Questions about the Yom Kippur War-1973




 
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August 18th, 2012  
ScarabVenom
 
 

Topic: Questions about the Yom Kippur War-1973


I've been reading about the war for a while and I have a bunch of questions about what really has most of the talking in this war. Which is "The Gap" or "The Israeli pocket" which is basically the Israeli forces between the 2 Egyptian field armies in the Deversoir region and the Israeli forces across the canal.

I'm going to talk about the situation after the two failed attacks against Suez and Ismailia by Israel. According to some Egyptian general - my apologies, I don't remember the name - he said,
"It was essential that the Israeli command protect its forces in a limited sector west of the canal by dispersing them over a wider area. Consequently more troops were sent west of the canal. The outcome was untenable strategically for several reasons. One, Israel now had a large force (about six or seven brigades) in a very limited area of land, surrounded from all sides either by natural or man-made barriers, or by the Egyptian forces. This put it in a weak position. Moreover, there were the difficulties in supplying this force, in evacuating it, in the lengthy communication lines, and in the daily attrition in men and equipment. Two, to protect these troops, the Israeli command had to allocate other forces (four or five brigades) to defend the entrances to the breach at the Deversoir. Three, to immobilize the Egyptian bridgeheads in Sinai the Israeli command had to allocate ten brigades to face the Second and Third army bridgeheads. In addition, it became necessary to keep the strategic reserves at their maximum state of alert. Thus, Israel was obliged to keep its armed force-and consequently the country-mobilized for a long period, at least until the war came to an end, because the ceasefire did not signal the end of the war. There is no doubt that this in total conflict with its military theories."

Then comes the Israeli general Dayan he said something similar about that same situation,
"
The cease-fire existed on paper, but the continued firing along the front was not the only characteristic of the situation between October 24, 1973 and January 18, 1974. This intermediate period also held the ever-present possibility of a renewal of full-scale war. There were three variations on how it might break out, two Egyptian and one Israeli. One Egyptian plan was to attack our units west of the canal from the direction of Cairo. The other was to cut-off our canal bridgehead by a link-up of the Second and Third Armies on the east bank. Both plans were based on massive artillery pounding of our forces, who were not well fortified and who would suffer heavy casualties. It was therefore thought that Israel would withdraw from the west bank, since she was most sensitive on the subject of soldier's lives. Egypt, at the time had a total of 1,700 first-line tanks on both sides of the canal front, 700 on the east bank and 1,000 on the west bank. Also on the west bank, in the second line, were an additional 600 tanks for the defense of Cairo. She had some 2,000 artillery pieces, about 500 operational aircraft, and at least 130 SAM missile batteries positioned around our forces so as to deny us air support."

Was Israel west of the canal really in such a position at the end of the war? Remarking that both generals admitted that the cease-fire wasn't the end.

Also some Israelis have admitted some interesting things about the war....

General Ishio Javitch
"For Israel, the war ultimately ended without our being able to break up the Arab armies, neither Egypt's nor Syria's. We scored no victories. Nor did we succeed in restoring the deterrent power of the Israeli army. If we assess achievements against targets, we will find that the Arabs' victory was the more decisive." -- Symposium on the October War, Jerusalem, 16 September 1974

David Elazar
"As for the third army, in spite of our encircling them they resisted and advanced to occupy in fact a wider area of land at the east. Thus, we can not say that we defeated or conquered them."


I find this quote by Elazar to be kinda...awkward since Shazly who's an Egyptian general admitted that the situation of that Third Army was a "catastrophe" and I believe him in that because during the negotiations Israel could basically achieve what they wanted from Egypt such as the Israeli POWs and some Israeli spy I can't recall his name. And all of this, in return of non-military supplies delivered to the Egyptian Third Army.

My questions are....
1) If supposedly that situation the Israeli army west of the canal was in is true. Why does Israel claim victory??

2)Israel could basically hold Egypt from the neck and the Egyptian command had to do everything the Israelis wanted from them because of the Third Army's situation then, why does Egypt claim victory??

Probably, I would agree with Trevor N Dupuy when he said "Thus, if war is the employment of military force in support of political objectives, there can be no doubt that in strategic and political terms the Arab States - and particularly Egypt - won the war, even though the military outcome was a stalemate permitting both sides to claim military victory."

