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Suez Canal 1973 war maps


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Egyptian offensive plan - Granite 2:

 

Egypt and Syria launch a coordinated surprise attack on Israel. The surprise grants the Arab armies an overwhelming numerical advantage (much greater than they have anyway) for several dozens of hours, until the Israeli reserves arrive in the battlefield, since the Israeli army is mostly formed of reserve soldiers while the Arab armies are mostly formed of active-service soldiers.

 

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Stage 1 - Operation Badr:

Under a dense SAM umbrella from the western bank, which the Egyptians pushed forward to cover the Suez Canal during the night that followed the War of Attrition ceasefire (thereby violating it), five Egyptian infantry divisions cross the Suez Canal (180 meters wide, 163 kms long) into the Sinai Peninsula, in between the Israeli Bar-Lev frontline fortified strongholds (blue circles).

The Egyptian troops cross by NDL-10 assault boats, use high-pressure hosepipes to breach the Israeli sand barrier (height: 8-25 meters, inclination: 45-60 degrees) protecting the eastern bank and establish pontoon bridges for the AFV crossing. Suppressive fire is provided from 90 sand ramparts (not shown on the map) for tank or ATGM platoons, 20-25 meters tall (taller than the Israeli ones), that were piled up along the western bank of the canal (this one for example). These provide LOS observation as far as the Israeli second-line posts, 10-12 kms east of the canal. The Bar-Lev Line strongholds, fortified by rock gabions, are especially targeted by ISU-152s and 240 mm mortars, whereas flamethrowers are to be used to finish-off the stronghold defenders.

In order to repel the expected Israeli armor counterattacks even before the Egyptian AFVs can cross, the Egyptian infantry is heavily equipped with AT weapons: RPG-7s, B-10 and B-11 RRs, AT-3 Saggers (portable 'suitcase'), AT hand grenades, AT landmines. The MBTs (mostly T-54s), SU-100 tank destroyers, Sagger-mounting BMP-1s and BRDM-2s, B-11 or AT-1 Shmel mounting GAZ-69 jeeps, towed D-44 and BS-3 AT guns are expected to follow some 5-9 hours after the infantry. To counter the expected IAF airstrikes, the Egyptian divisions are also heavily reinforced with AAA and SA-7 Strelas. Moreover, each infantry division is reinforced with an armored brigade (with T-55s or T-62s, in addition to the division's own 4 tank battalions), a commando battalion, additional artillery and combat engineers.

In order to disrupt the expected arrival of the Israeli reserves, Egyptian commandos are landed by transport helicopters and by boats in several locations (unmarked on the map) behind the Israeli lines. The commandos are heavily equipped with RPG-7s, 60 mm mortars, SLS, AT-3 Saggers, SA-7 Strelas, portable BM-21 tubes, flamethrowers and landmines. Other than planting landmines and setting ambushes on the main roads leading to the Suez Canal, the commandos are also tasked with attacking high-value Israeli military installations, as well the Israeli oil production facilities on the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez. In some cases, the commandos are assisted by local Sinai Bedouins with guidance, food, water and shelter. The Egyptian commandos and paratroopers are distinguishable by their camouflaged reversible uniforms, sporting either the yellow with brown spots side for desert terrain or the brown with green spots side for the agricultural areas (note the folded sleeves in both pictures), as opposed to the ordinary light yellow, almost white single-tone uniforms worn by the rest of the Egyptian army.

After securing their bridgeheads and encircling the frontline Israeli strongholds while repelling IDF armor counterattacks, the five Egyptian divisions advance east across the whole front and capture the second-line Israeli posts (blue squares) on the higher terrain along the Artillery Road, within a day or two. In addition, an Egyptian mechanized infantry brigade advances south along the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez, as far as Ras Sudr.

 

Northern sector:

135th independent infantry brigade crosses the canal near Ras Al-Ash - At-Tina, south of Port Fuad (the northern 10 kms of the eastern bank were already in Egyptian hands before the war). Note that driving off-road in the At-Tina Plain - Sabkhat Al-Mallaha area is impossible due to the saline clay soil of the salt marshes there.

 

2nd field army:

18th infantry division, reinforced with the elite 15th independent armored brigade (T-62), crosses the canal near Al-Qantara - Al-Ballah Island.

2nd infantry division, reinforced with the 24th armored brigade (from the 23rd mechanized infantry division), crosses the canal near Al-Firdan - Al-Firdan Bridge (defunct since 1967), between Al-Ballah Island and Ismailia.

16th infantry division, reinforced with the 14th armored brigade (from the 21st armored division), crosses the canal near Serapeum - Deversoir, between Ismailia and the Greater Bitter Lake.

 

3rd field army:

7th infantry division, reinforced with the elite 25th independent armored brigade (T-62), crosses the canal near Ash-Shallufa, south of the Little Bitter Lake.

19th infantry division, reinforced with the 22nd armored brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division), crosses the canal near Al-Kubri - Suez.

1st mechanized infantry brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division) crosses the canal following the 19th infantry division and heads south on the Gulf of Suez eastern coastline road towards Ras Misalla and Ras Sudr.

 

Unmarked on the map:

103rd commando battalion troops (of the 131st commando regiment) are landed by boats on the shoal SE of the Israeli Budapest stronghold and cut-off the stronghold.

183rd commando battalion troops (of the 131st regiment) are landed by Mi-8 helicopters at Tell Al-Farama - Baluza - Rumana area, as well as near the Israeli radar station on Jabal Umm Marjum

63rd and 113th commando battalion troops (of the 130th regiment) are landed by Mi-8 helicopters at Al-Jidi Mountain Pass (near the Israeli forward HQ on Jabal Umm Khashiba) and at Mitla Mountain Pass.

130th marine brigade crosses the Bitter Lakes by its amphibious AFVs (BTR-50/OT-62, PT-76, BRDM-2) from Kibrit Peninsula and splits into two: one TF heads to Al-Jidi Mountain Pass and the other to Mitla Mountain Pass, where they team-up with the 63rd and 113th commando battalion troops.

143rd commando battalion troops (of the 130th regiment), departed from Bir Adib, are landed by Mi-8 helicopters in Wadi Sudr, around Bir Umm Jarf - Ras Al-Jundi.

Off the map: 

153rd commando battalion troops (of the 128th regiment), departed from Marsa Thalamat, are landed by Brtram and Zodiac boats at Ras Lajiya - Ras Mal'ab - Jabal Hammam Far'oun area, as well as near Abu Znayma

83rd commando battalion troops (of the 128th regiment), departed from Marsa Thalamat and Ras Ruhimi, are landed by Mi-8 helicopters, Bertram and Zodiac boats around Abu Rudays and around Ras Sharatib

 

 

Stage 2 - The Operational Halt:

The heavily reinforced Egyptian infantry divisions entrench themselves in foxholes along the eastern bank and repel IDF reserve armor counterattacks for 7 days. SAM sites are deployed on the eastern bank, expanding the coverage eastwards in preparation for Stage 3.

 

 

Stage 3 - The major armor offensive into the heart of the Sinai (optional, if IDF tank and fighter aircraft losses are heavy enough):

The Egyptian armored and mechanized infantry divisions cross the Suez Canal, assault (along with the armored brigades that already crossed) and occupy central Sinai within 4-5 days. The Egyptian forces also advance further south along the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez, as far as At-TurSharm Ash-Sheikh area. Egyptian paratroopers, as well as additional commandos, are landed by transport helicopters and by boats in several locations (not shown on the map) behind the Israeli lines, with orders to hold the ground until the Egyptian armor arrives.

 

2nd field army:

15th independent armored brigade, along with 18th infantry division forces, advances to Baluza, Rumana and Misfack. Note that much of the terrain around Al-Qantara resembles the At-Tina Plain - Sabkhat Al-Mallaha area, with limited off-road mobility.  

23rd mechanized infantry and 21st armored divisions cross the canal at the 2nd and 16th infantry division sectors respectively and advance to At-Tasa and Bir Al-Jifjafa. The aforementioned infantry divisions advance to At-Tasa.

 

3rd field army:

4th armored division (the flagship of the Egyptian Armor Corps) crosses the canal at the 7th infantry division sector and, along with the 25th independent armored brigade, advances to Bir Al-Jifjafa.

7th infantry division advances through Al-Jidi Mountain Pass. Its brigades consolidate positions at both pass ends and east of Jabal Sahaba

19th infantry division advances through Mitla Mountain Pass. Its brigades consolidate positions at both pass ends and around Jabal Al-Hamma.

6th mechanized infantry division (with just its 113th mechanized infantry brigade) crosses the canal at the 19th infantry division sector, heads south towards the SW end of Wadi Sudr, advances NE through the wadi and consolidate positions around Ras Al-Jundi.

1st mechanized infantry brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division) advances further south on the Gulf of Suez eastern coastline road, towards At-TurSharm Ash-Sheikh area, teaming-up with 132nd commando regiment troops (see below) along the way.

 

Unmarked on the map:

Paratroopers, departed from Enshas airbase, are landed by Mi-8 helicopters at Al-Jidi Mountain Pass (near the Israeli forward HQ on Jabal Umm Khashiba) and at Mitla Mountain Pass.

Off the map:

132rd commando regiment troops, departed from Ras Gharib, are landed by Mi-8 helicopters, Bertram and Zodiac boats at At-TurSharm Ash-Sheikh area. 

