Israeli military victory
Political gains for
Egypt and Israel
Camp David Accords
The Egyptian army occupied the eastern coast of the
Suez Canal with
the exception of the Israeli crossing point near Deversoir.
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
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.
Commanders and leaders
Albert Mandler †
Ahmad Ismail Ali
Saad El Shazly
Abdel Ghani el-Gammasy
Omar Abrash †
3,000 armored carriers
945 artillery units
440 combat aircraft
650,000–800,000 troops (200,000 crossed)
1,700 tanks (1,020 crossed)
2,400 armored carriers
1,120 artillery units
400 combat aircraft
104 Navy vessels
150 surface to air missile batteries (62 in the front line)
800–900 armored carriers
600 artillery units
700 armored carriers
52 combat aircraft
3,900–4,000 armored carriers
1,720 artillery units
452 combat aircraft
104 navy vessels
150 surface to air missile batteries
Casualties and losses
1,063 tanks destroyed, damaged or captured
407 armored vehicles destroyed or captured
102–387 aircraft destroyed
Egypt: 5,000–15,000 dead
2,250–2,300 tanks destroyed
341–514 aircraft destroyed
19 naval vessels sunk
Yom Kippur War
Valley of Tears
Syrian GHQ Raid
al-Mazzah Airport Raid
Egyptian Missile Bases Raid
25th Brigade ambush
Scud missile attack
Yom Kippur War,
Ramadan War, or October War (Hebrew: מלחמת
יום הכיפורים, Milẖemet Yom HaKipurim, or מלחמת
יום כיפור, Milẖemet Yom Kipur; Arabic: حرب
أكتوبر, Ḥarb ʾUktōbar, or حرب تشرين, Ḥarb
Tišrīn), also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, was a war fought
by a coalition of Arab states led by
Syria against Israel
from October 6 to 25, 1973. The fighting mostly took place in the
Sinai and the Golan Heights, territories that had been occupied by
Israel since the end of the
Six-Day War of 1967. Egyptian President
Anwar Sadat also wanted to reopen the
Suez Canal. Neither specifically
planned to destroy Israel, although the Israeli leaders could not be
sure of that.
The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack
on Israeli positions in the
Israeli-occupied territories on Yom
Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which also occurred that year
during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 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
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
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.
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 First Arab–Israeli War, the
Suez War, and the Six-Day War.
These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The 1978
Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the
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
1.1 Events leading up to the war
1.2 Lead-up to the surprise attack
1.2.1 Egyptian and Syrian military exercises
1.3 Lack of Israeli pre-emptive attack
2 Combat operations
2.1 In the Sinai
2.1.1 Egyptian attack
2.1.2 Failed Israeli counter-attack
2.1.3 Temporary stabilization
2.1.4 The Egyptian failed attack
Israel planned attack considerations
2.1.6 Israeli breakthrough – Crossing the canal
2.1.7 Securing the bridgehead
2.1.8 Egyptian response to the Israeli crossing
2.1.9 Israeli forces across the Suez
2.1.10 The ceasefire and further battles
2.1.11 Egypt's trapped Third Army
2.1.12 Post war battles
2.1.13 Final situation on the Egyptian front
2.2 On the Golan Heights
2.2.1 Syrian attack
2.2.2 Israeli advance
2.2.3 Northern front de-escalation
2.2.4 Jordanian participation
2.2.5 Final situation on the Syrian front
2.3 The war at sea
3 Atrocities against Israeli prisoners
3.1 Syrian atrocities
3.2 Egyptian atrocities
4 Participation by other states
4.1 Failure of the U.S. intelligence community
4.2 U.S. aid to Israel
4.3 Aid to
Egypt and Syria
4.3.1 Soviet supplies
4.3.2 Soviet active aid
4.3.3 Soviet threat of intervention
4.3.4 Other countries
4.4 Palestinian attacks from the Lebanese border
6 Home front during the war
8.1 Kissinger pushes for peace
8.2 Disengagement agreement
8.3 Response in Israel
8.4 Response in Egypt
8.5 Response in Syria
8.6 Response in the Soviet Union
8.7 Oil embargo
9 Long-term effects
9.1 Egyptian–Israeli disengagement agreement
Camp David Accords
10 See also
12 External links
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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
Sinai Peninsula, roughly half of Syria's Golan Heights, and
the territories of the
West Bank which had been held by
On June 19, 1967, shortly after the Six-Day War, the Israeli
government voted to return the
Egypt and the
Golan Heights to
Syria in return for peace agreements. This decision was not made
public or conveyed to the Arab states; the public position of
the Israeli government was that they were willing to return both Sinai
and the Golan Heights, with exception of some strategically important
points, in exchange for a permanent peace settlement and a
demilitarization of the returned territories. They rejected a
full return to the boundaries and the situation before the war and
also insisted on direct negotiations with the Arab governments as
opposed to accepting negotiation through a third party.
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
Jordan had stated that he could not rule out a possibility
of a "real, permanent peace" between
Israel and the Arab states.
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
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser of
Egypt died in September 1970. He was
succeeded by Anwar Sadat. A peace initiative led by both Sadat and UN
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
New York Times
New York Times in December 1970 that, in return for a total
withdrawal from the
Sinai Peninsula, he was ready "to recognize the
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.
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
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. The
United States was infuriated
by the cool Israeli response to Egypt's proposal, and Joseph Sisco
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
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
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." 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
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
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
Jordan and wanted it restored to his kingdom. Moreover, during
Black September crisis of 1970, a near civil war had broken out
between the PLO and the Jordanian government. In that war,
intervened militarily on the side of the PLO, estranging Hussein.
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 League,
Non-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 for the first time sided with the Arab powers
Israel on the
United Nations Security Council.
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 declared that
Egypt was prepared to "sacrifice a million
Egyptian soldiers" to recover its lost territory. From the end of
Egypt began a concentrated effort to build up its forces,
MiG-21 jet fighters, SA-2, SA-3, SA-6 and SA-7 antiaircraft
RPG-7 antitank weapons, and the AT-3
Sagger anti-tank guided missile from 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.
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
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
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
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
Soviet Union had been unable to restrain Sadat's plans.
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
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. 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.
Lead-up to the surprise attack
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
Egypt did so as well. Second, the department learned from Ashraf
Marwan, former President Nasser's son-in-law and also a senior Mossad
Egypt wanted to regain all of the Sinai, but would not
go to war until they were supplied
MiG-23 fighter-bombers to
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force and
Scud missiles to be used against
Israeli cities as a deterrent against Israeli attacks on Egyptian
Since they had not received MiG-23s and
Scud missiles had only arrived
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
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.
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.
In May and August 1973, the Egyptian Army conducted military exercises
near the border, and
Ashraf Marwan inaccurately warned that
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
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 would not attack until
the weaponry they wanted arrived. Despite this belief,
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. Reports were also
given instructing cadets in military colleges to resume their courses
on October 9.
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.
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." 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." 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
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.
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."
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.'" This warning was ignored, and Aman concluded that the
king had not told anything that was not already known. Throughout
Israel received eleven warnings of war from well-placed
Mossad Director-General Zvi Zamir continued to
insist that war was not an Arab option, even after Hussein's
warning. Zamir would later remark that "We simply didn't feel them
capable [of war]."
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.
On October 4–5, Zamir's concern grew, as additional signs of an
impending attack were detected. Soviet advisers and their families
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.
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. However, Marwan incorrectly
told Zamir that the attack would take place at sunset.
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.
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.
Lack of Israeli pre-emptive attack
Upon learning of the impending attack, Prime Minister of
Meir made the controversial decision not to launch a pre-emptive
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." Prior to the war, Kissinger and Nixon
consistently warned Meir that she must not be responsible for
initiating a Middle east war. 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.
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
United States at 16:33 GMT (6:33 pm local time).
A message arrived later from
United States Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger saying, "Don't preempt." At the same time, Kissinger
also urged the Soviets to use their influence to prevent war,
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. According to Henry
Israel struck first, it would not have received "so
much as a nail".
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.
In the Sinai
Wreckage from an Egyptian
Sukhoi Su-7 shot down over the
October 6 on display at the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force Museum.
Sinai was once again the arena of conflict between
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, and only one of these was
deployed near the Canal when hostilities commenced.
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. Arms for
Israel began to flow in modest
quantities. 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
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
Israeli Air Force had
no time to execute a
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD)
operation due to the element of surprise. 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. 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. 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
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. Israeli progress
Cairo was brought to a halt when the ceasefire was declared on
The 1973 War in the Sinai, October 6–15.
Main article: Operation Badr (1973)
Anticipating a swift Israeli armored counterattack by three armored
divisions, the Egyptians had armed their assault force with large
numbers of man-portable anti-tank weapons—rocket-propelled grenades
and the less numerous but more advanced Sagger guided missiles, which
proved devastating to the first Israeli armored counterattacks. Each
of the five infantry divisions that was to cross the canal had been
RPG-7 rockets 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.
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. 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.
Sukhoi Su-7 fighter jets conducting air strikes over the Bar
Lev Line on 6 October
An Israeli Mirage III shot 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.
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.
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.
Author Andrew McGregor claimed that the success of the first strike
negated the need for a second planned strike. 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. 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. One of
the Egyptian pilots killed was Captain Atif Sadat, President Sadat's
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. One missile was shot down by a patrolling Israeli Mirage
fighter, and the second fell into the sea. The attack was an attempt
Egypt could retaliate if it bombed targets deep in
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. The Egyptians prevented Israeli forces
from reinforcing the
Bar Lev Line
Bar Lev Line and proceeded to attack the Israeli
fortifications. Meanwhile, engineers crossed over to breach the sand
Israeli Air Force
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
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. 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.
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. Israeli
Major General (res.)
Chaim Herzog placed Egyptian helicopter losses at
fourteen. 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
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
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. 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.
Most Israeli soldiers defending the
Bar Lev Line
Bar Lev Line were casualties, and
some 200 were taken prisoner. In the subsequent days,
some defenders of the
Bar Lev Line
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,
Israeli Air Force
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
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.
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. 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. 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.
Failed Israeli counter-attack
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. The same
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Tagar, aiming to
Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force bases and its missile defense
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Centurion tank operating in the Sinai.
According to Herzog, by October 9 the front lines had stabilized. The
Egyptians were unable to advance further, 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.
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. 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.[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
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
800–1,000 tanks 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
700–750 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. 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
The Egyptian attack was decisively repelled. At least 250 Egyptian
tanks and some 200 armored vehicles were
destroyed. Egyptian casualties exceeded 1,000. Fewer than 40
Israeli tanks were hit and all but six of them were repaired by
Israeli maintenance crews and returned to service, while Israeli
casualties numbered 665.
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.
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.
According to General Gamasy, the gap had been detected by an American
SR-71 spy plane. 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. 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
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
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. 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. 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
Israeli Air Force to strike Egyptian ground targets more
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. 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
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.
Egyptian Air Force
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
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
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
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 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. 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.
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.
M48 Patton tanks on the banks of the
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.
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.
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. 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
Ahmad Ismail Ali
Ahmad Ismail Ali recommended that Sadat push for a
cease-fire so as to prevent the Israelis from exploiting their
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
Brigadier-General Dan Even had worked under heavy
Egyptian fire to set up the bridges, and over 100 were killed and
hundreds more wounded. 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. 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. 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
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.
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. 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.
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
On the northern front, the Israelis also attacked Port Said, facing
Egyptian troops and a 900-strong Tunisian unit, who fought a defensive
battle. The Egyptian government claimed that the city was
repeatedly bombed by Israeli jets, and that hundreds of civilians were
killed or wounded.
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.
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. 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.
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. The Israeli advance southward reached Port Suez, on
the southern boundary of the
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 – .
An Israeli soldier on the road to Ismailia.
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. Because
this was after dark, it was impossible for satellite surveillance to
determine where the front lines were when the fighting was supposed to
stop. 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.
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
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. 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.
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
It is unclear which side fired first 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.
Adan resumed his attack on October 23. 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. The Israelis then transported enormous amounts of
military equipment across the canal, which
Egypt claimed was in
violation of the ceasefire. Egyptian aircraft launched repeated
attacks in support of the Third Army, sometimes in groups of up to 30
planes, but took severe losses.
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).
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. Kissinger considered that the situation presented the
United States with a tremendous opportunity and that
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
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. 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, 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.
This assessment was challenged by Patrick Seale, who stated that the
Third Army was "on the brink of collapse". Seale's position was
supported by P.R. Kumaraswamy, who wrote that intense American
pressure prevented the Israelis from annihilating the stranded Third
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. Shazly
himself described the Third Army's plight as "desperate" and
classified its encirclement as a "catastrophe that was too big to
hide". 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."
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.
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. The
Egyptians also made minor gains in attacks against Sharon's forces in
Ismailia area. The Israelis reacted by bombing and shelling
priority targets in Egypt, including command posts and water
reserves. The front was quieter in the Second Army's sector in
the northern canal area, where both sides generally respected the
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."
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. Some aerial
battles took place, and the Israelis also shot down several
helicopters attempting to resupply the Third Army.
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. They had also cut the
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. The Egyptians held a narrow strip on the east bank of
the canal, occupying some 1,200 square kilometres of the Sinai.
One source estimated that the Egyptians had 70,000 men, 720 tanks and
994 artillery pieces on the east bank of the canal. However,
30,000 to 45,000 of them were now encircled by the Israelis.
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
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
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."