Please discuss.
August 20th, 2012  
VDKMS
 
The Arabs attacked Israel with the intention to destroy it. At the end of the war they didn't achieve its goal. In fact they didn't gain anything. So they lost the war, none of their goals was achieved and had a lot more casualties and destroyed material.

Israel was propably not able to destroy Egypt but if there wouldn't have been a cease fire the Egyptian third Army would have been eliminated. You can't hold out long in the dessert without fuel, food and water.

After the cease fire they were resupplied again and were back as a threat to Israeli forces.
August 21st, 2012  
ScarabVenom
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VDKMS
The Arabs attacked Israel with the intention to destroy it.
This has been proven wrong by countless studies. Egypt's 3 strategic goals were 1) Break the cease-fire after the 1967 war.
2) Make Israel suffer severe casualties.
3) Liberate the land GRADUALLY depending on the capabilities of the Egyptian military.

Nothing here involves Israel in a way besides the Sinai occupied by Israel.

I agree with u when it comes to the Egyptian Third Field Army but, the entire Israeli army west of the canal was in a very miserable situation. Please read the article in full. I have a bunch of quotes from 3 different sides that talk about this specific issue; The Egyptian Third Army and the Israeli army west of the canal. I mean, one of the things I want to know....if Israel was in such a strong position why did they pull back to the east of the canal?

Assuming Moshe Dayan's quote saying that they expected to lose too much casualties and a quote from Henry Kissinger's book saying....."Just as in November, Sadat had accomplished the spectacular by winnowing the essential from the tactical. The key points were Sadat's agreement that the Israelis could retain the strategic passes for now and his ingenious idea for a U.S. proposal on arms limitations. He and Golda both understood that the significant event would be the first major voluntary Israeli withdrawal in nearly 20 years. The details were essentially secondary." So, their pull back was VOLUNTARY. Egypt did keep it's forces on the east but they just limited their forces, I believe.
P.S I'm not sparking an argument I'm basically asking a question, I'm not a military expert.
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August 21st, 2012  
benaakatz
 
 
at best you could call it a draw, but certainly not an egyptian victory. golda meir was at fault for not calling up reserves and preparing. the intelligence was there. so the egyptians were able to swarm the east bank of the suez, there were hardly any defenders there. the egyptians also had the latest sams which initially prevented the iaf from operating in the area. the egyptians were provided with many saggers and rpgs, and were able to use these effectively. but when the egyptian army left the cover of the sam shield and attacked the dug in israelis they got trounced. from then on the idf had the intiative. and the iaf and idf eventually destroyed the sams, giving the israelis air superiority. so objective wise the egyptians ultimately got what they wanted through negotiations. but military wise it's far from a victory, and it speaks to how much the idf has truly dominated the arab armies, as they see this as their greatest achievement to date
August 22nd, 2012  
ScarabVenom
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by benaakatz
at best you could call it a draw, but certainly not an egyptian victory. golda meir was at fault for not calling up reserves and preparing. the intelligence was there. so the egyptians were able to swarm the east bank of the suez, there were hardly any defenders there. the egyptians also had the latest sams which initially prevented the iaf from operating in the area. the egyptians were provided with many saggers and rpgs, and were able to use these effectively. but when the egyptian army left the cover of the sam shield and attacked the dug in israelis they got trounced. from then on the idf had the intiative. and the iaf and idf eventually destroyed the sams, giving the israelis air superiority. so objective wise the egyptians ultimately got what they wanted through negotiations. but military wise it's far from a victory, and it speaks to how much the idf has truly dominated the arab armies, as they see this as their greatest achievement to date
Although what u said is basically a summary of the war, I would like to say some things. 1) The IAF and IDF didn't destroy all the SAMs they just destroyed what's by the Deversoir region and behind the Egyptian Third Army. 2) I ask u to read what I've written above because I got 2 quotes from both sides of the conflict and both of them agree that the war wasn't over until 14th of January, 1974. And the IDF had to withdraw from the Sinai due to their weak military position according to the Egyptian source and according to military pressure from the Israeli source knowing that Israel withdrew from the west of the canal voluntarily and not by international pressure. Henry Kissinger said in his book "Years of Upheaval" the following:
"Just as in November, Sadat had accomplished the spectacular by winnowing the essential from the tactical. The key points were Sadat's agreement that the Israelis could retain the strategic passes for now and his ingenious idea for a U.S. proposal on arms limitations. He and Golda both understood that the significant event would be the first major voluntary Israeli withdrawal in nearly 20 years. The details were essentially secondary." So, I tend to believe that the IDF withdrew from the west of the canal due to military pressure. While, I tend to see the Egyptian still on the east shore of the canal. Although they got their tanks limited, they ended up adding more and more of long-range artillery. I do agree that the Egyptian situation got a little sub-optimal after 14th of October, but I do also agree that they started using their brains again later.
August 22nd, 2012  
VDKMS
 