 

Note that some of the roads were different than they are today and that the Suez Canal has been widened after the war on the expense of the eastern bank. See CORONA Atlas for comparison. 

 

 

Apart from the offensive into the Sinai, the Egyptians plan to block the shipping lanes to Israel, both in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Red Sea, out of the reach of the Israeli AF and navy.

Off the map, two Egyptian navy destroyers and one River-class frigate are sent to block the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab, in coordination with Sudan, North Yemen and South Yemen, thus cutting-off the oil shipping from Iran to the Israeli Port of Eilat. Another destroyer, of the Skoryy-class, is deployed to the Port of Tobruck, Libya, from where it could attack merchant ships heading to Israel as far as the Strait of Messina. Submarines are deployed at closer ranges, two Romeo-class in the Red Sea and several more along the Israeli Mediterranean coast. The Egyptian navy also plants naval mines in the Strait of Jubal, in order to disrupt the oil shipping from the Israeli drills in the Gulf of Suez.

Edited by Iarmor
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The forces deployed on October 6th (Shabbat and Yom Kippur) 1973, at 14:00:

 

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Israeli army:

 

252nd armored division, aka the Armored Forces in Sinai, is responsible for western Sinai. Its 14th armored brigade is at the frontline while its 401st armored brigade is training in Central Sinai. The next rotational front-rear swap between the two M48A3-equipped brigades, which takes place every 3 months, is scheduled for October 7th.

Due to the increased state of readiness, the 252nd armored division is reinforced with the 460th armored brigade. The 460th is formed of Armor School instructors, officer cadets and TC trainees, considered the IDF armor elite. The Armor School courses were halted and the men were flown to Rephidim AFB (Bir Al-Jifjafa) on October 5th. They manned M48A3s that were stored at Bir Ath-Thamada (these belonged to reserve elements of the 252nd armored division), as well as Centurions left behind at Bir Al-Jifjafa by the 77th armored battalion of the 7th armored brigade (the 77th was flown from Rephidim AFB to northern Israel several days earlier, in order to reinforce the reinforce the 188th armored brigade in the Golan). In wartime the 460th is supposed to join the reserve 162nd armored division, which is commanded by the Armor Corps CG Avraham Adan.

 

Blue circles are manned Bar-Lev frontline strongholds, 15-25 infantrymen each, fortified by rock gabions. Their IDF codenames, north to south: Budapest, Oracle (two adjacent strongholds), Lakhtzanit, Derorah, Ketubah, Milano, Mifreqet, Hizayon, Purqan, Matzmed, Laqeqan (Tell Salam, marked with a triangle for some reason), Botzer, Lituf, Mefatze'ach, Nisan (aka the Village, for its proximity to Ash-Shatt village), Masreck (aka The Pier). The last (southern) 3 are manned by a company of the 904th infantry battalion, while the others are manned by the 68th infantry battalion (two companies, of the reserve 16th infantry brigade). Empty frontline strongholds (about as many as the manned ones) are not marked. Note that most IDF frontline strongholds were wiped off when the Suez Canal was expanded eastwards, so their former location is currently in the canal waters. See CORONA Atlas for comparison.

Sand ramparts (unmarked on the map) for tank platoons, nicknamed 'fins', are scattered along the eastern bank.

Blue triangles are seldom-manned observation posts. The post on the shore north of Baluza is codenamed Traclin and the Ras Misalla post is codenamed Egrofit.

Blue squares are second-line posts on higher terrain, about 10-12 kms from the canal, harboring armor companies (of the frontal armored brigade) or artillery batteries. Their IDF codenames, north to south: Yoram, Martef, Maror, Havragah, Nozel (Ash-Shajara), Televiziya, Kishuf (Jabal Hibayta), Horvah (unmanned), Mitzvah, Notzah, Tzeidar. The north-to-south road that connects the second-line posts is nicknamed The Artillery Road.

The north-to-south road that connects Baluza, At-Tasa, Al-Jidi Junction, the Mitla Junction and Ras Sudr is nicknamed the Lateral Road.

 

The Southern Command CG (less than 3 months into his duty), Shmuel Gonen, hasn't ordered to execute Operation Shovakh Yonim (Hebrew for Dovecote) according to the emergency defense plan, since he is uncertain regarding the Egyptian intentions. According to the plan, the companies of the frontal armored brigade (which would keep command of just the central canal sector) should send some tank platoons/pairs from the second-line posts to some of frontline strongholds, mostly at the northern sector. The rear armored brigade (which would take command of the southern sector) should send its 3 battalions to the Lateral Road, one for each sector. The third armored brigade (supposed to be the 7th armored brigade) should stay at Bir Al-Jifjafa as the division's reserve and be ready to counterattack.

 

Northern sector - 275th regional brigade:

9th armored battalion (~30 M48s, of the 14th armored brigade) parks at Objective Orion (around Bir Ar-Rujtiya). One of its tank companies is at the nearby Objective Katriel and one tank platoon is pre-positioned at Oracle stronghold. The 9th battalion HQ is responsible for the Milano - Mifreqet sector.

404th medium artillery battalion (M-50, of the 209th artillery regiment) batteries are at Budapest, Yoram and Maror. The Budapest battery, which also operates two 120 mm mortars, is stationary rather than SP (positioned in a bunker, nicknamed Navarone).

One company from the elite 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion, along with a mechanized infantry platoon, is at Martef.

275th regional brigade HQ is at Baluza along with the 68th infantry battalion HQ. The 68th battalion HQ is responsible for the Traclin - Budapest - Oracle - Lakhtzanit - Derorah - Ketubah sector.

 

Central sector - 184th armored battalion, 14th armored brigade:

184th armored battalion (~25 M48s) companies are at Havragah, Nozel and Televiziya (mechanized infantry). Battalion HQ is at At-Tasa.

403rd medium artillery battalion (L-33, of the 209th artillery regiment) is on its way to the front from Bir Al-Jifjafa.

One battery from the 55th independent heavy artillery battalion (M107) is at Kishuf. This battery was detached to stay in the Sinai when the rest of the 55th was sent to the Golan Heights in September.

14th armored brigade HQ, responsible for both the central and southern sectors, is near At-Tasa.

 

Southern sector - 52nd armored battalion, 14th armored brigade:

52nd armored battalion (~30 M48s) companies are at Mitzvah, Notzah and Tzeidar. Battalion HQ is at the western end of the Mitla Pass.

14th armored brigade's reconnaissance company (M113s) is at the ex-Egyptian 1967 SAM site, codenamed Telepathiya.

402nd medium artillery battalion (M-50, of the 209th artillery regiment) batteries are at Mitzvah, Qarrat Al-Murra and Mavded. The Mavded battery, which also operates two 120 mm mortars, is stationary rather than SP (positioned in a bunker, nicknamed Navarone).

424th infantry reconnaissance battalion (with just a single company) is on its way south from At-Tasa.

One infantry platoon (of the 904th battalion) is at Ras Sudr.

 

At the rear:

401st armored brigade (M48s) HQ is at Bir Ath-Thamada alongwith its 46th and 195th armored battalions and with the 196th armored battalion (attached from the 460th armored brigade). Its 79th armored battalion is at Bir Al-Jifjafa (known in Hebrew as Rephidim), attached to the 460th armored brigade.

460th armored brigade (Armor School) HQ is at Bir Al-Jifjafa alongwith its 198th armored battalion (4 Centurion companies) and with the 79th armored battalion (attached from the 401st armored brigade). Its 196th armored battalion (6 M48 companies) is at Bir Ath-Thamada, attached to the 401st armored brigade, while its 71st armored battalion (3 Centurion companies) is in the Golan Heights, attached to the 7th armored brigade.

All in all, about 70 MBTs are at Bir Al-Jifjafa and 130 MBTs are at Bir Ath-Thamada.

252nd armored division HQ and the 601st combat engineer battalion (of the 162nd armored division) are also at Bir Al-Jifjafa.

Southern Command forward HQ, as well as communication, surveillance, radar and EW facilities, are on Jabal Umm Khashiba

 

Total: ~290 MBTs (250 M48s, 40 Centurions), 10(+) artillery batteries.

 

Southern Sinai (off the map) - 72nd regional brigade:

Two tank companies (one active-service, one reserve) of the 225th armored battalion, 274th independent armored brigade (T-54/55 with 105 mm gun) are at Sharm Ash-Sheikh and Abu Rudays.

One paratroop company (from the 890th paratroop battalion, 35th paratroop brigade) is on its way from Sharm Ash-Sheikh to Abu Rudays, mounted on halftracks.

Southern Sinai is known in the IDF as Merchav Shlomo (Hebrew for 'Solomon Region'), abbreviated as Marshal. Sharm Ash-Sheikh itself is known as Mifratz Shlomo ('Solomon's Bay'), the Israeli settlement at Ras Umm Sid is named Ophira and the AFB near Ras Nasrani is named Ophir.

 

 

Egyptian army:

 

The western bank is crowded with Egyptian fortifications (not shown on the map), much more dense than the Israeli fortifications on the eastern bank. These include 90 sand ramparts for tank or ATGM platoons, that were piled up along the the western bank (this one for example). The Egyptian ramparts are 20-25 meters tall (taller than the Israeli ones), providing LOS observation as far as the Israeli second-line posts, 10-12 kms east of the canal.

