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Iarmor

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  1. Iarmor

    We love photos

    Valley of Tears, December 1973
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a single artillery battalion from its 215th artillery regiment. 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 takes 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 the camps of Abu Sultan, destroys counterattacking Egyptian 23rd armored brigade forces (injuring the Egyptian brigade CO) and takes Arrel compound 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 Matzlema A). Haifa road is eventually cleared by IDF paratroopers (TF Shmulik) at night. IDF 143rd armored division: IDF 421st armored brigade (264th and 599th armored battalions. All 421st brigade tanks are now in Africa) heads north, turns NW through the camps of Abu Sultan and reaches Geshira compound on The Treaty Road. The Egyptian resistance is light and the losses are heavy - tanks, SAM site 6321 (599th battalion) and an artillery regiment (264th 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 takes the Chinese Farm's water pump building, followed by the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion which takes Amir itself with heavy artillery support. The Egyptian resistance is very light, as opposed to earlier battles. Egyptian 16th infantry division CO gets injured. 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 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 429th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade) holds Ziona, now under TF Nammer. IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (from the 143rd and 162nd division respectively) are north of Akavish road, between At-Tasa and Hamadiya. 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 (3rd field army) alongside TF Ayalon (of the 440th armored division). TF Garnit includes the 52nd and 104th armored battalions (from the 401st and 164th armored brigades respectively) and the 875th mechanized infantry 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. The 401st brigade XO also stays in Sinai, alongwith the 52nd battalion. Thanks to Soviet satellite and MiG-25 reconnaissance images, the Egyptians realize at last how massive and dangerous the Israeli crossing operation really is. Egyptian artillery, fighter jets and cargo 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's engineering officer is killed by artillery, and his replacement (the only IDF officer familiar with the designated route for 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.
  4. October 17th: 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 rearguard is engaged by IDF 183th armored battalion (164th armored brigade, 252nd armored division) 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 Bitter Lakes coastline, among many other Egyptian vehicles. IDF losses sum up to 4 Shot Cals, that 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 IDF 460th armored brigade (196th, 100th, 142nd battalions) and IDF 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 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 cargo helicopters bomb the Israeli bridgehead with explosive barrels, targeting Dayan with no success. The Egyptian artillery barrages also intensify, and IDF 630th crossing battalion CO is among the injured.
  5. The paratrooper battle on the night of October 16th-17th: IDF intelligence reports that Egyptian armor is about to assault the Israeli bridgehead with several brigades, from the south and from the north, east and west of the canal. The associated Egyptian formations are the 25th independent armored brigade (T-62s, attached to the 7th infantry division), 24th armored brigade (attached to the 2nd infantry division from the 23rd mechanized infantry division), 116th mechanized brigade (23rd mechanized infantry division) and 2nd armored brigade (4th armored division). IDF 143rd armored division: IDF 247th paratrooper and 421st armored brigades are at Deversoir - Abu Sultan. IDF 599th armored battalion bypasses Akavish road and advances to Laqeqan, after a long night navigation through the sands south of Kishuf (Jabal Khubayta). The 599th arrives to the crossing area at dawn and crosses the canal over the Gillois carriers (634th crossing battalion), along with supplies (on halftracks, as trucks couldn't go through the sands) for the forces in Africa. Half of the 264th armored battalion (XO's TF) is with the Uniflote pontoon barges (630th crossing battalion) on Akavish road, under the 162nd armored division. After a mechanized infantry company from the 460th armored brigade reports that Akavish road is open, the pontoons are towed to the bridgehead. IDF 14th armored brigade is between Chic road and Laqeqan. Under its command, on the northern flank, the 198th armored battalion (attached from the 460th armored brigade) defends Chic road, west of Amir. The 198th repels an Egyptian infantry assault at dawn and prepares for the Egyptian armor attack expected to come from the north. 407th armored battalion remnants (from the 600th armored brigade), as a company under the 79th armored battalion, is deployed south of Laqeqan, preparing to block the Egyptian armor expected to attack from the south. IDF 600th armored brigade HQ is at Hamadiya. Its 409th armored battalion is facing Missouri, south of Televiziya, while the 410th armored battalion is with the Cylinder Bridge (605th crossing battalion) near Akavish road. 4 M60A1s from the 410th battalion observe the Bitter Lakes area from Horvah second-line post. IDF 162nd armored division: IDF 35th paratrooper brigade HQ arrives in helicopters from Ras Sudr with its 890th battalion, but without its heavy weapons (mortars, RRs, HMGs). After receiving misleading intelligence report about Egyptian "tank hunter" presence on Tirtur road, the 890th advances in a wide-spread formation in order to clear the Tirtur roadsides. Instead of some scattered commando/AT teams, the paratroopers are surprised to find the entrenched Egyptian 16th infantry battalion (16th infantry brigade, 16th infantry division), with T-54s, mortars and Goryunov machine guns, which had previously repelled the 599th armored battalion assault. The 890th takes heavy losses and eventually retreats, leaving wounded men behind (would be later evacuated by 460th armored brigade elements). IDF 460th armored brigade: In the meanwhile, south of the Tirtur road battle, a mechanized infantry company runs back and forth on Akavish road without taking Sagger fire (its night again). As described, the Uniflote pontoon barges (630th and 605th crossing battalions) are then towed to Laqeqan and from there to Matzmed. IDF 100th armored battalion assaults the Egyptian 16th infantry battalion in Tirtur road at dawn, from east to west, in order to rescue the 890th battalion. The assault is repelled with heavy Sagger fire. The paratroopers bravely climb on the burning M48s to extract the wounded tankers, but exploding ammunition increases the casualty toll. Afterwards, IDF 100th and 142nd armored battalions engage the Egyptian 16th infantry battalion, without assaulting but with artillery support, and evacuate the wounded in a series of heroic single-M113 trips. IDF 217th armored brigade (downsized) is deployed behind Kathib Al-Habashi (kathib means sand dune), preparing to ambush the Egyptian 25th independent armored brigade expected to attack the bridgehead from the south. IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (143rd and 162nd divisions respectively) are north of Akavish road, between Ceylon (At-Tasa) and Hamadiya. IDF 429th armored battalion is at Ziona. IDF 500th armored brigade is kept as reserve on the Lateral Road, south of Ceylon (At-Tasa).
