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  1. Indirect tank fire was used by the IDF also in several later incidents: April 4th 1969: M48 semi-indirectly fires 90 mm HVAP rounds from the Pier Stronghold of the Bar-Lev Line, sinks the oil tanker Sadd Al-Furat near the Suez refineries, 5200 meters away. That specific tank platoon, of the 46th tank battalion, was trained for indirect fire at 15-20 kms ranges, and its tanks (ex-Jordanian M48s, 1967 war booty) were modified accordingly. That platoon was raided and destroyed by Egyptian commandos near the Pier Stronghold on July 10th 1969, and one of its tankers was taken alive back to Egypt as a POW. April 21st 1969: M48A3 semi-indirectly fires 105 mm rounds from near the Croatian Memorial Cemetery, destroys an Egyptian antenna beyond the Suez Canal. The antenna, located in a mango plantation behind a sand wall, was also used as an observation tower by an Egyptian (or Soviet?) FO. After the incident, the Israeli TC (of the 184th tank battalion), who fired with no special preparations (didn't even know the range), was promoted on the spot to lead a platoon by the 14th armored brigade CO, despite not being an officer, and was decorated by the Chief of General Staff Bar-Lev. 1970, towards the end of the War of Attrition: T-54/55s (1967 war booty) indirectly fire 100 mm HE-FRAG rounds from the Pier Stronghold at Egyptian SAM sites beyond the Suez Canal. T-54/55 crews trained for indirect fire at 15-20 kms ranges up until 1972, when the original main guns were replaced with 105 mm. 1973-1974, during and after the Yom Kippur War: Centurions semi-indirectly fire at Jordanian and Syrian AFVs near and on Tell Al-Hara, from positions around Umm Batna - Tell Maskhara. In one post-war incident, at least one BRDM-2 was destroyed.
  2. In the decade preceding the Six Day War, the Syrian border was Israel's hottest, with many skirmishes taking place along the Jordan River valley DMZ. The Jordan River's Headwater Diversion Project, planned by the Arab League, was only one of several disputes, but one with strategic implications. The IDF started using tanks along the Syrian border on November 1964, when tensions were rising as substantive diversion works began. AFAIK, it was the first combat use of MBTs by the Israeli Northern Command. The decision to deploy tanks was contributed by the fact that the former Armored Corps CG, David Elazar, had commenced his new duty as the Northern Command CG on November 1st 1964. The Israeli tanks were Centurions (82nd tank battalion), M50 and M51 Shermans (52nd tank battalion) and, towards 1967, also M48A1s and M48A2Cs (79th tank battalion, established in 1965). The Syrians employed Panzer IVs, T-34s and SU-100s, while the T-54/55s were kept with the elite formations at the rear, eyeing Damascus. In all skirmishes the Syrians had the height advantage, sometimes by hundreds of meters. They were positioned in hull-down trenches in heavily-fortified strongholds along the western slope of the Golan Plateau. In some cases they couldn't depress the gun low enough. The tank dual ranges were 700-4000 meters. The first incident, on November 3rd 1964, was a complete failure for the IDF: a Centurion platoon fired 89 APDS rounds (105 mm) from Tell Dan on two Panzers at An-Nukheila, 800 meters away, and failed to hit. Following the failure, the Armor Corps CG Israel Tal held a thorough investigation, which lead to improved training and results. General Tal, as well as the brigade and battalion COs, even participated some of the skirmishes as a tank crewmembers. The two An-Nukheila Panzers were destroyed on November 13th by the same Centurion platoon. The Centurions were only held as backup for a platoon of good old M51 Shermans, but one Sherman malfunctioned and the Centurions quickly rushed in to rehabilitate their name. There were three incidents during which IDF tanks destroyed heavy equipment used in the diversion project, taking place between March and August 1965. In the last two incidents, the Israeli tank fire was semi-indirect: March 17th 1965: two tanks, Sherman (tank gunner: Armor Corps CG Israel Tal) and Centurion, fire from Tell Dan and destroy 8 bulldozers on the SW slope of Mount Hermon at 2000-2400 meters range. May 13th 1965: M51 Sherman (tank gunner: Armor Corps CG Israel Tal) fires from a field near Kibbutz Kefar HaNassi, destroys 3 bulldozers near the Upper Custom House at 5800-6000 meters range. August 12th 1965: Centurion (105 mm) fires from the Korazim Plateau slope, near Almagor, destroys one bulldozer near Qubat Qar'a at 11 kms range. The Centurion engages the bulldozer after its platoon had accomplished the task of finishing-off 7 Syrian tanks at shorter ranges (including a moving T-34 at 3 kms), while the neighboring M51 Sherman platoon had failed to hit the bulldozers. Another Centurion was hit by a T-34 and its TC, the 82nd tank battalion CO, was badly injured but the gunner, general Tal, was unhurt. BTW, the heavy equipment for the diversion project was kindly contributed by Mohammad Bin Laden's construction company, as the owner was eager to participate the effort. One of his 56 children was Osama. One night in Damascus, during a party, Mohammad Bin Laden had a friendly chat with someone named Kamal Amin Thabet, in which Bin Laden arrogantly disclosed important details about the project. He didn't know that Kamal Amin Thabet was the fake identity of Eli Cohen, a Mossad spy.
  3. Color footage taken weeks after the 1973 war: 0:34-6:40 Chinese Farm carnage (note the SA-2 battery remnants) 6:40-7:38 Golan Heights 7:38-8:42 War booty lot in central Israel
  4. Battle of Suez, October 24th: IDF 162nd armored division (blue): IDF 217th armored brigade (reinforced with infantry) keeps mopping up the Egyptian 3rd field army fortifications on the western bank of the Suez Canal. While the 126th armored battalion clears the western coastline of the Little Bitter Lake, the 142nd and 113th armored battalions clear the Egyptian 7th and 19th infantry division fortifications respectively. IDF 271st combat engineer battalion clears Kibrit Peninsula. IDF 460th and 500th armored brigades, which park at the outskirts of Suez, are ordered to capture the city before the upcoming ceasefire - but "only if it's not Stalingrad". While the Israelis expect light or no resistance, as the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Africa seem to disintegrate, the besieged Egyptian troops (which include a commando battalion, remnants from the 6th mechanized infantry division and a Sagger ATGM company from the 19th infantry division) are preparing to ambush the Israeli forces deep inside the built-up area. Zoom-in on the IDF 162nd division assault on Suez: IDF 460th armored brigade is lead by the 198th armored battalion, which assaults the industrial zone at the southern area of the city, from west to east. The industrial zone (including the refineries and the pier) is captured with light resistance, and the tanks engage Egyptian targets at Port Ibrahim. IDF 500th armored brigade is tasked with entering Suez through the main entrance, the Cairo - Suez road. After the 430th armored battalion opens the way in by destroying the Egyptian AT bastion (SU-100s and AT guns) defending the entrance, the 433rd armored battalion (20 Centurions, 7 M113s, 5 halftracks) leads the IDF column into the city. It its followed by two company-sized paratrooper battalions, the 564th paratrooper battalion and TF Hisdai, and an armored reconnaissance company (M113s, originated in the 189th armored reconnaissance battalion). The paratroopers are mounted mostly on 9 freshly-captured OT-62s, but also on halftracks, trucks and buses. At first the resistance is light, as the Egyptian defenders let the Israeli column enter deep into the kill zone. Only when the