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Yom Kippur War

Yom Kippur War

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The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War ( or מלחמת יום כיפור ; or ), also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. The war began when the coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

, the holiest day in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, which coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. Both the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate
Stalemate
Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. A stalemate ends the game in a draw. Stalemate is covered in the rules of chess....

. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered Israelis. Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deep into Syria. To relieve this pressure, the Egyptians went back on the offensive, but were decisively defeated; the Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting. On October 22 a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By 24 October, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (24.9 mi) from Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and 101 kilometres (62.8 mi) from Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, which had been humiliated by the lopsided rout of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war effectively ended its sense of invincibility and complacency. The war also challenged many American assumptions; the United States initiated new efforts at mediation and peacemaking. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The Camp David Accords
Camp David Accords
The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States...

 that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.

Background


The war was part of the Arab-Israeli conflict
Arab–Israeli conflict
The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to political tensions and open hostilities between the Arab peoples and the Jewish community of the Middle East. The modern Arab-Israeli conflict began with the rise of Zionism and Arab Nationalism towards the end of the nineteenth century, and intensified with the...

, an ongoing dispute which included many battles and wars since 1948, when the state of Israel was formed. During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel had captured Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 and roughly half of Syria's Golan Heights.

According to Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog served as the sixth President of Israel , following a distinguished career in both the British Army and the Israel Defense Forces .-Early life:...

:

On June 19, 1967, the National Unity Government
National unity government
A national unity government, government of national unity, or national union government is a broad coalition government consisting of all parties in the legislature, usually formed during a time of war or other national emergency.- Canada :During World War I the Conservative government of Sir...

 of Israel voted unanimously to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace agreements. The Golan would have to be demilitarized and special arrangement would be negotiated for the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

. The government also resolved to open negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan regarding the Eastern border.


The Israeli decision was to be conveyed to the Arab states by the U.S. government. The U.S. was informed of the decision, but not that it was to transmit it. There is no evidence it was conveyed to Egypt or Syria. The decision was kept a closely guarded secret within Israeli government circles and the offer was withdrawn in October 1967.

Egypt and Syria both desired a return of the land lost in the Six-Day War. In September 1967, the Khartoum Arab Summit
Khartoum Resolution
The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency...

 issued the "three no's", resolving that there would be "no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel". In the years following the war, Israel erected lines of fortification in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights. In 1971, Israel spent $500 million fortifying its positions on the Suez Canal, a chain of fortifications and gigantic earthworks known as the Bar Lev Line
Bar Lev Line
The Bar Lev Line was a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal after it captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War.-Overview:...

, named after Israeli General Chaim Bar-Lev
Chaim Bar-Lev
Haim "Kidoni" Bar-Lev was a military officer during Israel's pre-state and early statehood eras and later a government minister.-Biography:...

.

President Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 of Egypt died in September 1970 and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat. In 1971, Sadat, in response to an initiative by UN intermediary Gunnar Jarring
Gunnar Jarring
Gunnar Valfrid Jarring was a Swedish diplomat and Turkologist.Jarring was born in Brunnby, Höganäs Municipality, Skåne County , Sweden. He earned a Ph.D. from Lund University in 1933 with his dissertation Studien zu einer osttürkischen Lautlehre...

, declared that if Israel committed itself to "withdrawal of its armed forces from Sinai and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

", to "achievement of a just settlement for the refugee problem", to "the withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories occupied since 5 June 1967", and to implementation of other provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242 as requested by Jarring, Egypt would then "be ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel." Israel responded that it would not withdraw to the pre-June 5, 1967 lines.

Sadat hoped that by inflicting even a limited defeat on the Israelis, the status quo could be altered. Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

, the leader of Syria, had a different view. He had little interest in negotiation and felt the retaking of the Golan Heights would be a purely military option. After the Six-Day War, Assad had launched a massive military buildup and hoped to make Syria the dominant military power of the Arab states. With the aid of Egypt, Assad felt that his new army could win convincingly against Israel and thus secure Syria's role in the region. Assad only saw negotiations beginning once the Golan Heights had been retaken by force, which would induce Israel to give up the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 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 in the great shame over the Six-Day War, and before any reforms could be introduced he felt 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. King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 feared another major loss of territory as had occurred in the Six-Day War, in which Jordan lost all of the West Bank, territory it had conquered and annexed in 1948-49 which had doubled its population. Sadat was also backing the claim of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO) to the West Bank and Gaza and in the event of a victory promised Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 that he would be given control of them. Hussein still saw the West Bank as part of Jordan and wanted it restored to his kingdom. Moreover, during the Black September crisis
Black September in Jordan
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The...

 of 1970, a near civil war had broken out between the PLO and the Jordanian government. In that war, Syria had intervened militarily on the side of the PLO, estranging Hussein.

Iraq and Syria also had strained relations, and the Iraqis refused to join the initial offensive. Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, 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
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

, 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 against Israel on the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

.

Events leading up to the war


Following Israel's rejection of Sadat's peace initiative, which had proposed a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-67 borders in exchange for a non-belligerency pact, Sadat declared that Egypt was prepared to "sacrifice a million Egyptian soldiers" to recover its lost territory. From the end of 1972, Egypt began a concentrated effort to build up its forces, receiving MiG-21 jet fighters, SA-2, SA-3, SA-6
SA-6 Gainful
The 2K12 "Kub" mobile surface-to-air missile system is a Soviet low to medium-level air defence system designed to protect ground forces from air attack. "2К12" is the GRAU designation of the system...

 and SA-7 antiaircraft missiles, T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...

 and T-62
T-62
The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

 tanks, RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 antitank weapons, and the AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missile
Anti-tank guided missile
An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

 from the Soviet Union and improving its military tactics
Military tactics
Military tactics, the science and art of organizing an army or an air force, are the techniques for using weapons or military units in combination for engaging and defeating an enemy in battle. Changes in philosophy and technology over time have been reflected in changes to military tactics. In...

, 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 material for an anti-aircraft missile
Surface-to-air missile
A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...

 defense wall after visiting Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and pleading with Kremlin leaders. He said that if supplies were not given, he would have to return to Egypt and tell the Egyptian people Moscow had abandoned them, and then relinquish power to one of his peers who would be able to deal with the Americans. The Americans would then have the upper hand in the region, which Moscow could not permit.

One of Egypt's undeclared objectives of the War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

 was to force the Soviet Union to supply Egypt with more advanced arms and materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

. Egypt felt the only way to convince the Soviet leaders of the deficiencies of most of the aircraft and air defense weaponry supplied to Egypt following 1967 was to put the Soviet weapons to the test against the advanced weaponry the United States had supplied to Israel.

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
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 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 favorable to the United States. The Syrians remained close to the Soviet Union.

The Soviets thought little of Sadat's chances in any war. They warned that any attempt to cross the heavily fortified Suez Canal would incur massive losses. Both the Soviets and the Americans were then pursuing détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

, and had no interest in seeing the Middle East destabilized. In a June 1973 meeting with U.S. President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 had proposed Israel pull back to its 1967 border. Brezhnev said that if Israel did not, "we will have difficulty keeping the military situation from flaring up"—an indication that the Soviet Union had been unable to restrain Sadat's plans.

In an interview published in Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 (April 9, 1973), President 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
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 (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 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
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 for "full moon
Full moon
Full moon lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. More precisely, a full moon occurs when the geocentric apparent longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees; the Moon is then in opposition with the Sun.Lunar eclipses can only occur at...

"), after the Battle of Badr
Battle of Badr
The Battle of Badr , fought Saturday, March 13, 624 AD in the Hejaz region of western Arabia , was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad's struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca...

, in which Muslims under Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 defeated the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

Lead-up to the surprise attack


The Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF) Directorate of Military Intelligence's (abbreviated as "Aman") Research Department
Research Department (Aman)
The Research Department is a unit in the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence that serves as the national assessor of intelligence in the State of Israel....

 was responsible for formulating Israel's intelligence estimate. Their assessments on the likelihood of war were based on several assumptions. First, it was assumed correctly that Syria would not go to war with Israel unless Egypt did so as well. Second, the department learned from a high-level Egyptian informant, Ashraf Marwan
Ashraf Marwan
Ashraf Marwan was an Egyptian billionaire and an alleged spy for Israel, or possibly an Egyptian double agent. He was married to Mona Gamal Abdel Nasser, the daughter of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser....

, that Egypt wanted to regain all of the Sinai, but would not go to war until they were supplied MiG-23 fighter-bomber
Fighter-bomber
A fighter-bomber is a fixed-wing aircraft with an intended primary role of light tactical bombing and also incorporating certain performance characteristics of a fighter aircraft. This term, although still used, has less significance since the introduction of rockets and guided missiles into aerial...

s to neutralize the Israeli Air Force, and Scud missiles to be used against Israeli cities as a deterrent against Israeli attacks on Egyptian infrastructure. Since they had not received MiG-23s, and Scud missiles had only arrived in Egypt from Bulgaria in late August and it would take four months to train the Egyptian ground crews, Aman predicted war with Egypt was not imminent. This assumption about Egypt's strategic plans, known as "the concept", strongly prejudiced the department's thinking and led it to dismiss other war warnings.

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
Disinformation
Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth...

 on 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 also made their way to the Israelis. Sadat had so long engaged in brinkmanship
Brinkmanship
Brinkmanship is the practice of pushing dangerous events to the verge of disaster in order to achieve the most advantageous outcome...

 that his frequent war threats were being ignored by the world. In May and August 1973, the Egyptian army conducted military exercises near the border, and the Israeli army mobilized in response both times at considerable cost.

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 these movements as mere training exercises. Movements of Syrian troops towards the border were puzzling, but not a threat because, Aman believed, they would not attack without Egypt and Egypt would not attack until the weaponry they wanted arrived.

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 suspicion on the Israeli side. Around 20,000 troops were demobilized, and subsequently some of these men were given leave to perform the Umrah
Umrah
The Umrah or is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. In Arabic, Umrah means "to visit a populated place"...

 (pilgrimage) to Mecca.

The obvious reason for choosing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

 to stage a surprise attack on Israel was that on this specific holiday (unlike any other) the country comes to a complete standstill. Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar; both religiously observant Jews and most of the secular majority fast
Fasting
Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day , or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive,...

, abstain from any use of fire, electricity, engines, communications, etc., and all road traffic ceases. Many soldiers also go home from military facilities for the holiday, and Israel is more vulnerable with much of its military on leave. The war coincided that year with the Muslim month of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, when many Arab Muslim soldiers also fast. Other analysts believe that the attack on Yom Kippur actually helped Israel to more easily marshal reserves from their homes and synagogues, because the nature of the holiday meant that roads and communication were largely open and this eased mobilizing and transporting the military.