  6. Operation Abirey Lev continues, October 16th: Egyptian 16th infantry division is deployed at western Hamutal (Abu Waqfa), Makhshir (Kathib Al-Khayl - Kathib Abu Tarabush), Televiziya, Missouri, Amir (Al-Gala'a farm, aka The Chinese Farm) and Tirtur road. After the morning fog clears, the daylight allows effective use of Sagger ATGMs against IDF armor. Egyptian 21st armored division repeatedly keeps counterattacking the IDF 14th armored brigade forces from north to south, west of Amir, but fails and suffers heavy losses. IDF 143rd armored division: IDF 247th paratrooper brigade: The 247th brigade expands the Israeli bridgehead in the agricultural area on the western bank, advancing by the clay huts, irrigation canals and tangled vegetation - mango plantations, corn fields, orchards, palm trees - totally different than the arid open desert where the fighting took place so far. The 416th paratrooper battalion crosses and joins the 565th paratrooper battalion, which was the first to cross during the night. IDF 421st armored brigade: IDF 257th armored battalion leaves the broken Cylinder Bridge and advances SW on Akavish road towards Matzmed. After taking Egyptian Sagger fire from Tirtur road (CO is wounded), the battalion bypasses Akavish road through the sands SE of it, reaches Matzmed through Laqeqan (Tell Salam) and crosses the canal by Gillois carriers (634th crossing battalion). One company joins the 264th battalion, the other joins the 247th brigade and the 257th battalion is written-off the ORBAT table. IDF 599th armored battalion is handed over to the 14th armored brigade. It tries to clear Tirtur road from NE to SW, but retreats after taking heavy Sagger fire from the Egyptian 16th infantry battalion (16th infantry brigade, 16th infantry division), as well as fratricide fire from IDF 409th armored battalion. After this battle, the 599th CO demands not to fight under the 14th brigade CO ever again. IDF 264th armored battalion (CO's TF), with the brigade HQ, takes Deversoir airfield with light resistance and then raids 5 Egyptian SAM emplacements in the open desert west of the agricultural area, destroying 4 of the Egyptian 106th heavy SAM brigade sites: 6120, 6218 (empty), 6316, 6148, 6149. During the raid it also destroys a reinforced Egyptian battalion from the 116th mechanized infantry brigade (and kills the brigade CO), which was heading east on the road south of Maktzerah, as well as many soft-skins along the way. The 421st brigade force west of the canal is ordered to return to Deversoir - Abu Sultan due to the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade presence on Tirtur road and due to the undesirable reliance on Gillois carriers, which makes the Israeli bridgehead appear unstable for now. One M48 platoon and one M113 platoon secure the concrete bridge over the Freshwater Canal south of Abu Sultan. The other half of the 264th battalion (XO's TF) is still stuck on Akavish road with the pontoon barges. IDF 600th armored brigade: IDF 409th armored battalion is handed over to the 14th armored brigade and engages Televiziya, Missouri and Amir at long ranges. After taking losses from Saggers launched from Televiziya (Egyptian 3rd mechanized infantry brigade), the 409th returns back to the 600th brigade at Hamadiya. IDF 410th armored battalion prepares to tow the now-fixed (6 hours of work) Cylinder Bridge (605th crossing battalion), after the 257th armored battalion (421st brigade) had left the bridge broken and had been sent to battle. However, Tirtur road is still blocked by the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade. IDF 14th armored brigade: The heavily-beaten 14th brigade takes command of the 409th and 599th armored battalions, from the 600th and 421st armored brigades respectively, in order for them to assault the Egyptian forces on Tirtur road from the north and NE. As described earlier, the 409th returns to Hamadiya after taking losses and engaging the 599th, while the 599th assaults through Tirtur road but retreats at some point due to heavy Egyptian resistance. Tirtur - Lexicon junction is finally taken by a company from the 407th battalion (the one which was split between the 424th infantry battalion and TF Shmulik), with the brigade CO tank and some other remnants. Due to the heavy losses, the 87th armored reconnaissance and 407th armored battalion remnants (10-15 M60A1s each) join the 79th and 184th armored battalions, while the 87th and 407th are written-off the ORBAT table. IDF 79th armored battalion is sent to recover at Laqeqan. As IDF intelligence report suggests that Egyptian 3rd field army armor might assault the Israeli bridgehead from its southern flank, one company (of the 407th battalion remnants) deploys on Lexicon road south of Laqeqan, facing south, along with the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion. IDF 184th armored battalion repels another Egyptian 21st armored division assault in the morning, and later it is sent to recover at Laqeqan, while its positions on Chic road are handed over to the 198th armored battalion (attached from the 460th armored brigade). IDF 143rd armored division CO Sharon is slightly wounded in his forehead while evading Egyptian artillery in his M113. A bloodied white head bandage adds to his legendary heroic image and to the fighting spirit of his admiring troops. There are claims that Sharon was targeted after the Egyptian intelligence had located him by intercepting IDF radio communication. Shortly later, however, Egyptian forwards artillery observers were found hiding nearby. IDF 162nd armored division: IDF 460th armored brigade is ordered to send its 198th armored battalion to cross the canal on the Gillois carriers, as the division's vanguard in Africa. Since Akavish road is jammed, the 198th battalion bypasses Akavish road by following the 14th armored brigade trail through the sands between the Artillery road and Laqeqan. However, by the time the 198th reaches Matzmed, an order is given not to cross, because of the Israeli bridgehead apparent instability. Instead, the 198th battalion reinforces the 14th armored brigade and replaces the 184th battalion in its positions west of Amir, not before a fratricide incident. After the 143rd division had failed to do so, the 162nd division is ordered to clear Tirtur road, but receives no information from the 143rd regarding the opposing Egyptian force. IDF 126th armored battalion (217th armored brigade) assaults through Tirtur road from NE to SW, while the 100th armored battalion (460th armored brigade) engages the Egyptian defenders from its positions SE of Akavish, west of Kishuf (Jabal Khubayta). The ill-prepared assault is stopped after the 126th takes heavy Sagger fire. The 162nd division CO decides to wait for the 35th paratrooper brigade to arrive (on its way from Ras Sudr in helicopters) before further attacking. In the evening, preparing to ambush the Egyptian 3rd field army armor that is expected to attack the Israeli southern flank, IDF 217th armored brigade deploys to Edra (Kathib Al-Habashi) with two of its battalions (126th, 113th) and sends its reconnaissance further SW. Its 142nd armored battalion stays with the 460th armored brigade near Kishuf. IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (from the 143rd and 162nd divisions respectively) deploy near Akavish road, between Hamadiya and Ceylon (At-Tasa). IDF 429th armored battalion is at Ziona. IDF 500th armored brigade, with its 430th and 433rd armored battalions, is held as the Southern Command reserve on The Lateral Road, south of At-Tasa. Off the map, the IAF executes 39 SEAD sorties and destroys 4 more Egyptian SAM batteries in the Al-Gamil - Port Said - Port Fuad area, suffering no losses. These SAM batteries were brought there to replace the 3 batteries destroyed on October 10th, which were in turn brought there to replace the 5 batteries destroyed on October 8th. IDF 143rd division CO Sharon is criticized of over-optimistic reports during the night battle, as IDF generals realize the 143rd division cannot clear Tirtur road on its own. Sharon is angry about the order to hold the crossing until the bridgehead is stabilized. The Chief of General Staff Elazar asks to dismiss Sharon, but MoD Dayan refuses. By noon, the surprised Egyptians realize that Israeli tanks have crossed to Deversoir and destroyed some SAM sites, but the Israeli crossing is mistakenly regarded as just a small raid. The Egyptians haven't noticed that the IDF 162nd armored division had broken contact with the Egyptian 2nd infantry division (the 162nd division front-line positions were taken by the 274th armored brigade on October 13th) and is waiting for an order to cross to Deversoir. In order to replace the heavily-beaten 116th mechanized infantry brigade and to destroy the crossing Israeli force, the Egyptian 23rd armored brigade (3rd mechanized infantry division), 85th paratrooper battalion (182nd paratrooper brigade) and 73rd commando battalion (129th commando regiment) are rushed from the Egyptian rear towards the Israeli bridgehead area. EAF MiG-17s start bombing the Israeli bridgehead, which is defended by IAF Mirages and by the 207th and 208th SP AAA battalions (from the 143rd and 162nd divisions respectively, equipped with unguided twin 20 mm Hispano-Suiza guns mounted on halftracks). EAF executes 38 strike sorties and 306 interception sorties, losing 14 jets.
