Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Uncategorized

Why the Yom Kippur War Was Such a Blood Bath

M60 Tank
An M60A1 tank from the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces fires a round at a range in Wadi Shadiyah during a massive military demonstration in front of dignitaries and media, May 18. HRH Prince Feisal, the Supreme Commander of the JAF, Chairman of the Joint Chief-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben and Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of the U.S. Central Command, were among those who attended the culminating event of the two-week, multinational Exercise Eager Lion 2015. In addition to the U.S. and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, participating nations included Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and representatives from NATO.

The Yom Kippur War, Explained: In 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Syria and Egypt initiated coordinated attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights against Israel. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, nearly 1,400 Syrian tanks and over 600,000 Egyptian soldiers lined Israel’s northern and southern borders. While the crux of the fighting occurred between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors, contributors in the background played a critical role in the outcome of the war. 

(Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel Here. Check out More 19FortyFive Videos Here)

Powerful Backers

Amidst the Cold War context, the Soviet Union supplied Syria and Egypt with weapons and military personnel while the U.S. backed Israel and its arsenal. Israel proved victorious at the end of the war, though the intelligence failures and heavy casualties it experienced would impact its military for decades to come.

The conditions that molded the Yom Kippur War were set in place six years prior. In 1967 heightened tensions between Israel and its surrounding Arab neighbors reached an all-time high. In the south, Egyptian troops closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli vessels and lined the border in a hostile manner. The Strait served as the Jewish state’s only route to Asia and Iran, its main supplier of oil. In retaliation, Israel launched a preemptive strike on Egypt’s air force, essentially wiping out its entire fleet. 

In the north, Syrians sheltered Palestinian guerillas who were carrying out incessant raids into Israel through the Golan Heights region. By the end of the six days, Israel occupied the West Bank, the Egyptian Sinai desert, and the Golan Heights. Israel delivered a humiliating setback to its neighbors, which led to the simmering hatred and revenge that would evoke the Yom Kippur War six years later. 

High Holy Day Spent Fighting

On Yom Kippur in 1973, Egypt and Syria mounted a coordinated two-front attack in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights region in an attempt to regain the territories lost in the Six-Day War. At least nine Arab states, including Libya, Morocco, and Jordan, aided the Egyptian-Syrian side of the war. 

Equipped with its up-to-date Soviet weaponry, Syrian troops made impressive advancements at the onset of the war. Syria’s arsenal of over 1,400 tanks severely outnumbered the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) 180 tanks that were posted in Golan at the start of the battle. As many as 112 Israeli soldiers, including every company commander of the Barak Brigade 7th Armored Division, were killed at the start of the battle. Hampered by enemy advancements on both fronts, Israel reportedly put its Jericho-1 missiles on high alert at this time.  

While the IDF was thrown into a defensive position in the early days of the war, Israel was able to halt Syria’s advance in the Golan Heights and began a counterattack toward Damascus. Israel was able to improve its positions considerably on both fronts, in part by aid delivered by the U.S. via cargo planes. 

By the end of October, both sides were willing to accept a ceasefire proposal. The aftermath of the 1973 war would impact the Middle East for decades to come. Most significantly, the 1978 Camp David Accords and the resulting 1979 Egyptian-Israel peace treaty would mark the first time an Arab country would recognize Israel’s legitimacy.

Militarily, the IDF would prioritize advancing its tank and missile arsenal to limit high causality rates in future conflicts. 

Bonus Photo Essay – F-35I Adir: Israel’s Very Own F-35

F-35I Adir

Photo by Amit Agronov via IDF.

F-35I Adir

F-35I Adir. Image Credit: IDF Flickr Page.

F-35I Adir

Israeli Air Force F-35I Adir stealth multi-role fighter.

Maya Carlin is a Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive. She is also an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

Written By

Maya Carlin is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. 403Forbidden

    December 24, 2022 at 6:48 am

    The ’73 war became inevitable after the israeli air force shot down an arab airliner just months earlier after ter it accidentally crossed the suez canal killing everyone on board except a lone survivor.

    The war came in october after careful planning by egypt and allies and soviet advisers.

    Unfortunately for the arabs, they failed to seize the opportunity to employ ground missiles against israeli cities, allowing the IDF to focus fully on the frontline or battlefield.

    That failure in the end did spare the arabs from getting nuke mushroom clouds, though.

    The war wasn’t at all bloody, definitely not anything like nam or even afghanistan or iraq where civilians bore the brunt of casualties or massive collateral damage.

    The war has a lesson for the ukraine fighting today. Go for the jugular, smash the cities from day one.

    Smash them completely. Thoroughly. Like exactly what allies did to Wesel in march 1945.

  2. tzatz

    December 26, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    The Libyan airliner was fired upon AFTER many attempts by the IAF to contact the crew to land peacefully … a surviving member of the Libyan crew admitted they refused to respond to the IAF … eh?

    IF the Egyptians had missiles capable of attacking Israeli civilian targets and used them … Israel would have nuked Cairo in response … no doubt

    Israel lost many soldiers … from their citizen army … it is this loss that is mourned yearly in Israel

    Ukraine vs Russia is nothing like Israel vs Egypt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement