“YK35”: The Yom Kippur War 1973 (Osprey Campaign 118 and 126)
Just over 2 months ago was the 35th Anniversary of tthe 1973 Yom Kippur War (also known as “The October War”) – a war that permanently shifted the balance-of-power in the Middle East and led to peace treaties between Israel and Egypt, but left a legacy of low-intensity conflict and asymettrical violence that has lasted to this day…
On 6 October 1973, on the holiest day of the Jewish year, simultaneous attacks on two fronts caught Israel by surprise. Both attacks aimed to take back the territory occupied by Israel following the Six Day War of 1967. The Israeli forces were caught largely unprepared and consequently the Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal, and the Syrian attack on the Golan Heights were both successful in their early stages. By the afternoon of the following day, a Syrian brigade was less than 10km from the Sea of Galilee. The following month saw desperate bitter fighting as the Israeli forces slowly drove the invading armies. The author offers a balanced analysis of the fierce Yom Kippur War, describes the key battles and the forces involved and examines the outcomes of the war. The Yom Kippur War was a disaster from which Israel never really recovered, her image of invincibility and the concept of a national superpower erased when the nation was forced into dependence on the USA for military, diplomatic and economic support.
Osprey decided to split the story of the Yom Kippur conflict into two seperate volumes becuase of the two-front nature of the war and becuase of the very different nature of the battles with Syrian forces on and around the Golan Heights, and the battles with Egyptian forces at the Suez Canal and across the Sinai Penninsula. For some reason though, it is the second volume (Campaign 126) that provides an in-depth overview of the political and military background to the October War.
Illustrated with full colour artwork, contemporary photographs and detailed maps, these books are part of Osprey Publishing’s Campaign series that provides detailed overviews, insights and analyses of the forces, commanders, and operations involved in many of history’s most well-known – and important – battles and campaigns.
At times I found the highly-precise orders-of-battle and blow-by-blow battle reports to be almost too detailed – with the extensive facts and figures occasssionally over-whelming the narrative. However, this is a minor niggle and all in all, the books are engrossing, informative and an indespensible read for anyone who wants to understand the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
Campaign 118 describes in detail how amid desperate and bitter fighting the Israeli forces managed to turn the tide on the Golan Heights, and the book contents is as follows:
Campaign 126 details the fighting in the Sinai, culminating in Operation Gazelle, the Israeli counterattack across the Suez Canal, and the book content is as follows:
- Origins of the Campaign
- Opposing Commanders
- The Syrian Army
- The Israeli Army
- The Fall of Mount Hermon
- Repulse at Amadiye
- Breakthrough at Rafid
- The Israeli counteroffensive
- The recapture of Mount Hermon
- The battlefield today
- Wargaming the Golan campaign