 

Northern sector:

135th independent infantry brigade (T-34/85) is at Sidi Al-Arbaeen - Port Said - Port Fuad - Ras Al-Ash - At-Tina area. It's reinforced with at least one commando battalion, which is deployed on the shoal NW of the Israeli Budapest stronghold.

 

2nd field army:

18th infantry division is west of Al-Qantara and Al-Balah Island. Attached to it is the 15th independent armored brigade (T-62), which is east of As-Salakhiya airbase.

2nd infantry division, reinforced with the 24th armored brigade (from the 23rd mechanized infantry division), is around Al-Firdan - Al-Firdan Bridge, between Al-Balah Island and Ismailia.

16th infantry division, reinforced with the 14th armored brigade (from the 21st armored division), is at Serapeum - Deversoir - Abu Sultan - Faid.

A single mechanized infantry brigade from the 23rd mechanized infantry division is between As-Salakhiya airbase and Al-Qasasin.

21st armored division, with its 1st armored and 18th mechanized infantry brigades, is at Ridan Al-Hama.

2nd field army HQ, its 23rd mechanized infantry division and the 129th (with just two of its battalions) and 131st commando regiments are in Al-Qasasin - Abu Suwayr airbase area.

 

3rd field army:

Palestinian 107th infantry brigade, reinforced with the Kuwaiti Al-Yarmouk infantry battalion, is around Fanara.

130th marine brigade is near Ganifa.

7th infantry division is at Kibrit - Ash-Shalufa. Attached to it is the 25th independent armored brigade (T-62), which is south of Ganifa, west of Ash-Shalufa. Also attached is the 33rd commando battalion (of the 127th regiment), which is at Kasfarit airbase.

19th infantry division, reinforced with the 22nd armored brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division), is at Al-Kubri - Suez - Port Adabiya.

4th armored division (2nd and 3rd armored, 6th mechanized infantry brigades) is around Jabal Mishash Al-Awasig

6th mechanized infantry division, with its 1st mechanized infantry brigade, is on the Suez - Cairo road, SW of Jabal Uwaybid and SE of Jabal Al-Gafra.

113th mechanized infantry brigade (from the 6th mechanized infantry division) is west of Al-Hafair, SE of Jabal Umm Zayta. The Ras Mahagara - Ras Sadat - Al-Hafair - Al-Ayn As-Soukhna coastline is defended by a Border Guard regiment.

127th (with just two of its battalions) and 130th commando regiments are near Kutamiya airbase. One battalion (163rd? 43rd?) from the 127th commando regiment is at Wadi Hagul, north of Jabal Umm Zayta.

3rd field army HQ is north of Jabal Uwaybid, west of Jabal Ghara.

 

Red Sea theater (off the map):

119th independent infantry brigade is at Al-Ghardaqa.

212th independent infantry brigade and 128th commando regiment are at Ras Za'afrana.

160th paratroop brigade is at Wadi Qina airbase.

132nd commando regiment is at Ras Gharib.

279th independent tank battalion is near Bir Arida airbase (where a North Korean MiG-21 squadron is deployed, BTW).

 

At the rear (off the map):

3rd mechanized infantry division

35th armored brigade

Republican Guard (armored brigade + infantry brigade)

Armor school

140th and 150th paratroop brigades are at Enshas airbase - Bilbays airbase area.

Unidentified (131st?) infantry brigade

 

Total: ~2200 MBTs (T-34/54/55/62), ~2000 artillery pieces, 55 SAM sites (25 SA-2B/C and 20 SA-3 sites operated by seven heavy SAM brigades, 10 SA-6 sites operated by two medium SAM brigades). 

Edited by Iarmor
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IDF defense battles until the morning of October 7th:

 

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Northern sector - IDF 275th regional brigade + 460th armored brigade (Armor School):

IDF 9th armored battalion splits into platoons/pairs and gets wiped out while trying to block the crossing Egyptian infantry and to save the frontline strongholds. In Budapest, a pair of M48s blocks an Egyptian battalion (OT-62s, T-34/85s) assault through the narrow coastal road, but the stronghold is cut-off by seaborne Egyptian 103rd commando battalion troops.

IDF elite 460th armored brigade (Armor School) joins in with its 198th armored battalion (the only Centurion battalion currently in Sinai) and with TF Lapidot.

Commanded by Ya'acov Lapidot, who departed the 196th armored battalion CO duty just a week earlier, TF Lapidot is composed of two M48 companies from the 196th armored battalion. It is attached to the 275th regional brigade and heads north on the Lateral Road, to clear the seaborne Egyptian commandos who are cutting-off Budapest. At the same time, Kalman Magen, who was supposed to commence his next duty as the new 252nd armored division CO on October 7th, arrives in Baluza and de facto takes command of the 275th regional brigade.

IDF 460th armored brigade takes command of the 9th armored battalion's sector. Its 198th armored battalion splits into two and engages the Egyptian 18th infantry division troops around Al-Qantara - Milano stronghold (460th brigade XO's force) and around Mifreqet stronghold (198th battalion CO's force). The 198th battalion CO's force manages to destroy an Egyptian LPP bridge laid near Mifreqet stronghold. The Egyptians use the surviving LPP pontoons as barges. IDF 9th armored battalion is written-off the ORBAT table, its remnants join the 198th battalion (eventually as a company) and the 9th battalion CO joins the 460th brigade HQ, replacing the G3 who was killed while leading a tank company in the streets of Al-Qantara.

 

Central sector - IDF 14th armored brigade:

IDF 184th armored battalion splits into platoons/pairs and suffers heavy losses while trying to block the crossing Egyptian infantry and to save the frontline strongholds.

IDF 14th armored brigade, now responsible only for the central sector, is reinforced by the 79th armored battalion in the afternoon. Both the 184th and 79th armored battalions are supplemented by one tank company each, which they receive from the 196th armored battalion. The 196th armored battalion, with its two remaining companies, joins the 14th armored brigade in the central sector only after midnight, since it was first tasked with defending Bir Al-Jifjafa - Bir Ath-Thamada area from possible attacks by heliborne Egyptian commandos.

The invading Egyptian forces in the central sector are the 2nd and 16th infantry divisions.

 

Southern sector - IDF 401st armored brigade:

IDF 52nd armored battalion splits into platoons/pairs and suffers heavy losses while trying to block the crossing Egyptian infantry and to save the frontline strongholds. In the afternoon, the 52nd battalion successfully counterattacks towards Mefatze'ach stronghold, with 5 of its tanks and with the 14th brigade's reconnaissance company, but the success is only temporary as the Egyptian troops recommence their invasion shortly after.

IDF 401st armored brigade joins in with its 46th and 195th armored battalions, through Al-Jidi Mountain Pass, and takes command of the southern sector and of the 52nd armored battalion. The 46th battles the Egyptian 7th infantry division on Al-Jidi road and the 195th is sent south on the Lateral Road to battle the Egyptian 19th infantry division on the Mitla road.

Egyptian 130th marine brigade crosses the Little Bitter Lake with its amphibious AFVs, but gets destroyed by IDF 52nd and 46th battalion forces. A light tank as the PT-76 is no match for a MBT like the M48.

Unlike the 2nd field army, which establishes its first AFV bridge as early as 20:30, the 3rd field army meets significant difficulties on the crossing operation. 7th infantry division tanks start crossing only at dawn, in a slow pace, while the 19th infantry division is unable yet to establish its single Uniflote bridge for AFVs (it would only on October 8th). In addition to the Israeli resistance, the 3rd field army's crossing delays are also caused by the clay soil in the southern canal sector.

 

At the rear:

IDF TF Bischof (Officer School cadets) defends Al-Jidi and Mitla passes.

IDF 252nd armored division HQ is at Bir Al-Jifjafa.

IDF Southern Command forward HQ, codenamed 'Dvela' (Hebrew for 'Palatha'), is on Jabal Umm Khashiba, alongside communication, surveillance, radar and EW facilities.

EAF MiGs, Sukhois and and Tu-16s (armed with AS-5 Kelt missiles) attack several Israeli targets deep in the central Sinai, including the Jabal Umm Khashiba HQ, Rephidim (Bir Al-Jifjafa) AFB, Bir Al-Thamada airstrip and the Jabal Umm Marjum radar station. Also targeted are the two Israeli Hawk SAM sites in western Sinai, near Abu Samara and near Al-Jidi road. One of the AS-5 Kelt missiles is launched towards central Israel, but gets shot down over the Mediterranean by an IAF Mirage with 30 mm fire. Another Kelt, aimed at the Jabal Umm Marjum radar, is shot down by an IAF F-4 (scrambled from Rephidim) with an AIM-7 missile. The Egyptian president's younger brother, Atef As-Sadat, is killed when his Su-7 is shot down.

EAF MiGs, Sukhois and Tu-16s will continue to attack Israeli targets deep in the central Sinai throughout the war, with only little success. In addition to aircraft kills, the Israeli AAA will be credited with shooting down several Kelt missiles.

The planned landings of the 63rd and 113th commando battalions at Al-Jidi Mountain Pass and Mitla Mountain Pass are aborted by the Egyptian high command.

 

Gulf of Suez coastline, Merchav Shlomo and the Red Sea (mostly off the map) :

Ras Sudr defenders are reinforced by the elite 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion and by a M48 platoon from the 52nd armored battalion.