I won't believe that the only goal was to take back lost territory. I will believe that it was the first goal.

Quote:
“The issue is not just the liberation of the Arab territories occupied since June 5, 1967, but strikes against the future of Israel more powerfully and in a more profound manner, although this is not obvious right now. This means that if the Arabs are able to liberate their territories occupied since June 5, 1967 by force, what can prevent them in the next stage from liberating Palestine itself by force?”
- Mohammed Heikal, Sadat’s adviser and spokesman
(Al-Ahram, October 19, 1973; quoted in Theodore Draper, “The Road to Geneva,” Commentary, February 1974; Gil Carl AlRoy, “Do the Arabs Want Peace?” Commentary, February 1974)
Israel was not able to win a war of attrition with Egypt but by cutting of the third army (which would have been completely destroyed or surrendered) and crossing the canal and marching to Cairo they could force the Egyptians to accept a peace agreement in favor of Israel. Egypts armor and air force were almost totally destroyed (even the best Russian export tanks - T-62's - were easily destroyed). The cease fire period was for Israel uncomfortable because the third army was still there and could pose a threat.

Giving back the Sinai to Egypt in later peace agreements was not a loss for Israel, because the only thing that Israel wants are safe and peacefull borders and that was achieved for the borders with Jordan and Egypt after several peace accords.
August 22nd, 2012  
ScarabVenom
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VDKMS
I won't believe that the only goal was to take back lost territory. I will believe that it was the first goal.



Israel was not able to win a war of attrition with Egypt but by cutting of the third army (which would have been completely destroyed or surrendered) and crossing the canal and marching to Cairo they could force the Egyptians to accept a peace agreement in favor of Israel. Egypts armor and air force were almost totally destroyed (even the best Russian export tanks - T-62's - were easily destroyed). The cease fire period was for Israel uncomfortable because the third army was still there and could pose a threat.

Giving back the Sinai to Egypt in later peace agreements was not a loss for Israel, because the only thing that Israel wants are safe and peacefull borders and that was achieved for the borders with Jordan and Egypt after several peace accords.
Well...I'm not a fan of "if that happened, that would happen" sentences since that can always be wrong and u never know. What I know is that the Egyptian Third Army didn't surrender and held strong to the surprise of many. Israel in no way would be able to go to Cairo for various reasons:
1) The Israeli army was going to be so far away from Tel Aviv and it's military situation which was stated above would be even worse because their only supply-line road was the gap in the Deversoir region and that supply-line road was so vulnerable against Egyptian ground forces so, the further they go to the west, the longer the supply-line becomes. 2) The Egyptian 4th armored brigade was between the Israeli army and Cairo and behind them another Algerian brigade and by the gates of Cairo there was a brigade of Presidential guards to protect Cairo and in case the Israeli army succeeded in destroying all those troops and could reach Cairo, they would be very very wary of the fighting especially, because they would have to cross the Eastern Desert and after all of that, it's time to begin taking down Cairo....I dread to guess what was going to happen. You said Egyptian armor and Air Force were almost totally destroyed, I honestly don't know where u got that from. As I re-call by the end of the war the EAF was still working and according to Moshe Dayan "They had 500 operational aircraft" and they had around 1,700 tanks plus others. I believe u're talking about the 1967 war not the 1973 war.