Israeli vehicles reach Al-Arbaeen Mosque, they suddenly start taking heavy fire (RPGs, MGs, hand grenades, sniper fire) from the upper floors of the surrounding buildings and suffer heavy losses (almost all TCs are disabled). The Israeli column is separated into 3 isolated forces: the 433rd battalion, leaving behind two burning Centurions and one that lost its way on the streets, manages to advance 1500 meters deeper to the SE and reach its objective, the Triangle Junction - but it's still under (mostly sniper) fire. The 564th battalion (whose CO is injured when his OT-62 is destroyed) abandons its vehicles and gathers into the two-story police station, 300 meters SE of Al-Arbaeen Mosque, where it makes a stronghold and captures 30 Egyptian policemen. TF Hisdai abandons its vehicles as well, gathers and makes a stronghold in some building 600 meters NW of the Al-Arbaeen Mosque. The M113 company retreats backwards and out of the city. The 500th brigade XO is badly injured by sniper fire and the brigade's intelligence halftrack is lost with the brigade's intelligence officer and all of his 8 men. IDF 429th armored battalion attempts to assault into the built-up area from the north, in order to rescue the isolated paratroopers, but takes a heavy Sagger barrage and stops. The M113 company's attempt to enter the city also fails, mostly due to Egyptian sniper fire. Airstrikes are impossible, as the exact location of the Israeli and Egyptian forces is unknown to IDF HQ. In the meanwhile, the besieged IDF paratroopers repel Egyptian assaults on their new strongholds with hand grenades. IDF elite 484th infantry reconnaissance battalion (mounted on 10 BTR-152s, reinforced with 5 Centurions from the 217th brigade), is rushed SW from the 217th brigade to the 500th brigade in order to help extricate the besieged 564th battalion. After losing a BTR with 16 men to an Egyptian SU-100 firing from the ex-IDF Mefatze'akh stronghold, the 484th battalion penetrates the city from the NE and suffers additional losses while failing to locate the 564th battalion. However, the 484th battalion unintentionally locates TF Hisdai and evacuates most of its wounded along with the M113 company. IDF 460th armored brigade sends in its 100th armored and 86th mechanized infantry battalions to reach the Triangle Junction from the west. They take over the city hall, join the 433rd armored battalion (whose mechanized infantrymen have already managed to take over the nearby multi-story Cleopatra Hotel), evacuate its wounded and cover its retreat westwards in the afternoon. In the evening, utilizing the darkness and artillery support, TF Hisdai successfully extricates itself to the NW on foot, reaching the 429th armored battalion positions at the outskirts of the city after walking 2 kms with almost no resistance and no further losses. Lastly, before dawn, the 564th paratrooper battalion (commanded by a platoon leader, due to the heavy losses) extricates itself in a similar manner with similar results, making a 3 km journey to the NW. IDF 252nd armored division (green): IDF 401st armored brigade clears Port Al-Adabiya and the surroundings. The area north and west of Port Al-Adabiya is cleared by the 46th armored battalion, while the area south of the port is cleared by the 195th armored battalion (destroys 4 T-34s). Port Al-Adabiya itself is cleared by the 183rd armored battalion alongside the brigade HQ. Two Egyptian K-123 torpedo boats are sunk by 105 mm tank rounds at ranges of 50 and 1500 meters, when they try to escape southwards. Afterwards, the 183rd armored battalion is sent back north to rejoin the 164th armored brigade. Israeli Navy Red Sea Theater CO pays a visit to Port Al-Adabiya with two Dabur patrol boats and meets the captured Egyptian Navy Red Sea Theater CO. The Israeli Navy starts operating the harbor and tank landing crafts transport over 1200 Egyptian POWs from Port Al-Adabiya to Sinai, sailing alongside captured K-123 and Bertram boats. IDF 164th and 179th armored brigade forces decimate the Egyptian forces trapped between Agrud and the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road. In addition, 164th armored brigade forces and paratroopers engage Egyptian and Algerian armor west of the 101 km milestone, east and SE of Jabal Uwaybid. The Egyptian forces are remnants of the 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry divisions, while the Algerian expeditionary force is composed of a T-55 equipped armored brigade. IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade (attached with the 52nd armored battalion) is sent southwards. Its forces sweep through the area in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra and engage Egyptian forces (4th armored division remnants) west of Jabal Gharra. IDF heliborne SF (Sayeret Matkal, aka Unit 269) destroy the Egyptian intelligence post on Jabal Ataqa and consolidate positions there. From Jabal Ataqa the Egyptian intelligence could observe all the Israeli forces deployed west of the Mitla and Al-Jidi Mountain passes. Meanwhile in Sinai, IDF 440th armored division forces bite some more ground along the southern canal sector, putting pressure on the frontline positions of the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army. Their most notable gain is the Uyun Musa - Ras Misalla (including the Egrofit observation post) area, captured by 225th armored and 202nd paratrooper battalion elements of the TF Ayalon. Other than that, the Egyptian 7th and 19th infantry division forces hold the same positions as on the previous day.
  5. Filming of a drama TV series about the first 3 days of the 1973 war in the Golan Heights: 8 episodes are planned for the first season, to be broadcast in 2020. On 1:55, the Latrun Museum Curator, Michael Mass, praises the production's commitment to historical accuracy, as opposed to other war films. Two Centurions in running condition were received from the Latrun Museum for the Golan field footage. For the in-tank footage, they use this Centurion (not cut in half like the M48, but these "windows" are useful):
  6. Iarmor

    Take a dive!

    The coral reef in the Gulf of Eilat is already one of the most popular scuba diving tourism destinations in the world... Pre-opening tour in the Jordanian underwater military museum (opening is scheduled for 2020): 0:45-1:45 Lebanese cargo ship Cedar Pride, sank by the Jordanians in 1985 2:26-3:06 Jordanian military hardware put into the water. Including Chieftain MBT, Long Tom 155 mm gun (these were used to shell Tel Aviv from the hills of Samaria during the 1967 war), Ferret armored car, M42 Duster SP-AAA, RJAF AH-1 Cobra 4:06-5:26, 5:55-6:23 The new exhibits in the water 8:40-end RJAF C-130 Hercules, sank in 2017
  7. Iarmor

    We love photos

    October 30th, 1973: IDF recover the two Centurions (of the 430th armored battalion, 500th armored brigade) that sank into the 18-meters-deep Suez Canal, with 6 of their crew members, on the night of October 18th -19th, when carried from Sinai to Egypt by a Gillois amphibious tank carrier that was directly hit by Egyptian artillery. One of the dead, the H company CO (previously V company XO, promoted to replace casualties), could escape as the loader and driver did, but instead he tried to pull out the gunner and both drowned with their tank. His father, a reserve Ordnance Corps lieutenant colonel, was told about the drowning when he met the 430th battalion near Suez City while searching for his son. He then settled by the drowning place and waited for almost a week until his son's body was finally recovered. The complex recovery, lead by the best-known IDF ordnance Corps tank recovery expert (standing on the turret in the second picture), involved the use of divers and several vehicles, including a heavy crane, M88 and Centurion ARVs.
