lindsey Hilsum (27 June 2015). Sandstorm. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-28806-9.
  427. Jump up^ List of Arab contributions by country; Kuwait Defense Minister, His Highness Sheikh Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah visiting Egyptian front in 1972 and issues war operation order 3967 to enact Al-Jahra Force
  428. Jump up^ Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense Archived October 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  429. Jump up to:a b c Rabinovich, p. 464.
  430. Jump up^ “The Yom Kippur War”. October 6, 1973. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  431. Jump up^ Rabinovich, I. The War for Lebanon, 1970–1985. p.105. “Lebanon was perceived as Israel’s one harmless neighbour, a state that since 1949 had not taken part in the Arab–Israeli wars …”
  432. Jump up^ Wallach, Jehuda (1983). Carta’s Atlas of Israel: The Third Decade 1971–1981 (in Hebrew). Carta, Jerusalem, Israel. p. 68. ISBN 965-220-060-3.
  433. Jump up^ Dunstan, Simon (2009). Centurion Vs T-55: Yom Kippur War 1973. Osprey. pp. 28, 69. ISBN 978-1-84603-369-8.
  434. Jump up^ “Smith (US Interest Section in Cairo) to Department of State, October 11, 1973”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  435. Jump up^ “Kissinger to the US Interest Section in Cairo, October 12, 1973”. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  436. Jump up^ Rabinovich, 497.
  437. Jump up^ Gal, Reuven (1986). A Portrait of the Israeli Soldier. New York: Greenwood Press. p. 161. ISBN 0313243158.
  438. Jump up^ John Pimlott, Michael Orr, The Middle East Conflicts: From 1945 to the Present, London: Orbis Publishing (1983), p. 99.
  439. Jump up^ O’Ballance, p. 129
  440. Jump up^ “Middle East: Sandstorm at Kilometer 101”TIME. December 3, 1973. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  441. Jump up^ Military Lessons of the Yom Kippur War: Historical Perspectives, Martin van Creveld, p. 47 Archived May 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  442. Jump up^ Quandt 2005, pp. 123–124.
  443. Jump up^ Drysdale, A. & Hinnebusch, R.: Syria and the Middle East Peace Process. Council on Foreign Relations Press, New York, 1991.
  444. Jump up^ Tristam, P.: The Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Treaties of 1974 and 1975 Archived May 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.., accessed 2012.
  445. Jump up^ Rabinovich, pp. 497–498.
  446. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 499.
  447. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 501.
  448. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 503
  449. Jump up to:a b Rabinovich, p. 502.
  450. Jump up^ Findings of the Agranat Commission, The Jewish Agency for Israel, see “January 30” on linked page. Retrieved June 9, 2005. Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  451. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 237.
  452. Jump up^ The Middle East: a glossary of termsGuardian Unlimited, May 15, 2001.
  453. Jump up to:a b c Rabinovich, p. 507.
  454. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 331
  455. Jump up^ Shazly, p. 334.
  456. Jump up^ Rabinovich, p. 356.
  457. Jump up^ Blum, Howard (2007), The Untold Story of the Yom Kippur War, HarperCollins, p. 298.
  458. Jump up to:a b Schiff, Zeev (1973), October Earthquake, Yom Kippur 1973, University Publishing Projects, pp. 194–195.
  459. Jump up to:a b c d e Macdonald, Scot (2006). Propaganda and Information Warfare in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 1135983518.
  460. Jump up^ Anatoly Chernyaev. “Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1973” (PDF)National Security Archive. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 430. p. 69.
  461. Jump up^ Smith, Charles D. (2006), Palestine and the Arab–Israeli Conflict, New York: Bedford, p. 329.
  462. Jump up^ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Interim Agreement with Egypt: 1975. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008.
  463. Jump up^ Friedman, George: “Israeli–Palestinian peace talks; again.” Stratfor, August 23, 2010.
  464. Jump up^ Shipler, David: “Israel Completes Pullout, Leaving Sinai to Egypt“. The New York Times, 25 April 1982: A1.
  465. Jump up^ Karsh, p. 86.
  466. Jump up^ Doing Business in Syria: 2010 Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies Archived October 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine., U.S. Commercial Service, United States of America Department of Commerce, retrieved May 21, 2010.
  467. Jump up^ “Mubarak reflects on 1973 Yom Kippur War”. UPI. October 6, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  468. Jump up^ “Egypt State Information Service”. Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  469. Jump up^ “Lonely Planet”. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011.
  470. Jump up^ “Yad Lashiryon, Armored Corps Museum”. Archived from the original on June 18, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  471. Jump up^ Author: Розин Александр. Title: Советский флот в войнах и конфликтах “холодной войны”. Это – персональная страница Александра Розина >> Война «Судного дня» 1973 г. Противостояние флотов СССР и США на море. >> Chapter 9: Корабли эскадры конвоируют транспорты.