Israel leaving the Sinai did leave an impact on them. 1)When Israel was leaving the Sinai they had to evacuate various Israeli settlements by force (Example: The settlements of Yamit (Yamet?)). 2) Israel lost the chance to become energy independent due to the oil-fields in the Sinai (Abu-Rudeis, Et-Tur and Alma). 3) Israel left some territory so, their country after it tripled in size; it got less again.

Edit: To reply about ur very first sentence; About eliminating Israel by force. Well, Heikal didn't specifically say Egypt, he said the Arabs. I do believe on a wide level that Arabs from the Middle East do want the elimination of Israel right now before the next minute. But, I don't know why this has to involve Egypt. Egypt never sought the elimination of Israel with the exception of Nasser who was brainwashed completely by Arab nationalism. He sacrificed a lot of Egyptian blood and equipment for the Arabs and for what??? Nasser was a dreamer who thought his dream is reality. In 1964, he sold every drop of Egypt's gold reserves. For who? For Yemen. He sent 1/3 of the entire Egyptian army to war. Whose war? Yemen's war. If we go all the way back, to the very first appearance of Israel on the map; back in 1948. I know Egypt fought against Israel in their war of independence but, it wasn't to eliminate Israel neither was it to help Palestine. It's a whole other story unfortunately.
August 23rd, 2012  
VDKMS
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarabVenom
Well...I'm not a fan of "if that happened, that would happen" sentences since that can always be wrong and u never know. What I know is that the Egyptian Third Army didn't surrender and held strong to the surprise of many. Israel in no way would be able to go to Cairo for various reasons:
1) The Israeli army was going to be so far away from Tel Aviv and it's military situation which was stated above would be even worse because their only supply-line road was the gap in the Deversoir region and that supply-line road was so vulnerable against Egyptian ground forces so, the further they go to the west, the longer the supply-line becomes. 2) The Egyptian 4th armored brigade was between the Israeli army and Cairo and behind them another Algerian brigade and by the gates of Cairo there was a brigade of Presidential guards to protect Cairo and in case the Israeli army succeeded in destroying all those troops and could reach Cairo, they would be very very wary of the fighting especially, because they would have to cross the Eastern Desert and after all of that, it's time to begin taking down Cairo....I dread to guess what was going to happen. You said Egyptian armor and Air Force were almost totally destroyed, I honestly don't know where u got that from. As I re-call by the end of the war the EAF was still working and according to Moshe Dayan "They had 500 operational aircraft" and they had around 1,700 tanks plus others. I believe u're talking about the 1967 war not the 1973 war.

Israel leaving the Sinai did leave an impact on them. 1)When Israel was leaving the Sinai they had to evacuate various Israeli settlements by force (Example: The settlements of Yamit (Yamet?)). 2) Israel lost the chance to become energy independent due to the oil-fields in the Sinai (Abu-Rudeis, Et-Tur and Alma). 3) Israel left some territory so, their country after it tripled in size; it got less again.

Edit: To reply about ur very first sentence; About eliminating Israel by force. Well, Heikal didn't specifically say Egypt, he said the Arabs. I do believe on a wide level that Arabs from the Middle East do want the elimination of Israel right now before the next minute. But, I don't know why this has to involve Egypt. Egypt never sought the elimination of Israel with the exception of Nasser who was brainwashed completely by Arab nationalism. He sacrificed a lot of Egyptian blood and equipment for the Arabs and for what??? Nasser was a dreamer who thought his dream is reality. In 1964, he sold every drop of Egypt's gold reserves. For who? For Yemen. He sent 1/3 of the entire Egyptian army to war. Whose war? Yemen's war. If we go all the way back, to the very first appearance of Israel on the map; back in 1948. I know Egypt fought against Israel in their war of independence but, it wasn't to eliminate Israel neither was it to help Palestine. It's a whole other story unfortunately.
I agree that a march on Cairo is an "if" situation. But a fact is that IDF forces were in Egypt on the west side of the canal and that Egypt could not stop them, they only slowed down their advance with heavy losses on both sides.

The strenght of the Egyptian forces were the SAM's and anti-tank missiles. Their planes and armour were worthless in direct confrontation with their Israeli counterparts.