Despite refusing to participate, King Hussein of Jordan "had met with Sadat and [Syrian President] 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
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 to warn Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 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.'" Surprisingly, this warning fell on deaf ears. Aman concluded that the king had not told anything that was not already known. "Eleven warnings of war were received by Israel during September from well placed sources. But [Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 chief] Zvi Zamir
Zvi Zamir
Zvi Zamir born Zvicka Zarzevsky was a Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and the Director of the Mossad from 1968 to 1974. Born in Poland, Zamir immigrated with his family to the then British Mandate of Palestine when only seven months old...

 continued to insist that war was not an Arab option. Not even Hussein's warnings succeeded in stirring his doubts." He would later remark that "We simply didn't feel them capable [of War]."
Finally, Zvi Zamir personally went to Europe to meet with Marwan at midnight on October 5/6. Marwan informed him that a joint Syrian-Egyptian attack was imminent.

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. Ironically, calling up the reserves proved to be easier than usual, as almost all of the troops were at synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 or at home for the holiday.

The attack by the Egyptian and Syrian forces caught the United States by surprise. According to the future CIA Director and Defence Secretary
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

, he was briefing a US 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, KGB learned about the attack in advance, probably from its intelligence sources in Egypt.

Lack of Israeli pre-emptive attack


The Israeli strategy was, for the most part, based on the precept that if war was imminent, Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike
Preemptive war
A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is...

. It was assumed that Israel's intelligence services would give, in the worst case, about 48 hours notice prior to an Arab attack.
Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

, and General David Elazar
David Elazar
David "Dado" Elazar was the ninth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, serving in that capacity from 1972 to 1974. He was forced to resign in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

 met at 8:05 a.m. 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 p.m., and Syrian ground forces at 5:00 p.m. "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." Other developed nations, being more dependent on OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

 oil, took more seriously the threat of an Arab oil embargo and trade boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

, 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 made her decision, at 10:15 a.m. she met with US ambassador Kenneth Keating
Kenneth Keating
Kenneth Barnard Keating , was a United States Representative and a U.S. Senator from New York, and in later life, an appellate judge and a diplomat representing the United States as ambassador to India and later to Israel.-Life:...

 in order to inform the United States that Israel did not intend to preemptively start a war, and asked that US efforts be directed at preventing war. An electronic telegram with Keating's report on the meeting was sent to the US at 16:33 GMT (6:33 p.m. local time). A message arrived later from United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

 saying, "Don't preempt." At the same time, Kissinger also urged the Soviets to use their influence to prevent war, contacted Egypt with Israel's message of non-preemption, and sent messages to other Arab governments to enlist their help on the side of moderation. These late efforts were futile. According to Henry Kissinger, had Israel struck first, they 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


The Sinai was once again the arena of conflict between the Israelis and the Egyptians, the fifth such occasion. 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.

The Egyptian units generally would not advance beyond a shallow strip for fear of losing the protection of their surface-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...

 (SAM) batteries, which were situated on the west bank of the canal. In the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force had pummelled the defenseless Arab armies. Egypt (and Syria) had heavily fortified their side of the ceasefire lines with SAM batteries provided by the Soviet Union, against which the Israeli Air Force had no time to execute a Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) operation due to the element of surprise.
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. It was decided to counterattack once Egyptian armour 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
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

's division broke through the Tasa corridor and crossed the Suez Canal to the north of the Great Bitter Lake
Great Bitter Lake
The Great Bitter Lake is a salt water lake between the north and south part of the Suez Canal. It is adjoined by the Small Bitter Lake . Before the Canal was built, their site was occupied by dry salt valleys. Together, the Bitter Lakes now have a surface area of about 250 km²...

. After intense fighting, Israeli progress towards Cairo was brought to a halt while the IDF advanced southwards on the east bank of the Great Bitter Lake and in the southern extent of the canal right up to Port Suez when the ceasefire was declared on October 24.

Egyptian attack


Anticipating a swift Israeli armored counterattack
Armoured warfare
Armoured warfare or tank warfare is the use of armoured fighting vehicles in modern warfare. It is a major component of modern methods of war....

 by three armored divisions, the Egyptians had armed their assault force with large numbers of man-portable anti-tank
Anti-tank warfare
Anti-tank warfare was created by the need to seek technology and tactics to destroy tanks and their supporting infantry during the First World War...

 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 equipped with RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 rockets and RPG-43
RPG-43
The RPG-43 was a high explosive anti-tank hand grenade used by the Soviet Union during the Second World War. It entered service in 1943, replacing the earlier model RPG-40. The RPG-43 used a shaped charge HEAT warhead, whereas the RPG-40 used the simpler HE warhead...

 grenades, and reinforced with an anti-tank guided missile
Anti-tank guided missile
An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

 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 (68.9 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
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 (due to the SAM shield) greatly contributed to Israeli setbacks early in the war.

The Egyptian Army put great effort into finding a quick and effective way of breaching the Israeli defenses. The Israelis had built large 18 meter (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
MIM-23 Hawk
The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is a U.S. medium range surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight. The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete. It was...

 missile batteries, three command centers, artillery positions, and several radar installations. Airfields at Refidim
Bir Gifgafa Airfield
Bir Gifgafa is an airfield in the Sinai, 90 km east of the Suez Canal. During the 1960s and 1970s it played a significant role in Arab-Israeli wars, at different times serving both Egypt and Israel....

 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. Andrew McGregor claimed that the success of the first strike negated the need for a second planned strike. Egyptian aircraft took losses during the attack. Egypt acknowledged the loss of 5 aircraft. However, Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD , is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst and expert on Middle East politics and military affairs. He has served on the National Security Council staff and has written several articles and books on international relations.Pollack obtained a BA from Yale University,...

 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 MiGs over Sharm el-Sheikh and within half an hour, shot down between seven and eight Egyptian MiGs with no losses. Simultaneously, two Egyptian Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-16
The Tupolev Tu-16 was a twin-engine jet bomber used by the Soviet Union. It has flown for more than 50 years, and the Chinese license-built Xian H-6 remains in service with the Chinese air force.-Development:...

 bombers launched two Kelt missiles at Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. One missile was shot down by a patrolling Israeli Mirage fighter, and the second fell into the sea. The attack was an attempt to warn Israel that Egypt could retaliate if it bombed targets deep in Egyptian territory. A further 14 Egyptian Tupolevs attacked Israeli targets in the Sinai with Kelt missiles.

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
The Bar Lev Line was a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the eastern coast of the Suez Canal after it captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War.-Overview:...

 and proceeded to attack the Israeli fortifications. Meanwhile engineers crossed over to breach the sand wall. The Israeli air force conducted air interdiction
Air interdiction
Air interdiction is the use of aircraft to attack tactical ground targets that are not in close proximity to friendly ground forces. It differs from close air support because it does not directly support ground operations and is not closely coordinated with ground units...

 operations to try to prevent the bridges from being erected, but were met with heavy resistance from SAM batteries, and took losses. The air attacks were overall ineffective, as the sectional design of the bridges enabled quick repair when hit. Despite fierce Israeli resistance, the Israeli reserve brigade garrisoning the Bar-Lev forts was overwhelmed, and according to Shazly, within six hours, fifteen strongpoints had been captured as Egyptian forces advanced several kilometers unto the Sinai. Shazly's account was disputed by Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD , is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst and expert on Middle East politics and military affairs. He has served on the National Security Council staff and has written several articles and books on international relations.Pollack obtained a BA from Yale University,...

, 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
Battles of Fort Budapest
The Battles of Fort Budapest refer to two attempts by the Egyptian Army to capture Fort Budapest, part of the Bar Lev Line during the Yom Kippur War. The first attempt took place at noon on October 6, 1973 with the start of Operation Badr, but failed due to Israeli Air Force intervention...

', 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. However, 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. Still, other sources claim that “several” helicopters were downed with “total loss of life” and that the few commandos that did filter through were ineffectual and presented nothing more than a “nuisance.” However, Kenneth Pollack asserted that despite their heavy losses, the Egyptian commandos fought exceptionally hard and created considerable panic, prompting the Israelis to take precautions which hindered their ability to concentrate on stopping the assault across the canal.

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
2nd Infantry Division (Egypt)
The 2nd Infantry Division of the Egyptian Army was a heavy infantry formation created after the Second World War.In June 1967, the Egyptian 2nd Division comprised the 10th Infantry Brigade, the 12th Infantry Brigade and the 51st Artillery Brigade. It defended the central sector of the Sinai Front...

 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
Saad El Shazly
Saad Mohamed el-Husseiny el-Shazly ‎ was an Egyptian military personality. He was Egypt's chief of staff during the October War...

 noted that the crossing cost the Egyptians 280 soldiers killed and 20 tanks destroyed, though this account is disputed. Israeli forces defending the Bar Lev Line suffered heavy casualties. For the next several days, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 (IAF) played a minimal role in the fighting largely because it was needed to deal with the simultaneous, and ultimately more threatening, Syrian invasion of the Golan Heights.

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 Egyptians managed to seize most of the town of Qantara by evening, clearing it completely 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. However, this view was contradicted by another source which stated that few commandos made it to their objectives, and were usually nothing more than a nuisance. Of the 1,700 Egyptian commandos inserted behind Israeli lines during the war, 740 were killed — many in downed helicopters — and 330 taken prisoner.

Israeli counter-attack


On October 7, David Elazar visited Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel "Gorodish" Gonen was an Israeli general and Chief of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

, commander of the Israeli Southern front—who had only taken the position three months before at the retirement of Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

—and met with Israeli commanders. The Israelis planned a cautious counterattack for the following day by Abraham Adan's 162nd Armored Division. The same day, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 conducted Operation Tagar
Operation Tagar
Operation Tagar is the name of an Israeli Air Force operation which took place over Egypt on the October 7, 1973, the second day of the Yom Kippur War....

, aiming to neutralize Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 bases and its missile defense shield. Seven Egyptian airbases were damaged with the loss of two A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

s and their pilots, but two more planned attacks were called off due to the increasing need for airpower on the Syrian front.

On October 8, after Elazar had left, Gonen changed the plans on the basis of over-optimistic field reports. Adan's division was composed of three brigades totaling 183 tanks. One of the brigades was in 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
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

, 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 by the Israeli 143rd Armoured Division, which was led by Ariel Sharon—Sharon had been reinstated as a division commander at the outset of the war. Garwych, citing Egyptian sources, documents Egyptian tank losses from October 6 through 13 at 240.

