The Yom Kippur War

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Israeli preparation for war with Syria was less extensive than the Egyptian preparations, because the border was smaller (Approximately 80 miles vs. 40 miles) in comparison to the Egyptian-Israeli border. (See Figure 2. Israel - Syria Border). Israel built fortified Jewish settlements in the Golan. Anticipating Syriawould attack with armor, Israel made obstacles, tank traps, and minefields. Reinforced bunkers and tank placements were created. The battlefield plan was laid out with interlocking fields of fire to halt any Syrian advance. Israel had made peace with Jordan so there was no perceived need to fortify the Israel-Jordan border. Egyptian troop and installation preparations during the War of Attrition were in direct contrast to Israel’s Bar-Lev Line. Egypt did not anticipate a large scale attack across the Suez Canal so there was no need for the equivalent of a Bar-Lev Line on the west side of the Suez Canal. They did have mobile forces of armor, artillery, and infantry that harassed the Israelis with probes and artillery barrages. Egypt also practiced surge and retreat of troops along the Suez Canal. These surges were purposefully done to lull Israel into complacency and safety. Disinformation was practiced and journalists often found Arab documents detailing the shortcomings in Arab unity and military readiness. Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat contributed as well. Several times he had threatened military action against Israel and the deadlines passed with no repercussions. All the while, Sadat and his counterpart in Syria, President Hafez al Asad, were committed to military action. Egypt took action to address two specific Israeli advantages from the Six Day War, Israeli air superiority and Israeli tank operations. Egypt ... ... middle of paper ... ...y the tactical advantage from 6-8 October and would attack the Golan Heights on three fronts, a northern from, a middle front, and a southern front. One division allocated for each front and a Ranger Battalion to take an Israeli command and control outpost in the high north. An intense barrage of Syrian artillery prepared the assault. Unfortunately for the Syrians, the terrain of the Golan Heights provided limited avenues of approach so Israel had well planned defensive positions. 37 Three divisions proceeded to advance in their corridor encountering stiff resistance from the undermanned, but well prepared defensive Israeli positions. Syrian armor had difficulty negotiating preplaced minefields, tank traps, and obstacles and it was “target practice”38 for the Israeli defenders and the Syrians suffered heavy losses. Syria still had strength in numbers on its side.
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