For those reasons and according to Dayan, "It was therefore thought
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
Egypt wished to end the war when they realized that the IDF canal
crossing offensive could result in a catastrophe. The Egyptian's
besieged Third Army could not hold on without supply. The
Israeli Army advanced to 100 km from Cairo, which worried
Egypt. The Israeli army had open terrain and no opposition to
advance further to Cairo; had they done so, Sadat's rule might have
On the Golan Heights
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 brigades and
eleven artillery batteries with five divisions (the 7th, 9th and 5th,
with the 1st and 3rd in reserve) and 188 batteries. They began their
attack with an airstrike by about 100 aircraft and a 50-minute
artillery barrage. The forward brigades of three divisions then
penetrated the cease-fire lines and bypassed
United Nations observer
posts, followed by the main assault force, which was covered by mobile
anti-aircraft batteries, bulldozers to penetrate anti-tank ditches,
bridge-layers to overcome obstacles and mine-clearance vehicles. The
engineering vehicles were priority targets for Israeli gunners and
took heavy losses, but Syrian infantrymen, braving intense fire,
advanced forward and used their entrenching tools to build up earthen
causeways for the tanks, enabling them to overcome anti-tank
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.
Every Israeli tank deployed on the
Golan Heights was engaged during
the initial attacks. Syrian commandos dropped by helicopter also took
the most important Israeli stronghold at Mount Hermon, which had a
variety of surveillance equipment. An Israeli force attempting to
counterattack was stopped by a Syrian ambush.
Golan Heights front was given priority by the Israeli High Command
because of its proximity to Israeli population centers. If the Syrians
had regained the area, it would pose a serious threat to major Israeli
cities such as Tiberias, Safed,
Haifa and Netanya.
Reservists were directed to the Golan as quickly as possible. They
were assigned to tanks and sent to the front as soon as they arrived
at army depots, without waiting for the crews they trained with to
arrive, machine guns to be installed on the tanks, or taking the time
to calibrate the tank guns (a time-consuming process known as
bore-sighting). The Syrians had expected it to take at least 24 hours
for Israeli reserves to reach the front lines; in fact, reserve units
began reaching the battle lines only 15 hours after the war began.
Israeli reserve forces approaching the
Golan Heights were subjected to
Syrian artillery fire directed from Mount Hermon.
An abandoned Syrian
T-55 tank on the Golan Heights.
As the Egyptians had in the Sinai, the Syrians took care to stay under
cover of their SAM batteries. Also as in the Sinai, the Syrians made
use of Soviet anti-tank weapons, though they were not as effective as
Sinai because of the uneven terrain.
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force initially lost 40 planes from Syrian
anti-aircraft batteries, but Israeli pilots soon adopted a different
tactic; flying in low over
Jordan and diving in over the Golan
heights, catching the Syrians in the flank and avoiding many of their
batteries. Israeli aircraft dropped both conventional bombs and
napalm, devastating Syrian armored columns. However, the Syrian Air
Force repeatedly struck Israeli positions during this period.
On the second day of the war, the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force attempted to take
out the Syrian anti-aircraft batteries. Codenamed Doogman 5, the
attempt was a costly failure. The Israelis destroyed one Syrian
missile battery and lost six aircraft.
An Israeli Centurion tank. It was considered in many respects superior
to the Soviet T-54/55.
Syrian forces suffered heavy losses as Israeli tanks and infantry
fought desperately to buy time for reserve forces to reach the front
lines, and conducted stopgap blocking actions whenever the Syrians
were on the verge of breaking through. Having practiced on the Golan
Heights numerous times, Israeli gunners made effective use of mobile
artillery. However, the Syrians pressed the attack in spite of their
losses, and the vastly outnumbered defenders lost a number of
tanks. Within six hours of the initial assault, the first Israeli
line of defense was overrun by sheer weight of numbers, but the
Israelis continued to resist.
A Syrian tank brigade passing through the Rafid Gap turned northwest
up a little-used route known as the Tapline Road, which cut diagonally
across the Golan. This roadway would prove one of the main strategic
hinges of the battle. It led straight from the main Syrian
breakthrough points to Nafah, which was not only the location of
Israeli divisional headquarters but the most important crossroads on
During the night, Israeli forces successfully held back numerically
superior Syrian forces. The Syrians were equipped with night-vision
goggles, and struck with precision. The Israelis had to allow the
Syrians to advance to ranges close enough for night fighting, and then
open fire. Whenever Syrian tanks penetrated the Israeli lines, Israeli
gunners would immediately rotate their turrets and destroy them before
turning their attention back to the oncoming forces. Israeli tank
Avigdor Kahalani lined up his tanks and began a barrage of
gunfire into the valley beyond their position, leading the Syrians to
believe that they were facing a vast Israeli tank armada. During the
night, the Syrians regained some of the high ground that
held since the Six Day War, but were soon pushed off by an Israeli
Israeli tank on the
Golan Heights during the Arab–Israeli War
Lieutenant Zvika Greengold, who arrived unattached to any unit, fought
running battles with Syrian armor for 20 hours, sometimes with his
single tank and 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. For his actions, he received Israel's highest
decoration, the Medal of Valor.
During over four days of fighting, the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade in
the north (commanded by 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. Syrian
Abrash was killed on the third day of the fighting when his command
tank was hit as he was preparing for an attack. However, the Syrians
continued to press their attack, and the brigade began weakening as it
By the afternoon of October 9, only six of the brigade's tanks
remained in action, defending a clear path into northern Israel. After
the brigade's tanks were down to their last few rounds, they began to
pull back. However, right then, a force of some 15 tanks which had
been scrambled by Lt. Col. Yossi Ben-Hanan arrived. Although the group
was in fact a scratch force of repaired tanks which had injured men
among their crews, the Syrians, who had been exhausted by three days
of continuous fighting, believed that the Israeli reserves were now
arriving, and began to retreat.
T-62 tanks on the Golan Heights.
To the south, the Israeli
Barak Armored Brigade
Barak Armored Brigade was bereft of any
natural defenses. The Syrians were initially slowed down by a
minefield. The Barak Brigade's gunners inflicted severe losses on the
Syrians with accurate cannon fire, but Syrians continued pushing and
the Barak Brigade began to take heavy casualties. The Israelis
continued to fight desperately, hoping to buy time for reserve forces
to reach the front lines. In several instances, some tank crews
sacrificed themselves rather than voluntarily give ground.
At night, the Syrians made deadly use of infrared technology, while
the Israelis responded by using illumination rounds and xenon light
projectors on their tanks and carried out a series of small blocking
actions. 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
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. It is surmised that the Syrians had calculated
estimated advances, and the commanders in the field did not want to
diverge from the plan.
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
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. The strike prompted the Syrians to transfer air
defense units from the
Golan Heights to the home front, allowing the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force greater freedom of action.
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. 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.