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  • Israelyan, Victor (2003) [1995]. Inside the Kremlin During the Yom Kippur War. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-01737-6.
  • Karsh, Efraim (2002). The Iran-Iraq War, 1980–1988. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-371-3.
  • Lanir, Zvi (2002) [1983]. ha-Hafta’ah ha-basisit: modi’in ba-mashber [Fundamental Surprise: Intelligence in Crisis] (in Hebrew). Tel-Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad. OCLC 65842089.
  • Menshawy, Mustafa. “Turning ‘defeat’ into ‘victory’: the power of discourse on the 1973 war in Egypt.” Middle Eastern Studies 52.6 (2016): 897-916. Historiography.
  • Morris, Benny (2001). Righteous Victims. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-679-74475-7.
  • Ma’Oz, Moshe (1995). Syria and Israel: From War to Peacemaking. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-828018-1.
  • Neff, Donald (1988). Warriors against Israel. Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books. ISBN 978-0-915597-59-8.
  • Nicolle, David; Cooper, Tom (May 25, 2004). Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 units in combat. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-655-0.
  • Edgar O’Ballance. No Victor, No Vanquished: The Yom Kippur War (1979 ed.). Barrie & Jenkins Publishing. pp. 28–370. ISBN 978-0214206702.
  • Pape, Robert A (Fall 1997). “Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work”. International Security22 (2): 90. doi:10.2307/2539368JSTOR 2539368OCLC 482431341.
  • Quandt, William (2005). Peace Process: American diplomacy and the Arab–Israeli conflict since 1967. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution / Univ. of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22374-8.
  • Quandt, William B (May 1976). “Soviet Policy in the October 1973 War” (PDF). Rand Corp. R-1864-ISA. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 2, 2012.
  • Rabinovich, Abraham (2005) [2004]. The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. New York, NY: Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-4176-0.
  • Rabinovich, Abraham (2017). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. Revised and Updated Edition. New York, NY: Schocken Books. ISBN 9780805211245.
  • al Sadat, Muhammad Anwar (1978). In Search of Identity: An Autobiography. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-216344-6.
  • Shazly, Lieutenant General Saad el (2003). The Crossing of the Suez, Revised Edition (Revised ed.). American Mideast Research. ISBN 0-9604562-2-8.
  • Shlaim, Avi (2001). The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-32112-6.
  • Rodman, David (2013). “The Impact of American Arms Transfers to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War” (PDF). Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, VII:3. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 26, 2015.

External links

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One hell of a LT. !! 1LT Waverly Wray and His M1 Rifle: There Can Be Only One M1 by WILL DABBS

The M1 rifle was used in all theaters of combat during World War II. 1LT Waverly Wray, the airborne officer referenced at the beginning of this article, could be counted among the greatest warriors these United States could produce.