  8. Encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army, October 23rd: IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade and 52nd armored battalion leave TF Nammer and TF Garnit in the northern and southern canal sectors in Sinai respectively, to reinforce the Israeli forces in Africa. After crossing they head south and the 11th mechanized infantry brigade is attached to the 252nd armored division, while the 52nd armored battalion halts SW of Fayid AFB, forming the Southern Command's reserve in Africa for now, in between the 143rd and 252nd armored divisions. In order to expedite the mop up of the agricultural area on the western bank of the canal, the 162nd armored division is reinforced with the 564th paratrooper and 484th infantry reconnaissance battalions, in addition to the 50th paratrooper battalion attached to it since October 20th. IDF 252nd armored division (green): IDF 401st armored brigade (attached with 183rd armored battalion elements, of the 164th armored brigade, in addition to its 46th and 195th armored battalions) hastily leaves Jabal Umm Kathib area (before being replaced, leaving its positions there empty for a short while) and rapidly advances SE (with lights on after sunset, to allow faster movement) in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra. The 401st then heads south and, around midnight, its forces reach Ataqa, Port Al-Adabiya, Ras Al-Adabiya and Ras Mahagara. Finally, the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai are fully encircled. IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade is spearheaded by its 226th tank battalion, the only Sherman-equipped armor battalion to cross the Suez Canal in the 1973 war. The 226th tank battalion crosses, heads south and replaces the 401st armored brigade in its abandoned positions near Jabal Umm Kathib. The Egyptian forces located SW of Jabal Umm Kathib and at Objective Bologna, 2nd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division) remnants, appear to prepare an offensive. IDF 179th armored brigade (after getting back the force it had sent to assist the 460th armored brigade at Kasfarit airbase) advances south from the southern foot of Jabal Ganifa and cuts the Suez - Cairo road between Suez and Agrud. IDF 164th armored brigade forces (106th and 183rd armored battalion elements), along with heliborne paratroopers (9100th brigade elements), cut the Suez - Cairo road south of SAM site 5020, 101 kms from Cairo, as well as near Agrud. Multiple times, Egyptian forces trapped between Agrud and the 101 km milestone desperately try to breach the road and the railway and escape westwards, while additional Egyptian forces coming from the west (SE of Jabal Uwaybid) attempt to breach the road eastwards and remove the Israeli encirclement. IDF 106th armored battalion CO (the second one, whose predecessor was injured on October 9th) is killed, but the Israelis manage to block all Egyptian breaching attempts, utilizing mobile defense tactics. The Egyptians forces in this area are 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry division remnants (of the 3rd armored, 1st and 113th mechanized infantry brigades). To the north, the Egyptian 6th mechanized infantry brigade of the 4th armored division is blocking Asor road and the Suez - Cairo railway at Objective Worms and Objective Tango. SAM sites 5519 and 5420 on Jabal Gharra are raided by a small force from the IDF 183rd armored battalion. IDF 162nd armored division (blue): Before noon (solid), IDF 460th armored brigade, along with the 564th paratrooper and 271st combat engineer (mounted on its halftracks, fighting as mechanized infantry) battalions, clears the Ganifa - Kibrit area and pushes the retreating Egyptians towards Kibrit Peninsula. IDF 500th armored brigade clears the agricultural area on the western bank of the Little Bitter Lake, NE of SAM site 5228. IDF 217th armored brigade reaches the canal north of Ash-Shalufa and its head both northwards and southwards, clearing the Egyptian 3rd field army fortifications and firing ramparts in the agricultural area along the western bank of the canal. In the afternoon (dashed), the 162nd division XO leads the 564th paratrooper, 86th mechanized infantry, 271st combat engineer battalions and one Shot Cal company to clear Kibrit Peninsula (notably the airbase), while the 460th and 500th armored brigades are ordered to leave the agricultural area and advance south in the desert terrain towards Suez. After clearing the deserted Egyptian 3rd field army HQ at Objective 4925, the 460th brigade rapidly advances through several abandoned SAM sites and reaches the fertilizer plant SW of Suez before dawn. Its 196th, 19th, 100th and 198th armored battalions park west and SW of the city, between the Suez - Cairo road and the coastline, besieging Suez alongside the 500th brigade. The 500th brigade parks north of Suez after destroying Egyptian armor. The 217th armored brigade (126th, 142nd and 113th armored battalions) is now solely responsible for the western bank of the canal south of Kibrit Peninsula. Reinforced with the 50th paratrooper and the elite 484th infantry reconnaissance (mistakenly marked 184th) battalions, it continues to clear the agricultural area along the western bank, while slowly advancing southwards. Finding out they are encircled, Egyptian 3rd field army troops of various units retreat into the streets of Suez. Meanwhile in Sinai: IDF TF Garnit is dissolved, as Israel Garnit returns home after he is informed that his son was killed in the Golan Heights on October 11th (with the 679th armored brigade at Khan Arnaba). The 875th mechanized infantry brigade and 202nd paratrooper battalion are attached to the 440th armored division, which is now responsible for the whole southern canal sector in Sinai. IDF 225th armored battalion XO and his two companies leave Sharm Ash-Sheikh, head north and join TF Ayalon at Ras Dahaysa - Ras Misalla. There they replace the 225th battalion CO and his two companies, that are sent to join the single company left by the 52nd armored battalion at IDF Notzah second-line post. Egyptian 7th infantry division deployment: Egyptian 25th independent armored and 130th marine brigade remnants entrench themselves in ex-IDF Botzer stronghold. Egyptian 8th infantry brigade is on Lexicon road, east of Botzer and north of Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refuge camp. Egyptian 11th mechanized infantry brigade (mistakenly marked as the 19th) is around Ash-Shatt refuge camp, west of IDF Mitzvah second-line post. Egyptian 12th infantry brigade is at Objective Merukaz, cutting off the Artillery Road. Egyptian 19th infantry division deployment: Egyptian 5th infantry brigade is north of IDF Notzah second-line post. Egyptian 2nd mechanized infantry brigade is at Qarrat Al-Murra (Objective Polygon), cutting off the Artillery Road. Egyptian 22nd armored brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division) is around Objective Portal. Egyptian 7th infantry brigade is around Mivdad and Tzeidar ex-IDF second-line posts, north of Uyun Musa. Off the map, IDF 409th armored battalion (of the 600th armored brigade) slowly advances north and halts at the heart of Objective Missouri, east of Ivsha - Lexicon junction, lining up with the 410th armored battalion. The Israeli bridgehead is now 11 kms wide, between Missouri and the Greater Bitter Lake. Near the Chinese Farm, 3 deserted M109s are found by Israeli troops, indicating the presence of Libyan expeditionary force troops among the retreating Egyptian 16th infantry and 21st armored division remnants. The single intact M109 is pressed into service with IDF 899th medium artillery battalion.