EAF MiGs and Tu-16s (armed with AS-5 Kelt missiles) attack several Israeli targets in Sharm Ash-Sheikh area (off the map), including Mifratz Shlomo naval baseOphir AFBJabal As-Safra radar station, the local Hawk SAM site and the tropospheric scatter antennas (that enabled communication with Tel-Aviv, 470 kms away). Two IAF F-4s scramble from Ophir AFB and shot down 7 of the Egyptian MiGs.

Two Egyptian navy Komar-class missile boats launch Styx missiles at three Israeli navy tank landing crafts patrolling near Sharm Ash-Sheikh, but all four missiles miss. The Egyptians would continue launching Styx missiles at Israeli vessels sailing in the Ras MuhammadSharm Ash-Sheikh area until October 17th, but with no success. 

Out of the 20 EAF Mi-8s shot down (mostly by IAF F-4s) while or after transporting commandos into the Sinai (carrying 18-24 troops each), 12 are shot down in the Gulf of Suez area. One IDF 225th armored battalion T-55 (105 mm) is credited for shooting down one of the Mi-8s with a main gun round, at night, near the oil tanks at Abu Rudays (off the map). Most Egyptian commandos that make it safely to the ground are captured by IDF 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion troops, putting up only light resistance. However, the surviving Egyptian 143rd  battalion commandos take control of Wadi Sudr.

The Israeli oil shipping from the Gulf of Suez to the Port of Eilat (off the map) is halted. To the far south, the Egyptian navy blocks the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab (off the map), with two destroyers, one River-class frigate and two submarines.

At night, two Israeli navy Dabur-class patrol boats foil the planned Egyptian commando beach landing operation by attacking Marsa Thalamat (off the map) and destroying one Bertram and two Zodiac boats, in a battle during which both Daburs got stuck on reefs but the crews managed to extricate their boats on their own. Consequently, the Egyptians resort to wider use of transport helicopters when landing their 153rd and 83rd commando battalions at the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez, despite the many helicopters lost as well. 

 

Mediterranean Sea (unmarked on the map) :

At night, an Egyptian navy torpedo boat, mounted with a BM-21 rockets, approaches Lake Bardawil and rockets the Israeli navy Daphna coastal radar station on Mount Casius. The rockets cause no damage and the boat escapes as it's chased by two Israeli navy Sa'ar 3-class missile boats. Egyptian Osa-class missile boats, tasked with securing the torpedo boat, battle the Israeli Sa'ars but fail to launch any missiles, whereas all 11 Israeli Gabriel missiles miss their targets due a technical failure. However, one of the Egyptian boats is sunk by a single IAF F-4, that hits the Osa while using its own flares for illumination.

 

 

By morning, some IDF frontline strongholds are surrounded, but the Egyptian bridgeheads are kept only 3-5 kms deep. Only 110 IDF MBTs are battle-worthy out of 290 at the start of the war, after taking heavy Egyptian ATGM and tank fire from both banks of the Suez Canal, in addition to the widespread use of light AT weapons by the Egyptian infantry on the eastern bank. The remaining Israeli forces are ordered to stop their assaults on the Egyptian bridgeheads, retreat and defend the second-line posts and the Artillery Road.  

Edited by Iarmor
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Evening of October 7th:

 

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IDF reserves start to arrive at the Suez Canal frontline after their urgent emergency mobilization. These include the 162nd and 143rd armored divisions, the reserve elements of the 252nd armored division and the 164th, 217th, 274th and 500th armored brigades. In addition, the active-service, elite 35th paratroop brigade joins in with its 890th, 202nd and 450th battalions, that were not deployed to the frontline when the war had started. Its 50th battalion was deployed to the Golan Heights' southern sector strongholds.

The 162nd armored division is commanded by the Armor Corps CG Avraham Adan. Except for its active-service 7th and 460th armored brigades and 601st combat engineer battalion, the 162nd division is composed of reserve formations - the 11th mechanized infantry brigade (Shermans), 215th artillery regiment, 279th armored reconnaissance and 208th SP AAA battalions. As the 460th armored brigade had already suffered heavy losses at the northern sector of the Suez Canal, while the 7th armored brigade is with the 36th armored division in the Golan, the 162nd armored division is reinforced with the reserve 500th and 217th armored brigades (both equipped with Shot Cal). The 217th armored brigade is detached from the Central Command's reserve 146th armored division, which is on the move to the Golan, while the 500th is an independent brigade. 

The 143rd armored division is commanded by the reserve general Ariel Sharon, who served as the Southern Command CG until July 1973. The 143rd division is composed of the reserve 600th (M60A1s), 421st (M48A3s) armored, 875th mechanized infantry (Shermans) brigades, 214th artillery regiment, 87th armored reconnaissance (M60A1s), 229th combat engineer and 207th SP AAA battalions.

The active-service 252nd armored division (the only one in the IDF) also includes some reserve elements. In addition to its active-service 14th and 401st armored brigades and 209th artillery regiment, the 252nd armored division is composed of the reserve 204th mechanized infantry brigade, 189th armored reconnaissance, 271st combat engineer and 291st SP AAA battalions. The 252nd division is fully equipped with M48A3s - the only IDF division to operate a single type of tank. However, all 189th battalion tanks and some 204th brigade tanks were taken by the 196th armored battalion at Bir Ath-Thamada. The 19th tank battalion of the 204th mechanized infantry brigade therefore starts the war at 2/3 of its normal strength and the 189th armored reconnaissance battalion would spend the war with no tanks at all.

The tanks of the 217th, 274th armored brigades, 129th tank battalion (Shermans, of the 875th mechanized infantry brigade) and 279th armored reconnaissance battalion are the only AFVs transported to western Sinai by flatbeds. All the rest, including WW2 halftracks, Sherman MBTs and Sherman-based artillery pieces, are driven on tracks for 180-300 kms. Refueling takes place at civilian gas stations, with a promise that the IDF would pay for the fuel after the war.   

Due to the urgent mobilization, the reserve armor units assign their tankers to form inorganic crews (with crewmembers often not knowing each other) and rush to the Suez Canal with only minimal equipment and preparations. The reservists lack ammo, binoculars, maps, machine guns, small arms, tanker coveralls, etc. Even zeroing the main gun is skipped in the race against the Egyptian crossing.

 

 

Northern sector - IDF reserve 162nd armored division:

IDF reserve 162nd armored division gradually arrives through the northern Sinai coastline road (Rafah Junction - Ash-Sheikh ZuwaydAl-Arish - Rumana - Baluza), attached with the 217th, 500th armored, 204th mechanized infantry brigades and the 189th armored reconnaissance battalion. Its own 11th mechanized infantry brigade, 215th artillery regiment and 279th armored reconnaissance battalion would join on October 8th. The 162nd division takes command of the northern sector and of the 460th armored brigade.

In the morning of October 7th, the Egyptian 183rd battalion commandos ambush the arriving Israeli reserves west of Rumana. The 113th armored battalion of the 217th armored brigade, the first IDF reserve force which has already reached Baluza, is ordered to return east and destroy the Egyptian force. The Egyptian commandos are eventually wiped-out by a halftrack-mounted force from the elite IDF 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion, whereas the 113th armored battalion heads west again after suffering losses.

Egyptian 135th independent infantry brigade troops capture Oracle and Lakhtzanit strongholds. One IDF M48 manages to retreat from Oracle southwards to Al-Qantara and then NE to Martef, by sheer luck, despite passing by many Egyptian troops, taking fire and losing the TC on the way. When the remaining Israeli troops attempt to retreat from Oracle on a halftrack and two M48s, they manage to overcome several Egyptian ambushes along the way but eventually the AFVs are destroyed and only 5 soldiers proceed on foot towards Yoram.

Budapest stronghold holds on, but it's still cut-off. IDF troops retreat from Derorah and Ketubah strongholds, despite these two are attacked only by artillery fire. The map mistakenly depicts the Egyptian 18th infantry division sector as it includes Derorah, while Derorah was actually in the 135th independent infantry brigade sector.

Egyptian 18th infantry division troops capture Milano and Mifreqet strongholds. IDF troops manage to retreat from Milano. IDF 217th armored brigade forces cover the retreating forces from their positions at Yoram and Martef second-line posts. In a fratricide fire incident near Yoram, a tank from the 113th armored battalion kills 3 out of the 5 Oracle survivors, since the TC (under the fresh impression of the Egyptian commando ambush between Rumana and Baluza) wasn't aware that they were positively identified as Israelis by his comrades. 

IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade (unmarked on the map, while the 275th regional brigade is marked twice) takes command of the Budapest - Baluza area. TF Lapidot is attached to it, while its 19th tank battalion is attached to the 460th armored brigade.

IDF 460th armored brigade is on the Artillery Road, at Hazizit - Maadim - Tiltul junction east of Mifreqet, with its battered 198th armored battalion (the brigade XO's force reunites with the battalion CO's force) and the 19th tank battalion. Some 198th battalion tank crew members, who lost their tanks, are sent back to the Armor School base in central Israel for re-assignment. They would eventually join the fighting in the Golan with TF Amos.