1LT Waverly Wray was born in 1919 and raised in the wooded hills around Batesville, Mississippi, perhaps a forty-five minute drive from where I sit typing these words. An expert woodsman steeped in fieldcraft from his youth, Wray was described by his commander, LTC Ben Vandervoort, thusly, “As experienced and skilled as an Infantry soldier can get and still be alive.” At 250 pounds Wray was an intimidating specimen, yet he was also a committed Christian man of character. He fastidiously eschewed profanity and sent half of his Army paycheck home each month to help build a church in his hometown.
Immediately after jumping into Normandy with the 82d Airborne, 1LT Wray set out on a one-man reconnaissance at the behest of his Battalion Commander. Wray’s mission was to assess the state of German forces planning a counterattack against the weakly held American positions outside Ste.-Mere-Eglise. Wray struck out armed with his M1 rifle, a Colt 1911A1 .45, half a dozen grenades, and a silver-plated .38 revolver tucked into his jump boot. Hearing German voices on the other side of a French hedgerow, Wray burst through the brush and shouted, “Hande Hoch!” Confronting him were eight German officers huddled around a radio.
For a pregnant moment, nobody moved. Then seven pairs of hands went up. The eighth German officer reached for his sidearm. 1LT Wray shot the man between the eyes with his M1.
A pair of German soldiers about 100 meters away opened up on Wray with MP40 submachine guns. 9mm bullets cut through his combat jacket and shot away one of his earlobes. All the while Wray methodically engaged each of the seven remaining Germans as they struggled to escape, reloading his M1 when it ran dry. Once he had killed all eight German officers he dropped into a nearby ditch, took careful aim, and killed the two distant Wehrmacht soldiers with the MP40’s.
Wray fought his way back to his company area to report what he had found, blood soaking his ventilated jump jacket. His first question was to ask where he could replenish his supply of grenades. When American forces eventually took the field where Wray had waged his one-man war against the leadership of the 1st Battalion, 158thGrenadier Regiment, they found all ten German soldiers dead with a single round each to the head. Wray had completely decapitated the enemy battalion’s leadership singlehandedly. Wray stopped what he was doing and saw to it that all ten German soldiers were properly buried. He had killed these men, and he felt a responsibility to bury them properly.
Waverly Wray survived the savage fighting in Normandy only to give his life for his country at Nijmegen, Holland, during Operation Market Garden later in the year. He has a granite marker in Shiloh Cemetery in Batesville, Mississippi, near the church he helped build. 1LT Wray was, by all accounts, an exceptionally good man who died six days before his twenty-fifth birthday. Wray died to ensure the blessings of liberty for further generations of Americans.

John Garand’s Rifle

Those who lived it have told me that there was only one M1 rifle and that it wasn’t called the Garand. The .30-06 rifle we call the Garand was the M1, the M1 Carbine was the Carbine, and the M1A1 Thompson was the Thompson. There was always only one M1.
John Cantius Garand was a Canadian-born gun designer who developed the M1 rifle in the early 1930’s. Those who knew him say that old John Cantius pronounced his name differently from the way we do. In his Canadian dialect, Garand rhymed with “Errand.”
Early versions of the M1 were gas trap designs based upon the flawed presumption that ported barrels would wear appreciably faster than the non-ported sort. This same misconception is what drove the Germans to attempt the ill-fated G41 gas trap rifle before settling on the much more reliable piston-driven G43 design. In short order, the M1 was standardized with the familiar gas piston action.

The M1 rifle soldiered on everywhere during World War II from European plains to fetid South Pacific jungles.

5.4 million of the rifles ultimately rolled out of four wartime factories. The M1 served with distinction in all services and in all theaters throughout World War II as well as the war in Korea. The weapon saw fairly widespread issue among ARVN forces early during the conflict in Vietnam as well. An M1 rifle cost the government about $85 during the Second World War. This equates out to around $1,200 today.

If properly maintained the M1 rifle offered a quantum advance in firepower over the bolt-action designs of the day.


For all its justifiable accolades, the M1 was a flawed design. The thing weighs about ten pounds and remains exceptionally bulky, even by the standards of the day. The eight-round en-bloc clip is extremely difficult to fill by hand, and the gun is nearly 44 inches long. Ammunition typically came issued in these disposable spring steel clips. However, early in the war troops frequently had to fill their clips manually from ammo that was packed on single stack five-round Springfield clips, something that was all but impossible to do under pressure.
Despite its few warts, the M1 represented a quantum advance in firepower when compared to the bolt-action repeaters in common service at the time. Interestingly, there are anecdotal accounts of some old school soldiers trading their M1s for bolt-action 1903 Springfields early in the war in the Philippines out of distrust of the autoloading action. However, it did not take long for troops on both sides of the line to come to respect the prodigious firepower of the M1.

Practical Tactical

The M1 rifle was a big, heavy, bulky beast, but it was also reliable, accurate, and rugged. Generations of GIs came to adore the gun.

The M1 sports a unique manual of arms. The safety is a pivoting tab in the front of the trigger guard that soldiers on in modern Springfield Armory M1A rifles today. This design is comparably accessible with either hand. The rigid charging handle reciprocates with the bolt and can be manhandled or even kicked if the action gets gummy.
To put the gun into action you retract the bolt until it locks to the rear automatically. Place a loaded 8-round clip in place in the action and press it down with the thumb until it locks. The bolt will then snap shut of its own accord. One must be fairly quick to snatch the thumb out of the way lest it gets badly pinched. Troops of the day described the resulting painful injury as “M1 Thumb.”