  9. IDF breach into Egypt continues, October 21st-22nd: October 21st: IDF 162nd armored division (solid blue): IDF 460th armored brigade clears the Treaty Road and the agricultural area along the western coastline of the Greater Bitter Lake, from Fayid to Fanara, with its 196th armored, 429th armored, 50th paratrooper, 86th mechanized infantry and 271st combat engineer battalions. The opposing forces are remnants of the Egyptian 207th armored battalion (2nd armored brigade, 4th armored division) and Palestinian 107th infantry brigade. IDF 429th armored battalion CO (the second one, whose predecessor was killed on October 8th) is killed by Egyptian artillery. IDF 100th and 198th armored battalions follow the 500th armored brigade, which struggles to advance south on Jabal Ganifa. IDF 217th armored brigade repels two Egyptian 113th mechanized infantry brigade counterattacks near SAM sites 5121 and 5122. As opposed to its rapid movement on October 19th and 20th, the 162nd armored division advances much slower on October 21st, due to heavier resistance put up by the redeployed Egyptian 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry division elements. IDF 252nd armored division (solid green): IDF 401st armored brigade stays near Jabal Umm Kathib, in defense of Vadaoot - Vitamin junction and the Israeli western flank. The 195th armored battalion repels a battalion-scale assault by Egyptian 2nd armored brigade (mistakenly marked as mechanized infantry on the map) forces, destroying over 20 tanks. IDF 164th armored brigade is also ordered to stay near Jabal Umm Kathib and defend the western flank, but the brigade CO initiates offensives on Egyptian SAM sites and nearby armor. One tank company (183rd armored battalion) raids SAM site 5615 on Jabal Umm Kathib, while the rest head back north, turn west to SAM site 5914 (empty) and then proceed south again, destroying Egyptian armor on their way. The battered Egyptian 2nd armored brigade retreats from Objective Mitznefet. IDF 143rd armored division (solid blue): After a major radio argument between the division CO Sharon and the Southern Command CG Gonen, in which Sharon has refused a direct order from Gonen, MoD Dayan forces the dismayed Sharon to order his 600th armored brigade to attack Objective Missouri. The promised IAF support is not provided and this superfluous, hopeless attack is repelled by the Egyptian 16th infantry and 21st armored divisions with heavy losses for both sides: on the western wing (Lexicon road), IDF 410th armored battalion assaults eastwards deep into the Egyptian compound (deeper than shown on the map), takes heavy fire, suffers heavy losses and its remnants retreat to Ivsha - Lexicon junction. The 410th is left with 4 battle-worthy M60A1s out of 26 that went to battle. On the eastern wing (Objective Missouri itself), IDF 409th armored battalion advances northwards and destroys ~20 Egyptian tanks, but stops at central Missouri as it tries to prevent fratricide fire due to lack of coordination with the 410th battalion. IDF 14th armored and 35th paratrooper brigades slowly advance north towards Ismailia, clearing the agricultural area of Egyptian resistance. IDF 184th armored battalion captures a bridge over the Freshwater Canal south of Nafisha and repels a night counter-attack by Egyptian infantry. IDF paratroopers capture the Egyptian fortifications and firing ramparts between Serapeum and Jabal Mariyam. The opposing Egyptian forces are of the 150th paratrooper, 118th mechanized infantry brigades and 131st commando regiment. IDF 421st armored brigade consolidates positions at the NW flank: the 264th armored battalion at SAM site 6615 and Vardit - Arzel junction, the 599th armored battalion at SAM site 6115 (dummy) and along Vadaoot road. Its forces pick up one IAF Mirage and several Egyptian MiG-21 pilots who ejected over the area. The opposing forces are remnants of the 23rd armored and 116th mechanized infantry brigades (of the 3rd and 23rd mechanized infantry divisions respectively), as well as the fresh 35th independent armored brigade. IDF TF Nammer (solid blue): Following an IAF pilot report about the absence of significant Egyptian forces at Objective Hamutal, IDF TF Atzloot (of the 274th armored brigade) assaults Abu Waqfa (the western dune of Hamutal) at the afternoon. The assault is repelled after several M113s and halftracks are destroyed by Saggers launched from the Egyptian 112th infantry brigade positions at Abu Waqfa and at Kathib Al-Khayl (the northern dune of Objective Makhshir). TF Atzloot CO (the 227th armored battalion XO) demands permission to retreat back to Kathib Ayfan (the eastern dune of Objective Hamutal) and argues with the Southern Command CG on the radio. The 274th brigade XO is sent there and eventually TF Atzloot retreats at night after evacuating most of its wounded. Surprisingly, no Tiran tank is seriously damaged in this battle. The Egyptians remain in control of the Artillery Road in this sector, 15 kms east of the canal. IDF TF Garnit (solid blue): IDF 875th mechanized infantry brigade launches a battalion-scale attack on Botzer stronghold, but the assault is stopped when the Israeli AFVs enter into a minefield. Before the dawn of October 22nd, at Port Al-Ghardaqa (off the map), Israeli naval commandos destroy an Egyptian Komar missile boat, numbered 501, using LAW rockets supplied under Operation Nickel Grass. Komar 501 was the one that sank INS Eilat on October 1967. October 22nd: IDF 162nd armored division (dashed blue): The 162nd division is ordered to speed up its advancement due to the upcoming ceasefire. IDF 460th armored brigade keeps advancing SE on the Treaty Road and captures Fanara and Kasfarit airbase, with its 196th armored, 50th paratrooper, 86th mechanized infantry and 271st combat engineer battalions. At the same time, its 100th and 198th armored battalions engage Egyptian tanks on the Treaty road at long ranges from Jabal Ganifa, descend eastwards from Jabal Ganifa to the Treaty Road and tackle Egyptian 3rd armored brigade tanks NE of SAM site 5124. IDF 500th armored brigade (which got back its 429th armored battalion) advances SE on Jabal Ganifa, destroying Egyptian 3rd armored brigade remnants on its way. IDF 217th armored brigade advances south, cuts off the Suez - Cairo railway and controls over the Suez - Cairo road, which is the main line of supply for the Egyptian 3rd field army. At noon, in order to assist the 460th brigade, the Southern Front CG orders the 162nd division CO to send his 500th and 217th armored brigade east towards the agricultural area on the western bank of the Suez Canal. The 217th brigade destroys SAM site 5027 and parks west of Ash-Shalufa for the night. The 500th brigade sends its 430th armored battalion to capture the Egyptians fortifications at the southern edge of the Little Bitter Lake, east of SAM site 5228, in front of ex-IDF Lituf stronghold. At night the parking 430th battalion is attacked from several directions by Egyptian armor, extricates itself after a heavy battle at zero range and parks further to the west. The 460th brigade forces park at night around Ganifa and the Ganifa Camps after clearing the area. 3 IDF soldiers are captured by the Egyptians near Botzer stronghold, after taking a wrong turn with their car. At night, the Egyptians transfer their fresh Israeli POWs across the canal to Kibrit by boats and from there in a jeep towards Cairo. However, the Egyptian soldiers and their Israeli POWs are surprised to learn that an IDF M48 (of the 460th brigade) is blocking their way west. At once the Israeli POWs are freed and their Egyptian captors become POWs themselves. IDF 252nd armored division (dashed green): IDF 164th armored brigade rapidly advances SE in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra, cuts off Asor road and raids SAM sites 5321, 5320A and B (aka Avit A and B) on Jabal Gharra. Some of its forces (of the 106th armored battalion) advance further south, cut off the Suez - Cairo railway and control over the Suez - Cairo road, 101 kms from Cairo. IDF 179th armored brigade, which have arrived on flatbeds to Sinai on October 21st from the Golan Heights (where it fought under the 210th armored division), crosses the Suez Canal on the Cylinder Bridge and joins the 252nd armored division. The 179th brigade heads SE in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra, sends a force eastwards over Jabal Ganifa to assist the 460th armored brigade near Kasfarit airbase and parks east of SAM site 5124, at the southern foot of Jabal Ganifa. IDF 401st armored brigade stays around Jabal Umm Kathib and defends the Israeli western flank, engaging Egyptian armor at long ranges. On a side note, 10 downed EAF pilots were captured within the last 48 hours. IDF 143rd armored division (dashed blue): IDF 14th armored and 35th paratrooper brigades are surprised to hear about the upcoming ceasefire and try to speed up their advancement. IDF 184th armored and 424th infantry reconnaissance battalions advance south of Nafisha. The 35th brigade paratroopers suffer heavy losses and get blocked by the Egyptians at a bridge over the Freshwater Canal south of Abu Atwa. IDF 421st armored brigade captures some hills west of its previous positions, as well as additional downed Egyptian pilots. On October 23rd the 599th armored battalion captures SAM sites 6214 and 5914. IDF 600th armored brigade slowly advances northwards and bites a bit more of Objective Missouri. IDF TF Nammer: IDF TF Atzloot (of the 274th armored brigade) repels an Egyptian 112th infantry brigade assault on Kathib Ayfan (the eastern dune of Objective Hamutal) and Talisman - Photon junction. This assault is not depicted on the map. IDF 228th armored battalion of the 274th armored brigade hands over the Maror second-line post area (off the map) to the 11th mechanized infantry brigade and redeploys to Objective Hamadiya, replacing the M60A1 platoon left to defend Objective Hamadiya by the 409th armored battalion of the 600th armored brigade. The front-line sector held by the 274th armored brigade is now as wide as the sectors held by both the 162nd and 143rd armored divisions altogether prior to Operation Abirey Lev. IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade redeploys from Martef second-line post - Vermont area (off the map) to Maror second-line post area (off the map). Its 54th mechanized infantry battalion assaults and captures the empty Maror, taking only artillery fire from the Egyptians. To the west are Egyptian troops of the 136th mechanized infantry brigade, 18th infantry division. IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade redeploys from Budapest stronghold - Yoram second-line post area (off the map) to Martef second-line post - Vermont area (off the map). For a planned offensive on Port Fuad, the IDF establishes another division-sized TF named Sela (Hebrew for Rock), commanded by the Chief Infantry and Paratrooper Officer Emmanuel Shaked. TF Sela is formed of several infantry formations, mostly ones that were recently redeployed from the Jordan Valley to Sinai - such as the 9100th (ad-hoc established during the war) and 5th infantry brigades and the elite 484th infantry reconnaissance battalion. TF Sela takes command of the Budapest stronghold - Yoram second-line post area, but the operation to capture Port Fuad is aborted. IDF TF Garnit (dashed blue): IDF 875th mechanized infantry brigade (reinforced with Officer School cadets) launches another battalion-scale attack on Botzer stronghold. The assault is repelled by Egyptian Saggers and tank fire. The Egyptian defenders are remnants of the 25th independent armored and 130th marine brigades. IDF artillery (175 mm and 155 mm, firing from both banks of the Suez Canal) executes Operation Bendigo - alongwith IAF aircraft, it destroys Egyptian 109th heavy SAM brigade sites 5029A (aka Bavli A), 4927, 4925A and 4923, as well as SAM site 5426. The airspace above the Egyptian 3rd field army is now cleared of heavy and medium SAM threat. The nearest operational Egyptian heavy SAM sites are NE of Al-Qattamyia airbase and NW of Ridan Al-Hama. Egyptian artillery and AF keep striking the Israeli bridgehead. IDF lose 12 men, including the 605th crossing battalion XO, in a heavy Egyptian rocket artillery barrage. As for the EAF, its losses are so heavy that the desperate Egyptians start employing lightly-armed L-29 Delfin training aircraft in ground attack missions - literally sending everything they got. IAF Mirages keep shooting down many of the Egyptian aircraft, while the A-4s, F-4s and Super Mysteres execute more ground attack missions as the Egyptian SAM belt keeps shrinking. In order to warn Israel to stop the IDF advancement, Soviet MoD Grechko approves the imploring Egyptians to launch 3 Scud-B ballistic missiles at Israeli targets in Sinai - two at the Israeli bridgehead area and one at Al-Arish AFB, where the Egyptians mistakenly believe that US cargo planes are unloading supplies. One Scud hits IDF 410th armored battalion (of the 600th armored brigade, 143rd armored division) logistics and kills 7 soldiers. One of the dead is a tanker who, after surviving the battle for Objective Missouri, was sent to the battalion's rear as he was told that his twin brother (who served in the 409th battalion of the same brigade) is MIA since the battle for Objective Hamadiya on October 9th. One month later, the twin brother's remains were recovered from his burnt M60A1, found among the dunes near Hamadiya. UN resolution calls for a ceasefire in the evening, but the Egyptians violate the ceasefire and the Israelis, who are not yet fully satisfied with their achievements, get back advancing again in order to complete the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army.
  10. M48A5 cut in half, interiors explained Israeli Armor Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun
  11. IDF breach into Egypt, October 19th-20th: October 19th: IDF 162nd armored division (solid blue): IDF 217th armored brigade heads west from Objective Arrel, assaults and captures Objective Maktzerah, assisted by 401st armored brigade (of the 252nd armored division) covering fire from the northern flank. An Egyptian artillery regiment is wiped out in Maktzerah. Later on, the 217th heads south on Vadaoot road towards Vadaoot - Vitamin junction and Jabal Umm Kathib and engages Egyptian 2nd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division, 3rd field army) tanks at Objective Mitznefet. IDF 460th and 500th armored brigades bypass Tzach Junction from the south and rapidly advance SW towards Vadaoot - Vitamin junction and Jabal Umm Kathib, raiding SAM sites 6018, 6017, 5920, 5917, 5916, 5816 and 5718 (which is on Jabal Ash-Shihabi) on their way. The SAM sites in this area, some of which are found empty, belong to the Egyptian 105th heavy SAM brigade. At the same time, the 100th armored battalion south to engage Fayid airbase. North of Jabal Umm Kathib, IDF 460th armored brigade stays to engage the Egyptian 2nd armored brigade in Objective Mitznefet on the western flank at 3-4 kms range. The 217th and the 500th armored brigades start advancing SE towards Jabal Ganifa. At night, the 460th brigade parks near Vadaoot - Vitamin junction, the 500th brigade parks SW of SAM site 5617, the 217th brigade parks between SAM sites 5617 and 5620 and the 162nd division HQ is near SAM site 5717. The 100th armored battalion is replaced near Fayid airbase by the 86th mechanized infantry battalion and rejoins the 460th brigade near Vadaoot - Vitamin junction by morning. All in all, the 162nd division forces destroyed 6 Egyptian SAM sites on October 19th. IDF 252nd armored division (solid green): At dawn, the 252nd division forces cross the Suez Canal and advance west. IDF 401st armored brigade heads west and covers the 217th armored brigade (of the 162nd armored division) assault on Objective Maktzerah from the northern flank. Later on, its 46th armored battalion advances west towards SAM site 6115, but repelled by Egyptian armor in a battle during which the 46th battalion CO is injured. The Egyptian forces at the Aida Plains - Ridan Al-Hama area are remnants of the 23th armored and 116th mechanized infantry brigades (of the 3rd and 23rd mechanized infantry divisions respectively), as well as of the fresh 35th independent armored brigade. IDF 164th armored brigade assaults and captures Tzach Junction, in a battle during which the 183th armored battalion attacks the Egyptian Tzach Junction defenders from their rear, from west to east. Later on the 183rd heads west on Saqranoot road and parks near Saqranoot - Vadaoot junction, SW of Maktzerah, while the 106th armored battalion keeps heading south on Havit road (the Treaty Road) and parks north of Fayid airbase. IDF 143rd armored division (solid blue): IDF 14th armored brigade hands over the Chinese Farm area to the 410th armored battalion (of the 600th armored brigade) and crosses the canal with the 79th armored, 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance, 424th infantry reconnaissance battalions and TF Shmulik. The 184th armored battalions remain at Laqeqan for now. The 14th armored brigade assaults and captures Objective Urcha and Serapeum from west to east, despite heavy Egyptian resistance causing heavy losses for the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion. In