  7. In this case, Sharon's forehead had been slammed into the M113 interior when his APC was driving too fast into a pothole while evading Egyptian artillery. Aside of how close the strike is, artillery effectiveness also depends on the type of soil, assuming direct action fuse is used. In the IDF it was well known that the soft Sinai desert sands decrease artillery effectiveness, while in the Golan the basalt rock fragments can be as deadly as the shell fragments. BTW, some war veterans claim that the halftrack steel armor was more reliable than the M113 aluminium armor against artillery fragments, despite being thinner.
  8. Incautious M113 driving (under heavy enemy artillery, without driver periscopes) might cause some damage: (The head bandage, not the eye-patch)
  9. Perhaps a commander-dismount ability should be added for all vehicles. With all the implications (temporary vehicle "damage" etc.) built-in, and tanker looks for the dismounted TC.
  10. Iarmor

    We love photos

    IDF 252nd armored division M60s near At-Tasa, June 1975:
  11. October 15th: Northern sector: On the night of October 14th-15th, the Egyptian 103rd commando battalion, reinforced with an OT-62 company of the 135th independent infantry brigade landing from the sea, cuts off the road (code named Mikhpelet) SE of Budapest stronghold once again. Halftracked Israeli mechanized infantry forces (first a company from the 204th brigade, later a company from the 11th brigade) take heavy losses, but eventually wipe out the Egyptian force. This battle is not marked on the map. IDF TF Nammer sector is widened southwards, as it takes command of the 274th armored brigade. TF Nammer sector's southern border is still north of Hamutal, as opposed to what the map depicts. Egyptian 10th mechanized infantry brigade, of the 3rd mechanized infantry division, waits on the western side of the canal, west of Al-Qantara, to the rear of the 18th infantry division. Egyptian 23rd mechanized infantry division HQ (not marked on the map) and its 118th mechanized infantry brigade wait on the western side of the canal, north of Ismailia, to the rear of the 2nd infantry division. Central sector: IDF 143rd and 162nd armored divisions prepare for Operation Abirey Lev. Utilizing the gap found by the 87th armored reconnaissance battalion between the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade defenses and the Greater Bitter Lake on October 9th, the 143rd division is tasked with establishing a 4-km-wide bridgehead (Sagger range is 3 kms) by uprooting the Egyptians from the Amir - Missouri area, crossing the canal and heading west towards Aida Plains. It will be followed by the 162nd division, whose task is to head south towards Suez and the Suez-Cairo road after crossing, and to destroy the Egyptian 4th armored division. IDF 500th armored brigade is held as the Southern Command reserve near At-Tasa, with its 430th and 433rd armored battalions, while its 429th armored battalion holds Ziona under the 143rd armored division. The map mistakenly depicts the 429th under TF Nammer, which will take responsibility for the Hamutal - Ziona area only on October 18th. IDF reserve 247th paratrooper brigade, which was kept at the rear until now, joins in under the 143rd armored division, to cross first by rubber boats before the 143rd division tanks. As the Israeli forces and bridging equipment flow towards the central sector, enormous traffic jams are created around At-Tasa. Egyptian 116th mechanized infantry brigade, of the 23rd mechanized infantry division, awaits on the western side of the canal, south of Ismailia, to the rear of the 16th infantry and 21st armored divisions. Southern sector: IDF 252nd armored division faces the Egyptian 7th and 19th infantry divisions. Egyptian 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry (the 6th is not marked on the map) division HQs, along with their remaining forces that haven't crossed, are west of the canal. In order to participate Operation Abirey Lev, and as Operation Or Yarock is still denied, IDF 35th paratrooper brigade (not marked on the map), with just its 890th paratrooper battalion, departs from Ras Sudr in helicopters to join the 162nd armored division at the central Suez Canal sector. Its 202nd paratrooper battalion stays with the 252nd armored division and its 50th paratrooper battalion is still at the Golan Heights. The defense of Ras Sudr - Ras Misalla area is handed over to TF Ayalon (not marked on the map), an ad-hoc established brigade-sized force under the 440th armored division. In addition to the 225th armored battalion (Tirans, from the 274th armored brigade), which was based in southern Sinai before the war, TF Ayalon includes an ad-hoc established paratrooper battalion and the 182nd independent armored battalion (Shermans) which have arrived from the Jordan Valley. As it becomes clear that the Jordanians won't open a third front, the IDF leave the Central Command with just a single Sherman battalion - the 268th from the 670th mechanized infantry brigade (while the rest of 670th is at the Golan Heights). IDF 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion (6 PT-76s, 14 BTR-50s) starts its journey (some vehicles on tracks, others on flatbeds) from At-Tur (off the map) to At-Tasa, to join the 143rd armored division. The pre-war planning calls for the 88th to cross several hours before the main force, infiltrate the Egyptian rear and destroy unarmored forces (artillery etc.). IDF intelligence identifies 830 Egyptian MBTs in Sinai: 87 with the 18th division, 155 with the 2nd division, 225 with the 16th and 21st divisions, 168 with the 7th division, 195 with the 19th division. 375 additional MBTs are identified near Cairo - 3rd mechanized infantry division, Republican Guard, Armor School forces. Another IDF source claims 787 Egyptian MBTs in Sinai: 84 with the 18th division, 153 with the 2nd division, 221 with the 16th and 21st divisions, 156 with the 7th division, 173 with the 19th division. IAF executes 58 air base attack sorties in Egypt, notably on Tanta and Al-Qattamiya. In addition, two Egyptian SAM sites are destroyed west of Deversoir. Operation Abirey Lev starts on the night of October 15th-16th: The road from At-Tasa to Laqeqan stronghold is code named Akavish. Roughly parallel to Akavish, the road which leads from the Artillery Road (west of Hamadiya) to Matzmed stronghold, through the arid Chinese Farm irrigation channels, is code named Tirtur. The north-south road along the canal, about 3 kms east of it, is code named Lexicon. The road leading west from the Chinese Farm (Amir) to the canal, on the northern bank of the farm's freshwater supply canal (which goes under the Suez Canal, from west to east), is code named Chic. IDF 162nd armored division, with its 460th and 217th armored brigades (~70 tanks each), assembles SE of Hamadiya