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. However, both Herzog and Shazly mentioned a failed Egyptian attack southward along the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
The northern end of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula, creating the Gulf of Suez in the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. The Gulf of Suez is formed within a relatively young, but now inactive rift basin, the Gulf of Suez Rift, dating back about 28 million years...

 in the direction of Ras Sudar
Ras Sudar
Ras Sidr is an Egyptian city located on the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea coast. It is a part of the South Sinai Governorate, and consists of three areas: Wadi Sidr, Abu Sidr and Soerp. The region has been known since ancient biblical times....

 by the Egyptian 1st Mechanized Brigade. Leaving the safety of the SAM umbrella, the force was attacked by Israeli aircraft and suffered severe losses. Shazly cited this experience as a basis to resist pressure by Minister of War, General Ahmad Ismail Ali
Ahmad Ismail Ali
Ahmad Ismail Ali was the Commander-in-Chief of Egypt's army and minister of war during the Yom Kippur War...

 to attack eastward toward the Mitla
Mitla Pass
The Mitla Pass is a 32 km-long snaky pass in the Sinai of Egypt, wedged between mountain ranges to the north and south, located about 50 km east of Suez...

 and Gidi Pass
Gidi Pass
Gidi Pass is a strategically important pass in the Sinai. It is about long....

es.

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
Great Bitter Lake
The Great Bitter Lake is a salt water lake between the north and south part of the Suez Canal. It is adjoined by the Small Bitter Lake . Before the Canal was built, their site was occupied by dry salt valleys. Together, the Bitter Lakes now have a surface area of about 250 km²...

. 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. Chief of Staff Elazar and General Chaim Bar-Lev
Chaim Bar-Lev
Haim "Kidoni" Bar-Lev was a military officer during Israel's pre-state and early statehood eras and later a government minister.-Biography:...

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


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
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 (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
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

 thrust, Egyptian units launched head-on-attacks against the waiting Israeli defenses.

Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD , is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst and expert on Middle East politics and military affairs. He has served on the National Security Council staff and has written several articles and books on international relations.Pollack obtained a BA from Yale University,...

 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. 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. Israeli casualties were light.

Israeli breakthrough


The Israelis immediately followed their success 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
Danny Matt
Danny Matt is a former decorated career Israeli military officer who served in the Israel Defense Forces from 1948 until 1992. He attained the rank of Major General and fought in five Arab-Israeli wars including the wars of 1948 and 1973. Among his many exploits was a daring operation which...

, was tasked with establishing bridgeheads on the east and west banks of the canal. The 162nd and 252nd Armored Divisions, commanded by Generals Bren 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. Egyptian commandos responded with incursions to prevent an Israeli crossing of the canal. Following a major raid by 70 Egyptian commandos, a twelve-man special forces squad was sent to locate and destroy the incursion. In the key engagement that followed, all 70 commandos were killed.

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. Several SAM batteries were destroyed, punching a hole in the Egyptian anti-aircraft screen and enabling the Israeli Air Force to more aggressively strike Egyptian ground targets. By now, 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. Israel refrained from attacking economic and strategic targets deep within Egypt following an Egyptian threat to retaliate with Soviet-suppliedScud
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

 missile. Israeli aircraft bombed Egyptian Scud batteries at Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 several times. Egyptian attempts to interdict the IAF sorties resulted in one-sided dogfights which usually ended in Israeli victories and resulted in heavy Egyptian aircraft losses, with comparatively light Israeli losses.

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
Battle of The Chinese Farm
The Battle of the Chinese Farm took place during October 15 to October 17, 1973 between the Egyptian Army and the Israel Defense Forces , as part of the Yom Kippur War. It was fought in the Sinai Peninsula, north of the Great Bitter Lake and just east of the Suez Canal...

, just north of Deversoir, the Israeli crossing point. Sharon objected and requested permission to expand and breakout of the bridgehead on the west bank, arguing that such a maneuver would cause the collapse of Egyptian forces on the east bank. But the Israeli high command was insistent, believing that until the east bank was secure, forces on the west bank could be cut off. Sharon was overruled by his superiors and relented. 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. Sharon's division lost about 300 killed and 1,000 wounded, but inflicted heavier casualties on the Egyptians. Tank losses on both sides were also severe.

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
T-62
The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

-equipped 25th Independent Armored Brigade to attack northward in a pincer action to eliminate the perceived threat to the Second Army. However, 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 3 tanks.

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 martial. Ahmad Ismail Ali recommended that Sadat's push for a cease-fire so as to prevent the Israelis from exploiting their successes.

Israeli forces were by now pouring across the canal on two bridges, including one of indigenous design, and motorized rafts. Adan's division rolled south toward Suez City while Magen's division pushed west toward Cairo and south toward Adabiya. Sharon's continued to drive north, and his forces advanced towards Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

 in an attempt to seize the city and thereby sever the logistical and supply lines for most of the Egyptian Second Army. Breaking out from the newly-established Israeli bridehead on the west bank of the Suez Canal, the IDF launched an offensive
Battle of Ismailia
The Battle of Ismailia took place between the Egyptian Army and the Israeli Defense Forces during the last stages of the Yom Kippur War during October 18–22, 1973, south of the city of Ismailia, on the west bank of the Suez Canal in Egypt...

 towards Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

. A combined force of Egyptian paratroopers and commandos fought a delaying battle, falling into defensive positions further north as they came under increasing pressure. On October 22, the outnumbered Egyptians were occupying their last line of defense, but managed to repel an Israeli attack, stopping the advance 10 km south of Ismailia shortly before the ceasefire came into effect. Both sides suffered heavy losses. However, Adan and Magen decisively defeated the Egyptians in a series of engagements as their forces moved south, though they often encountered determined Egyptian resistance which caused heavy casualties.

By the end of the war, the Israelis had advanced to positions some 101 kilometers from Egypt's capital, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, and occupied 1,600 square kilometers west of the Suez Canal. The Israelis had also cut the Cairo-Suez road and encircled the bulk of Egypt's Third Army. The Egyptians held a narrow strip on the east bank of the canal, occupying some 1,200 square kilometers of the Sinai. One source estimated that the Egyptians had 70,000 men and 720 tanks on the east bank of the canal. However, between 30,000 to 45,000 of these were now encircled by the Israelis.

Egypt's trapped Third Army


The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 passed (14–0) Resolution 338
United Nations Security Council Resolution 338
The three-line United Nations Security Council Resolution 338, adopted on October 22, 1973, called for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War in accordance with a joint proposal by the United States and the Soviet Union. The resolution stipulated a cease fire to take effect within 12 hours of the...

 calling for a cease-fire, 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 p.m. Israeli time. Because this was after dark, it was impossible for satellite
Satellite
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon....

 surveillance
Surveillance
Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people. It is sometimes done in a surreptitious manner...

 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
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

 missiles were fired at Israeli targets by either Egyptian forces or Soviet personnel in Egypt. This was first combat use of Scud missiles. One Scud targeted the port of Arish and two targeted the Israeli bridgehead on the Suez Canal. One hit an Israeli supply convoy and killed seven soldiers. 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 meters short of their southern goal—the last road linking Cairo and Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

. Adan's drive south had left Israeli and Egyptian units scattered throughout the battlefield, with no clear lines between them. As Egyptian and Israeli units tried to regroup, regular firefights broke out. During the night, Elazar reported that the Egyptians were attacking in an attempt to regain land at various locations, and that nine Israeli tanks had been destroyed. He asked permission from Dayan to respond to the attacks and Dayan agreed. Israel then resumed its drive south. 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
William B. Quandt
William B. Quandt is an American scholar, author, professor and member of the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He previously served as senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and as a member on the National Security Council in the...

 noted that regardless of who fired the first post-ceasefire shot, it was the Israeli Army that was advancing beyond the 22 October cease-fire lines.

Adan resumed his attack on October 23. Israeli troops finished the drive south, captured the last ancillary road, 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. 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
Battle of Suez
The Battle of Suez was fought on October 24–25, 1973 between the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian Army in the Egyptian town of Suez. It was the last major battle of the Yom Kippur War, before a ceasefire took effect....

).

The next morning, October 23, a flurry of diplomatic activity occurred. Soviet reconnaissance flights
Surveillance aircraft
A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance — collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation , border patrol and fishery...

 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 yards and she indicated that Israel's tactical position on the ground had improved. 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 Egypt was dependent on the United States to prevent Israel from destroying its trapped army. The position could be parlayed later into allowing the United States to mediate
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

 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 to force the Israelis to pull back 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
Simcha Dinitz
Simcha Dinitz was an Israeli statesman and politician. He served as Director General of the Prime Minister's office and political advisor to Prime Minister Golda Meir from 1969–1973, before becoming the Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 1973 to 1979...

, Kissinger told the ambassador that the destruction of the Egyptian Third Army "is an option that does not exist."

Despite being surrounded however, 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
Trevor N. Dupuy
Trevor Nevitt Dupuy was a Colonel, United States Army, retired, soldier and noted military historian.-Biography:Born in New York, the son of noted military historian, R. Ernest Dupuy, Trevor followed in his father's footsteps. Trevor Dupuy attended West Point, graduating in the class of 1938....

, the Israelis, Russians and Americans overestimated the vulnerability of the Third Army at the time. It was not on the verge of collapse, and he writes that while a renewed Israeli offensive would probably overcome it but this was not a certainty. 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 however was challenged by Patrick Seale
Patrick Seale
Patrick Abram Seale is a British journalist and author who specialises in the Middle East, as well as a literary agent and art dealer. He is a former correspondent for The Observer and has interviewed many of the Middle East's most prominent leaders and personalities.Seale is the author of a number...

, who states that the Third Army was “on the brink of collapse.” Seale's position finds support from P.R. Kumaraswamy who wrote that intense American pressure prevented the Israelis from annihilating the stranded Third Army. Herzog
Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog served as the sixth President of Israel , following a distinguished career in both the British Army and the Israel Defense Forces .-Early life:...

 notes 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 notes 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.”

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.

Syrian attack


In the Golan Heights, the Syrians attacked two Israeli brigades and eleven artillery batteries with five divisions
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 and 188 batteries. They began their attack with an airstrike by about 100 aircraft, followed by a 50-minute artillery barrage. The forward brigades of three divisions then penetrated the cease-fire lines and bypassed United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 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 ditches. 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 armour components comprising 28,000 Syrian troops, 800 tanks and 600 artillery pieces. In addition, the Syrians deployed two armoured divisions from the second day onwards. Every Israeli tank deployed on the Golan Heights was engaged during the initial attacks. Syrian commando
Commando
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

s dropped by helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 also took the most important Israeli stronghold at Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m above sea level, is the highest point in Syria. On the top there is “Hermon Hotel”, in the buffer zone between Syria and Israeli-occupied...

, which had a variety of surveillance equipment. An Israeli force attempting to counterattack was stopped by a Syrian ambush.

The Golan Heights front was given priority by the Israeli High Command. The fighting in the Sinai was sufficiently far away that Israeli population centers were not immediately threatened. The Golan however, was in close proximity to Israeli population centers, and should the Syrians regain the area, it would pose a serious threat to major Israeli cities such as Tiberias, Safed
Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

, Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 and Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

. 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.

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 in the Sinai because of the uneven terrain.

The Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 initially lost 40 planes from Syrian anti-aircraft batteries, but Israeli pilots soon adopted a different tactic; flying in low over Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 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
Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

, devastating Syrian armored columns. On the second day of the war, the Israeli Air Force attempted to take out the Syrian anti-aircraft batteries. Codenamed Doogman 5, the attempt was a costly failure. The Israelis destroyed only one Syrian missile battery, and lost six aircraft.

Syrian forces suffered heavy losses as Israeli tanks and infantry fought desperately to buy time for reserve forces to reach to 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
Petroleum Road
The Petroleum Road is a privately owned north-south asphalt road in the Golan Heights. It is long. It begins near Mount Paras on the east edge of the central Golan, and ends in the northern Golan near the Israeli controlled Golan-Lebanese frontier, nearby Ghajar.Most of the road is marked on maps...

, 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 the Heights.

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 commander Avigdor Kahalani
Avigdor Kahalani
Brigadier-General Avigdor Kahalani is a former Israeli soldier and politician.-Background:Kahalani was born in Ness Ziona during the Mandate era. He studied at Tel Aviv University, gaining a B.A. in History, before going on to Haifa University, where he studied for an M.A. in Political Science...

 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 Israel had held since the Six Day War, but were soon pushed off by an Israeli counterattack. Captain Zvika Greengold
Zvika Greengold
Zvi "Zvika" Greengold is a national hero in Israel who fought during the 1973 Yom Kippur War as an Israeli IDF tank commander. He is one of only eight people who fought in the war to be awarded the Medal of Valor, the nation's highest medal for heroism....

, who had just 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, received Israel's highest decoration, the Medal of Valor.

During over four days of fighting, the Israeli 7th Armoured 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 Brigadier-General Omar 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 Israelis also took losses. By the afternoon of October 9, only six of the 7th Armored Brigade's tanks remained in action. Just as it was starting to be pushed back, it was bolstered by a force of 15 repaired tanks whose crews included injured men. As individual Israeli tanks arrived to bolster the 7th Brigade, the Syrians, exhausted from three days of continuous fighting, began to retreat.

To the south, Israeli Barak Armored Brigade
Barak Armored Brigade
The 188th "Barak" Armored Brigade is an Israeli armored brigade, subordinate to Israel's Northern Regional Command. The symbol of the Barak Armor Brigade is a shield with a red border bearing a sword against a blue and white background featuring the Haifa coastline background and a sword on it...

 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. Undeterred by their losses, the 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 Israeli 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. Israeli 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
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

 and Nafah. At this point, the Barak Brigade stopped functioning as a cohesive force although the 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 the arriving Israeli reserve forces were able to contain and, beginning on October 8, push back the Syrians to the pre-war ceasefire lines. 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 Syrian army from bombarding the cities below. The Israelis considered limiting casualties a priority, and relied heavily on artillery to dislodge the Syrains at long-range.

On October 9, Syrian FROG-7
FROG-7
The 9K52 Luna-M is a Soviet short-range ballistic missile complex. The 9M21 missiles are unguided and spin-stabilized. "9K52" is its GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is FROG-7....

 surface-to-surface missile
Surface-to-surface missile
A surface-to-surface missile is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. They are often powered by a rocket motor or sometimes fired by an explosive charge, since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving...

s struck the Israeli Air Force base of Ramat David
Ramat David Airbase
Ramat David Israeli Air Force Base is one of three principal airbases of the Israeli Air Force, located southeast of Haifa, close to kibbutz Ramat David and Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley...

, 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
1973 Syrian General Staff Headquarters Raid
The 1973 Syrian General Staff Headquarters Raid was an aerial strike carried out by the Israeli Air Force on October 9, 1973, the fourth day of the Yom Kippur War...

 in Damascus. The upper floors of the Syrian GHQ and the Air Force Command were badly damaged, and a nearby Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 cultural center was 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
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 greater freedom of action. By October 10, the last Syrian unit in the Central sector had been pushed back across the Purple Line (the pre-war ceasefire line). After four days of intense and incessant combat, the Israelis 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. Israeli High Command spent all of October 10 debating this well into the night. Some favored disengagement, which would allow soldiers to be redeployed to the Sinai (Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel Gonen
Shmuel "Gorodish" Gonen was an Israeli general and Chief of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

's defeat at Hizayon in the Sinai had taken place two days earlier). Others favored continuing the attack into Syria, towards Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, 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
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

, and strongpoints— and that it would be better to fight from defensive positions in the Golan Heights (rather than the flat terrain deeper in Syria) in the event of another war with Syria. However, Prime Minister Golda Meir realized the most crucial point of the whole debate:

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


Israeli advance


On October 11, Israeli forces pushed into Syria and advanced towards Damascus until October 14, encountering stiff resistance by Syrian reservists in prepared defenses. Israeli troops reached the main defensive line around Sassa, and conquered a further 50 square kilometers of territory in the Bashan Salients, re-entrants and pockets|salient. From there, they were able to shell the outskirts of Damascus, only 40 km away, using M107
M107 Self-Propelled Gun
The M107 175 mm self-propelled gun was used by the U.S. Army from the early 1960s through to the late 1970s. It was part of a family of self-propelled artillery that also included the M110 and was intended to provide long-range fire support in an air-transportable system...

 heavy artillery.

On October 12, Israeli paratroopers from the elite Sayeret Tzanhanim reconnaissance unit infiltrated deep into Syria and conducted Operation Gown
Operation Gown
Operation Gown , was a military operation conducted deep inside Syria by Sayeret Tzanhanim, the reconnaissance platoon of the Israeli Defence Forces' Paratroopers Brigade. It took place on October 12, 1973, during the Yom Kippur War...

. The paratroopers destroyed a bridge in the tri-border area of Syria, Iraq, and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, disrupting the flow of weapons and troops to Syria. During the operation, the paratroopers destroyed a number of tank transports and killed several Syrian soldiers. There were no Israeli casualties.

As the Syrian position deteriorated, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 sent an expeditionary force into Syria. King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

, who had come under intense pressure to enter the war, told Israel of his intentions through US intermediaries, in the hope that Israel would accept that this was not a casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

 justifying an attack on Jordan. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 declined to offer any such assurance, but said that Israel had no intention of opening another front. Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 also sent an expeditionary force to Syria, consisting of the 3rd Armoured Division
3rd Division (Iraq)
The 3rd Division is a formation of the Iraqi Army. It was active by 1941, disbanded along with the rest of the Iraqi Army in 2003, but reactivated by 2005.-History:...

, 6th Armoured Division
6th Division (Iraq)
The 6th Division is a formation of the Iraqi Army, first formed after 1959, converted to armoured status by 1973, but disbanded in 2003. It was reformed as part of the new army in August 2005....

, some 30,000 men, 250–500 tanks, and 700 APCs
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

.

The Iraqi divisions were a strategic surprise for the IDF, which 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 kilometers in order to prevent encirclement. Combined Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian counterattacks prevented any further Israeli gains. However, they were also unable to push the Israelis back from the Bashan salient, and suffered heavy losses in their engagements with the Israelis. The Syrian Air Force
Syrian Air Force
The Syrian Air Force is the Aviation branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It was established in 1948.-History:The end of World War II led to a withdrawal of the United Kingdom and France from the Middle East, and this included a withdrawal from Syria...

 attacked Israeli columns, but its operations were highly limited due to Israeli air superiority. The Syrians took heavy losses in dogfights with Israeli jets. On October 23, a large air battle took place near Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 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.

The Israeli Air Force utilized its air superiority to attack strategic targets throughout Syria, including important power plants, petrol supplies, bridges and main roads. The strikes damaged 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
Golani Brigade
The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade that is subordinated to the 36th Division and traditionally associated with the Northern Command. Its symbol is a green tree on a yellow background, and its soldiers wear a brown beret. It is one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the...

 and Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

 commandos recaptured the outpost on Mount Hermon, after a hard fought battle that involved hand-to-hand combat and Syrian sniper attacks. An unsuccessful attack two weeks prior had cost the Israelis 23 dead and 55 wounded and the Syrians 29 dead and 11 wounded, while this second attack cost Israel an additional 55 dead and 79 wounded. An unknown number of Syrians were also killed and some were taken prisoner. An IDF D9 bulldozer
IDF Caterpillar D9
The Israeli Armored CAT D9 — nicknamed Doobi — is a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer that was modified by the Israel Defence Forces, Israeli Military Industries and Israel Aerospace Industries to increase the survivability of the armored bulldozer in hostile environments and enable it...

 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. Seven Syrian MiGs and two Syrian helicopters carrying reinforcements were shot down as they attempted to intercede. The paratroopers lost one killed and four wounded.

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
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 were to take part, alongside the Iraqi and Jordanian expeditionary forces. The Soviets had replaced most of the losses Syria's tank forces had suffered during the first weeks of the war.

However, the day before the offensive was to begin, the United Nations imposed its ceasefire (following the acquiescence of both Israel and Egypt). Abraham Rabinovich
Abraham Rabinovich
Abraham Rabinovich is a historian and journalist who has published several books on recent Jewish history. As a reporter, his work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The New Republic, and the Christian Science Monitor. Before becoming a...

 claimed that "The acceptance by Egypt of the cease-fire on Monday [October 22] created a major dilemma for Assad. The cease-fire did not bind him, but its implications could not be ignored. Some on the Syrian General Staff favored going ahead with the attack, arguing that if it did so Egypt would feel obliged to continue fighting as well... Others, however, argued that continuation of the war would legitimize Israel's efforts to destroy the Egyptian Third Army. In that case, Egypt would not come to Syria's assistance when Israel turned its full might northward, destroying Syria's infrastructure and perhaps attacking Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

" Ultimately, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 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.

Syrian atrocities against prisoners



Syria ignored the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 and many Israeli prisoners of war (POW) were reportedly 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. The Syrians employed brutal interrogation techniques utilizing electric shocks to the genitals. 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
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 and in fact, did not even acknowledge holding any prisoners despite the fact they were publicly exhibited by the Syrians for TV 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
Avraham Lanir
Avraham "Avi" Lanir was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Air Force. He was the highest ranking Israeli fighter pilot to fall into enemy hands. He was tortured to death by his Syrian captors.-Biography:...

, an Israeli pilot who bailed out over Syria and was taken prisoner. Lanir died under Syrian interrogation. When his body was returned in 1974, it exhibited signs of torture.

At sea




At the beginning of the war, Egyptian missile boats bombarded seven ports in the Sinai, while naval frogmen raided oil installations at Bala'eem, disabling a driller. The Israeli naval base at Sharm el-Sheikh was attacked with Egyptian Raguda KSR-2 cruise missiles.

The Battle of Latakia
Battle of Latakia
The Battle of Latakia was a small but revolutionary naval battle of the Yom Kippur War, fought on 7 October 1973, between Israel and Syria. It was the first naval battle in history to see combat between surface-to-surface missile-equipped missile boats and the use of electronic deception.At the...