addition to a single commando battalion from the 129th regiment, the Egyptians employ a 57 mm S-60 AAA battery, which proves to be deadly for the Israeli BTR-50s. After the battle, the 14th armored brigade is reinforced with the 582nd paratrooper reconnaissance battalion. While IDF 599th armored battalion stays near Objective Geshira and blocks Egyptian troops from retreating north, IDF 421st armored brigade sends its 264th armored battalion to advance north on the Treaty Road and engage SAM sites 6620 and 6617 (empty). Later on, the 264th battalion returns south and parks west of Objective Geshira, north of Objective Maktzerah. At night, the 264th battalion is awakened by over 100 retreating Egyptian troops and inflicts heavy losses upon them. IDF 247th and 35th paratrooper brigades advance north and clear the close terrain on the western bank of the canal, scattered with Egyptian fortifications and firing ramparts. IDF 600th armored brigade takes command of the whole northern flank of the Israeli bridgehead east of the canal, facing the Egyptian 16th infantry and 21st armored divisions. The 600th brigade slowly advances northwards, with its 410th and 409th armored battalions west and east of Lexicon road respectively. The 409th battalion engages Televiziya and southern Missouri, while the 410th faces heavier resistance west of Lexicon road. IDF TF Nammer (solid blue): IDF 429th armored battalion, now under the 274th armored brigade, assaults the Egyptian 112th infantry brigade in Objective Hamutal. It is the first time that mechanized infantry (one company, on halftracks) is employed alongside IDF tanks assaulting Objective Hamutal. The 429th manages to clear Talisman - Photon junction and eastern Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan), but suffers losses and fails to capture western Hamutal (Abu Waqfa). Egyptian 150th paratrooper brigade and 131st commando regiment are rushed to Ismailia - Serapeum area from the Egyptian rear. Egyptian 3rd armored and 1st mechanized infantry brigades (of the 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry divisions respectively) remnants cross the canal from Sinai back to Egypt and head NW, in order to confront the advancing Israeli armor. Egyptian artillery and AF keep pounding the Israeli bridgehead. IDF 605th crossing battalion CO is injured by an airstrike. EAF MiGs suffer heavy losses to IAF Mirages in massive air-to-air combats. October 20th: IDF 162nd armored division (dashed blue): IDF 500th armored brigade (reinforced with the 198th armored battalion from the 460th armored brigade) rapidly advances east and SE, towards Jabal Ganifa, and destroys 6 SAM sites: 5620, 5622, 5421, 5423, 5323, 5324 (dummy). SAM site 5621 was destroyed by IAF airstrike on October 17th. The SAM sites in this area belong to the Egyptian 97th heavy SAM brigade. IDF 217th armored brigade (reinforced with the 19th armored battalion from the 460th armored brigade) rapidly advances SE in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra and cuts off Asor road, destroying 3 SAM sites on its way: 5321 (on Jabal Gharra), 5121 and 5020. IDF 460th armored brigade keeps engaging the Egyptian 2nd armored brigade forces at Objective Mitznefet on the western flank, while its 100th armored battalion raids SAM sites 5615 (on Jabal Umm Kathib, mistakenly marked 5317) and 5416. Egyptian 6th mechanized infantry brigade (mistakenly marked as armored, of the 4th armored division) forces retreat southwards from Objective Bologna. After the 252nd armored division forces arrive from the north, the 460th armored brigade positions are taken by the 401st armored brigade and the 460th is sent eastwards, passing by Jabal Al-Qitt and Jabal Shabrawit, in order to clear the coastline of the Greater Bitter Lake, where the close terrain (Fanara area) is utilized by the enemy to put up heavy resistance. In addition to Egyptian 207th armored battalion (of the 2nd armored brigade) remnants, the enemy forces there include the Palestinian 107th infantry brigade and the Kuwaiti Al-Yarmouk infantry battalion. To reinforce its 86th mechanized infantry, 100th and 196th armored battalions, IDF 460th armored brigade gets its 198th armored battalion back from the 500th armored brigade, as well as the 50th paratrooper battalion. The 50th paratrooper battalion, from the 35th paratrooper brigade, had left the Golan Heights on October 18th and now joins in the Egyptian theater. The halftrack-mounted paratroopers clear the close terrain alongside the 86th mechanized infantry battalion, while the 198th armored battalion descends from Jabal Ganifa assaults the Egyptian rear SE of Fanara, but gets blocked by a heavy Sagger barrage. IDF 252nd armored division (dashed green): IDF 106th armored battalion (of the 164th armored brigade), attached with a paratrooper company of the 50th battalion, captures Fayid airbase. Shortly later, the IAF starts operating Fayid airbase for cargo airplanes and helicopters. IDF 401st armored brigade and 183th armored battalion (of the 164th armored brigade) head south and replace the 460th armored brigade near Jabal Umm Kathib at noon, securing Vadaoot - Vitamin junction and the western Israeli flank. The opposing force is the Egyptian 2nd armored brigade, deployed at Objective Mitznefet. An Egyptian tank company assault is repelled by the 195th armored battalion. IDF 143rd armored division (dashed blue): IDF 14th armored and 35th paratrooper brigades advance further north and clear the close terrain on the western bank of the canal, which is scattered with Egyptian fortifications and firing ramparts. The opposing forces, of the Egyptian 150th paratrooper brigade and 131st commando regiment, put up light resistance. SAM site 6521 is captured by the IDF, after it was destroyed by IAF airstrike on October 17th. IDF 79th armored battalion engages Egyptian targets in Sinai across the canal, assisting the 410th armored battalion of the 600th armored brigade. The Egyptian artillery is gradually pushed back, away from the Israeli bridgehead. IDF 184th armored battalion crosses the canal and rejoins the 14th armored brigade. The 184th and 88th battalions advance northwards on the Treaty Road and capture SAM site 6620. Egyptian 118th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 23rd mechanized infantry division) prepares to defend Ismailia - Abu Suwayr airbase, taking positions along the Freshwater Canal. IDF 421st armored brigade hands over its positions on the Treaty Road to 14th armored brigade forces (184th and 88th battalions). The 264th armored battalion rapidly advances NW and captures Vadaoot - Arzel junction (and SAM site 6516, raided on October 18th by 217th armored brigade elements). IDF 599th armored battalion heads SW, through Maktzerah, and replaces the 252nd armored division forces near Saqranoot - Vadaoot junction. IDF 600th armored brigade keeps slowly advancing northwards, pushing the Egyptian 16th infantry and 21st armored division remnants, with its 410th and 409th armored battalions west and east of Lexicon road respectively. The fighting west of Lexicon road is heavier and the 410th battalion XO is injured, but the 410th, assisted by IDF tanks and paratroopers from the western bank of the canal, manages to advance further north and engages Objective Missouri from west to east. The 409th battalion clears the last Egyptian troops in Amir and engages southern Missouri. IDF 626th crossing regiment launches a third bridge over the canal, improvised by the 605th crossing battalion using modified wheeled pontoons. This new bridge, established where the Gillois carriers used to operate, is nicknamed The Austerity Bridge. Some claim that these modified wheeled pontoons, developed before the war by a local initiative, should have been regarded as the reliable, prime crossing equipment instead of the Cylinder Bridge. IDF 634th crossing battalion leaves the bridgehead area, after salvaging its sunken Gillois carriers from the canal. IDF TF Nammer (dashed blue): IDF 429th armored battalion retreats from Kathib Ayfan to Objective Ziona at dawn. Later on, the 429th is ordered to leave Ziona, cross the Suez Canal and rejoin the 162nd armored division in Africa. Its positions in Ziona are taken by TF Atzloot of the 274th armored brigade. TF Atzloot, comprising two Tiran tank and two mechanized infantry companies, is commanded by the 227th armored battalion XO. The sector held by the 274th brigade is now wider than the sector held by the 162nd division prior to Operation Abirey Lev. IAF destroys the 6 Egyptian 95th heavy SAM brigade sites at the Ismailia - Abu Suwayr airbase area, suffering no losses.