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.
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
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.
Israeli artillery pounds Syrian forces near the Valley of Tears.
Quneitra village, showing two minarets 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
On October 12, Israeli paratroopers from the elite
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
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.
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.
Israeli jets attacked Iraqi forces as they arrived in Syria.
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.
Syrian Air Force
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. The IDF also destroyed the Syrian missile defense system.
Israeli Air Force
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.
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
Israel an additional 55 dead and 79 wounded. 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.
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
Abraham Rabinovich claimed that "The acceptance by
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
Israel turned its full might northward, destroying
Syria's infrastructure and perhaps attacking Damascus".
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.
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. The situation continued until a May 1974 disengagement
The U.S. pressed King Hussein to keep
Jordan out of the war.
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. 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.
The documents reveal that
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.
Final situation on the Syrian front
The Israeli Army advanced to a 40 km distance from Damascus
from where they were able to shell the outskirts of
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
Ras Sudar on the Gulf of Suez, and Sharm el-Sheikh. Egyptian naval
frogmen also raided the oil installations at Bala'eem, disabling the
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
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
October 7 also witnessed the Battle of Marsa Talamat. Two Israeli
Dabur class patrol boats patrolling in the Gulf of
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 of Baltim, which took place on October 8–9 off the coast
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. The Battles of
Latakia and Baltim
"drastically changed the operational situation at sea to Israeli
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.
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
depriving the Egyptian Third Army of air support and preventing it
from moving southward and attempting to capture the southern
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
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
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.[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.
Syria resorted to
communicating via a Jordanian radio station in Ajloun, bouncing the
signals off a U.S. satellite.
On October 11, Israeli missile boats sank two Syrian missile boats in
an engagement off Tartus. During the battle, a Soviet merchant ship
was hit by Israeli missiles and sank.
A Syrian oil terminal in
Baniyas after 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. The Israeli Navy's attacks were
carried out with minimal support from the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force (only one
Arab naval target was destroyed from the air during the entire
The Egyptian Navy managed to enforce a blockade at Bab-el-Mandeb.
Eighteen million tons of oil had been transported yearly from
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
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
Eilat in southern Israel. Two oil tankers, of 48,000 ton and 2,000
ton capacity, sank after hitting mines in the Gulf.
According to Admiral Ze'ev Almog, the
Israeli Navy escorted tankers
from the Gulf to
Eilat throughout the war, and Israeli tankers sailing
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. 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.
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. Throughout
the war, the
Israeli Navy enjoyed complete command of the seas both in
the Mediterranean approaches and in the Gulf of Suez.
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
According to Israeli and Western sources, the Israelis lost no vessels
in the war. Israeli vessels were "targeted by as
many as 52 Soviet-made anti-ship missiles", but none hit their
targets. 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. All together, the
Israeli Navy suffered
three dead or missing and seven wounded.
Atrocities against Israeli prisoners
Syria ignored the
Geneva Conventions and many Israeli prisoners of war
were tortured or killed. 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. 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. 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
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. 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." 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. The Syrians, having been thoroughly defeated by
Israel, were attempting to use their captives as their sole bargaining
chip in the post-war negotiations. One of the most famous Israeli
POWs was Avraham Lanir, an Israeli pilot who bailed out over
was taken prisoner. Lanir died under Syrian
interrogation. When his body was returned in 1974, it
exhibited signs of torture.
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.
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
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
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". However,
one U.S. government source that was able to predict the approaching
war was Roger Merrick, an analyst working for the INR (Intelligence
and Research section 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
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. 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.
Israel would have little incentive to conform to American
views in postwar diplomacy. Kissinger argued the sending of U.S. aid
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.
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
Jordan River and their air defense systems were inflicting a high
toll on Israeli planes. It became clear by October 9
that no quick reversal in Israel's favor would occur and that IDF
losses were unexpectedly high.
During the night of October 8–9, an alarmed Dayan told Meir that
"this is the end of the third temple." He was warning of Israel's
impending total defeat, but "Temple" was also the code word for
Israel's nuclear weapons. Dayan raised the nuclear topic in a
cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of
"last resort". 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. 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. 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. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger told
Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were
close to "going nuclear". 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. European
countries refused to allow U.S. airplanes carrying supplies for Israel
to refuel at their bases, fearing an Arab oil embargo, with the
Portugal and the Netherlands.
Portugal permitted the
United States to use a leased base in the Azores, and the defence
minister of the Netherlands, apparently acting without consulting his
cabinet colleagues, secretly authorised the use of Dutch
An M60 delivered during Operation Nickel Grass
Israel began receiving supplies via U.S. Air Force cargo airplanes on
October 14, 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". 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. American
C-141 Starlifter and C-5
Galaxy aircraft flew 567 missions throughout the airlift. El Al
planes flew in an additional 5,500 tons of matériel in 170
flights. The airlift continued after the war until November
United States delivered approximately 90,000 tons of materiel
Israel by sealift by the beginning of December, using 16
ships. 33,210 tons of it arrived by November.
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
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 Force units. Most of the large
equipment arrived after the ceasefire. The total cost of the equipment
was approximately US$800 million (US$4.41 billion
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.
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
Egypt and Syria
BMP-1 captured by Israeli forces
Starting on October 9, the
Soviet Union began supplying
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. Antonov
An-12 and AN-22 aircraft flew over 900 missions during the
The Soviets supplied another 63,000 tons, mainly to Syria, by means of
a sealift by October 30. Historian Gamal Hammad asserts that
T-62 tanks 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, 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. 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
Israel had armed three nuclear weapons). American concern over
possible evidence of nuclear warheads for the Soviet
Scud missiles in
Egypt contributed to Washington's decision to go to
According to documents declassified in 2016, the move to
DEFCON 3 was
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency reports indicating that the
Soviet Union had sent a ship to
Egypt carrying nuclear weapons along
with two other amphibious vessels. 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. 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
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
Ramat David Airbase for interrogation, and treated
the incident with great secrecy.
Israeli military intelligence reported that Soviet-piloted MiG-25
Foxbat interceptor/reconnaissance aircraft overflew the Canal
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.
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.
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." 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. 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
The meeting produced a conciliatory response, which was sent (in
Nixon's name) to Brezhnev. At the same time, it was decided to
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.
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
Soviet Union to an airbase in Yugoslavia". 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
Yuri Andropov added that "We shall not
unleash the Third World War." 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. 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.
Plaque commemorating the supply of 8
East German Air Force
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
Syria's frontline ranks. 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.
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
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.
Algerian fighter jets however did participate in attacks together with
Egyptians and Iraqis.
Cuba sent approximately 4,000 troops, including tank and helicopter
crews to Syria, and they reportedly engaged in combat operations
against the IDF.
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.
20 North Korean pilots and 19 non-combat personnel were sent to
Egypt. The unit had four to six encounters with the Israelis from
August through the end of the war. 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. 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.