The M1 rifle fed from an 8-round en bloc clip. This means the clip becomes part of the action when loaded into the rifle.

The M1 will fire eight rounds as fast as the trigger can be cycled. On the last round fired the action locks open and the empty clip ejects out the top making a distinctive metallic springing sound in the process. Much hay has been made that this sound might signal to the enemy that the weapon is dry. The World War II combat veterans with whom I have visited discounted this concern. They said this sound was typically lost in the bedlam of battle.

The safety on the M1 is a pivoting tab located in the front of the trigger guard. It is comparably accessible with either hand. The rigid charging handle reciprocates with the bolt.


When I was a young buck you could get beautiful M1 rifles through the mail for $165 from the DCM delivered straight to your door. Alas, I didn’t have $165, and the paperwork requirements seemed unduly onerous. I did ultimately land a high-mileage DCM M1 some years later for a good bit more than that. My M1 sports a meticulously repaired crack to the upper handguard and the stigmata of hard use. I love the gun and would not trade it for a specimen that was new in the box. Like Waverly Wray and the other hard men who wielded these old guns to defeat tyranny around the globe, my M1 rifle has character.
A friend who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, summed up an Infantryman’s relationship to his primary weapon better than I ever could. He once told me that for nearly a year some part of his anatomy was touching that rifle. Whether he was patrolling, sleeping, shaving, or crapping, he kept that M1 rifle close at hand no matter what.
The M1 is an innately accurate and imminently reliable battle arm. It is not unstoppable, nor does it shoot divinely straight. However, the design certainly earned the respect and legendary status it has gained over the decades. Big, fat, heavy, and mean, the M1 was a gun that quite literally saved the world.
Special thanks to for the replica gear used to outfit our period paratrooper.

Technical Specifications

M-1 Garand Rifle
Caliber                            7.62 x 63 mm/.30-06 in
Weight                           9.5 lbs
System of Operation       Gas—Semiautomatic
Length                            43.6 in
Barrel Length                  24 in
Feed                               8 round en bloc steel clips
Sights                             Protected Front Blade and Adjustable Rear Aperture
____________________________________ Some more stuff I found out about this Stud of a man!
Picture of

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Waverly W. Wray (0-1030110), First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, in action against enemy forces on 7 June 1944, in France. While his platoon was engaged in a heavy fight with the enemy, First Lieutenant Wray, completely disregarding his own safety, crawled under devastating machine gun fire and although wounded, fought on until he had destroyed two enemy machine gun positions. Returning to his platoon he reorganized it and, securing a re-supply of ammunition, led it in a successful attack upon the enemy. Only after he had driven the enemy from his platoon sector did he accept first aid for his wounds. First Lieutenant Wray’s valiant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 82d Airborne Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 51 (1944)
Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
Unit: Executive Officer Company D, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division “All-American”, U.S. Army
Details: Citation unavailable.
Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
Unit: Executive Officer Company D, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division “All-American”, U.S. Army
Rank: 1st Lieutenant (Lieutenant)
Unit: Executive Officer Company D, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division “All-American”, U.S. Army
Awarded on: October 8th, 1945
Action: For having distinguished himself during the fighting by the 82nd Airborne Division in the area around Nijmegen between September 17th and October 4th 1944 by having performed outstanding deeds of courage, tact and loyalty and having repeatedly displayed outstanding devotion to duty and great perseverance and in all respects having set a praiseworthy example to all in those illustrious days during which he lost his life.
Details: Royal decree no.31 Awarded posthumously.

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God how I miss those times! Back when a man or woman could really have some fun!

God how I miss that old Man. While Jimmy Carter was POTUS, I never did sleep very well. (Carter was & is a good man. But he was way out of his league in the White House)
But the night Reagan was elected. I slept like a babe for the next 8 years usually! I still say that he was the last of the Adults in this country.
I just hope God has taken good cafe of him. That and Thanks Sir! Grumpy

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A Stud of a Man! Gunnery Sgt John Basilone USMC

Related image
John Basilone (November 4, 1916 – February 19, 1945) was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who was killed in action during World War II.
He received the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle for Henderson Field in the Guadalcanal Campaign, and the Navy Crossposthumously for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
He was the only enlisted Marine to receive both of these decorations in World War II.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 3, 1940, after serving three years in the United States Army with duty in the Philippines.
He was deployed to Guantánamo BayCuba, and in August 1942, he took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal.
In October, he and two other Marines used machine guns to hold off an attack by a far numerically superior Japanese force. In February 1945, he was killed in action on the first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
He has received many honors including being the namesake for streets, military locations, and two United States Navy destroyers.