  12. Iarmor

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    Valley of Tears, December 1973
  13. Israeli Armor School exercise in the Negev desert - 1989: The tanks are Magach 6M (M60) and Shot Cal D (Centurion). Note the Armor School instructor chair on top.
  14. Night of October 17th-18th: IDF 162nd armored division crosses the Suez Canal over the Uniflote pontoon bridge, with its 460th and 217th armored brigades and artillery (including M109s of the 899th medium artillery battalion). The first 460th brigade tanks drive too fast and the bridge breaks down, but repaired shortly after using a M60 AVLB from the 421st armored brigade. The 198th armored battalion returns to the 460th armored brigade from the 14th armored brigade. Egyptian 16th infantry brigade (16th infantry division) completes its retreat north of Tirtur road, due to the heavy losses it had suffered, lack of supplies (its logistics were destroyed by the IDF 14th armored brigade on the night of October 15th-16th) and IDF advancement west of the canal. October 18th: IDF 162nd armored division: IDF 460th armored brigade captures Objective Uri despite heavy resistance by Egyptian 129th regiment commandos (eventually cleared by IDF paratroopers from the 247th brigade), but its assault on Tzach Junction (19th, 100th, 198th armored battalions) on the Treaty Road (code named Havit) is repelled by Egyptian 116th mechanized infantry brigade forces (mistakenly marked on the map as the 23rd brigade from the 3rd division). Later on, IDF 198th armored battalion heads SW, crosses the Treaty Road and raids SAM site 5920. IDF 196th armored battalion repels an Egyptian 207th armored battalion (2nd armored brigade, 4th armored division, 3rd field army) assault south of Abu Sultan. Many Egyptian T-55s get stuck in the mud of the agricultural area. IDF 217th armored brigade (126th, 142nd and 113th armored battalions, marked in green) advances NW through Abu Sultan Camps, destroys counterattacking Egyptian 23rd armored brigade forces (injuring the Egyptian brigade CO) and captures Objective Arrel on the Treaty Road, but its losses are heavy and the road leading to Arrel (code named Haifa) is still blocked by the Egyptian 129th regiment commandos. The Egyptian 23rd armored brigade (mistakenly marked as mechanized infantry), which is the only armored brigade of the Egyptian strategic reserve - the 3rd mechanized infantry division, is left with only 8 combat-ready tanks. Later on, IDF 126th armored battalion is sent further NW (off the map) to raid SAM sites 6516 and 6413A (aka Objective Matzlema A). Haifa road is eventually cleared by IDF paratroopers (TF Shmulik) at night. IDF 143rd armored division: IDF 421st armored brigade (all of its tanks have crossed to Africa by now, but some are with the 247th paratrooper brigade) heads north, turns NW through Abu Sultan Camps and reaches Geshira compound on the Treaty Road. The Egyptian resistance is light and their losses are heavy - tanks, SAM site 6321 (run-over by IDF 599th armored battalion) and an artillery regiment (run-over by IDF 264th armored battalion). IDF 247th paratrooper brigade, reinforced with some 421st brigade tanks, holds Deversoir - Abu Sultan area. Its forces clear Uri of Egyptian commandos and engage Egyptian 182nd paratrooper brigade forces (81st and 89th paratrooper battalions) at the northern flank of the bridgehead. IDF 14th armored brigade (mistakenly marked on the map as the 143rd brigade): IDF 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion assaults eastwards and captures the Chinese Farm's water pump building, followed by the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion which captures Objective Amir itself with heavy artillery support. The Egyptian resistance is very light, as opposed to earlier battles. The Egyptian 16th infantry division CO is injured during the fighting. IDF 184th and 79th armored battalions assault northwards, between the canal and Lexicon road. Many destroyed Egyptian vehicles are scattered in the area and its difficult to spot the active T-55s, some of which are entrenched and others are hiding behind dead ones. Helped by a mistaken EAF strike on the Egyptian positions, IDF 184th battalion advances several kms on the eastern bank of the canal, despite suffering losses. East of the 184th, the 79th advances a shorter distance due to heavy Egyptian resistance. IDF observe a steady flow of Egyptian soldiers who flee west from Missouri and cross back to Africa. Egyptian 21st armored division is reinforced with the 24th armored brigade, that joins in from the 2nd infantry division sector, and with whatever is left of the 16th infantry division tanks. IDF 600th armored brigade (409th and 410th armored battalions) clears Tirtur road after the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade retreat, evacuating dozens of IDF 890th battalion paratrooper bodies (and a few wounded but still alive) from the October 16th-17th night battle. Tirtur road is open for movement. IDF 410th battalion tanks tow the Cylinder Bridge (605th crossing battalion) to the canal on Tirtur road, lead by Shermans with dozer blades (606th armored assault engineer battalion) and bulldozers. Egyptian artillery and aircraft fail to damage the bridge and it is finally pushed to the Suez Canal at night, north of Matzmed. IDF 409th armored battalion assaults NW, engaging every Egyptian vehicle left active among the many destroyed ones, and stops east of Amir after suffering losses to landmines, Saggers and an airstrike. A downed EAF fighter jet crashes on the 600th brigade CO tank - one wing crashes to the left side of the tank and the fuselage to its right side, but the tank and its crew are OK. IDF 500th armored brigade (430th and 433rd armored battalions) heads SW on Akavish road, crosses and rejoins the 162nd armored division in the evening. During the crossing, two Shot Cals of the 430th battalion sink into the canal and 6 of the tankers drown, after their Gillois carrier is directly hit by Egyptian artillery. Only a single Gillois carrier remains operational. IDF 630th crossing battalion leaves the bridgehead area and its place is taken by the 605th crossing battalion. IDF 429th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade) holds Ziona, now under TF Nammer. Egyptian 112th infantry brigade troops take positions near Talisman - Photon junction, SE of Kathib Ayfan (the map still depicts the front Egyptian line at Abu Waqfa). IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (from the 143rd and 162nd division respectively) are north of Akavish road, between At-Tasa and Hamadiya. IDF 270th rocket artillery battalion CO is killed by Egyptian artillery. IDF 252nd armored division (downsized), with its 401st and 164th armored brigades (each with just two battalions), leaves the southern sector for the central sector, in order to join in and cross the Suez Canal as well. TF Garnit, commanded by Israel Garnit, the 252nd division chief of staff, is established in order to take command of the southern sector (off the map) and face the Egyptian 7th and 19th infantry divisions (of the 3rd field army) alongside TF Ayalon (of the 440th armored division). TF Garnit includes the 202nd paratrooper and 52nd armored battalions (with the 401st armored brigade XO) and the 875th mechanized infantry brigade (reinforced with the 104th armored battalion of the 164th armored brigade). After the 875th brigade CO and XO are injured by artillery (the CO was also injured during the 1967 war in the Golan, while commanding a Sherman battalion), the 164th brigade CO is ordered to stay in Sinai and take command of the 875th brigade, while the 252nd division XO is ordered to take command of the 164th brigade and lead it into Africa. Thanks to reconnaissance images obtained by Soviet satellites and MiG-25s, the Egyptians realize at last how massive and dangerous the Israeli crossing operation really is. Egyptian artillery, fighter jets and transport helicopters (dropping explosive barrels) constantly strike the Israeli bridgehead, which is defended by IAF Mirages and two AAA battalions. EAF executes 32 strike sorties and 342 interception sorties, losing 23 jets (including Libyan Mirage 5s operating from Tanta AFB) and 7 helicopters. One EAF Mi-6 shot down by IDF 599th battalion CO tank with a 105 mm main gun round. IDF 143rd armored division engineer officer is killed by artillery and the Southern Command engineer officer (the only IDF officer familiar with the designated route for towing the Cylinder Bridge) is killed when he tackles Egyptian FOs hiding near the crossing yard. Off the map, the IAF executes 81 SEAD sorties and destroys the 6 Egyptian 107th heavy SAM brigade sites deployed between Al-Qantara, Al-Balah Island and As-Salakhiya AFB, losing 2 F-4s and 4 A-4s. Despite they were known to be much more vulnerable, the A-4s were sent in due to the heavy losses suffered by the F-4 squadrons so far.