The third army escaped collapse. No way they could have hold much longer. They were completely cut of and with no supplies you wont get far. Chief of Staff Shazly himself described the Third Army's plight as “desperate” and classified its encirclement as a “catastrophe that was too big to hide.

Egypt lost more than half their tank and plane inventory and almost 2/3rds of their frontline SAM batteries which were very important for a defensive umbrella against the IAF.

Why were Egyptian forces on their way to Tel Aviv if they were not there to help the Palestinians/Arabs or to defeat the Israelis in 1948?
August 23rd, 2012  
ScarabVenom
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VDKMS
I agree that a march on Cairo is an "if" situation. But a fact is that IDF forces were in Egypt on the west side of the canal and that Egypt could not stop them, they only slowed down their advance with heavy losses on both sides.

The strenght of the Egyptian forces were the SAM's and anti-tank missiles. Their planes and armour were worthless in direct confrontation with their Israeli counterparts.

The third army escaped collapse. No way they could have hold much longer. They were completely cut of and with no supplies you wont get far. Chief of Staff Shazly himself described the Third Army's plight as “desperate” and classified its encirclement as a “catastrophe that was too big to hide.

Egypt lost more than half their tank and plane inventory and almost 2/3rds of their frontline SAM batteries which were very important for a defensive umbrella against the IAF.