 

Central sector - IDF reserve 143rd armored division:

IDF reserve 143rd armored division gradually arrives through the central Sinai road (Umm Qataf - Abu Uwayqila - Jabal Libni - Bir Al-HamaBir Al-Jifjafa - At-Tasa) with its 421st, 600th armored brigades and 87th armored reconnaissance battalion. The 214th artillery regiment would join only on October 8th-9th, for getting its ammo late. The 143rd division takes command of the central sector and of the 14th armored brigade, in exchange for the 875th mechanized infantry brigade which haven't arrived yet.

Egyptian infantry encircles Hizayon, Purqan (both at the 2nd division sector) and Matzmed (16th division sector). Israeli forces retreat from Laqeqan (although it was not attacked at all), as well as from Televiziya second-line post.

IDF 196th armored battalion engages the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces east of Al-Firdan Bridge - Hizayon stronghold.

IDF 79th armored battalion engages the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces between Purqan frontline and Nozel second-line posts. After its XO and CO are injured, the 79th battalion remnants are attached to the 196th battalion.  

IDF 184th armored battalion engages the Egyptian 16th infantry division east of the Chinese Farm, SE of Televiziya.

IDF 599th armored battalion, of the 421st armored brigade, heads towards Havragah, but the 143rd division CO plan to extract the men from the besieged frontline strongholds is denied by the Southern Command HQ.

 

Southern sector - IDF 252nd armored division:

IDF 252nd armored division commands now just the southern sector and its HQ has moved to the western end of the Mitla Pass. Reserve forces haven't arrived to reinforce it yet, so the worn-out 401st armored brigade keeps fighting on its own. At some point, the 409th armored battalion of the 600th armored brigade is ordered to reinforce the 252nd division, but when it arrives to Mavdil - Padui junction it's ordered to head north and rejoin the 600th armored brigade near At-Tasa.

Lituf stronghold is captured by Egyptian 7th infantry division troops, while Mefatze'ach, Nisan and Masreck are besieged by Egyptian 19th infantry division troops. Due to its unique location, Masreck is the only Bar-Lev line stronghold assaulted by an Egyptian commando battalion rather than line infantry. For now, Masreck holds on, inflicting heavy losses on the assaulting Egyptian 43rd commando battalion (of the 127th regiment). Botzer stronghold holds as it's attacked only by artillery fire.

Egyptian 130th marine brigade remnants join the 7th infantry division at its northern flank.

IDF 46th armored battalion engages the Egyptian 7th infantry division in Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refugee camp (mistakenly known as the Polish Camp) - Mitzvah second-line post area. An attempt to reach Lituf is failed.

IDF 52nd and 195th armored battalions engage the Egyptian 19th infantry division forces between the Croatian Memorial Cemetery (codenamed Martze'a, mistakenly known as 'Queen Victoria Memorial Monument' and as the 'Madonna') and Mavded. In the evening they retreat to Notzah second-line post - Qarrat Al-Murra.

 

At the rear:

IDF 264th armored battalion, of the 421st armored brigade, is at Bir Al-Jifjafa after departing late due to lack of equipment. The 421st armored brigade had only 22 tanks in its warehouses, so the men took over the M48s left behind at the Armor School camps. 

IDF TF Bischof defends Al-Jidi and Mitla passes.

IDF Southern Command forward HQ, communication, surveillance, radar and EW facilities are on Jabal Umm Khashiba.

 

Gulf of Suez coastline - IDF 35th paratroop brigade:

IDF elite 35th paratroop brigade arrives to Ras Sudr with its 890th and 450th battalions. Its two other battalions, the 202nd and the 50th, are at Bir Al-Jifjafa (not shown on the map) and at the Golan Heights respectively. The paratroopers prepare to defend Ras Sudr and Merchav Shlomo from an Egyptian 3rd field army attack southwards along the coastline. In addition, they prepare to execute Operation Or Yarock (Hebrew for Green Light), a beach landing operation on the Egyptian coastline in the Gulf of Suez, north of Al-Ghardaqa, alongside the 225th armored and 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalions. 

In addition to the M48 platoon of the 52nd armored battalion, the 35th paratroop brigade is reinforced with a T-55 (105 mm) company of the 225th armored battalion, that was sent to Ras Sudr from Abu Rudays.

 

Merchav Shlomo (off the map) - IDF 72nd regional brigade:

IDF 225th armored battalion's T-54/55s (105 mm) and the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion's PT-76s and BTR-50s are stored near Sharm Ash-Sheikh. Both battalions belong to the reserve 274th independent armored brigade. After the men arrive (225th battalion by buses, 88th battalion flown to Ophir AFB) and man their AFVs, they patrol Sharm Ash-Sheikh - At-Tur - Abu Rudays area, watching for Egyptian commandos landing from helicopters or boats. In addition, they prepare to execute Operation Or Yarock alongside the 35th paratroop brigade. 

One tank company of the 225th armored battalion is sent from Abu Rudays to reinforce the 35th paratroop brigade at Ras Sudr.

One paratroop company from the 890th battalion is at Abu Rudays, mounted on halftracks. In the next few days, assisted by IAF Bell 205 helicopters, the Israeli paratroopers would capture hundreds of Egyptian commandos in the mountains and wadis east of Ras Mal'ab - Abu Znayma - Abu Rudays - Ras Sharatib, facing little resistance. Apparently the Egyptian commandos didn't like being regarded as expendables by the Egyptian high command, which gave them only a one-way ticket to Sinai with no valid extraction plan. Notable catches took place in Wadi Ba'ba' on October 8th (including the 83rd commando battalion CO), Wadi Firran on October 12th, Wadi Gharandal on October 13th. All in all, the Egyptian attempts to land commandos in the Sinai during the war ended with ~750 of them killed (~300 crashed with their helicopters, ~200 on the ground in Merchav Shlomo), 330 captured (310 in Merchav Shlomo) and 26 EAF Mi-8s lost (one was found by the Israelis on the ground near Abu Rudays in a good condition and was flown by the IAF).

 

Starting in the afternoon, IAF F-4s and A-4s strike the Egyptian bridges, destroying 7 bridges out of 11. Egyptian tank crossing is almost halted for at least 24 hours in the 3rd field army sector, but the delay is less significant for the 2nd field army, since many of its tanks have already crossed. In addition to pontoon bridges (PMPTPP, LPP, Uniflote), Egyptian AFVs cross by GSP ferries, pontoon (TPP, Uniflote) barges and by their own amphibious capability (BMP-1, BTR-50/OT-62, BRDM-2, PT-76). Soft-skins cross also on K-61 and PTS amphibious transport vehicles. As for the bridges, the Egyptians are able to repair them rather quickly, by replacing the blown-up pontoons with new ones. 

 

At night, Egyptian FROG-7 rockets are launched at the IAF Rephidim AFB for the first time, causing no damage. The Egyptians will continue to launch FROG-7s at Israeli targets deep in the central Sinai throughout the war, but with no success.

 

In the Red Sea, off the map, abeam the Port of Jedda, an Israeli oil tanker is attacked by an Egyptian Romeo-class submarine while delivering oil from Iran to Eilat. The oil tanker escapes unharmed, but the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab is confirmed as blocked for Israeli ships. The Egyptian vessels imposing the blockade are out of Israeli reach, as the heaviest Israeli navy combat vessels in the Red Sea are Dabur-class patrol boats, while all the Sa'ar missile boats are in the Mediterranean. The Sa'ar 4-class was designed especially for the Red Sea, but the first two Sa'ar 4s were planned to commence their journey around Africa from Haifa to Sharm Ash-Sheikh only on October 15th 1973. This journey is postponed because of the war, which the Sa'ar 4s participate in the Mediterranean, and eventually the two Sa'ar 4s would be sent around Africa only in 1974, after the Egyptian blockade is officially lifted.

Edited by Iarmor
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October 8th, before noon - IDF counterattack:

 

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Although the Israeli decision is to concentrate the main effort first in the Golan (the Central Command's 146th armored division is attached to the Northern Command, most IAF sorties are sent against the Syrians), and in spite of many of the reserves being stuck in traffic jams on their way to western Sinai (mostly artillery, halftracks and soft-skins, since tanks were prioritized), the IDF Chief of the General Staff orders the Southern Command to counterattack the Egyptian forces which have crossed into Sinai. The assault is to be gradual (two divisions attack, one at the time), from north to south, and the Israeli forces are to keep 2-3 kms away from the Suez Canal, in order to avoid Sagger launches from the Egyptian ramparts on the western bank. However, the Southern Command CG gives over-ambitious and unrealistic orders to his divisions (including to cross the canal over Egyptian bridges expected to be captured) and the ill-prepared and ill-coordinated IDF counterattack results in a chaotic fiasco.

 

Northern sector - IDF TF Nammer (blue, mostly off the map):

The northern sector, from Budapest to Al-Ballah Island, is handed over to an ad-hoc established division-sized force named Nammer (Hebrew for Leopard). TF Nammer is commanded by Kalman Magen, who was supposed to commence his duty as the new 252nd division CO on October 7th. TF Nammer is composed of the 275th regional brigade and the reserve 11th and 204th mechanized infantry brigades, that arrived to Baluza through the northern Sinai coastline road. The 11th brigade (Shermans), reinforced with the 126th armored battalion (of the 217th armored brigade) and with the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion (of the 162nd armored division), engages Egyptian 15th independent armored brigade T-62s (attached to the 18th infantry division) east of Al-Qantara.