  15. October 17th: Some of the Egyptian forces identified by IDF intelligence, based on aerial reconnaissance: 2nd field army: 2nd infantry division sector: 77 MBTs, 95 destroyed MBTs, 45 APCs, 24 artillery batteries. 16th infantry division sector: 121 MBTs, 254 destroyed MBTs, 111 APCs, 23 artillery batteries. West of Al-Qantara - Ismailia: 38 MBTs, 53 APCs, 8 artillery batteries. Ridan Al-Hama - Abu Sultan: 74 MBTs. 3rd field army: 7th infantry division sector: 160 MBTs, 47 destroyed MBTs, 60 APCs, 33 artillery batteries. 19th infantry division sector: 123 MBTs, 106 destroyed MBTs, 80 APCs, 40 artillery batteries. West of Suez: 19 MBTs, 23 APCs. Operation Abirey Lev continues: IDF 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion (6 PT-76s, 14 BTR-50s) arrives in the morning to Laqeqan from Ceylon (At-Tasa) through Akavish road, without an order to do so, and joins the 14th armored brigade. Dayan, Elazar, Bar-Lev, Sharon and Adan have a crucial discussion east of Kishuf, known as The War Council in the Sands. Sharon demands that more of his forces would be authorized to cross, but the demand is refused. The 162nd armored division is ordered to destroy the Egyptian 25th armored brigade and then cross when a full bridge is ready. Additional 143rd armored division forces would follow only after the Cylinder Bridge is launched. After the discussion, Dayan tours the western bank alongside Sharon. Egyptian 25th independent armored brigade (T-62 and BTR-50, attached to the 7th infantry division of the 3rd field army) advances north in a long column on Lexicon road, along the Bitter Lakes coastline, in order to assault the Israeli bridgehead southern flank. The Egyptian brigade's rearguard is engaged by IDF 183th armored battalion (of the 164th armored brigade, 252nd armored division) tanks east of the deserted Botzer IDF front-line stronghold. IDF 410th armored battalion force (4 M60A1s), positioned at Horvah second-line post, observes the Egyptians and repels an Egyptian attempt to advance towards the Artillery Road. The Egyptian brigade vanguard is blocked south of Laqeqan by a company-sized force from the IDF 79th armored battalion (407th and 87th battalion remnants) alongside the 14th brigade CO tank. IDF 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion PT-76s also fire some rounds, but with no effect on the T-62 armor. Later on, IDF 217th armored brigade (downsized - just the 126th and 113th battalions) jumps in on the Egyptian eastern flank and decimates the entire Egyptian elite brigade. Lastly, IDF 500th armored brigade (downsized - just the 430th and 433rd battalions) joins in the battle shortly before it ends, as well as the 142nd armored battalion, which returns to the 217th brigade from the 460th brigade. The Egyptian 25th independent armored brigade, including its field and AA artillery battalions, is decimated. Its remnants (about a company-sized force), including the brigade CO on his own tank, escape to Botzer stronghold. Over 50 Egyptian T-62s are burning along the coastline of the Bitter Lakes, alongside many other Egyptian vehicles. The only IDF losses are 4 Shot Cals which entered a minefield near Botzer while the 430th battalion was chasing the Egyptian remnants. Egyptian 1st armored and 18th mechanized infantry brigades (21st armored division) assault the Israeli bridgehead northern flank west of Lexicon road. The assault is repelled by IDF 198th armored battalion (the map confuses it with the 184th), which is reinforced with a company from the 599th armored battalion, and the Egyptians retreat back north with heavy losses. Later on, IDF 184th armored battalion returns to Chic road, replacing the 198th which is sent to resupply at Laqeqan. The Egyptian 21st armored division is reinforced with a tank battalion from the 24th armored brigade (originally from the 23rd mechanized infantry division, but attached to the 2nd infantry division since the outbreak of the war), while the tank battalion of the 18th mechanized infantry brigade is attached to the 16th infantry division. IDF 600th armored brigade is now attached to the 162nd armored division. After engaging the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade, the 409th armored battalion repels an Egyptian 3rd mechanized infantry brigade counterattack south of Televiziya, while the 410th armored battalion keeps training with the Cylinder bridge, between Hamadiya and Akavish road. At the evening, the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade finally starts leaving its foxholes and retreats north from Tirtur road, after taking heavy artillery and tank fire from the IDF 460th armored brigade (196th, 100th, 142nd battalions) and 600th armored brigade (409th battalion). Akavish road is open for movement. IDF 599th armored battalion (downsized) crosses the canal, along with the 264th armored battalion tanks (XO's TF) that were used to tow the Uniflote pontoon barges. All 421st armored brigade tanks are now in Africa, except for a single company from the 599th battalion (reinforced with a platoon from the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion), which is attached to the 14th armored brigade. Egyptian 23rd mechanized infantry division HQ assumes command of the 2nd field army forces on the western bank south of Ismailia. Due to the heavy losses it had suffered, the 116th mechanized infantry brigade is unable to attack effectively, so the 23rd armored brigade (3rd mechanized infantry division) and 85th paratrooper battalion (182nd paratrooper brigade) take the lead and assault east towards Abu Sultan - Deversoir. The Egyptian assault is repelled with heavy losses near Abu Sultan by IDF 421st armored brigade and 582nd paratrooper reconnaissance battalion forces. IDF 599th armored battalion secures the Bailey bridge over the Freshwater Canal east of Abu Sultan. IDF 565th paratrooper battalion (247th paratrooper brigade) assaults Serapeum with 8 halftracks and 2 M48s, but repelled by the Egyptian 73rd commando battalion (129th commando regiment). The paratroopers from the leading halftrack get trapped in one of the village houses with little ammo, later rescued by the 416th paratrooper battalion. IDF 626th crossing regiment establishes a full bridge by the afternoon, connecting the Uniflote pontoons. IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (143rd and 162nd divisions respectively) are north of Akavish road, between Ceylon (At-Tasa) and Hamadiya. IDF 55th heavy artillery battalion (M107) redeploys back to Sinai from the Golan, joining the battery it had left behind in Sinai when it was sent to the Golan in September. Now 3 out of 4 IDF M107 battalions are in Sinai (the 55th, 329th, 647th) and one is in the Golan (the 412th). IDF stocks of 175 mm shells are depleted, but more are supplied under Operation Nickel Grass. In the meanwhile, some 175 mm barrels are replaced by 203 mm barrels, making them M110s. Almost all BM-24 rockets were depleted as well. IDF 429th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade) holds Ziona. IAF executes 17 SEAD sorties and destroys two Egyptian SAM sites, 6521 and 5621. In addition, 6-7 EAF MiGs are shot down. After the Egyptian intelligence finds out that the Israeli MoD is visiting the Israeli forces in Africa, EAF transport helicopters bomb the Israeli bridgehead with explosive barrels, targeting Dayan with no success. The Egyptian artillery barrages also intensify, and the IDF 630th crossing battalion CO is among the injured.
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