and waits for its turn to cross. IDF 500th armored brigade (~70 Centurions including the 429th battalion), with its 430th and 433rd armored battalions, is held as the Southern Command reserve near At-Tasa. IDF 143rd armored division: IDF 429th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade) is at Ziona, facing the Egyptian 112th infantry brigade of the 16th infantry division, which is positioned at western Hamutal and northern Makhshir. IDF 14th armored brigade, heavily reinforced (97 tanks: 44 M48A3s, 53 M60A1s), advances west through the sands, from the Artillery Road (north of Kathib Al-Habashi, which is code named Edra) to Laqeqan stronghold, then heads north on Lexicon road and assaults the Egyptian 16th infantry division rear from its southern flank, Matzmed - Amir - Missouri area: IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion (22 M60A1s) leads through the Tirtur - Lexicon junction with no resistance, turns west to the waterline and takes the area between Matzmed and Chic road. The place is crowded with Egyptian logistic soft-skins, shocked and surprised, easy prey for the Israeli armor. No trace of IDF soldiers is found at Matzmed (surrendered on October 9th), and the Egyptian 16th infantry division HQ is not there either, in contradiction to the IDF intelligence report. IDF 79th armored battalion (22 M48s) follows through the Tirtur - Lexicon junction with light losses, advances deep into the Egyptian rear west of Lexicon road and destroys many soft-skins and artillery pieces (and apparently even a SAM site), but the Egyptian resistance starts to grow rapidly. IDF intelligence is found to have another mistake - an Egyptian AFV bridge is not found west of Missouri. IDF 184th armored battalion (21 M48s) is tasked with advancing towards Amir and Missouri, east of Lexicon road. The Egyptian 16th infantry brigade (T-54s), which is found to have redeployed from Amir to Tirtur road since the IDF 87th battalion reconnaissance on October 9th, awakens at last and the 184th loses half of its tanks at Tirtur - Lexicon junction. Some tanks step on landmines off-road while trying to bypass tank corpses on the road. The Tirtur - Lexicon junction is blocked, but the 184th keeps advancing and stops NE of Chic - Lexicon junction (NW of Amir). At dawn the 184th redeploys SW of this junction. Under Egyptian pressure, the 79th retreats back to Chic road, in line with the 184th, and the 79th battalion CO is wounded on the way. Egyptian 21st armored division (notably its 1st armored brigade) starts launching counterattacks southwards against the IDF 79th and 184th battalions. Unlike the Egyptian T-55s, Israeli M48s don't have a gunner night sight and they can identify targets only at very close range, but the Egyptian armored assaults are repelled with heavy losses for both sides. An Egyptian armored brigade CO is injured, and apparently the 21st division HQ takes casualties as well. IDF 407th armored battalion (downsized, M60A1s, from the 600th armored brigade) splits into two companies to clear Akavish and Tirtur roads from SW to NE. Akavish road is opened with no resistance, but Tirtur road is blocked by the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade. The 407th takes heavy losses and its CO is injured, but it repeatedly keeps trying to open Tirtur - Lexicon junction and Tirtur road. IDF 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion (downsized, but reinforced with 5 M60A1s from the 407th battalion) is tasked with clearing the waterline between Matzmed and Chic road. After losing one halftrack, whose burnt corpse blocks the road to Matzmed, the 424th stops south of the Tirtur - Lexicon junction under heavy fire. IDF TF Shmulik (two paratrooper companies from the 35th brigade with 4 M60A1s from the 407th battalion) is tasked with clearing Tirtur road and Amir after the armored battalions, but stops south of the Tirtur - Lexicon junction under heavy fire. IDF 582nd paratrooper reconnaissance battalion (from the 317th paratrooper brigade) is kept on Lexicon road south of Laqeqan as the 14th brigade's reserve. Later, along with 407th battalion remnants, the 582nd assaults towards Tirtur twice, but repelled both times: first at the Tirtur - Lexicon junction (Egyptian 18th infantry battalion), later further on Tirtur road (Egyptian 16th infantry battalion), suffering heavy losses. In between the 582nd battalion assaults, the 87th armored reconnaissance battalion assaults Tirtur - Lexicon junction from the west and repelled as well, taking heavy losses including the CO. At dawn, Tirtur - Lexicon junction is still blocked by the Egyptian 18th infantry battalion (16th infantry brigade, 16th infantry division). IDF 14th armored brigade CO, on his own M48, is north of the junction with the 87th, 79th and 184th battalion remnants, under heavy Egyptian 21st armored division pressure from the north, while the brigade XO is south of the junction with the 407th battalion remnants and the 3 infantry battalions. This chaotic night battle apparently included several fratricide fire incidents on both sides. On the Israeli side, it's plausible that fratricide fire incidents occurred around Chic - Lexicon (79th, 184th, 87th battalions) and Tirtur - Lexicon (184th, 407th, 87th, 582nd, 599th battalions) junctions. All in all, IDF 14th brigade lost 122 men and 56 tanks (27 M48s, 29 M60s), while the Egyptians lost over twice as many T-54/55s. General Israel Tal described this battle as the cruelest tank battle in history. IDF 600th armored brigade (downsized, ~75 M60A1s) battalions raid Missouri from Hamadiya one after the other, in order to draw the Egyptians' attention from their southern flank. First the 410th armored battalion engages Missouri, turns back, engages the Egyptian 3rd mechanized brigade forces at Televiziya from west to east, enters a hastily-laid Egyptian minefield and eventually returns to Hamadiya, under ineffective (night...) Sagger barrages from southern Makhshir on the way back. Later the 409th armored battalion advances towards Missouri with almost no resistance. 