According to Chengappa, several
Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force pilots flew combat
missions in Syrian aircraft, and shot down one Israeli
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. Libyan armored brigade stationed in
Egypt never took an active part in the war.
Libya also sent
Saudi Arabia sent 3,000 soldiers to Syria, bolstered by a battalion of
Panhard AML-90 armored cars. One of the Panhards was later
captured by the Israelis near
Golan Heights and displayed to the media
as proof of Saudi involvement. The Saudi armor was deployed
primarily in rearguard actions but also performed active
reconnaissance for the Iraqi and Jordanian expeditionary forces
between October 16 and October 19. During that time, it
participated in two major engagements and the IDF claimed that most of
the armoured car battalion was destroyed. The Saudis acknowledged
only minor losses, including the loss of 4 AMLs.
Kuwait dispatched 3,000 soldiers to Syria. These arrived with
additional Jordanian and Iraqi reinforcements in time for a new Syrian
offensive scheduled for October 23, which was later cancelled.
Kuwaiti troops were also sent to Egypt.
Kuwait also provided
Morocco sent one infantry brigade to
Egypt and one armored regiment to
Syria. 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
Lebanon sent radar units to
Syria for air defense. Lebanon
however did not take part in the war.
North Korea was reported to have sent pilots to fly for the Egyptian
Sudan deployed a 3,500-strong infantry brigade to Egypt. It arrived on
October 28, too late to participate in the war.
An infantry brigade composed of Palestinians was in
Egypt before the
outbreak of the war.
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 Command, Yitzhak
Hofi, requested to deploy a force which will cleanse Lebanese villages
from Palestinian militants, but the request was declined by Defense
Minister Moshe Dayan.
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. 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
Jordan used T-34, T-54, T-55, T-62,
M48 Patton, as well as SU-100/152 World War II vintage self-propelled
M50 and M51 Shermans with upgraded engines, M48 Patton, M60 Patton,
PT-76 and T-54/55. All tanks were upgraded with the British
105 mm L7 gun, prior to the war.
BTR-40, BTR-152, BTR-50,
BTR-60 APC's & BMP 1 IFV's
M2 /M3 Half-track, M113
152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20), BM-21, D-30 (2A18) Howitzer, M1954
field gun, 152 mm towed gun-howitzer M1955 (D-20)
M109 self-propelled howitzer, M107 self-propelled gun, M110
self-propelled howitzer, M50 self-propelled howitzer and Makmat 160 mm
self-propelled mortar, Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50,
Soltam M-68 and
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
MiG-21, MiG-19, MiG-17, Dassault Mirage 5, Su-7B, Hawker Hunter,
Tu-16, Il-28, Il-18, Il-14, An-12, Aero L-29
A-4 Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom II, Dassault Mirage III, Dassault Super
Mystère, IAI Nesher
Super Frelon, Sea Stallion, AB-205
SA-6 Gainful, SA-3 Goa, SA-2 Guideline, ZSU-23-4, Strela 2
MIM-23 Hawk, MIM-72 Chaparral, Bofors 40 mm gun
AK-47, AKM, Hakim, Rasheed, RPK, RPD, PKM, SVD, Port Said, Browning
Hi-Power, Beretta M1951, TT-33, Makarov PM, F1 grenade,
RPG-43 anti-tank grenade, RKG-3 anti-tank grenade,
DShK HMG, RPG-7,
AT-3 Sagger and B-11 recoilless rifle
FN FAL, Uzi, M16, CAR-15, M14, AK-47, Karabiner 98k, Lee-Enfield, FN
MAG, Browning Hi-Power, Beretta M1951, M26A2 grenade, M2HB Browning,
SS.11, M72 LAW, BGM-71 TOW,
RL-83 Blindicide and M40 recoilless rifle
Sea to Sea Missiles
Shafrir 2, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow
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 sirens sounded 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
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. 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
See also: Israeli casualties of war
Israel suffered between 2,521 and 2,800 killed in
action. An additional 7,250 to 8,800 soldiers were
wounded. Some 293 Israelis were captured. Approximately 400
Israeli tanks were destroyed. Another 600 were disabled but returned
to service after repairs. A major Israeli advantage, noted by many
observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to
Israeli Air Force
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. According to Defense Minister Moshe
Dayan, nearly half of these were shot down during the first three days
of the war. IAF losses per combat sortie were less than in the
Six Day War
Six Day War of 1967.
Israeli Air Force
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
disclosed official figures. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000
(5,000 Egyptian and 3,000 Syrian) killed and 18,000 wounded. The
highest estimate is 18,500 (15,000 Egyptian and 3,500 Syrian)
killed. Most estimates lie somewhere in between the two, with the
Insight Team of the London
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times combined Egyptian and
Syrian losses of 16,000 killed. and yet another source citing a
figure of some 15,000 dead and 35,000 wounded. U.S. estimates
placed Egyptian casualties at 13,000.
Iraq lost 278 killed and
898 wounded, while
Jordan suffered 23 killed and 77 wounded. Some
8,372 Egyptians, 392 Syrians, 13 Iraqis and 6 Moroccans were taken
Arab tank losses amounted to 2,250 though Garwych cites a
figure of 2,300. 400 of these fell into Israeli hands in good
working order and were incorporated into Israeli service. Between
341 and 514 Arab aircraft were shot down. According to Herzog,
334 of these aircraft were shot down by the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force in
air-to-air combat for the loss of only five Israeli planes. The
Sunday Times Insight Team notes Arab aircraft losses of 450. 19
Arab naval vessels, including 10 missile boats, were sunk for no
Kissinger pushes for peace
1974 news report about warfare on the Golan prior to the May
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,
even the USSR. Kissinger concluded his remarks by spelling out the
principles of a new U.S. policy toward the Arab–Israeli conflict
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.
Main article: Agreement on Disengagement between
Israel and Syria
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.
A 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,
Syria refused attendance.
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
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
On the Syrian front, skirmishes and artillery exchanges continued
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.
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. 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.
Agranat Commission published its preliminary findings on April 2,
1974. Six people were held particularly responsible for Israel's
Though his performance and conduct during the war was lauded, 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".
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. 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."
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. In the December 1973
legislative election, Meir's Alignment party lost five
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.
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 intelligence bodies, 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.
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. 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. 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
The commanders of the Second and Third Armies, Generals Khalil and
Wasel, were also dismissed from the army. The commander of the
Egyptian Second Army at the start of the war, General Mamoun, suffered
a heart attack, or, alternatively, a breakdown, after the
Egyptian defeat during the October 14
Sinai tank battle, and was
replaced by General Khalil.