Early life and education

Basilone was born in his parents’ home on November 4, 1916, in Buffalo, New York.[2] He was the sixth of ten children. His five older siblings were born in Raritan, New Jersey, before the family moved to Buffalo when John was born; they returned to Raritan in 1918.[1]
His father, Salvatore Basilone, emigrated from Colle Sannita, in the region of Benevento, Italy in 1903 and settled in Raritan. Basilone’s mother, Dora Bencivenga, was born in 1889 and grew up in Manville, New Jersey, but her parents, Carlo and Catrina, also came from Benevento. Basilone’s parents met at a church gathering and married three years later.
Basilone grew up in the nearby Raritan Town (now Borough of Raritan) where he attended St. Bernard Parochial School. After completing middle school at the age of 15, he dropped out prior to attending high school.[3] Basilone worked as a golf caddy for the local country club before joining the military.[4]

Military service

Basilone enlisted in the United States Army in July 1934[4] and completed his three-year enlistment with service in the Philippines, where he was a champion boxer.[5]
In the Army, Basilone was initially assigned to the 16th Infantry at Fort Jay, before being discharged for a day, reenlisting, and being assigned to the 31st Infantry.[6][7]
After he was released from active duty, Basilone returned home and worked as a truck driver in Reisterstown, Maryland.[8]
After driving trucks for a few years, he wanted to go back to Manila and believed he could get there faster by serving in the Marines than in the Army.

U.S. Marine Corps[edit]

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1940, from Baltimore, Maryland. He went to recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, followed by training at Marine Corps Base Quantico and New River.
The Marines sent him to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba for his next assignment, and then to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands as a member of “D” Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines1st Marine Division.[8]


In October 1942, during the Battle for Henderson Field, his unit came under attack by a regiment of about 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese Sendai Division. On October 24, Japanese forces began a frontal attack using machine guns, grenades, and mortars against the American heavy machine guns.
Basilone commanded two sections of machine guns which fought for the next two days until only Basilone and two other Marines were left standing.[9][10]
Basilone moved an extra gun into position and maintained continual fire against the incoming Japanese forces. He then repaired and manned another machine gun, holding the defensive line until replacements arrived.
As the battle went on, ammunition became critically low. Despite their supply lines’ having been cut off by enemies in the rear, Basilone fought through hostile ground to resupply his heavy machine gunners with urgently needed ammunition.
When the last of it ran out shortly before dawn on the second day, Basilone, using his pistol and a machete, held off the Japanese soldiers attacking his position.
By the end of the engagement, Japanese forces opposite their section of the line had been virtually annihilated. For his actions during the battle, Basilone received the United States military’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.[11]
Afterwards, Private First Class Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, recalled from the battle for Guadalcanal:

Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food. He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japanese lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun, but also using his pistol.[8]

War bond tours[edit]

In 1943, Basilone returned to the United States and participated in war bond tours. His arrival was highly publicized, and his hometown held a parade in his honor when he returned.
The homecoming parade occurred on Sunday, September 19 and drew a huge crowd with thousands of people, including politicians, celebrities, and the national press. The parade made national news in LIFE magazine and Fox Movietone News.[12]
After the parade, Basilone toured the country raising money for the war effort and achieved celebrity status. Although he appreciated the admiration, he felt out of place and requested to return to the operating forces fighting the war.
The Marine Corps denied his request and told him he was needed more on the home front. He was offered a commission, which he turned down, and was later offered an assignment as an instructor, but refused this as well.
When he requested again to return to the war, the request was approved. He left for Camp Pendleton, California, for training on December 27. On July 3, 1944, he reenlisted in the Marine Corps.[13]


While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Basilone met his future wife, Lena Mae Riggi, who was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.[14]
They were married at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Oceanside, California, on July 10, with a reception at the Carlsbad Hotel.[15] They honeymooned at an onion farm near Portland, Oregon.[16]