 

IDF 162nd armored division (blue):

The 162nd, the flagship of the Israeli Armored Corps, is the first to assault. The plan is to advance south, destroy the Egyptian 2nd and 16th infantry division forces in Sinai one after the other, and cross the canal near the besieged Matzmed stronghold, in front of Deversoir, over an Egyptian bridge expected to be captured (BTW, the Egyptians prepared all their bridges for emergency explosion in order to prevent this kind of scenario).

IDF 217th armored brigade (originally belonged to the 146th armored division) is planned to advance south on the Artillery Road and then west towards Matzmed. However, at the beginning of its movement, the 217th takes fire from Egyptian 15th independent armored brigade T-62s (attached to the 18th infantry division) east of Al-Qantara. The 217th leaves its 126th armored battalion there, attached to the 11th mechanized infantry brigade of TF Nammer, and heads south later than planned.

As the 217th is still behind, the IDF 460th armored brigade advances on its own, west of the Artillery Road, with two battalions - its 198th (which includes a M48 company, remnants of the 9th armored battalion) and the attached 19th. At first, the attack seems to go well and the Southern Command HQ starts jabbering about crossing over an Egyptian pontoon bridge, which is expected to be captured near Al-Firdan Bridge (defunct since 1967) - Hizayon stronghold area. The two battalions then turn west and engage Egyptian armor observed on ramparts west of the canal. The 198th also observes Egyptian tanks in a palm tree grove east of the canal, engages them and stops in its positions, west of Bir Al-Huda, as it runs out of ammo. To the south, the 19th tank battalion (22 tanks) proceeds west on its own, towards the besieged Hizayon, and finds itself alone, assaulting the entrenched Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces on the eastern bank, while taking heavy Sagger fire from the western bank. When the Egyptian infantrymen realize how small the Israeli force is, they stop fleeing, get back into their foxholes and utilize their RPGs. Although two of its M48s did manage to reach as far as the Suez Canal, IDF 19th tank battalion is forced to retreat with heavy losses. The battalion CO is among the injured.  

IDF 500th armored brigade heads south on the Lateral Road (north-to-south road, about 30 kms east of the canal) at the division's rear. Its 430th armored battalion is sent west towards Havragah to reinforce the 460th brigade, while the others proceed to At-Tasa (codenamed Ceylon) and turn west towards Ismailia. The 500th brigade HQ reaches Nozel with its 433th armored battalion, which engages the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces east of the besieged Purqan stronghold, while the 429th armored battalion takes positions at Objective Hamutal (IDF codename for Kathib Ayfan - Abu Waqfa area).

 

IDF 143rd armored division (green):

Only after the 162nd is to complete its mission in the central sector, the 143rd is planned to head to the southern canal sector, destroy the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai, cross near the besieged Nisan stronghold on an Egyptian bridge expected to be captured and capture Suez.

However, when initial reports indicate success of the 162nd division, the 143rd division is ordered to leave its positions, move south on the Lateral Road and wait at the Al-Jidi Junction, in order to be able to complete its mission in daylight. When the order to head south is spread down the chain of command, it is misinterpreted as a desperate attempt to help the 252nd armored division to block an alleged Egyptian 4th armored division assault towards Al-Jidi and Mitla passes. 

The 143rd division leaves its 87th armored reconnaissance battalion to defend Objective HamadiyaKishuf second-line post, facing the Egyptian 16th infantry division troops, as this area is considered crucial for a possible future crossing operation towards Deversoir. The 421st armored brigade abandons Havragah and leads on the move southwards, followed by the 14th (which abandons Nozel, Objective Hamutal and Objective Makhshir) and the 600th (after handing over Hamadiya and Kishuf to the 87th battalion).

Immediately after the order to move south is received, the 421st and 14th armored brigades, still positioned at Havragah and Nozel respectively, are contacted one after the other by the 460th armored brigade CO, who asks to get one of their battalions to help the 19th battalion (he was unaware that the 430th armored battalion was approaching Havragah). To the men's dismay, the 143rd division CO orders to dismiss the call and to head south, since the 252nd division's situation in the southern sector is supposedly really bad and OTOH he did not receive any order to help the 162nd division.

 

IDF 252nd armored division (blue, mostly off the map):

With no reserve forces attached to the 252nd division yet, the 401st armored brigade keeps fighting the Egyptian 3rd field army on its own. After its battalions regroup following the defeat on the day before, the 401st brigade takes the offensive initiative and launches local battalion-scale assaults. IDF 46th armored battalion recaptures Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refugee camp and engages Egyptian 7th infantry division tanks from 3000 meters range.

Unlike what some IDF 143rd division officers were mistakenly lead to believe, the Egyptian 4th armored division has not crossed the canal. In fact, the Egyptian 3rd field army doesn't have even a single undamaged AFV bridge over the canal.

Edited by Iarmor
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October 8th, afternoon - IDF counterattack continues:

 

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IDF 162nd armored division (blue):

IDF 217th and 460th armored brigades are ordered to attack again towards Al-Firdan Bridge - Hizayon stronghold area.

IDF 460th armored brigade misunderstands the order as if it should just guard the southern flank of the 217th, and its 430th armored battalion (originally from the 500th armored brigade) engages the Egyptian 2nd infantry division forces without assaulting. The 19th tank battalion recovers at the rear, while the 198th armored battalion is sent southwards (after ammo resupply) to help the 500th armored brigade at Objective Hamutal.

IDF 217th armored brigade assaults with its two battalions - the 142nd and the 113th. The 142nd armored battalion halts after taking Sagger ATGM fire and the 113th proceeds on its own (21 tanks) into the Egyptian defenders' killing zone. By now, in light of the earlier Israeli assault, the Egyptian 117th mechanized brigade troops were reinforced with 24th armored brigade T-55s. The 113th armored battalion suffers heavy losses and only 3 of its tanks manage to retreat. The battalion CO is captured by the Egyptians and the XO is among the dead.

On the Egyptian side, after successfully completing their immediate mission to establish bridgeheads, the Egyptian infantry divisions are ordered to execute their subsequent mission to expand their lodgements towards the hilly area of the second-line IDF posts and the Artillery Road.

After it had successfully repelled IDF 460th and 217th armored brigade assaults, the Egyptian 2nd infantry division sends its 117th mechanized infantry brigade to attack towards Havragah. The Egyptian assault is repelled by IDF 460th and 217th brigades.

Egyptian 112th infantry brigade (of the 16th infantry division), despite losing many of its T-54s, pushes back IDF 429th armored battalion (11 tanks) towards Objective Ziona and captures western Hamutal (Abu Waqfa). With no resistance, it also captures the northern dune of Makhshir (Kathib Al-Khayl).

IDF 500th armored brigade, which handed over its 430th battalion to the 460th brigade and now got the 198th battalion (14 tanks) in return, is ordered to recapture Objective Hamutal. The 433rd armored battalion, that faced the Egyptian 4th infantry brigade of the 2nd infantry division between Nozel and Purqan, is ordered to leave Nozel, so it won't be cutoff by the Egyptian force at Hamutal, and to cover the Hamutal assault. The ill-coordinated assault fails with heavy losses for the 198th armored battalion (which misidentified Kathib Al-Khayl as Abu Waqfa), while the 429th armored battalion loses its CO after assaulting with only 4 tanks. On the Egyptian side, the 112th infantry brigade CO loses his leg.

At the evening, IDF 217th armored brigade parks between Objective Vermont and Objective Wroclaw (IDF codename for Kathib Al-Ajramiyah), the 460th parks at Havragah and the 500th parks west of At-Tasa. The M113 companies of the tank-less IDF 189th armored reconnaissance battalion are split between the armored brigades, after the battalion CO was injured during the fighting. 

The 162nd division artillery, the 215th regiment (not depicted on the map), finally completes its deployment to western Sinai, significantly later than the division's armor and too late for the counterattack.

 

IDF 143rd armored division (green):

As it becomes clear that the 162nd division assault is not going well, the 143rd is ordered to turn around and get back to the central sector. Some of the 143rd division forces have already reached Al-Jidi Junction (and also to the Mitla Junction, which is off the map), and of course did not meet any massive Egyptian armor breakthrough there.

In the meanwhile, the Egyptian 3rd mechanized infantry brigade (16th infantry division) captures the southern dune of Makhshir (Kathib Abu Tarabush) with no resistance, but its advance towards Objective Hamadiya is blocked by IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion. The only IDF loss is the battalion CO, directly hit by a mortar bomb while unbuttoned in his M60A1.

Later on, the IDF 600th armored brigade returns to Kishuf second-line post and Objective Hamadiya and engages the Egyptian forces at Objective Makhshir.

IDF 14th armored brigade turns around and parks west of At-Tasa. The division's 87th armored reconnaissance battalion (with a new CO) is attached to it.

IDF 421st armored brigade turns around and heads towards Objective Hamutal, after the 500th armored brigade assault had failed. The 421st brigade forces arrive to Objective Ziona (the 264th battalion arrives late, after taking a wrong turn from At-Tasa towards Objective Hamadiya), mix among the retreating 500th brigade tanks and engage northern Makhshir. Despite an order to stay at Objective Ziona, one tank company (of the 257th battalion) finds itself on Objective Hamutal while questing for better positions. The company is surprised by the Egyptian presence on Objective Hamutal and retreats after suffering losses.