4 M60A1s from the 410th battalion observe the Bitter Lakes area from Horvah second-line post. IDF 247th paratrooper brigade advances SW on Akavish road to Laqeqan (their halftracks are prioritized through the traffic jam), heads NW to Matzmed and reaches the waterline unharmed. Around 01:30 the paratroopers cross the canal on rubber boats towards Deversoir, with no resistance. Egyptian 116th mechanized infantry brigade forces are several kms NW of the Israeli bridgehead. Tasked with accompanying the 247th brigade, a single M48 company from the 599th armored battalion, 421st armored brigade, is destroyed at Tirtur - Lexicon junction after arriving there without preliminary coordination with the 14th armored brigade. IDF 421st armored brigade (~60 M48s) is ordered to tow the vehicle crossing equipment through the enormous traffic jam on Akavish road and to cross on it after the paratroopers. Despite an order to tow it in 3-4 pieces, the 200-meters-long Cylinder Bridge (605th crossing battalion), regarded as the only reliable crossing equipment, is slowly (2.5 km/h) towed in one piece, partially off-road, by the 257th armored battalion. The movement is secured from the north by the 599th armored battalion, which is planned to be the first to cross. At dawn the Cylinder Bridge breaks down, while Tirtur road, on which the bridge is planned to pass, is still blocked by the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade. The 630th crossing battalion Uniflote pontoon barges are towed by half of the 264th armored battalion, commanded by the XO. These are joined by the 605th crossing battalion pontoons, towed all the way from Baluza by tanks of the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion. The pontoons get stuck in the traffic jam on Akavish road, as towing them off-road is impossible. Only the self-propelled Gillois amphibious tank carriers (634th crossing battalion), accompanied by the other half of the 264th armored battalion (commanded by the CO) manage to bypass the traffic jam through the sands and take the 264th battalion AFVs to Africa starting at dawn. The Gillois carriers, bought as scrap-metal in 1971, are regarded as the least reliable crossing equipment. In early 1973 the IDF had stopped their refurbishment, so only 19 out of 62 are operational for the war. IDF 214th artillery regiment pounds the empty western bank from its positions east of Hamadiya, in support of the crossing paratroopers. The 14th armored brigade, which struggles against the RPG and SLS equipped Egyptian infantry in Tirtur - Lexicon junction, gets very little artillery support.
  12. Almost two decades ago, several old tanks, which had been phased out years earlier, were scattered by the IDF around the 1973 battlefields in the Golan as monuments (but no maintenance is applied), and others as targets for tank gunnery practice. The Sho't Cals were of the 1979 Gimel (C) version, which still lacked the gun thermal shroud, as opposed to the 1984 Dalet (D) version. Sadly, local (the ones who wish that the Golan would return to Syrian hands) metal thieves gradually dismantle these vehicles, which explains why this one had lost its rear part and more. The ERA bolts indicate that it is not a 1973 corpse, as ERA was introduced in 1976. Besides, the damaged tanks were collected during and after the war, wherever they could be reached.
  13. October 11th: Israeli naval commandos try to approach the besieged Masreck stronghold by rubber boats, but retreat after taking heavy Radar-guided 130 mm coastal gun fire from the western coast of the Gulf of Suez. Egyptian commandos ambush IDF paratroopers and armor at Wadi Sudr. IAF A-4 strike finishes off the Egyptian force. October 12th: Egyptian second-echelon divisions start sending their armor across the canal, preparing for the major offensive towards central Sinai. Some SAM sites are deployed on the eastern bank, while others are redeployed closer to the canal on the western bank. The Egyptian commanders ask for more time and the offensive is postponed from October 13th to the 14th. OTOH, the Israelis decide to cross the canal on the evening of October 13th, but postpone the crossing operation after IDF intelligence reports about the coming Egyptian armored offensive. The IDF crossing operation, named Abirey Lev (can be roughly translated as Stouthearted Men), will take place in the central sector, from Matzmed stronghold to Deversoir, utilizing the gap found by the 87th armored reconnaissance battalion between the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade defenses and the Greater Bitter Lake on October 9th. IDF 100th armored battalion, an ad-hoc established force commanded by Ehud Barak, is sent to Sinai. It was established at the Armor School camp by reserve tankers who hastily returned from abroad, with M48s which were left behind during the October 6th mobilization due to their mechanical condition. On October 14th the 100th battalion will reinforce the 460th armored brigade, 162nd armored division. October 13th: Egyptian 7th infantry division doesn't receive the order to postpone the offensive and sends its 11th mechanized infantry brigade to attack. The Egyptian assault is repelled near Mitzvah second-line post by the IDF 164th armored brigade, but the IDF 252nd armored division CO, Albert Mandler, is killed by Egyptian PT-76 fire while visiting the 164th brigade HQ with his M113. Kalman Maggen, who would have succeeded Mandler on October 7th if the war hadn't start, receives the 252nd division CO duty, while the TF Nammer is now commanded by Sasson Itzhaki. East of Hamadiya, a flight of 8 Iraqi AF Hunters (operating from Quwysina AFB) takes out an IDF M107 battery from the 329th heavy artillery battalion. The exploding propellant charge bags destroy 3 out of 4 M107s and all ammo trucks. IDF 162nd armored division is sent to the rear to prepare for crossing into Egypt. The division XO stays to command the front-line positions, which are handed over to the reserve 274th armored brigade (Tiran tanks). Until now, the 274th brigade was held as a reserve at Bir Al-Jifjafa (except for a short trip to Bir Ath-Thamada on October 8th, in order to face the alleged Egyptian 4th armored division assault). While 3 (227th, 228th, 25th) of its battalions take positions facing the Egyptian 2nd field army, its fourth battalion, the 225th, operates separately, split into two: two companies (including the only active-service Tiran company) defend Ras Sudr under the 35th paratrooper brigade, while two companies stay at Sharm Ash-Sheikh and prepare for landing near Al-Ghardaqa. After a week-long siege, IDF Masreck (aka The Pier) stronghold men surrender to the Egyptian 19th infantry division forces. The Al-Ghardaqa landing operation, named Or Yarock (Hebrew for Green Light), is planned for execution by the newly established 440th armored division HQ, with the 35th paratrooper brigade HQ and its 890th battalion, the 225th armored battalion and the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion (6 PT-76s and 14 BTR-50s). Or Yarock is postponed again and again due to the presence of Egyptian Komar missile boats in the Red Sea, while the heaviest Israeli combat vessels there are Dabur patrol boats, as all Israeli Sa'ar missile boats are in the Mediterranean (The Sa'ar 4 class was designed especially for the Red Sea, but the first two boats were planned to begin their journey around Africa from Haifa to Sharm Ash-Sheikh only on October 16th 1973, and of course this journey was postponed to 1974 due to the war). The major Egyptian armor offensive of October 14th: Northern sector: Egyptian 135th independent