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. He was given a quick hearing
and sentenced to death; his execution was immediate. Military
Zeev Schiff referred to him as Syria's "sacrificial
lamb". The Syrians however offered vehement denials that Halawi
was executed and expended great efforts trying to debunk the
allegation. They claimed he was killed in battle with
threatened severe punishment to anyone repeating the allegation of
execution. 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. On July 7, 1974, Halawi's
remains were removed from a Syrian military hospital and he was
Damascus at the "Cemetery of the Martyrs of the October
War" in the presence of many Syrian dignitaries. 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
Response in the Soviet Union
According to Chernyaev, on 4 November 1973, Soviet leader Leonid
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.
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
Netherlands and other states, causing the 1973 energy
Egyptian–Israeli disengagement agreement
Sinai Interim Agreement
Another Egyptian–Israeli disengagement agreement, the
Agreement, was signed in Geneva on September 4, 1975, and was commonly
Sinai II. This agreement led
Israel to withdraw from another
20–40 km with UN forces buffering the vacated area. After the
Israel still held more than two thirds of Sinai, which
would prove to be a valuable bargaining chip in the coming
Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords
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.
The Accords resulted in the Egypt–
Israel Peace Treaty, the first
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.
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
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.
Anwar Sadat and 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
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
Carter invited 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
Egypt signed the
Israel Peace Treaty in 1979.
Israel subsequently withdrew its
troops and settlers in the Sinai, in exchange for normal relations
Egypt and a lasting peace, with last Israeli troops exiting on
April 26, 1982. There is still no formal peace agreement between
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".
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
A destroyed Syrian
T-62 stands as part of an Israeli memorial
commemorating the battle of the 'Valley of Tears', Northern Golan
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". 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.
In Egypt, many places were named after the date of October 6th and
Ramadan 10th, which is the equivalent day in the Islamic calendar.
Examples of these commemorations are
6th October Bridge
6th October Bridge in
the cities of 6th of October and 10th of Ramadan.
In addition, "Museum of 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. A
similar museum, which was also built with North Korean
assistance—the October War Panorama—operates in Damascus.
In Latrun, a
Yom Kippur War exhibit can be found at The Armored Corps
Museum at Yad La-Shiryon.
Corrective Movement (Syria)
List of modern conflicts in the Middle East
Leninsky Komsomol class cargo ships
Leninsky Komsomol class cargo ships – Seven
Soviet Union Leninsky
Komsomol class of cargo ships carried out military cargo in
Egypt in October and November 1973:
SS Fizik Kurchatov
SS Fizik Kurchatov visited
Alexandria 2 times and
Latakia 1 time
SS Bratstvo (1963) arrived in
Latakia on the 20 of October, 1973
SS Fizik Vavilov
SS Leninsky Komsomol
SS Parizhskaya Kommuna
SS Leninsky Pioner
SS Yunyi Leninets
Operation Spark (1973)
^ Kumaraswamy, P. R. (2013-01-11). Revisiting the
Yom Kippur War.
Routledge. p. 235. ISBN 9781136328954.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Edgar O'Ballance. No Victor, No Vanquished:
Yom Kippur War (1979 ed.). Barrie & Jenkins Publishing.
pp. 28–370. ISBN 978-0214206702.
^ "An unknown story from the
Yom Kippur war: Israeli F-4s vs North
Korean MiG-21s". The Aviationist. June 24, 2013. Retrieved June 27,
^ 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.
^ a b c Shazly, p. 278.
^ Mahjoub Tobji (2006). Les officiers de Sa Majesté: Les dérives des
généraux marocains 1956–2006. 107: Fayard.
^ a b c Perez, Cuba, Between Reform and Revolution, pp. 377–379.
Gott, Cuba, A New History, p. 280.
^ Israelyan, Victor (2010-11-01). Inside the Kremlin During the Yom
Kippur War. Penn State Press. p. 101. ISBN 0271041188.
^ Herzog (1975). The War of Atonement. Little, Brown and
Company. . Foreword.
^ a b c d Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, p. 450.
^ Luttwak; Horowitz (1983). The Israeli Army. Cambridge, MA: Abt
^ Rabinovich (2004). The
Yom Kippur War. Schocken Books.
^ Kumaraswamy, PR (March 30, 2000). Revisiting The
Yom Kippur War.
pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-7146-5007-4.
^ Johnson; Tierney. Failing To Win, Perception of Victory and Defeat
in International Politics. pp. 177, 180.
^ 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.
^ "Israel's victory came at the cost of heavy casualties, and Israelis
criticized the government's lack of preparedness." YOM KIPPUR WAR at
^ "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
^ Simon Dunstan (2007-09-18). The
Yom Kippur War: The Arab-Israeli War
of 1973. p. 205. ISBN 9781846032882.
^ 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'"
^ Ian Bickerton (2 February 2012). The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Guide
for the Perplexed. A&C Black. p. 128.
ISBN 978-1-4411-2872-0. the Arab has suffered repeated military
defeats at the hand of
Israel in 1956, 1967, and 1973
^ 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"
^ See 
^ Loyola, Mario (7 October 2013). "How We Used to Do It – American
diplomacy in the". National Review. p. 1. Retrieved 2 December
^ a b c d e Morris, 2011, Righteous Victims, p. 437
^ Morris, 2011 p.433, "Bashan ... 500 square kilometers ... which
brought it within 20 miles of Damascus"
^ a b c d e Rabinovich. The
Yom Kippur War. p. 54.
^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, p. 372–373.
^ a b c The number reflects artillery units of caliber 100 mm and
^ Herzog. p. 239. Missing or empty title= (help)
Yom Kippur War". globalsecurity.org.
^ a b Shazly, p. 244.
^ Shazly, p. 272.
^ Haber & Schiff, pp. 30–31.
^ a b USMC Major Michael C.
Jordan (1997). "The 1973 Arab–Israeli
War: Arab Policies, Strategies, and Campaigns". GlobalSecurity.org.
Retrieved April 20, 2009.
^ 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.
^ a b c Rabinovich, p. 314.
^ Bar-On, Mordechai (2004). A Never Ending Conflict. Greenwood
Publishing. p. 170.
^ Bourne, Peter G. (1986). Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro. New
York: Dodd, Mead & Company.[page needed]
^ a b c "Le jour où Hassan II a bombardé Israël". Le Temps.
Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved 25 December
^ a b c d e Rabinovich, pp. 464–465.
^ a b Schiff, A History of the Israeli Army, p. 328.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Garwych, p. 243.
^ Journal "الأهرام","Al Ahram". 14 October 1974
^ Rabinovich. The
Yom Kippur War. p. 497.
^ a b Rabinovich, p. 496
^ a b "White House Military Briefing" (PDF). Retrieved October 22,
^ "القوة الثالثة، تاريخ القوات الجوية
المصرية." Third Power: History of
Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force Ali
Mohammed Labib. pp. 187
^ a b c d e Herzog, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House,
1974, p. 87.