 

IDF 252nd armored division (mostly off the map):

IDF 401st armored brigade, still facing the Egyptian 3rd field army on its own, keeps launching local battalion-scale offensives. IDF 195th armored battalion blocks advancing Egyptian armor (of the 19th infantry division, which managed to transfer very few tanks to Sinai so far) near Notzah (off the map), while IDF 52nd armored battalion advances west of Qarrat Al-Murra, almost as far as Lexicon road, flanking and destroying the Egyptian tanks from the south. Fratricide fire incident is prevented as the 52nd battalion uses smoke grenades to signal its position to the 195th battalion.

Although the local battalion-scale assaults launched by the 401st armored brigade achieve much better results than the chaotic mess on the day before, the Israeli tanks are ordered to retreat back to the Artillery Road and not to try and reach the frontline strongholds, considering the results of the previous attempts to do so. After retreating from Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refugee camp, the 46th armored battalion destroys Egyptian tanks (7th infantry division) advancing south of Mitzvah second-line post. The besieged Mefatze'ach frontline stronghold men surrender to Egyptian 5th infantry brigade (of the 19th infantry division) troops.

Later on, the 252nd armored division is finally reinforced with the reserve 875th mechanized infantry brigade (Shermans, of the 143rd armored division). One Sherman company from the 129th tank battalion is sent to reinforce the 35th paratroop brigade at Ras DahaysaRas Sudr.

IDF reserve 164th armored brigade (Shot Cals, of the Northern Command's 210th armored division) joins the 252nd armored division in the evening, with two of its battalions (183rd, 104th). The 164th armored brigade takes the positions facing the Egyptian 7th infantry division on Al-Jidi road sector, while the 46th armored battalion is sent south to the Mitla road sector, to face the Egyptian 19th infantry division alongside the two other battalions of the 401st armored brigade.

The 164th armored brigade arrived so late because its Shot Cals, which were stored in northern Israel, were taken by other units in a chain reaction to the deployment of the 7th armored brigade in the Golan. After arriving to their empty warehouses in northern Israel, the 164th brigade men were ordered to man the Shot Cals left behind at the Armor School camps, as well as Shot Cals stored in Eilat (these were about to be shipped to a foreign buyer), in exchange for their original tanks. Then the 164th brigade tanks were headed to the Suez Canal front on tracks - the 183rd and 104th armored battalions (Armor School tanks) to the southern canal sector and the 106th armored battalion (Eilat tanks) to the central sector.

In the evening the Egyptian 3rd field army finally overcomes its bridging issues and its previously-damaged AFV bridges are fully repaired, allowing more tanks to join the Egyptian infantrymen in Sinai. The 1st mechanized infantry brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division) follows the 19th infantry division's armor into Sinai and prepares to advance south towards Ras Sudr. Two out of the three brigades of the 6th mechanized infantry division have crossed into the Sinai, but the division HQ remains in Africa.

 

Off the map:

IDF reserve 274th independent armored brigade gathers at Bir Al-Jifjafa and takes positions west of it, at Objective Zimriya (Kathib Rashad) and Objective Michael (Ad-Duraym), where it's being held as the Southern Command's reserve. The Southern Command considers to deploy the 274th on Al-Jidi road, under the 252nd armored division, if the Egyptian 4th armored division would cross the canal.

The 274th independent armored brigade operates the Soviet-made 1967 war booty tanks. It consists of 4 armored battalions with T-54/55 tanks (all with 105 mm guns) and the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion (nicknamed Dov Lavan, which is Hebrew for White Bear) with PT-76s and BTR-50s. The 274th brigade has arrived to Sinai on flatbeds (the 274th and the 217th were the only ones to do so) with 3 of its Tiran battalions (the 227th, 228th and 25th), after departing late from its warehouses in central Israel. The fourth armored battalion of the 274th armored brigade, the 225th (4 tank companies, including an active-service one), as well as the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion (6 PT-76s and 14 BTR-50s), are based in Merchav Shlomo, near Sharm Ash-Sheikh, in order to be available to execute beach landing operations on the Egyptian coastline in the Gulf of Suez.

IAF F-4s destroy the 5 Egyptian 98th heavy SAM brigade sites at the Al-Gamil - Port Said - Port Fuad area, suffering no losses. There 98th heavy SAM brigade sites are isolated from the rest of the Egyptian SAM belt, as the nearest heavy SAM brigade, the 107th, is deployed east of As-Salakhiya airbase.

At night, off the Nile Delta, abeam Damietta - Baltim, 6 Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats sink 3 Egyptian navy Osa missile boats with Gabriel missiles, whereas the fourth Egyptian Osa manages to escape. All Egyptian Styx missiles miss their targets. Following this decisive defeat, the Egyptians will not initiate any further naval combat and their ships will remain in harbor even when Israeli missile boats hit targets along Egypt's Mediterranean coastline. 

On the same night, in the Gulf of Suez, 3 miles SE of Ras Sadat, two Israeli navy Dabur patrol boats sink an Egyptian navy De Castro patrol boat with 20 mm gun fire, barely evading the Egyptian radar-guided 130 mm coastal gun fire.

 

 

IDF 162nd armored division had lost over 40 tanks on October 8th, while the 143rd armored division men are frustrated after they had wasted time on a long, fruitless movement, that cost the loss of higher grounds along the Artillery road: Halutz (Kathib Abu Kathira), Nozel (Ash-Shajara), western Hamutal (Abu Waqfa) and Makhshir (Kathib Al-Khayl - Kathib Abu Tarabush). Eastern Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan) is no man's land for now. Two IDF battalion COs (429th, 87th) were killed and one (113th) was captured by the Egyptians (highest ranking IDF POW, along with two other AF pilots ranked lieutenant-colonel).

However, the IDF did manage to keep Zarqor (Kathib Abu Al-Uruq), Havragah, ZionaHamadiya and Kishuf (Jabal Hibayta) and to cause considerable losses to the Egyptian army.

IDF generals start blaming each other for the colossal failure - "The War of the Generals" has begun.

Most Egyptian army bridges destroyed by IAF airstrikes on October 7th are repaired by the evening.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 2 weeks later...

October 9th - IDF 143rd armored division attempts on its own:

 

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IDF Chief of the General Staff rebukes the Southern Command CG 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 Objective Hamutal, Objective Makhshir and Televiziya second-line post, in order to "stabilize the line" and to support the extraction, and suffers heavy losses. OTOH, the Egyptians fail again to capture Objective 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 410th 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 2nd infantry division troops at Nozel. IDF 599th battalion misidentifies Kathib Al-Khayl as Abu Waqfa (the 198th battalion did the same mistake on the day before) and gets into fierce close range engagements with the two other infantry battalions of the Egyptian 112th brigade, in which Egyptian infantrymen climb on the Israeli M48s that try to run them over. IDF 599th armored battalion suffers heavy losses and retreats, but so as the Egyptian 112th infantry brigade, which loses its last T-54s and abandons Abu Waqfa shortly after. 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.

Apart from its battalion at Kathib Abu Tarabush, the remaining Egyptian 3rd mechanized infantry brigade forces (BTR-50, BMP-1, T-55) are at the northern part of Missouri (around At-Talia) and at Televiziya. From there the Egyptians assault Hamadiya, reach zero range but repelled by the IDF 409th armored battalion (600th armored brigade) with heavy losses, including the brigade 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 positioned on the 16th division's southern flank, around Al-Galaa village. IDF Matzmed stronghold men surrender to its forces. Al-Galaa, Arabic for The Evacuation, is named after the British withdrawal from the Suez Canal according to the 1954 Anglo - Egyptian Agreement. The IDF codenames it Amir, but it's widely known among the Israeli troops as the Chinese Farm, since irrigation equipment with Japanese inscriptions (mistaken for Chinese) was found there after the 1967 war.

IDF 500th (of the 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 lines. 

 

Left - after noon:

IDF 500th armored brigade (green), under the 162nd armored division, passes through Objective Hamutal with no resistance and advances west. While the 433rd armored battalion finds Halutz (Katib Abu Kathira) empty of Egyptian forces and the 429th armored battalion engages the Egyptian 2nd infantry division troops at Nozel (Ash-Shajara), the 198th armored battalion takes positions on Objective Hamutal and finds a wounded Israeli soldier lying by his destroyed M113 since the Purqan men extraction operation in the morning. The Egyptian 112th infantry brigade has abandoned Abu Waqfa, but the IDF 500th brigade is eventually ordered to retreat (despite suffering no losses) rather than to hold Objective Hamutal. 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 suffering heavy losses from Saggers. The 407th armored battalion advances NW from Kishuf towards Missouri and reaches Tirtur road, but makes no contact with the Egyptians and eventually retreats along with the 409th. At the same time, the 410th armored battalion (less one company) assaults Makhshir again. The 410th meets light resistance at Kathib Abu Tarabush, but suffers heavy losses in close range engagements over Kathib Al-Khayl (the M60A1's M85 and M73 machine guns were neglected before the war for being unreliable, but Browning .30 cals weren't yet installed) and eventually retreats to Kathib As-Sina'at. The Egyptians capture a M60A1 for the first time and drive it to the rear.