Iwo Jima and death

John Basilone’s headstone in Arlington National Cemetery

After his request to return to the fleet was approved, Basilone was assigned to “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment5th Marine Division.
On February 19, 1945, the first day of invasion of Iwo Jima, he was serving as a machine gun section leader on Red Beach II.
While the Marines landed, the Japanese concentrated their fire at the incoming Marines from heavily fortified blockhouses staged throughout the island. With his unit pinned down, Basilone made his way around the side of the Japanese positions until he was directly on top of the blockhouse.
He then attacked with grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroying the entire strong point and its defending garrison.
He then fought his way toward Airfield Number 1 and aided a Marine tank that was trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages.
He guided the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite heavy weapons fire from the Japanese. As he moved along the edge of the airfield, he was killed by Japanese mortar shrapnel.[17][18]
His actions helped Marines penetrate the Japanese defense and get off the landing beach during the critical early stages of the invasion.
Basilone was posthumously awarded the Marine Corps’ second-highest decoration for valor, the Navy Cross, for extraordinary heroism during the battle of Iwo Jima.[19]
Based on his research for the book and mini-series The Pacific, author Hugh Ambrose suggested that Basilone was not killed by a mortar, but by small arms fire which hit him in the right groin and neck, and nearly took off his left arm.[20]


Basilone is interred in Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 12, Grave 384, grid Y/Z 23.5.[21]
His widow, Lena M. Basilone, died June 11, 1999, aged 86, and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.[22] Lena’s obituary notes that she never remarried and was buried still wearing her wedding ring.[23]

Awards and decorations

GySgt. Basilone’s military awards include: [24]

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star

Bronze star

Bronze star
Bronze star

USMC Rifle Sharpshooter badge.png
Medal of Honor Navy Cross Purple Heart Medal
Navy Presidential Unit Citation with one star Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal American Defense Service Medal with one star
American Campaign Medal Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars World War II Victory Medal
United States Marine Corps Rifle Sharpshooter badge

Medal of Honor citation

Basilone’s Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

Medal of Honour

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines’ defensive positions, Sgt. BASILONE, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machine guns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. BASILONE’S sections, with its gun crews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. BASILONE, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.[11]


Navy Cross

Basilone’s Navy Cross citation reads as follows:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS posthumously to

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

Navy Cross

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Leader of a Machine-Gun Section, Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Shrewdly gauging the tactical situation shortly after landing when his company’s advance was held up by the concentrated fire of a heavily fortified Japanese blockhouse, Gunnery Sergeant BASILONE boldly defied the smashing bombardment of heavy caliber fire to work his way around the flank and up to a position directly on top of the blockhouse and then, attacking with grenades and demolitions, single handedly destroyed the entire hostile strong point and its defending garrison. Consistently daring and aggressive as he fought his way over the battle-torn beach and up the sloping, gun-studded terraces toward Airfield Number 1, he repeatedly exposed himself to the blasting fury of exploding shells and later in the day coolly proceeded to the aid of a friendly tank which had been trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages, skillfully guiding the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite the overwhelming volume of hostile fire. In the forefront of the assault at all times, he pushed forward with dauntless courage and iron determination until, moving upon the edge of the airfield, he fell, instantly killed by a bursting mortar shell. Stouthearted and indomitable, Gunnery Sergeant BASILONE, by his intrepid initiative, outstanding skill, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of the fanatic opposition, contributed materially to the advance of his company during the early critical period of the assault, and his unwavering devotion to duty throughout the bitter conflict was an inspiration to his comrades and reflects the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant BASILONE and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

For the President,
Secretary of the Navy

Other honors

Basilone has received numerous honors, including the following:

Sgt. Lena Mae Basilone, USMC(WR), widow of John Basilone, prepares to christen the destroyer USS Basilone (December 21, 1945)

Marine Corps

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton:

  • An entry point onto the base from U.S. Interstate 5 called “Basilone Road”;[25]
  • A section of U.S. Interstate 5 running through the base called “Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Memorial Highway”;[26]
  • parachute landing zone called “Basilone Drop Zone”.[27]
  • During the Crucible portion of Marine Corps Recruit Training on the West Coast, there is an obstacle named “Basilone’s Challenge” that consists of carrying ammunition cans filled with concrete up a steep, wooded hill.[28]



Public honorable recognitions include:

  • In 1944, Army Barracks from Washington State were moved to a site in front of Hansen Dam in Pacoima, California and rebuilt as 1,500 apartments for returning GIs. This development was named the “Basilone Homes” and was used until about 1955. The site is now a golf course.

Dedication sign for the Basilone Memorial Bridge

In media

  • The film First to Fight (1967) features Chad Everett as “Shanghai Jack” Connell, a character based on “Manila John” Basilone.