Why were Egyptian forces on their way to Tel Aviv if they were not there to help the Palestinians/Arabs or to defeat the Israelis in 1948?
I know the Egyptians advance on 14th of October was very stupid but I'm sure u know armor without air coverage is useless. And that's what happened the Egyptian plan was created as Israel is the one that has air superiority because of their Phantom and Mirage and Egypt was flying Mig-21s. According to the same General, Shazly....they tried to avoid as much as possible an air to air fight since the Israeli pilots have more air experience and have more advanced air-craft. True, they were on the verge of collapse but they did hold strong regarding what they experienced and we have to give them credit for that that's besides that we can't say that they were simply out of action since they also started acquiring more land on the east according to David Elazar's quote above. I disagree with saying that Egypt lost 2/3 of their SAM missiles. I do admit they got their same missiles destroyed around the gap and behind the Third Army, but...most of the missiles kept working and the Second Army still had air coverage besides that alot of Egypt's SAM missiles were pulled further to the west. Egypt also got their forces re-built and got everything ready to eliminate the gap. And as above, I stated the Israeli minister of defence's quote when he said that they had to withdraw to the west for the lives of their soldiers that "were not fortified" and were denied air support due to the 130 SAM missile batteries that got positioned around their forces. I'm not denying the situation of the Third Army but, I also have to talk about the entire Israeli army on the gap and west of the canal which was also in a not very good situation. I'm not sure about Egypt losing 1/2 of their tanks, I hope u can prove that. But, you can read the Egyptian source about the Israeli forces west of the canal and what he's saying is considered basically true since u can conclude what he said from the map. Now, about the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. I know it might seem surprising but, Egypt sent it's army on 1948 to get defeated. Sounds funny, right? But unfortunately, that's true. First, the Egyptian army was not ready to fight the former Israeli army the Haganah and (Palvach?) because those 2 organizations or militants whatever u call it had the best of 2 experiences . World War I and World War II, while basically the Egyptian army had no former military experience by the time besides, that the Egyptian Army had to get weapons from black markets and Egypt was sold World War II garbage weapons that were not always in a working condition. The thing is, by the time of 1948 Egypt was not a republic, it was a Kingdom and it was ruled by the British. (The British left after the 1952 revolution) Egypt and the British signed an agreement on 1936 which agreed on the British forces evacuating Egypt after 20 years but, the Egyptian army has to be strong enough to defend Egypt. But, the King of Egypt, King Farouk was a British puppet. He loved the British occupation as he said once on TV "The relationship between England and Egypt is like Catholic marriage; it knows no divorce. And in this marriage, Egypt is the woman and England is the man because the woman always needs the man." the last sentence is kinda stupid I know, but that's what he said. So, in order to keep the British for longer, the Egyptian army had to be destroyed so, the agreement won't work because of what I said before, the Egyptian army had to be strong enough to defend Egypt. So, in order to get the Egyptian army destroyed and keep the British, the king had to attack Israel on 1948 under the name of fighting for Palestine. The Egyptian army got destroyed as planned and the British had to stay for longer but, the 1952 military revolution caused chaos and the British had to leave and the King was sent on exile.
August 23rd, 2012  
VDKMS
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarabVenom
I know the Egyptians advance on 14th of October was very stupid but I'm sure u know armor without air coverage is useless. And that's what happened the Egyptian plan was created as Israel is the one that has air superiority because of their Phantom and Mirage and Egypt was flying Mig-21s. According to the same General, Shazly....they tried to avoid as much as possible an air to air fight since the Israeli pilots have more air experience and have more advanced air-craft. True, they were on the verge of collapse but they did hold strong regarding what they experienced and we have to give them credit for that that's besides that we can't say that they were simply out of action since they also started acquiring more land on the east according to David Elazar's quote above. I disagree with saying that Egypt lost 2/3 of their SAM missiles. I do admit they got their same missiles destroyed around the gap and behind the Third Army, but...most of the missiles kept working and the Second Army still had air coverage besides that alot of Egypt's SAM missiles were pulled further to the west. Egypt also got their forces re-built and got everything ready to eliminate the gap. And as above, I stated the Israeli minister of defence's quote when he said that they had to withdraw to the west for the lives of their soldiers that "were not fortified" and were denied air support due to the 130 SAM missile batteries that got positioned around their forces. I'm not denying the situation of the Third Army but, I also have to talk about the entire Israeli army on the gap and west of the canal which was also in a not very good situation. I'm not sure about Egypt losing 1/2 of their tanks, I hope u can prove that. But, you can read the Egyptian source about the Israeli forces west of the canal and what he's saying is considered basically true since u can conclude what he said from the map. Now, about the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. I know it might seem surprising but, Egypt sent it's army on 1948 to get defeated. Sounds funny, right? But unfortunately, that's true. First, the Egyptian army was not ready to fight the former Israeli army the Haganah and (Palvach?) because those 2 organizations or militants whatever u call it had the best of 2 experiences . World War I and World War II, while basically the Egyptian army had no former military experience by the time besides, that the Egyptian Army had to get weapons from black markets and Egypt was sold World War II garbage weapons that were not always in a working condition. The thing is, by the time of 1948 Egypt was not a republic, it was a Kingdom and it was ruled by the British. (The British left after the 1952 revolution) Egypt and the British signed an agreement on 1936 which agreed on the British forces evacuating Egypt after 20 years but, the Egyptian army has to be strong enough to defend Egypt. But, the King of Egypt, King Farouk was a British puppet. He loved the British occupation as he said once on TV "The relationship between England and Egypt is like Catholic marriage; it knows no divorce. And in this marriage, Egypt is the woman and England is the man because the woman always needs the man." the last sentence is kinda stupid I know, but that's what he said. So, in order to keep the British for longer, the Egyptian army had to be destroyed so, the agreement won't work because of what I said before, the Egyptian army had to be strong enough to defend Egypt. So, in order to get the Egyptian army destroyed and keep the British, the king had to attack Israel on 1948 under the name of fighting for Palestine. The Egyptian army got destroyed as planned and the British had to stay for longer but, the 1952 military revolution caused chaos and the British had to leave and the King was sent on exile.
The destruction of SAM batteries were only front line ones. About 1000 tanks were destroyed out of an initial inventory of about 1700. I don't know how many or if some were replaced by the Russians. They also lost about half of their initial inventory of planes.

General Shazly's plan was very good for defense but had weak points for offence. As we know now, if you don't have air superiority an offensive action will be very difficult.

Israel's position at the end of the war was not optimal but I think a little better than Egypt's one.

No matter how we think of it one thing is for sure. Thanks to that war peace came upon that area up untill today. But we must not forget to thank the Russians and the US for enforcing it.

About your story of the 1948 war, I read the same thing (on the internet) but about the Yom Kippur war. I couldn't believe it but then again, why not? Sadat overuled his Generals several times (for the worse) if I'm not mistaken.
 


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