^ a b c d e f "Ministry of Foreign Affairs". Mfa.gov.il. Retrieved
October 22, 2011.
^ a b c Dunstan, p. 200.
^ Rabinovich p. 497
^ a b c d Rabinovich, pp. 496–497.
^ a b Garwych p. 244
^ a b c d Herzog, p. 260.
^ a b Herzog, War of Atonement, p. 269.
^ 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
Benny Morris (25 May 2011). Righteous Victims: A History of the
Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–1998. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
p. 396. ISBN 978-0-307-78805-4. Sadat 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.'
^ a b c El-Gamasy (1993). The October War: Memoirs of Field Marshal
El-Gamasy of Egypt. The American University in
^ 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.
Retrieved 14 January 2017.
^ Hammad (2002), pp.237–276
^ Gawrych (1996), p.60
^ Herzog, Heroes of Israel, p. 253.
^ Shlaim, p. 254.
^ Shlomo Ben-Ami (2005). Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The
Israeli–Arab Tragedy. Orion 0Books Ltd. p. 125.
ISBN 978-0-7538-2104-6. But 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
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.
^ Seth S. King (1967-06-30). "Israeli aims tied to 6 vital areas". The
New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
^ Drew Middleton (1967-06-01). "Latin nations bid
The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
^ "Main Mideast Proposals". New York Times. 1967-06-20. Retrieved
^ Smith, Terrebce (1967-08-15). "A Mediated Peace Rejected by Eban".
New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
^ "Eban rejects aid in settling crisis". The New York Times.
1967-06-27. p. 3. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
^ 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. Retrieved 14 January
^ Podeh, p.106.
^ Podeh p.107.
^ Rabinovich, p. 13.
Henry Kissinger (1 September 2011). Years of Upheaval: The Second
Volume of His Classic Memoirs. Simon and Schuster. p. 254.
ISBN 978-0-85720-718-0. It 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
^ Morris 2001, p. 390.
^ Heikal, 22.
^ Rabinovich, p. 39.
^ Rabinovich, p. 25.
^ 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
^ a b c d e "Israeli Intelligence and the
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Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
^ Shazly, p. 207.
^ Gawrych 1996, p. 24.
^ Schiff, p. 12
^ Rabinovich, p. 51.
^ Rabinovich, p. 50.
^ a b Rabinovich, p. 57.
^ a b Sharon, Gilad: Sharon: The Life of a Leader (2011).
^ Blum, Howard (July 13, 2007). "Who killed Ashraf Marwan?". The New
^ Doron Geller, "Israeli Intelligence and the
Yom Kippur War of 1973
November 27, 2005. Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our
KGB and the Battle for the Third World, Basic Books,
^ Rabinovich, p. 89.
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 978-0-520-03469-3. Kissinger
and Nixon consistently warned
Israel that she must not be responsible
for initiating a Middle east war
^ The national security archive, declassified archival records, The
October War and U.S. Policy.
^ "Government of
Israel Concern about possible Syrian and Egyptian
United States Department of State. October 6, 1973.
Retrieved August 11, 2010.
^ Sachar, Howard M. A History of
Israel from the Rise of Zionism to
Our Time. Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, p. 755.
^ William B. Quandt, Peace Process, p. 105.
^ Rabinovich, p. 454.
^ 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.
^ Gawrych 1996, p. 27.
^ Rabinovich, prologue.
^ Rabinovich, p. 62.
William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the
Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 109–112. University of
California Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7. between
October 9 and October 12 ... the American response ... call for
cease-fire ... in place ... arms for
Israel began to flow in modest
^ Abudi, Joseph (October 1, 2003). "The missile did not bend the
wing". Journal of the
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force (in Hebrew). Archived from the
original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
^ 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.
William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the
Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 109–112. University of
California Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7. Nixon 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
William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the
Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 114. University of California
Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7. Soviet 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
William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the
Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 116. University of California
Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7. it 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.
^ Shazly, pp. 224–225.
^ Shazly, pp. 225–226.
^ Shazly, p. 189.
^ Shazly, pp. 55–56.
^ Garwych, p. 28.
^ a b Abouseada, Hamdy Sobhy. "The Crossing of the
Suez Canal, October
6, 1973 (The
Ramadan War)" (PDF). USAWC strategy research project.
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^ Shazly, p. 232
^ Hammad, pp.90–92, 108.
^ 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.
^ Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness (Pollack), p. 108.
^ a b c Rabinovich, p. 115.
^ Pollack, p. 125.
^ Gawrych, p. 81.
Yom Kippur War 1973: The Sinai – Simon Dunstan and Kevin
^ Shazly, p. 228.
^ Shazly, p. 229.
^ 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.
^ Cohen, Israel's Best Defense, p. 354.
^ Pollack, p. 11.
^ Shazly, p. 233.
^ Haber & Schiff, p. 32.
^ Schiff, p. 294.
^ Herzog, The War of Atonement, Little, Brown and Company, 1975, p.
^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 169, 170.
^ Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–1991,
University of Nebraska Press, p. 110
Israel Air Force". Iaf.org.il. Archived from the original on
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^ Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–1991,
University of Nebraska Press, p. 108.
^ Hammad, p. 133.
^ Nicolle & Cooper p. 40.
^ Pollack, p. 112.
^ Hammad, pp. 712–714.
^ Hammad, pp.717–722
^ 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."
^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 169–170.
^ Rabinovich, p. 354.
^ Gawrych 1996, pp. 41–42.
^ a b Dunstan and Lyles, p. 64.
^ a b [dead link]
^ Gawrych, 1996, pp. 43–44.
^ Rabinovich, p. 234.
^ a b Gawrych 1996, pp. 44–52.
^ Gawrych 2000, pp. 192, 208.
^ Herzog, 1982, pp. 255–256.
^ a b Shazly, p. 241.
^ Herzog 1982, p. 256.
^ Herzog, 1982, p. 258.
^ Shazly, p. 317.
^ a b Schiff, A History of the Israeli Army, p. 310.
^ a b c Zabecki, David T. (December 3, 2008). "Arab–Israeli Wars: 60
Years of Conflict". Historyandtheheadlines.abc-clio.com. Chinese Farm,
Battle of The. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
^ Rabinovich, p. 353.
^ Rabinovich, p. 355.
^ Haber & Schiff, p. 144.
^ a b c Pollack, p. 117.
^ Van Creveld, Martin (1975). Military Lessons of the
Yom Kippur War:
Historical Perspectives (PDF). Sage. p. 17.
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^ a b Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, Random House, p. 260.
^ a b c John Pike. "Operation Valiant: Turning the Tide in the Sinai
1973 Arab–Israeli War CSC 1984". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved March
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Bridgehead at Chinese Farm
^ Pollack, Kenneth, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948–91,
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^ El-Gamasy, p. 276.
^ Herzog, 1982, pp. 257–258.
^ Pollack, p. 118.