infantry brigade assault on Yoram second-line post is repelled by IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade (reinforced with 6 Centurions from the 429th armored battalion, 500th armored brigade). Several Egyptian T-34s are lost. The map mistakenly attributes this assault to the Egyptian 18th infantry division forces. Egyptian 2nd field army: Egyptian 18th infantry division sector: Egyptian 15th independent armored brigade assault towards Martef second-line post - Vermont area is repelled by IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade, whose Shermans open fire only at 600 meters range. ~40 Egyptian T-62s are lost. IDF 228th armored battalion (274th armored brigade), reinforced by the 198th armored battalion (460th armored brigade), repels an Egyptian 136th mechanized infantry brigade assault east of Mifreqet front-line stronghold. Several Egyptian T-55s are lost. Egyptian 2nd infantry division sector: Egyptian 24th armored brigade (from the 23rd mechanized infantry division) and 117th mechanized infantry brigade assaults are barely repelled by IDF 274th armored brigade. Under heavy Egyptian pressure, the IDF 25th battalion (whose CO is injured) is reinforced by the 430th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade). ~25 Egyptian T-55s are lost. However, Havragah is temporarily taken by the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces that accompany the 24th armored brigade. The only Tiran captured by the Egyptians in the war (from the 227th battalion) is destroyed by a Sagger missile SW of Zarqor (Kathib Abu Al-Uruq). Havragah is taken back by IDF 274th armored brigade on October 15th, in a battle during which the 274th brigade CO, Yoel Gonen, who is the younger brother of the Southern Command CO, is blown out of his tank but luckily returns to it unhurt. Egyptian 16th infantry division sector: Egyptian 21st armored division HQ crossed the canal with its 1st armored and 18th mechanized infantry brigades, joining its 14th armored brigade which had crossed at the start of the war. Zoom-in on the Egyptian 21st armored division battle with the IDF 143rd armored division: Egyptian 14th armored brigade assault towards Ziona is repelled by IDF 421st armored brigade. While IDF 264th armored battalion blocks the Egyptian tank columns from Ziona, IDF 257th armored battalion advances to eastern Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan) and engages the Egyptian brigade from its northern flank. ~30 Egyptian T-55s are lost. IDF 599th armored battalion (green), which was held at the rear during the Egyptian morning offensive and later replaced the 264th armored battalion at Ziona, destroys ~10 additional Egyptian 14th armored brigade T-55s in the afternoon. Egyptian 1st armored brigade assault towards Hamadiya is repelled by IDF 14th armored brigade. While IDF 79th and 184th armored battalions (both with M48A3s) block the Egyptian tank columns from Hamadiya and north of it respectively, IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion (M60A1s) launches a counterattack on the Egyptian brigade southern flank from Kishuf. ~40 Egyptian T-55s are lost and the Egyptian brigade CO is among the dead. IDF 410th armored battalion (600th armored brigade) and 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion forces destroy heliborne Egyptian commandos who landed south of At-Tasa. The 600th armored brigade (green) replaces the 14th armored brigade in the afternoon at Hamadiya, as the 14th is sent to prepare for the coming IDF crossing operation. Egyptian 3rd field army: Egyptian 7th infantry division sector: Egyptian 11th mechanized infantry brigade (or is it the 8th infantry brigade this time?), reinforced with a T-62 battalion from the 25th independent armored brigade, assaults towards Al-Jidi Mountain Pass and repelled again near Mitzvah second-line post by IDF 164th armored brigade. ~15 Egyptian T-62s are lost. IDF 875th mechanized brigade Shermans see no action at Al-Jidi Pass western edge. Egyptian 19th infantry division sector: Egyptian 4th armored division remains in the western bank with its 2nd armored and 6th mechanized infantry brigades, but its 3rd armored brigade crossed the canal with the task to reach the Mitla Junction at the western edge of the Mitla Mountain Pass. Egyptian 3rd armored brigade (belongs to the 4th armored division) assault through Wadi Mabouk surprises the IDF 401st armored brigade and almost reaches the IDF 89th mechanized infantry battalion (875th brigade) positions on the Lateral Road, but the 401st sends its 46th armored battalion (reinforced with 4 Centurions from the 164th armored brigade) to decimate the Egyptian brigade in the wadi, with some help from the nearby 202nd paratrooper battalion. After advancing farther than any other Egyptian force in the war (25 kms east of the canal), the Egyptian 3rd armored brigade loses ~50 T-55s, its CO and even its D-30 towed artillery battalion. Egyptian 339th mechanized infantry battalion (belongs to the 113th mechanized infantry brigade, 6th mechanized infantry division) assault is repelled at a junction north of Jabal Al-Aran by IDF 202nd paratrooper battalion (belongs to the 35th paratrooper brigade, reinforced 7 M48s). Several Egyptian T-55s are lost. The map mistakenly attributes this assault to the Egyptian 22nd armored brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division as well). Egyptian 22nd armored brigade assault south towards Uyun Musa - Ras Misalla - Ras Sudr is halted after suffering losses to IAF air strikes, in light of the heavy losses suffered by the 1st mechanized infantry brigade (6th mechanized infantry division again) on October 10th at the same place, on the same mission, to airstrikes by the same A-4s and Super Mysteres. IAF executes 69 air close air support sorties in the Egyptian 19th infantry brigade sector, mostly targeting the Egyptian 3rd armored brigade. In all other sectors, the Egyptian armor assaults were repelled before they could get out of their SAM coverage. On October 16th, over 100 Egyptian soldiers (including the 339th battalion CO) with 8 BTRs are captured east of Jabal Al-Aran with almost no resistance, after wandering in the desert for two days. IAF strikes 3 Egyptian SAM batteries deployed east of the canal. Although these were separate brigade-scale battles, the combined tank strength, fielded by both sides, marks October 14th 1973 as the largest armor engagement since Kursk. All in all, the Egyptian army lost around 210 MBTs within a few hours, while the IDF lost less than 20 (mostly 274th armored brigade Tirans). The tide has turned in favor of the Israeli army, that feels its time to regain the initiative, cross the canal and decide the war. Following the decisive Israeli victory, the Egyptian 2nd field army CO suffered from an heart attack and replaced by his predecessor.