, a revolutionary naval battle between the Israeli and Syrian navies, took place on October 7, the second day of the war. Five Israeli missile boats had been heading towards the Syrian port of Latakia
Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

, and sank a Syrian torpedo boat and minesweeper before encountering five Syrian missile boats. The Israelis used electronic countermeasures and chaff rockets to evade Syrian missiles, then sank all five Syrian missile boats. This revolutionary engagement, the first between missile boats using surface-to-surface missile
Surface-to-surface missile
A surface-to-surface missile is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. They are often powered by a rocket motor or sometimes fired by an explosive charge, since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving...

s, proved the potency of small, fast missile boats equipped with advanced ECM packages
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

. 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. Following this and other smaller naval engagements, the Syrian Navy
Syrian Navy
The Syrian Navy is the smallest of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is under the Syrian Army's Latakia regional command with the fleet based in the ports of Baniyas, Latakia, Minat al Bayda, and Tartus.- History :...

 remained bottled up in its home port
Home port
A vessel's home port is the port at which it is based, which may not be the same as its port of registry shown on its registration documents and lettered on the stern of the ship's hull...

s throughout most of the war, enabling the Mediterranean sea lane
Sea lane
A sea lane or shipping lane is a regularly used route for ocean-going and Great Lakes vessels. In the time of sailing ships they were not only determined by the distribution of land masses but also the prevailing winds, whose discovery was crucial for the success of long voyages...

s to Israel to remain open.

On October 7, the Israeli Navy defeated the Egyptian Navy in what became known as the Battle of Marsa Talamat
Battle of Marsa Talamat
The Battle of Marsa Talamat was fought between the Israeli Navy and the Egyptian Navy commando forces on October 7, 1973, during the early stages of the Yom Kippur War...

. Two Israeli Dabur class patrol boat
Dabur class patrol boat
Dabur class is a class of patrol boats built in United States at the Sewart Seacraft shipyard for the Israeli Navy, and by IAI-Ramta.Dabur boats' first battle engagements were made in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War...

s were patrolling in the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
The northern end of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula, creating the Gulf of Suez in the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. The Gulf of Suez is formed within a relatively young, but now inactive rift basin, the Gulf of Suez Rift, dating back about 28 million years...

, and encountered two Egyptian Zodiac boats loaded with Egyptian naval commandos, a patrol boat, and coastal guns. The Israeli patrol boats sank both Zodiacs and the patrol boat. Both Israeli patrol boats suffered damage during the battle. Israeli naval vessels fought several other engagements with the Egyptians that resulted full Israeli control of the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
The northern end of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula, creating the Gulf of Suez in the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. The Gulf of Suez is formed within a relatively young, but now inactive rift basin, the Gulf of Suez Rift, dating back about 28 million years...

. Dozens of Egyptian fishing boats mobilized for the war effort that were loaded with troops, ammunition and supplies bound for the Israeli side of the Gulf were destroyed or confined to their anchorages. The Israeli Navy's control of the Gulf of Suez made possible the continued deployment of an Israeli SAM battery near an Israeli naval base close to the southern end of the Suez Canal, depriving the Egyptian Third Army of air support and preventing it from moving southward and attempting to capture the southern Sinai.

The second naval battle which ended in a decisive Israeli victory was the Battle of Baltim
Battle of Baltim
The Battle of Baltim was fought between the Israeli Navy and the Egyptian Navy on October 8–9, 1973, during the Yom Kippur War. It took place off the Nile delta, between Baltim and Damietta...

, which took place on October 8-9 off the coast of Baltim
Baltim
Baltim or Balteem is a resort in Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate, in the north of Egypt....

 and Damietta
Damietta
Damietta , also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile, about north of Cairo.-History:...

. Six Israeli missile boats heading towards Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 encountered four Egyptian missile boats coming from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. In an engagement lasting about forty minutes, the Israelis evaded Egyptian Styx missiles
P-15 Termit
The P-15 Termit is an anti-ship missile developed by the Soviet Union's Raduga design bureau in the 1950s. Its GRAU designation was 4K40, its NATO reporting name was Styx or SS-N-2. In Russian service today it also seems to be called the Rubezh...

 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 advantage".

Israeli commandos from Shayetet 13
Shayetet 13
Shayetet 13 is the elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Navy. The unit is considered one of the primary Special Forces units of the Israel Defense Forces . S'13 specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and...

, the Israeli Navy's elite special unit, infiltrated the Egyptian port of Arkada on the night of October 9–10 and sank a Kumar-class missile boat after four previous attempts had failed. After another infiltration attempt failed, the commandos successfully infiltrated Arkada again on the night of October 21–22 and heavily damaged a missile boat with M72 LAW
M72 LAW
The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

 rockets. On October 16, Shayetet 13 commandos infiltrated Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 in two Hazir
Hazir
Hazir is an album of the Indian singer and Ghazal composer Hariharan, released in the year 1992 by Indian label Omi Music. It was composed by Hariharan, with Tabla instrumentation by Zakir Hussain.-Track listing:All music composed by Hariharan....

 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.

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
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

, 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.

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 attack Syrian coastal oil installations as well as radar stations and other targets of military value on both Syrian and Egyptian coastlines. The Israeli Navy even attacked some of Egypt's northernmost SAM batteries.

The Egyptian Navy managed to enforce a blockade at Bab-el-Mandeb
Bab-el-Mandeb
The Bab-el-Mandeb meaning "Gate of Grief" in Arabic , is a strait located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden...

. Eighteen million tons of oil were transported yearly from Iran to Israel through the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. The naval blockade, which lasted throughout the war until November 1, halted shipping destined for Israel through the Gulf of Eilat but left shipping in the Mediterranean unaffected. The Gulf of Suez was also mined to prevent the transportation of oil from the Bala'eem and Abu Rudeis oil fields in southwestern Sinai to Eilat in Southern Israel. Two oil tankers, one with a 48,000 ton capacity and one with a 2,000 ton capacity, sank after hitting mines in the Gulf of Suez.

Israel responded with a counter-blockade of Egypt, which was enforced by naval vessels based at Sharm el-Sheikh and the Sinai coast in the Gulf of Suez. The Israeli blockade had a substantial negative impact on the Egyptian economy. Throughout the war, the Israeli Navy enjoyed complete command of the seas both in the Mediterranean approaches and in the Gulf of Suez.

Soviet threat of intervention



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 (9:35pm) 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 US and USSR. He stressed the need to "implement" the ceasefire resolution and "invited" the US 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
Unilateralism
Unilateralism is any doctrine or agenda that supports one-sided action. Such action may be in disregard for other parties, or as an expression of a commitment toward a direction which other parties may find agreeable...

. 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 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 Defense Secretary
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 James Schlesinger, CIA Director
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency serves as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, which is part of the United States Intelligence Community. The Director reports to the Director of National Intelligence . The Director is assisted by the Deputy Director of the Central...

 William Colby
William Colby
William Egan Colby spent a career in intelligence for the United States, culminating in holding the post of Director of Central Intelligence from September 1973, to January 1976....

, and White House Chief of Staff
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

 Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

. The Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

 had reached its apex, and Nixon was so agitated and discomposed that they decided to handle the matter without him:

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


The meeting produced a conciliatory response, which was sent (in Nixon's name) to Brezhnev. At the same time, it was decided to increase the Defense Condition (DEFCON) from four to three. Lastly, they approved a message to Sadat (again, in Nixon's name) asking him to drop his request for Soviet assistance, and threatening that if the Soviets were to intervene, so would the United States.

The Soviets placed seven airborne divisions on alert and airlift was marshaled to transport them to the Middle East. An airborne command post was set up in the southern Soviet Union, and several air force units were also alerted. "Reports also indicated that at least one of the divisions and a squadron of transport planes had been moved from the Soviet Union to an airbase in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

". 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
Nikolai Podgorny
Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny was a Soviet Ukrainian statesman during the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, or leader of the Ukrainian SSR, from 1957 to 1963 and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1965 to 1977...

. "It is not reasonable to become engaged in a war with the United States because of Egypt and Syria," said Premier Alexei Kosygin
Alexey Kosygin
Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. Kosygin was born in the city of St. Petersburg in 1904 to a Russian working class family. He was conscripted into the labor army during the Russian Civil War, and after the Red Army's demobilisation in 1921, he worked in...

, while KGB chief Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 added that "We shall not unleash the Third World War
World War III
World War III denotes a successor to World War II that would be on a global scale, with common speculation that it would be likely nuclear and devastating in nature....

." The letter from the American 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.

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
National Security Council
A National Security Council is usually an executive branch governmental body responsible for coordinating policy on national security issues and advising chief executives on matters related to national security...

'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
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 and State Departments opposed such a move. Kissinger was the sole dissenter; he said that if the US refused aid, Israel would have little incentive to conform to American views in postwar diplomacy. Kissinger argued the sending of U.S. aid might cause Israel to moderate its territorial claims, but this thesis raised a protracted debate whether U.S. aid was likely to make it more accommodating or more intransigent toward the Arab world.

By October 8, Israel had encountered military difficulties on both fronts; in the Sinai, its effort to break through Egyptian lines with armor had been thwarted, and despite advances in the Golan, Syrian air defense systems were taking a high toll of Israeli planes, Israeli forces were retreating, and Syrian forces were overlooking the Jordan River. 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 8–9 October, 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 nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons and Israel
Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...

. Dayan again 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 ktonTNT tactical atomic weapons for Jericho missile
Jericho missile
Jericho is a general designation given to the Israeli ballistic missiles. The name is taken from the first development contract signed between Israel and Dassault in 1963, with the codename as a reference to the Biblical city of Jericho...

s at Hirbat Zachariah, and F-4 aircraft at Tel Nof, for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets. 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
Operation Nickel Grass
Operation Nickel Grass was an overt strategic airlift operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Military Airlift Command of the U.S...

, 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."
Israel began receiving supplies via US cargo airplanes on October 14, although some equipment had arrived before this date.
According to Abraham Rabinovich, "while the American airlift
Airlift
Airlift is the act of transporting people or cargo from point to point using aircraft.Airlift may also refer to:*Airlift , a suction device for moving sand and silt underwater-See also:...

 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
C-141 Starlifter
The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter was a military strategic airlifter in service with the Air Mobility Command of the United States Air Force...

 and C-5 Galaxy
C-5 Galaxy
The Lockheed C-5 Galaxy is a large military transport aircraft built by Lockheed. It provides the United States Air Force with a heavy intercontinental-range strategic airlift capability, one that can carry outsize and oversize cargos, including all air-certifiable cargo. The Galaxy has many...

 aircraft flew 567 missions throughout the airlift.
The Israeli national airline El Al
El Al
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd , trading as El Al , is the flag carrier of Israel. It operates scheduled domestic and international services and cargo flights to Europe, North America, Africa and the Far East from its main base in Ben Gurion International Airport...

 conducted its own airlift and flew in an additional 5,500 tons of matériel in 170 flights.
The United States also delivered approximately 90,000 tons of matériel to Israel by sea until the beginning of December, using 16 ships. 33,210 tons of it arrived by October 30.

