Soldier in the Sinai: A General's Account of the Yom Kippur War

Soldier in the Sinai: A General's Account of the Yom Kippur War


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In surprise attacks on Israel in October 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights, igniting what became known as the Yom Kippur War. In the north, Israel succeeded in blocking the Syrian advance, but in the south, it failed to achieve an operational decision in the defense campaign. In Soldier in the Sinai, mobile and armored warfare expert Major General Emanuel Sakal analyzes the operational and strategic decisions made by Israel's political and military leadership and assesses the causes of the defense's first-phase failure.

Prior to the conflict, the government approved the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) strategy, dubbed "the regulars will hold." This plan assumed that the IDF regulars on the front lines, supported by the Israeli Air Force, would effectively counter the Arab attack even if deterrence failed. Employing operations research, simulation, and computerized war games, Sakal examines the virtual results of an alternative approach by the Israeli military and explains how ineffective air support, an inadequate tank strategy, and a delay in mobilizing its reserves crippled the country's air force.

An intriguing and detailed evaluation of Israel's flawed defense, Soldier in the Sinai offers a firsthand account of military strategy from a general who commanded a regular tank battalion that fought in the most desperate battles of the conflict. Based on extensive research, including interviews with the principal officers involved, this book provides a meticulous critique of the faulty assumptions and lack of planning that contributed to the disastrous early battles of the Yom Kippur War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813150802
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Series: Foreign Military Studies
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Major General Emanuel Sakal, IDF (Ret.), served as commander of the Ground Corps Command and was awarded the Medal of Courage.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1

1 Development of the Defense Concept in Western Sinai 9

2 Initial Blunders 79

3 Ground Forces in the Defensive Battle 111

4 Air Support for the Ground Forces 325

5 The Preemptive Strike that Wasn't 411

Afterword 457

Acknowledgments 459


1 The 252nd Division's Order of Battle 463

2 The Strongholds: Location and Manning 467

3 The Egyptian Ground Forces' Order of Battle 469

4 Report on the 526-T Photo Sortie 471

5 Order for the Alert in 14th Brigade/252nd Division 473

6 The Strongholds: Manpower, Casualties, and Fate 475

7 The 252nd Division's Tank Order of Battle 479

Notes 481

Selected Bibliography 505

Index 511

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