  14. Egyptian forces deployment on October 10th, as identified by IDF intelligence based on aerial reconnaissance: Northern sector: 135th independent infantry brigade 133rd commando battalion - retreats from the Mediterranean coastal road after taking heavy losses from IDF 120 mm mortar fire. Before retreating, the CO was recorded threatening on the radio to kill his superior for leaving his battalion on its own. Budapest stronghold is liberated by IDF forces from the 564th paratrooper and 906th infantry battalions. 30 MBTs (T-34s) identified on the eastern bank. IAF F-4s destroy 3 Egyptian SAM batteries at the Al-Gamil - Port Said - Port Fuad area, suffering no losses. These batteries were sent to replace the ones destroyed on October 8th. 2nd field army: 18th infantry division sector: 90th infantry brigade (mistakenly marked as the 10th) 134th infantry brigade 136th mechanized infantry brigade (T-55s, mistakenly marked as armored) 15th independent armored brigade (T-62s) 125 MBTs, 3 destroyed MBTs, 19 APCs, 12 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank. 2nd infantry division sector: 120th infantry brigade - assaults Zarqor (Kathib Abu Al-Uruq), repelled by IDF 460th and 217th armored brigade forces. 117th mechanized infantry brigade (T-55s) - assaults Havragah and repelled by IDF 460th armored brigade forces. 4th infantry brigade 24th armored brigade (T-55s, attached from the 23rd mechanized infantry division) 150 MBTs, 24 destroyed MBTs, 68 APCs, 9 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank. October 10th is known as "The Chinesemen Day" by IDF 162nd armored division troops, since the Egyptian infantry human-wave assaults on this day resembled the famous Chinese tactic of the Korean War. 16th infantry division sector: 112th infantry brigade (T-54s) - repels further company-scale Israeli assaults on Hamutal (IDF 257th armored battalion) and Makhshir (IDF 410th and 409th armored battalions). 3rd mechanized infantry brigade (BTR-50s, BMP-1s, T-55s) 16th infantry brigade (T-54s) 14th armored brigade (T-55s, attached from the 21st armored division) 160 MBTs, 50 destroyed MBTs, 9 APCs identified on the eastern bank. IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion is ordered to quietly retreat back to Kishuf (Jabal Khubayta), while the Egyptians still don't mind the gap in front of Deversoir. The 21st armored and 23rd mechanized infantry divisions (both downsized), as well as the 10th mechanized infantry brigade (from the 3rd mechanized infantry division), are still on the western bank. 3rd field army: 7th infantry division sector: 130th marine brigade (BTR-50/OT-62s, PT-76s) 8th infantry brigade 11th mechanized infantry brigade 12th infantry brigade 25th independent armored brigade (T-62s) 150 MBTs, 13 destroyed MBTs, 7 APCs, 11 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank. 19th infantry division sector: 5th infantry brigade (T-34s) 2nd mechanized infantry brigade - despite losing much of its tanks, captures Polygon (Qarrat Al-Murra) on October 9th, after the IDF 401st armored brigade was ordered to abandon it. 7th infantry brigade - still besieges IDF Masreck stronghold. 22nd armored brigade (T-55s, attached from the 6th mechanized infantry division) 1st mechanized infantry brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division) - crosses the canal late, after the 19th division finally overcame its bridging problems, and heads south on the Gulf of Suez eastern coastline towards Ras Sudr, outside of the Egyptian SAM coverage. The brigade suffers heavy losses in IAF airstrikes and its assault is repelled near Uyun Musa - Ras Misalla by the IDF 35th paratrooper brigade (with just one of its battalions, but reinforced with one Tiran company, one M48 platoon and one Sherman platoon). A day later, the Tiran company men cannibalize the deserted Egyptian T-55s for spare parts. 164 MBTs, 58 destroyed MBTs, 50 APCs, 12 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank. The 4th armored (full) and 6th mechanized infantry (downsized) divisions are still on the western bank. All in all, Egyptian forces identified by Israeli aerial photography deciphers on the eastern bank include: 759 MBTs, 148 destroyed MBTs, 235 APCs, 49 artillery batteries. Adding the numbers per sector gets 779 MBTs, 148 destroyed MBTs, 153 APCs, 44 artillery batteries. Adding TO&E numbers gets 1152 MBTs (124*5 infantry divisions + 94*5 armored brigades + 31*2 infantry brigades). Despite of their losses, delays and failure to capture most of the Israeli second-line posts on the higher terrain along the Artillery Road, the Egyptians succeed in establishing solid presence along the whole eastern bank and caused heavy losses to the IDF. Drunk with victory, and under heavy Syrian and Soviet pressure, they decide to execute the risky Stage 3 of their war plan - a massive armored offensive into central Sinai, which will take place 7 days after the start of the war. The Israeli army, OTOH, starts to question if and when would the Egyptian armored divisions cross, and to consider crossing the canal itself at the current situation, in order to transfer the fight over to enemy territory, destroy Egyptian SAM sites and cut the supply lines to the Egyptian forces in Sinai. In the meanwhile, the Israeli army concentrates on the offensive into Syria, while IDF armor formations in Sinai reorganize (after the hasty mobilization and heavy losses), adjust their tactics, hold their grounds and utilize their advantage in long range tank gunnery.