By the beginning of December, Israel had received between 34 to 40 F-4
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

 fighter-bombers, 46 A-4
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

 attack airplanes, 12 C-130
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

 cargo airplanes, 8 CH-53
CH-53 Sea Stallion
The CH-53 Sea Stallion is the most common name for the Sikorsky S-65 family of heavy-lift transport helicopters. Originally developed for use by the United States Marine Corps, it is also in service with Germany, Iran, Israel, and Mexico...

 helicopters, 40 unmanned aerial vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

s, 200 M-60
M60 Patton
The 105 mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tank, M60, also known unofficially as the M60 Patton, is a first-generation main battle tank introduced in December 1960. It was widely used by the U.S. and its Cold War allies, especially those in NATO, and remains in service throughout the world today...

/M-48A3
M48 Patton
The M48 Patton is a medium tank that was designed in the United States. It was the third and final tank to be officially named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army during World War II and one of the earliest American advocates for the use of tanks in battle It was a...

 tanks, 250 armored personnel carriers, 226 utility vehicles, 12 MIM-72 Chaparral surface-to-air missile systems, 3 MIM-23 Hawk
MIM-23 Hawk
The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is a U.S. medium range surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight. The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete. It was...

 surface-to-air missile systems, 36 155 mm artillery pieces, 7 175 mm artillery pieces, large quantities of 105 mm, 155 mm and 175 mm ammunition, state of the art
State of the art
The state of the art is the highest level of development, as of a device, technique, or scientific field, achieved at a particular time. It also refers to the level of development reached at any particular time as a result of the latest methodologies employed.- Origin :The earliest use of the term...

 equipment, such as the AGM-65 Maverick
AGM-65 Maverick
The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile designed for close-air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities....

 missile and the BGM-71 TOW
BGM-71 TOW
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile. "BGM" is a weapon classification that stands for "Multiple Environment , Surface-Attack , Missile ". "TOW" is an acronym that stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"...

, weapons that had only entered production one or more years prior, as well as highly advanced electronic jamming equipment.
Most of the combat airplanes arrived during the war, and many were taken directly from United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 units.
Most of the large equipment arrived after the ceasefire.
The total cost of the equipment was approximately US$800 million (US$ today).

On October 13 and 15, Egyptian air defense radars detected an aircraft at an altitude of 25000 metres (82,021 ft) and a speed of Mach 3, 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
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

, and finally disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean Sea. The speed and altitude were those of the US SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird
The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the...

, a long-range strategic-reconnaissance aircraft. According to Egyptian commanders, the intelligence provided by both reconnaissance flights helped the Israelis prepare for the Egyptian attack on October 14 and assisted it in conducting Operation Stouthearted Men.

Soviet Aid


Starting on October 9, the Soviet Union began supplying Egypt and Syria by air and by sea. The Soviets airlifted 12,500–15,000 tons of supplies, of which 6,000 tons went to Egypt, 3,750 tons went to Syria and 575 tons went to Iraq. General Shazly, the former Egyptian chief of staff, claimed that more than half of the airlifted Soviet hardware actually went to Syria. According to Ze'ev Schiff
Ze'ev Schiff
Ze'ev Schiff was an Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha'aretz....

, 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
Antonov An-12
The Antonov An-12 is a four-engined turboprop transport aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It is the military version of the Antonov An-10.-Design and development:...

 and AN-22
Antonov An-22
The Antonov An-22 Antei was the world's heaviest aircraft, until the advent of the American C-5 Galaxy and later the Soviet An-124. Powered by four pairs of contra-rotating turboprops, the design remains the world's largest turboprop-powered aircraft...

 aircraft flew over 900 missions during the airlift.

The Soviets supplied another 63,000 tons, mainly to Syria, by means of a sealift by October 30.
Historian Gamal Hammad asserts that 400 T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...

 and T-62
T-62
The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

 tanks supplied by the sealift were directed towards replacing Syrian losses, transported from Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 to the Syrian port of Latakia, while Egypt did not receive any tanks from the Soviets. However, this is disputed by military historian Ze'ev Schiff
Ze'ev Schiff
Ze'ev Schiff was an Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha'aretz....

, who states that freighters loaded with tanks and other weapons reached Egyptian, Algerian and Syrian ports throughout the war. The sealift may have included Soviet nuclear weapons
Russia and weapons of mass destruction
Russia possesses the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in the world. The country declared an arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons in 1997, of which 48% have been destroyed. The Federation of American Scientists, a renowned organization for assessing nuclear weapon...

, which were not unloaded but kept in Alexandria harbor until November to counter the Israeli nuclear preparations, which Soviet satellites had detected. American concern over possible evidence of nuclear warheads for the Soviet Scud missiles in Egypt contributed to Washington's decision to go to DEFCON 3.


Other countries


In total, Arab countries added up to 100,000 troops to Egypt and 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. Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 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.

Libyan forces were stationed in Egypt before the outbreak of the war. Libya 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, and also sent financial aid. Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 sent one infantry brigade to Egypt and one armored regiment to Syria. An infantry brigade composed of Palestinians was in Egypt before the outbreak of the war. A Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 brigade of 3,000 soldiers and the Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

i Al Jahra Brigade Group
Al Jahra Brigade Group
The Al Jahra Force was a Kuwaiti military force formed on October 15, 1973 after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. The force, consisting of more than 3,000 men, was organized into a tank battalion, an infantry battalion, two companies of artillery, an anti-aircraft company and a commandoes...

 were sent to Syria. These arrived with additional Jordanian and Iraqi reinforcements in time for a new Syrian offensive scheduled for October 23. The offensive was cancelled however. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also provided financial aid. Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 sent 1,000-2,000 soldiers to Egypt, where they were stationed in the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

 and some of them were stationed to defend Port Said. Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 sent radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 units to Syria for air defense.

In addition to its forces in Syria, Iraq sent a single Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 squadron to Egypt. The squadron quickly gained a reputation amongst Egyptian field commanders for its skill in air support, particularly in anti-armor strikes.

A 3,500-strong Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

ese brigade was deployed to Egypt. It arrived on October 28, again too late to participate in the war. Nearly all Arab reinforcements came with no logistical plan or support, expecting their hosts to supply them, and in several cases causing logistical problems. On the Syrian front, a lack of coordination between Arab forces led to several instances of friendly fire.

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.

Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 sent approximately 1,500 troops, including tank and helicopter crews, who reportedly engaged in combat operations against the IDF. North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 sent 20 pilots and 19 non-combat personnel. The unit had four to six encounters with the Israelis from August through the end of the war. Israeli military intelligence reported that Soviet-piloted MiG-25 Foxbat
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service. Designed by the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau the first prototype flew in 1964 with entry into service in 1970...

 interceptor/reconnaissance aircraft conducted flyovers over the Canal Zone.

Weapons


The Arab armies 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 in the “hull-down
Hull-down
The term hull-down describes the situation where the upper part of a vessel or vehicle is visible, but the main, lower body is not; the opposite term hull-up describes the situation where all of the body is visible....

” position where steeper angles of depression resulted in less exposure. The main guns of Soviet tanks could only depress 4 degrees. By contrast, the 105 mm guns on Centurion and Patton tanks could depress 10 degrees.
Type Arab armies IDF
AFVs
Armoured fighting vehicle
An armoured fighting vehicle is a combat vehicle, protected by strong armour and armed with weapons. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked....

Egypt, Syria and Iraq used T-34/85, T-54, T-55
T-55
The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of...

, T-62
T-62
The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be...

 and PT-76
PT-76
The PT-76 is a Soviet amphibious light tank which was introduced in the early 1950s and soon became the standard reconnaissance tank of the Soviet Army and the other Warsaw Pact armed forces. It was widely exported to other friendly states, like India, Iraq, North Korea and North Vietnam. Overall,...

, as well as SU-100
SU-100
The SU-100 was a Soviet tank destroyer. It was used extensively during the last year of World War II and saw service for many years afterwards with the armies of Soviet allies around the world.- Development :...

/152
ISU-152
ISU-152 was a Soviet multirole fully enclosed and armored self-propelled gun developed and used during World War II, with a subsequent use, mainly in the Soviet military, till the 1970s.-History:...

 World War II vintage self propelled guns.
M50
M50 Super Sherman
The Sherman M-50 and the Sherman M-51, both known abroad as the Super Sherman, were modified versions of the American M4 Sherman tank that served with the Israel Defense Forces from the mid-1950s to early 1980s. The M-51 was also referred to as the Isherman...

 and M51 Shermans
M50 Super Sherman
The Sherman M-50 and the Sherman M-51, both known abroad as the Super Sherman, were modified versions of the American M4 Sherman tank that served with the Israel Defense Forces from the mid-1950s to early 1980s. The M-51 was also referred to as the Isherman...

 with upgraded engines, M48A5 Patton
M48 Patton
The M48 Patton is a medium tank that was designed in the United States. It was the third and final tank to be officially named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army during World War II and one of the earliest American advocates for the use of tanks in battle It was a...

, M60A1 Patton
M60 Patton
The 105 mm Gun Full Tracked Combat Tank, M60, also known unofficially as the M60 Patton, is a first-generation main battle tank introduced in December 1960. It was widely used by the U.S. and its Cold War allies, especially those in NATO, and remains in service throughout the world today...

, Centurion
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

 and about 200 T-54/55 captured during the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. All tanks were upgraded with the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 105 mm L7 gun
Royal Ordnance L7
The Royal Ordnance L7 is the basic model of Britain's most successful tank gun. The L7 was a 105 mm L/52 rifled design intended for use in armoured fighting vehicles...

, prior to the war.
APCs
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

/IFVs
Infantry fighting vehicle
An infantry fighting vehicle , also known as a mechanized infantry combat vehicle , is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support for them...

BTR-40
BTR-40
The BTR-40 is a Soviet non-amphibious, wheeled armoured personnel carrier and reconnaissance vehicle. It is often referred to as the Sorokovka in Soviet service. It is also the first mass-produced Soviet APC...

, BTR-152
BTR-152
The BTR-152 was a non-amphibious Soviet wheeled armored personnel carrier that entered Soviet service in 1950. By the early 1970s it had been replaced in the infantry vehicle role by the BTR-60...

, BTR-50
BTR-50
The BTR-50 The BTR-50 The BTR-50 (BTR stands for Bronetransporter (БТР, Бронетранспортер, literally "armored transporter") is a Soviet amphibious armored personnel carrier (APC) based on the PT-76 light tank. The BTR-50 is tracked, unlike most in the BTR series, which are wheeled. The BTR-50...