^ Rabinovich, pp. 374–375.
^ Rabinovich, pp. 389–391.
^ Pollack, p. 511.
^ Pollack, pp. 124–25
^ Rabinovich, pp. 393–393.
^ Rabinovich, p. 425.
^ Sharon, Gilad: Sharon: The Life of A Leader (2011)
^ Rabinovich, p. 427.
^ Pollack, pp. 118–19.
^ Hammad (2002), pp. 335–408.
^ Gawrych (1996), pp. 62–64.
^ Pollack, p. 129
^ Pollack, p. 119.
^ a b Pollack, pp. 119–20.
^ Boyne, p. 181
^ a b Pollack, p. 120.
^ Rabinovich, p. 401.
^ Dunstan, p. 107.
^ a b Gawrych, p. 223
^ Herzog, The War of Atonement, Little, Brown and Company (1975), pp.
^ Pollack, p. 122.
^ Rabinovich, pp. 428–429.
^ O'Ballance, p. 120.
^ Rabinovich, p. 445.
^ O'Ballance, p. 121.
^ O'Ballance, p. 122.
^ The Leader-Post, October 25, 1973, issue.
^ Boyne, p. 183.
^ Hoyne, p. 205.
^ Boyne, p. 214
^ Rabinovich, p. 452.
^ Rabinovich, p. 458.
^ "22 October Memorandum of Conversation between Meir and Kissinger"
(PDF). Retrieved March 28, 2010.
^ Adan, p. 284.
^ Gawrych, pp. 73–74.
^ Rabinovich, p. 463.
^ a b The October War and U.S. Policy, Collapse of the Ceasefire.
^ William B. Quandt, Peace Process, p. 120.
^ Piccirilli, Major Steven J (1989). "The 1973 Arab Israeli war".
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^ a b Gawrych, 1996, p. 73.
^ Hammad, pp. 483, 487–490.
^ a b c Nicolle, David & Cooper, Tom: Arab MiG-19 and
^ Rabinovich, pp. 466–475.
^ Rabinovich, p. 465
^ Rabinovich, p. 487.
^ Gawrych, p.74
^ Dupuy, pp. 543–545, 589.
^ a b David T. Buckwalter, The 1973 Arab–Israeli War.
^ Seale, Patrick; McConville, Maureen (1988). The Struggle for the
Middle East (Revision 1995 ed.). USA: University of California Press.
p. 227. ISBN 0520069765. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
^ Kumaraswamy, P. R. (2000). Revisiting the
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^ Herzog, Arab–Israeli Wars, p. 283.
^ Shazly, p. 293.
^ a b Shazly, p. 323.
^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
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Middle East as of 10/26/73" (PDF). Retrieved October 22, 2011.
^ Rabinovich, p. 486
^ Dayan, Moshe (1992). Story of My Life. Da Capo. p. 568.
^ Rabinovich, p. 493.
^ a b c Aloni, Shlomo: Arab–Israeli Air Wars, 1947–82.
^ Rabinovich, p. 477.
^ a b Rabinovich, p. 467.
^ Neff, p. 306.
^ Johnson and Tierney, p. 176.
^ Shazly, p. 295.
^ El-Gamasy, p. 302.
^ Morris, 2011, Righteous Victims, p. 436
^ Kenneth W. Stein (1999). Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter,
Begin, and the Quest for Arab–Israeli Peace. Psychology Press.
p. 87. ISBN 978-0-415-92155-8. By 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.
^ a b c d e f g Rashba, Gary (October 1998). "
Yom Kippur War:
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^ a b c O'Ballance (1978). Chapter 7: "The Syrians attack", pp.
^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 291–293.
^ 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.
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^ The Daily Telegraph, October 9, 1973 issue, page 2
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^ המלחמה שלי רב-אלוף שאול מופז (מיל):300
קילומטר בעומק סוריה (in Hebrew). [unreliable
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^ 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.
^ a b Dunstan, Simon: The
Yom Kippur War: The Arab–Israeli War of
^ Situation Report in the Middle East as of 1200 EDT, October 23,
1973, Department of State Operations Center
^ Ophir, Noam (October 2006). צילו הארוך של הסקאד [The
Long Shadow of the Scud] (in Hebrew).
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force Official
Website. Archived from the original on January 1, 2016.
^ Rabinovich, p. 450
^ Rabinovich, pp. 450–451.
^ Jonathan B. A. Bailey. Field Artillery and Firepower. Naval
Institute Press, 2004, p. 398. ISBN 1-59114-029-3.
William B. Quandt (2005). Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the
Arab–Israeli Conflict Since 1967. 114. University of California
Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-520-24631-7. The U.S. influence
with king Hussein had helped keep
Jordan out of the war.
^ David Rodman, "Friendly Enemies:
Jordan in the 1973 Yom
Kuppur War", The
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 6 No. 1
(January 2012), pp. 95–96.
^ a b Ofer Aderet (September 12, 2013). "
Yom Kippur War, documents reveal". Haaretz.
^ a b Hammad, pp. 100–101.
^ Almog, "Israel's Navy beat the odds",
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Institute — Proceedings (March 1997), Vol. 123, Iss. 3; p. 106.
^ a b Dunstan, The
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^ a b Bolia, Overreliance on Technology:
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^ Safran, Nadav: Israel—The Embattled Ally, p. 312
^ El Gammasy, The October War, 1973 pp. 215–216.
^ Shazly, p. 287.
^ O'Ballance, p. 160.
^ Herzog (1975), pp. 268–269.
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^ Herzog, The Arab–Israeli Wars, p. 314.
^ Annati, Anti-ship missiles and countermeasures—part I (ASM), Naval
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^ Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, pp. 429, 449.
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^ a b Haber & Schiff, p. 282.
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mainly to Syria, by October 30"
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total as approximately 63,000 tons.
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^ Rabinovich, p. 484.
^ Rabinovich, p. 485.
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^ 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
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."
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military aid to
Syria and Egypt.' [...] [This] lends credence to the
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missions for Cairo.
^ Wallach, Jehuda (1983). Carta's Atlas of Israel: The Third Decade
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Yom Kippur War.
CIA Symposium on the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab–Israeli
War, held oh January 30, 2013
President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973
Arab–Israeli War, collection of primary documents at the CIA website
Hourly U.S. diplomatic reporting on the war WikiLeaks
A second look, 40 years after the war and The downfall of the Hermon
fortification. Israeli TV documentaries broadcast in October 2013
featuring original video footage filmed during the war, interviews
with combatants during the war and decades later, etc. Posted on the
official YouTube channel of the
Israel Broadcasting Authority
Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force Wing 115 – experiences during the war, and
insights 40 years later. Documentary film released in October 2013
featuring interviews with air force pilots. Posted on the official
YouTube channel of the Fisher Institute for the Strategic Study of Air
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