  15. October 9th - IDF 143rd armored division battles: IDF Chief of the General Staff rebukes the Southern Command CO and the division COs for their poor performance and orders to hold positions, engage at long range and to postpone any further offensive. However, attempts to extract the IDF men from the besieged strongholds are approved. The dissatisfied and mistrusting 143rd armored division CO, who wishes to maintain the offensive initiative and to regain the lost grounds, resorts to active mobile defense tactics. Accordingly, in addition to the successful Purqan stronghold men extraction, the 143rd division battles the Egyptian 16th infantry division over Hamutal, Makhshir and Televiziya, in order to "stabilize the line" and to support the extraction, and takes heavy losses. OTOH, the Egyptians fail again to take Hamadiya. Right - morning: IDF 600th armored brigade assaults southern Makhshir (Kathib Abu Tarabush) from the SE with its 410th armored battalion, but the assault is repelled. The IDF battalion CO is wounded, so as the brigade XO sent to replace him. The map mistakenly depicts the Egyptian 112th brigade as deployed on Kathib Abu Tarabush in addition to Abu Waqfa and Kathib Al-Khayl, while the Egyptian battalion at Kathib Abu Tarabush is actually from the 3rd mechanized infantry brigade. In order to cover the Purqan men extraction, the IDF 421st armored brigade (264th, 599th, 257th armored battalions) assaults the Egyptian battalion at Abu Waqfa (112th infantry brigade) and engages the Egyptian 4th infantry brigade forces at Nozel. The 599th battalion misidentifies Kathib Al-Khayl, which is defended by the two other Egyptian 112th brigade battalions, as Abu Waqfa (the 198th battalion did the same mistake on the day before), takes heavy losses in close range engagements (Egyptian infantrymen climb on the M48s that try to run them over) and retreats. The map mistakenly depicts the 599th as attacking Abu Waqfa. IDF Purqan stronghold men retreat eastwards on foot and meet the extraction force (3 M48s and 5 M113s from the 14th armored brigade, including the brigade CO and the 184th battalion CO tanks) at Ghard As-Samar, south of Nozel. After 3 M113s are lost, the 33 Purqan men hang onto the 184th battalion CO tank and reach safely to Israeli lines. In addition to its battalion at Kathib Abu Tarabush, the other Egyptian 3rd mechanized infantry brigade forces are at the northern part of Missouri (around At-Talia) and at Televiziya. The brigade (BTR-50s, BMP-1s, T-55s) assaults Hamadiya, reaches zero range but repelled by the IDF 409th armored battalion (600th armored brigade) with heavy losses, including its CO. The map mistakenly attributes this assault to the Egyptian 14th armored brigade, which had crossed the canal but is still at the 16th infantry division's rear. IDF 407th armored battalion (600th armored brigade) stays at Kishuf. A downsized company takes observation position at the previously-unmanned Horvah second-line post. Egyptian 16th infantry brigade is on the 16th division southern flank, around Al-Gala'a village (known by the IDF as The Chinese Farm, code named Amir). IDF Matzmed stronghold men surrender to its forces. IDF 500th (162nd armored division) and 14th armored brigades park at the rear, west of At-Tasa. The 14th brigade CO decides to reflag the 196th armored battalion (which includes remnants from the 79th armored battalion) as the 79th armored battalion, in light of the honorable battle heritage of the 79th (established in 1948 as the first IDF armored battalion with halftracks and White scout cars, first IDF M48 battalion since 1965). When Lapidot hears about this, he flags his own TF (now under the 204th mechanized infantry brigade, TF Nammer) as the 196th armored battalion. IDF 143rd armored division HQ is at At-Tasa, along with the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion, which is tasked with hunting down single Egyptian forward artillery observers behind the Israeli line. Left - after noon: IDF 500th armored brigade (green), under the 162nd armored division, passes through Hamutal with no resistance and engages the Egyptian 4th infantry brigade forces at Nozel (Ash-Shajara) and Halutz (Katib Abu Kathira). The Egyptian 112th infantry brigade had abandoned Abu Waqfa, but the IDF 500th brigade is not ordered to hold on to it. The map mistakenly still depicts Abu Waqfa (and Kathib Abu Tarabush) as held by the 112th brigade. IDF 421st armored brigade (blue) retreats to Ziona. The map depicts it at eastern Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan) and south of it, west of Ziona. IDF 600th armored brigade (blue) assaults Televiziya with its 409th battalion (along with a single company from the 410th). It retreats back to Hamadiya after taking heavy losses from Saggers. At the same time, the 410th armored battalion (less one company) assaults Makhshir again. The 410th meets light resistance at Kathib Abu Tarabush, but takes heavy losses in close range engagements over Kathib Al-Khayl (the unreliable M85 and M73 machine guns were removed from the M60A1s before the war, but Browning .30 cals weren't yet installed) and eventually retreats to Kathib As-Sana'at. The Egyptians capture a M60A1 for the first time and drive it to the rear. Later on, the IDF 14th armored brigade (green) replaces the 600th at Hamadiya and Kishuf. The 14th brigade is reinforced with the 106th armored battalion from the 164th armored brigade (Shot Cal), which advances from Kishuf towards the Chinese Farm, but retreats after taking fire and its CO gets injured. Then the 14th brigade is authorized to assault Televiziya, in order to retrieve missing 409th battalion men. The 14th takes Televiziya with its 184th (which loses its CO) and 79th armored battalions. 3 409th battalion tankers are saved, found near their destroyed M60A1 that had its turret upside down. IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion (green) reaches the deserted Laqeqan stronghold from the south after a wide bypass, advances further north with no resistance, but it is unauthorized to reach Matzmed (Matzmed men were already captured, but their fate is unknown yet to the IDF). This gap between the Egyptian 16th infantry division positions at the Chinese Farm and the Greater Bitter Lake will later be used as the IDF bridgehead across the canal. Off the map: TF Lapidot (4 M48s and one company from the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion) fails to break the Egyptian commando siege of Budapest stronghold. Hizayon stronghold is taken by the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces. IDF 162nd armored division repels Egyptian 2nd infantry division assaults on Zarqor (Kathib Abu Al-Uruq) and Havragah. IDF 460th armored brigade blocks the Egyptians, while the IDF 217th armored brigade counterattacks from the northern flank along the Artillery Road. IDF 401st armored brigade forces evacuate Botzer stronghold, although it was only attacked by artillery. Nisan stronghold is taken by the Egyptian 19th infantry division forces. The 19th division loses much of its armor in battles against the IDF 401st armored brigade, but its 2nd mechanized infantry brigade manages to capture Qarrat Al-Murra (code named Polygon). At the end of the day, Budapest and Masreck are the only IDF front-line strongholds left standing. The 143rd armored division CO Sharon is heavily criticized for disregarding direct orders. However, the criticism on the Southern Command CO Gonen is even stronger and the decision is to appoint the former Chief of General Staff Bar-Lev, whose authority would be better accepted by the 143rd and 162nd division COs (Gonen was subordinate to both in the past), above Gonen. Officially, following the "don't change horses in the midstream" rule, Gonen would keep his position until November, but from now on he is pushed aside to a large extent. Bar-Lev official role description, made-up for the instance, is the Southern Front CO.
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