, BTR-60
BTR-60
The BTR-60 is the first vehicle in a series of Soviet eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers. It was developed in the late 1950s as a replacement for the BTR-152 and was seen first time in public in 1961...

 APC's & BMP 1
BMP-1
The BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. BMP stands for Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty 1 , meaning "infantry fighting vehicle". The BMP-1 was the world's first mass-produced infantry fighting vehicle...

 IFV's
M2
M2 Half Track Car
The M-2 Half Track was an armored vehicle used by the United States during World War II.-History:The half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles...

 /M3 Half-track
M3 Half-track
The Carrier, Personnel Half-track M3 was an armored vehicle used by the United States, the British Empire and the other Allies during World War II and the Cold War. Nearly 43,000 were produced, and supplied to the U.S...

, M113
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier
The M113 is a fully tracked armored personnel carrier that has formed the backbone of the United States Army's mechanized infantry units from the time of its first fielding in Vietnam in April 1962. The M113 was the most widely used armored vehicle of the U.S...

Artillery M1937 Howitzer, BM-21, D-30 (2A18) Howitzer, M1954 field gun
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
The 130 mm towed field gun M-46 M1954 is a manually loaded, towed 130 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1954...

M109 self-propelled howitzer
M109 howitzer
The M109 is an American-made self-propelled 155 mm howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s. It was upgraded a number of times to today's M109A6 Paladin...

, M107 Self-Propelled Gun
M107 Self-Propelled Gun
The M107 175 mm self-propelled gun was used by the U.S. Army from the early 1960s through to the late 1970s. It was part of a family of self-propelled artillery that also included the M110 and was intended to provide long-range fire support in an air-transportable system...

, M110 self-propelled howitzer
M110 howitzer
The 8 inch Self-Propelled Howitzer M110 was the largest available self-propelled howitzer in the United States Army's inventory. It was deployed in division artillery in general support battalions and in separate corps- and Army-level battalions. Missions include general support, counter-battery...

, M50 self-propelled howitzer and Makmat 160 mm self-propelled mortar, Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50
Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50
Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50 was a French 155 mm 30 calibre howitzer of Cold War era that remained in service with some nations until the 1990s. The gun has a split trail, large slotted muzzle-break, four-wheeled bogie and a retractable firing pedestal beneath the axles...

, Soltam M-68
Soltam M-68
The M-68 was a 155 mm 33 calibre towed gun howitzer manufactured by Soltam Systems of Israel. The barrel of the M-68 is 5.18 m long and comes with a simple muzzle brake at the mouth of the barrel, the recoil mechanism of the two pneumatic cylinder jacks is positioned on the back-end of the...

 and 130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)
The 130 mm towed field gun M-46 M1954 is a manually loaded, towed 130 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1954...

Aircraft MiG-21, MiG-19, MiG-17, Su-7B, Tu-16, Il-28
Ilyushin Il-28
The Ilyushin Il-28 is a jet bomber aircraft of the immediate postwar period that was originally manufactured for the Soviet Air Force. It was the USSR's first such aircraft to enter large-scale production. It was also licence-built in China as the Harbin H-5. Total production in the USSR was 6,316...

, Il-18
Ilyushin Il-18
The Ilyushin Il-18 is a large turboprop airliner that became one of the best known Soviet aircraft of its era as well as one of the most popular and durable, having first flown in 1957 and still in use over 50 years later. The Il-18 was one of the world's principal airliners for several decades...

, Il-14
Ilyushin Il-14
The Ilyushin Il-14 was a Soviet twin-engine commercial and military personnel and cargo transport aircraft that first flew in 1950, and entered service in 1954. Il-14 was also manufactured in East Germany by VVB Flugzeugbau, in Czechoslovakia as the Avia 14, and in China under the Chinese...

, An-12
Antonov An-12
The Antonov An-12 is a four-engined turboprop transport aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It is the military version of the Antonov An-10.-Design and development:...

, Aero L-29
Aero L-29 Delfin
|-See also:-References:* Gunston, Bill, ed. "Aero L-29 Delfin." The Encyclopedia of World Air Power. New York: Crescent Books, 1990. ISBN 0-517-53754-0....

A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

, F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

, Dassault Mirage III
Dassault Mirage III
The Mirage III is a supersonic fighter aircraft designed by Dassault Aviation during the late 1950s, and manufactured both in France and a number of other countries. It was a successful fighter aircraft, being sold to many air forces around the world and remaining in production for over a decade...

, Dassault Super Mystère
Dassault Super Mystère
|-See also:-References: http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/waf/americas/el_salvador/El_Salvador-af-EscCazaBomb.htm...

, IAI Nesher
IAI Nesher
The Israel Aircraft Industries Nesher is the Israeli version of the Dassault Mirage 5 multi-role fighter aircraft...

Helicopters Mi-6
Mil Mi-6
|-Facts:*Test pilot N.B. Leshin has set the world record of speed. This event was awarded by the American Helicopter Society.*Small numbers are still in service, most in Siberia plus a small number with the People's Republic of China...

, Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

Super Frelon, CH-53, AB-205
UH-1 Iroquois
The Bell UH-1 Iroquois is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine, with a two-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The helicopter was developed by Bell Helicopter to meet the United States Army's requirement for a medical evacuation and utility helicopter in 1952, and first flew...

AAW
Anti-aircraft warfare
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

SA-6 Gainful, SA-3 Goa
S-125
The Isayev S-125 Neva/Pechora Soviet surface-to-air missile system was designed to complement the S-25 and S-75. It has a shorter effective range and lower engagement altitude than either of its predecessors and also flies slower, but due to its two-stage design it is more effective against more...

, SA-2 Guideline
S-75 Dvina
The S-75 Dvina is a Soviet-designed, high-altitude, command guided, surface-to-air missile system...

, ZSU-23-4
ZSU-23-4
The ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" is a lightly armored, self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system . ZSU stands for Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka , meaning "anti-aircraft self-propelled mount". The "23" signifies the bore diameter in millimeters. The "4" signifies the number of gun barrels. It...

, Strela 2
Strela 2
The 9K32 “Strela-2” is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude surface-to-air missile system with a high explosive warhead and passive infrared homing guidance...

MIM-23 Hawk
MIM-23 Hawk
The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is a U.S. medium range surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight. The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete. It was...

, MIM-72/M48 Chaparral
MIM-72/M48 Chaparral
MIM-72A/M48 Chaparral was a US Army self-propelled surface-to-air missile system based on the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile system. The launcher is based on the M113 family of vehicles. It entered service with the US Army in 1969 and was phased out between 1990 and 1998...

, Bofors 40 mm
Infantry weapons Port Said submachinegun, AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

, RPK
RPK
The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun of Soviet design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM assault/battle rifle...

, RPD, DShK
DShK
The DShK 1938 is a Soviet heavy machine gun firing the 12.7x108mm cartridge. The weapon was also used as a heavy infantry machine gun, in which case it was frequently deployed with a two-wheeled mounting and a single-sheet armour-plate shield...

 HMG, AT-3 Sagger, RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 and B-11 recoilless rifle
B-11 recoilless rifle
The B-11 recoilless rifle is a Soviet 107 mm smoothbore recoilless rifle. It entered service in 1954, and was typically towed by a 6x6 ZIL-157 truck or a UAZ 4x4 truck.Designed by KBM, Kolomna....

Uzi
Uzi submachine gun
The Uzi is a family of Israeli open bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns. Smaller variants are considered to be machine pistols. The Uzi was one of the first weapons to use a telescoping bolt design which allows for the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip for a shorter weapon.The first Uzi...

, FN FAL
FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

, AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

, FN MAG
FN MAG
The FN MAG is a Belgian 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun, designed in the early 1950s at Fabrique Nationale by Ernest Vervier. It has been used by more than 80 countries, and it has been made under licence in countries such as Argentina, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the...

, M2 Browning, Nord SS.11, LAW
M72 LAW
The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

, TOW, RL-83 Blindicide
RL-83 Blindicide
The RL-83 Blindicide is an antitank rocket launcher produced by Mecar SA of Belgium and was an improved derivative of the M20A1 Bazooka. Its name roughly means "tank killer", derived from the French "véhicule blindé" and the suffix -cide....

 and M40 recoilless rifle
M40 recoilless rifle
The M40 recoilless rifle was a lightweight, portable, crew-served 105 mm weapon intended primarily as an anti-tank weapon made in the United States...

Sea to Sea Missiles P-15 Termit
P-15 Termit
The P-15 Termit is an anti-ship missile developed by the Soviet Union's Raduga design bureau in the 1950s. Its GRAU designation was 4K40, its NATO reporting name was Styx or SS-N-2. In Russian service today it also seems to be called the Rubezh...

Gabriel missile
Gabriel missile
Gabriel missiles, created by Israel Aircraft Industries, are a range of anti-ship missiles that use the technique of sea-skimming.- Origin :...

Air-to-Air Missiles Vympel K-13
Vympel K-13
The K-13 is an short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union. It is similar in appearance and function to the American AIM-9 Sidewinder from which it was reverse-engineered...

Shafrir
Shafrir
The Rafael Shafrir 1 and Shafrir 2 are short-range air-to-air missiles developed by the Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, formerly RAFAEL Armament Development Authority....

 2, AIM-9 Sidewinder
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

, AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as various allied air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual...

, AGM-45 Shrike
AGM-45 Shrike
AGM-45 Shrike is an American anti-radiation missile designed to home in on hostile antiaircraft radars. The Shrike was developed by the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake in 1963 by mating a seeker head to the rocket body of an AIM-7 Sparrow. It was phased out by U.S...

 anti radiation missile

Home front during the war


The war created a state of emergency in the countries involved in fighting. The Egyptian government began to evacuate foreign tourists, and on October 11, 1973, the Egyptian ship Syria left Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 to Piraeus
Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

 with a load of tourists wishing to exit Egypt. The US Interest Section in Cairo also requested US government assistance in removing US tourists to Greece. On October 12, Kissinger ordered the US Interest Section in Cairo to speed up preparations for the departure of US tourists staying in Egypt, while notifying such actions to the IDF in order to avoid accidental military operations against them.

Post-ceasefire negotiations



On October 24, the UNSC passed Resolution 339
United Nations Security Council Resolution 339
United Nations Security Council Resolution 339 was adopted on 23 October 1973 in order to bring a cease fire in the Yom Kippur War where Resolution 338 two days before had failed....

, 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 several airstrikes took place against Third Army from October 25 to 28. The ceasefire did not end the sporadic clashes along the ceasefire lines nor did it dissipate military tensions.

With continuing Israeli advances, 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 the Israelis, provided that the Israelis agree to allow non-military supplies to reach their army and agree 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 US policy. He reviewed the first two weeks of the crisis and the nuclear alert, reiterated opposition to US and Soviet troops in the area and more strongly opposed unilateral Soviet moves. He then reviewed the prospects for a peace agreement, which he termed “quite promising”, and had conciliatory words for Israel, Egypt and even the USSR. Kissinger concluded his remarks by spelling out the principles of a new US policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict saying:
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
William B. Quandt
William B. Quandt is an American scholar, author, professor and member of the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He previously served as senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and as a member on the National Security Council in the...

 considers, “It was a brilliant performance, one of his most impressive.” One hour later the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 340
United Nations Security Council Resolution 340
United Nations Security Council Resolution 340, adopted on October 25, 1973, after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. After learning of the apparent failure of resolutions 338 and 339, the Council demanded an immediate and complete cease-fire be observed and the parties return to the positions...

. This time the ceasefire held, and the fourth Arab-Israeli war was over.

Disengagement talks took place on October 28 at "Kilometer 101" between Israeli Major General Aharon Yariv
Aharon Yariv
Aharon "Aharale" Rabinovich Yariv was an Israeli politician and soldier.Born in Moscow in the Soviet Union. When he was 15 he immigrated to Israel and studied at the Pardes Hanna Agricultural High School. Yariv began his military service in the Haganah and later the British Army. He then joined...

 and Egyptian Major General Abdel Ghani el-Gamasy
Abdel Ghani el-Gamasy
Mohamed Abdel Ghani el-Gamasy was an Egyptian Field Marshal and The Commander in Chief of The Armed Forces.- Early life :El Gamasy was born on 9 September 1921 in Batanoon, Monufia Governorate, Egypt...

. 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
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 were to be exchanged. A summit conference in Geneva
Geneva Conference (1973)
The Geneva Conference of 1973 was an attempt to negotiate a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as envisioned in United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 following the called-for cease-fire to end the Yom Kippur War...

 followed, and ultimately, an armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 agreement was worked out. On January 18, Israel signed a pullback agreement to the east side of the canal, and the last of their troops withdrew from the west side on March 5, 1974, giving Egypt control of the Suez Canal. Between the UN ceasefire and the armistice agreement in January, a minor war of attrition took place between the belligerents, during which the Egyptians claimed to have killed 187 Israeli soldiers, destroyed 41 tanks, and downed 11 planes. 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
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, who ordered his troops to respond with massive firepower to any Egyptian provocation.

On the Syrian front, continuing Syrian shelling was, according to Syrian foreign minister Abdel Halim Khaddam, "part of a deliberate war of attrition designed to paralyse the Israeli economy", and was intended to pressure Israel into yielding the occupied territory. Shuttle diplomacy
Shuttle diplomacy
In diplomacy and international relations, shuttle diplomacy is the action of an outside party in serving as an intermediary between principals in a dispute, without direct principal-to-principal contact...

 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
Purple Line (border)
The purple line was the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria after the 1967 Six Day War.-History:Syria gained independence from France in 1946 and on May 14, 1948 the British withdrew from Palestine as Israel declared its independence. Syrian forces participated in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 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
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 on 31 May 1974, to implement Resolution 338 which called for an immediate ceasefire and implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.The resolution was passed...

 (UNDOF) was established as a peacekeeping force in the Golan.

Casualties



Israel suffered between 2,520 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 battle after repairs. A major Israeli advantage, noted by many observers, was their ability to quickly return damaged tanks to combat. The Israeli Air Force lost 102 aircraft: 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres. Two helicopters, a Bell 205 and a CH-53, were also shot down. According to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

, 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 preceding Six Day War of 1967.
Arab casualties were known to be much higher than Israel's, though precise figures are difficult to ascertain as Egypt and Syria never disclosed official figures. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000 (5,000 Egyptian and 3,000 Syrian) killed and 18,000 wounded. The highest estimate is 18,500 killed in action of which 15,000 were Egyptian and 3,500 Syrian. Most estimates lie somewhere in between the two, with the Insight Team of the The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

 of London claiming combined Arab losses of 16,000 killed and yet another source citing a figure of some 15,000 dead and 35,000 wounded. Some 8,372 Egyptians and 392 Syrians were captured. Thirteen Iraqis and six Moroccans were also captured. 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
Chaim Herzog
Chaim Herzog served as the sixth President of Israel , following a distinguished career in both the British Army and the Israel Defense Forces .-Early life:...

, 334 of these aircraft were shot down by the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 in air-to-air combat for the loss of only five Israeli planes. The Insight Team of The Sunday Times notes Arab aircraft losses of 450. At sea, 19 Arab naval vessels, 10 of which were missile boat
Missile boat
A Missile Boat is a small craft armed with anti-ship missiles. Being a small craft, missile boats are popular with nations interested in forming an inexpensive navy...

s, were sunk for no Israeli losses.

Long-term effects


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
Motti Ashkenazi
Motti Ashkenazi was a reserve captain in the Israel Defense Forces , who spearheaded a protest after the Yom Kippur War that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir's government....

, 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
Shimon Agranat
Shimon Agranat was the President of the Supreme Court of Israel from 1965 until 1976.-Biography:Agranat was born to a Zionist family in Louisville, Kentucky in 1906. He attended the University of Chicago and later its law school. Agranat emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1930 and settled in...

, President of the Israeli Supreme Court, was asked to lead an inquiry, the Agranat Commission
Agranat Commission
The Agranat Commission was a National Commision of Inquiry set up to investigate failings in the Israel Defense Forces in the prelude to the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was found unprepared for the Egyptian attack against the Bar Lev Line and a simultaneous attack by Syria in the Golan — the first...

, into the events leading up to the war and the setbacks of the first few days.

The Agranat Commission published its preliminary findings on April 2, 1974. Six people were held particularly responsible for Israel's failings:
  • Though his performance and conduct during the war was lauded, IDF Chief of Staff
    Ramatkal
    The Chief of the General Staff, also known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces is the supreme commander and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. At any given time, the Chief of Staff is the only active officer holding the IDF's highest rank, Rav Aluf , which is usually...

     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."
  • Intelligence Chief, Aluf
    Aluf
    Aluf is the term used for General and Admiral in the Israel Defense Forces . In addition to the Aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word...

     Eli Zeira
    Eli Zeira
    Eli Zeira is a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces. He was director of Aman, Israel's military intelligence, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War...

    , 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
    Shmuel Gonen
    Shmuel "Gorodish" Gonen was an Israeli general and Chief of the Southern Command of the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

    , 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.

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. Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, who had spent most of the war as an advisor to Elazar in an unofficial capacity, became head of the new government, which was seated in June.

In 1999, the issue was revisited by the Israeli political leadership to prevent similar shortcomings from being repeated. The Israeli National Security Council
Israeli National Security Council
The Israeli National Security Council is Israel's central body for coordination, integration, analysis and monitoring in the field of national security and is the staff forum on national security for the Israeli Prime Minister and Government. However, national security decisions typically made by...

 was created to improve coordination between the different security
Israeli Security Forces
Security forces in Israel include a variety of organizations, including law enforcement, military, paramilitary, governmental, and intelligence agencies.-Military:...

 and intelligence
Israeli Intelligence Community
The Israeli Intelligence Community is the designation given to the complex of organizations responsible for intelligence collection, dissemination, and research for the State of Israel...

 bodies, and the political branch of government.

Response in Egypt and Syria


For the Arab states (and Egypt in particular), the psychological trauma of their defeat in the Six-Day War had been healed, allowing them to negotiate with the Israelis as equals. Due to the later setbacks in the war (which saw Israel gain a large salient on African soil and even more territory on the Syrian front), some believe that the war helped convince many in the Arab world that Israel could not be defeated militarily, thereby strengthening peace movements and ending the old Arab ambition of destroying Israel by force.

General Shazli 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, he went 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, to “probe, examine and analyze” the performance of Egyptian forces and command decisions during the war. His requests were ignored. His book, which candidly described Egyptian military failings and sharp disagreements he had with Ismail, Sadat and others in connection with the prosecution of the war, was banned in Egypt.

The commanders of the Second and Third Armies, Generals Khalil and Wasel, were likewise 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 14 October Sinai tank battle and was replaced by General Khalil.

The Seventh Division commander, Gen. Omar Abash, who failed to break through Col. Avigdor Ben-Gal's brigade, was alternatively reported to have been killed in the fighting or to have died of a heart attack.

In Syria, the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 commander of an infantry brigade that had collapsed during the Israeli breakthrough – Colonel Rafik Halawi – was executed even before the war ended.

Camp David Accords


The Yom Kippur War upset the status quo in the Middle East, and the war served as a direct antecedent of the 1979 Camp David
Accords.

Rabin's government was hamstrung by a pair of scandals, and he was forced to step down in 1977. The right-wing
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party, under the prime ministership of Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

, won the elections that followed. 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.

Sadat, who had entered the war in order to recover the Sinai from Israel, grew frustrated at the slow pace of the peace process. In a 1977 interview with CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 anchorman Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years . During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll...

, 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 and offered his invitation for such a visit. 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
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

 Israel.

The act jump-started the peace process. United States President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 invited both Sadat and Begin to a summit at Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

 to negotiate a final peace. The talks took place from September 5–17, 1978. Ultimately, the talks succeeded, and Israel and Egypt signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

 in 1979. Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from the Sinai, in exchange for normal relations with Egypt and a lasting peace.

Many in the Arab community were outraged at Egypt's peace with Israel. Egypt was expelled from the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

. 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 with Israel.

Oil embargo


In response to U.S. support of Israel, the Arab members of OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

, led by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, decided to reduce oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 production by 5% per month on October 17. On October 19, President Nixon authorized a major allocation of arms supplies and $2.2 billion in appropriations for Israel. In response, Saudi Arabia declared an embargo against the United States, later joined by other oil exporters and extended against the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and other states, causing the 1973 energy crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

.

Commemorations



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 2006, Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 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 October 6 date and Ramadan
Ramadan (calendar month)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed.Ramadan is the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, and fasting in this month is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to...

 10, its equivalent in the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

. Examples of these commemorations are the 6th October Bridge
6th October Bridge
The 6th October Bridge is an elevated highway in central Cairo, Egypt. The bridge and causeway crosses the Nile River twice from the west bank suburbs, east through Gezira Island to Downtown Cairo, and on to connect the city to the Cairo International Airport to the east.Its name commemorates...

 in Cairo and the cities 6th of October City and 10th of Ramadan City.

The "Museum of 6 October 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
Panoramic painting
Panoramic paintings are massive artworks that reveal a wide, all-encompassing view of a particular subject, often a landscape, military battle, or historical event. They became especially popular in the 19th Century in Europe and the United States, inciting opposition from writers of Romantic poetry...

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.