Later on, the IDF 14th armored brigade (green), reinforced with the 106th armored battalion of the 164th armored brigade, replaces the 600th at Hamadiya and Kishuf. As opposed to the rest of the 164th armored brigade, which took over the Armor School's Shot Cals and joined the 252nd armored division in the southern canal sector, the 106th armored battalion took over Shot Cals that were stored in Eilat (before shipment to a foreign buyer) and was sent to reinforce the 143rd armored division in the central canal sector. The 106th battalion advances from Kishuf towards the Chinese Farm, but retreats after it takes fire and its CO is injured.

Then the 14th brigade is authorized to assault Televiziya, in order to retrieve missing 409th battalion men. The 14th captures Televiziya with its 184th and 79th armored battalions. The only IDF loss in this attack is the 184th battalion CO, who would be replaced on the next day by his predecessor (that departed from this duty just a month earlier). 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.

The 143rd division artillery, the 214th regiment (not depicted on the map), finally completes its deployment to western Sinai, significantly later than the division's armor.

 

Off the map:

 

IDF TF Nammer:

TF Lapidot (4 M48s and one company from the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion) fails to break the Egyptian 103rd commando battalion siege of Budapest stronghold.

IDF 4th tank battalion, aka TF Vilner (Ze'ev Vilner is the CO), is ad-hoc established using 11th mechanized infantry brigade Shermans that got stuck on their long way to Sinai (275 kms) and have since been repaired. The 4th tank battalion is attached to the 204th mechanized infantry brigade.

 

IDF 162nd armored division:

Hizayon stronghold is captured by 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 Egyptian northern flank west of the Artillery Road.

 

IDF 252nd armored division:

Botzer stronghold is evacuated by the IDF, although it was only attacked by artillery. Nisan stronghold is captured by Egyptian 19th infantry division forces. At the end of the day, Budapest and Masreck are the only IDF frontline strongholds left standing.

IDF 164th armored brigade is deployed at Al-Jidi road sector, facing the Egyptian 7th infantry division. IDF 183rd armored battalion is deployed on the road (near Mitzvah) and north of it, while the 104th armored battalion is south of the road. At noon, the 104th armored battalion is sent southwards, along with the brigade HQ, in order to assist the 401st armored brigade at the Mitla road sector. At the same time, the 183rd armored battalion (attached to the 875th mechanized infantry brigade for a short while, until the 164th brigade HQ would return) is ordered to put pressure on the Egyptian 7th infantry division and advance towards Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refugee camp, but retreats back to Mitzvah area after facing heavy Egyptian resistance.

IDF 401st armored brigade blocks multiple assaults by the Egyptian 19th infantry division and destroys much of its armor. IDF 195th armored battalion repels Egyptian 5th infantry brigade (T-34/85s) assaults near Notzah second-line post, on both sides of the Mitla road, while the IDF 52nd armored battalion destroys over 20 Egyptian tanks SW of Qarrat Al-Murra.

However, due to the heavy Egyptian pressure on the 195th armored battalion, and in order to make way for IAF airstrikes, the IDF 46th armored battalion abandons Qarrat Al-Murra (codenamed Polygon) and redeploys north of Notzah, while the 195th battalion concentrates south of the Mitla road. Then, a column of Egyptian 2nd mechanized infantry brigade BTRs and RR jeeps manages to penetrate in-between the Israeli 195th and 52nd battalions and to capture Qarrat Al-Murra. From their positions on Qarrat Al-Murra, which control the Artillery Road, the Egyptians start launching Saggers northwards at the 195th battalion's M48s. IDF tank company from the 46th battalion is rushed back south to recapture Qarrat Al-Murra, but loses one M48 and retreats since it lacks the infantry necessary to accomplish the mission. As the Artillery Road is no longer open for Israeli movement, IDF 52nd armored battalion is forced to leave Yoreh road and to join the 46th and 195th battalions near Notzah using the Lateral Road. An ad-hoc established tank company, equipped with repaired M48s, is sent from Bir Al-Jifjafa to replace the 52nd battalion and defend Yoreh road.

 

At the rear:

IDF 274th independent armored brigade takes positions at Objective Hilick (At-Tayla - Kathib Said), on the Lateral Road, where it's being held as the Southern Command's reserve. The Southern Command considers to deploy the 274th on Al-Jidi road, under the 252nd armored division, if the Egyptian 4th armored division would cross the canal.

 

Merchav Shlomo:

In order to relieve the Southern Command of responsibility for that area, Merchav Shlomo (the southern Sinai region) is separated from the Southern Command and turned into a fourth regional command. It is also expanded northwards, to include the Ras Sudr area. The new Merchav Shlomo CG is the reserve general Yeshayahu Gavish, who served as the Southern Command CG during the 1967 war (preceded Sharon), so Gonen can now concentrate on the Suez Canal front.

Overestimating the expected Egyptian attack, and considering the little Israeli forces in the region and the open terrain around Ras Sudr, Gavish orders the 35th paratroop brigade to redeploy its 450th and 890th paratroop battalions from Ras Sudr to Abu Znayma and entrench there. Only a mobile vanguard is to remain at Ras Dahaysa - Ras Sudr area. The Ras Sudr navy, intelligence men and Hawk SAM battery are also ordered to redeploy southwards, but the Hawk battery CO insists to stay until he receives an order from the IAF commander (which he would get on October 11th). 

IDF 225th armored battalion is now split into two: two companies (including the only active-service one) under the battalion CO are defending Ras DahaysaRas Sudr, while two companies are staying near Sharm Ash-Sheikh under the battalion XO and prepare for Operation Or Yarock (the beach landing operation in the Gulf of Suez, north of Al-Ghardaqa) alongside the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion.

Egyptian 1st mechanized infantry brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division) starts heading south on the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez, towards Ras Sudr, outside of the Egyptian SAM coverage. The Egyptians suffer heavy losses in IAF airstrikes near Uyun Musa and their assault is repelled by the small Israeli vanguard near Ras Misalla - Ras Dahaysa. The Israeli force consists of a battalion-worth mixture of Tirans (225th armored battalion), Shermans (129th tank battalion) and M48s (52nd armored battalion), the 332nd parachute heavy mortar (120 mm) battalion and some 106 mm RRs and 81 mm mortars from the 35th paratroop brigade.

IDF 99th infantry brigade troops are sent from Eilat to reinforce the 72nd regional brigade in Merchav Shlomo.

The recently-established IDF 440th armored division HQ arrives in the Sinai. Although at first it was tasked with commanding Operation Or Yarock, it's now responsible for defending the Israeli rear at the central Sinai (Bir Al-Jifjafa - Bir Ath-Thamada).

 

Ramat David AFB CO crashes with his A-4E into the Mediterranean during an airstrike on Port Said. Consequently, the IAF base COs are ordered not to take part in combat sorties behind enemy lines for the rest of the war.

 

 

The 143rd armored division CO Sharon is heavily criticized for disregarding direct orders. However, the criticism on the Southern Command CG Gonen is even stronger and the decision is to appoint the former Chief of General Staff Haim Bar-Lev (known for establishing the Bar-Lev Line), whose authority would be better accepted by the 143rd and 162nd division COs (Gonen is younger and served under both in the past), as a reserve general 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's official role description, made-up for the instance, is the Southern Front CG.

Edited by Iarmor
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Egyptian forces deployment on October 10th, as identified by IDF intelligence based on aerial reconnaissance:

 

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Northern sector:

135th independent infantry brigade (T-34/85)

103rd commando battalion - retreats from the Mediterranean coastal road before dawn, after suffering heavy losses from IDF 120 mm mortar fire. Shortly before the retreat, the battalion CO was recorded threatening on the radio to kill his superior for leaving his battalion on its own. Budapest stronghold is liberated by IDF 564th paratroop and 906th infantry battalion troops.

30 MBTs identified on the eastern bank.

IAF F-4s destroy 3 Egyptian SAM battalions at the Al-Gamil - Port Said - Port Fuad area, suffering no losses. These battalions 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-55, mistakenly marked as armored)

15th independent armored brigade (T-62)

125 active MBTs, 3 wrecked 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-55) - assaults Havragah and repelled by IDF 460th armored brigade forces.

4th infantry brigade

24th armored brigade (T-55, attached from the 23rd mechanized infantry division)

150 active MBTs, 24 wrecked 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.

IDF 196th armored battalion (Lapidot) is detached from the 204th mechanized infantry brigade and rejoins the 460th armored brigade, 162nd armored division.

 

16th infantry division sector:

112th infantry brigade (T-54) - 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-50, BMP-1, T-55)

16th infantry brigade (T-54)

14th armored brigade (T-55, attached from the 21st armored division)

160 active MBTs, 50 wrecked MBTs, 9 APCs identified on the eastern bank.

IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion is ordered to quietly retreat back to Kishuf (Jabal Hibayta), while the Egyptians still don't mind the gap in front of DeversoirTeleviziya is waived by the IDF when the 600th armored brigade replaces the 14th at the frontline positions.

 

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 remnants (BTR-50/OT-62, PT-76, BRDM-2)

8th infantry brigade

11th mechanized infantry brigade

12th infantry brigade

25th independent armored brigade (T-62)

150 active MBTs, 13 wrecked MBTs, 7 APCs, 11 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank.

IDF 104th armored battalion (164th armored brigade) loses its XO.

 

19th infantry division sector:

5th infantry brigade (T-34/85) - repels an IDF 195th armored battalion (401st armored brigade) assault north of Notzah, but loses some of its field artillery to long range tank fire.

2nd mechanized infantry brigade

7th infantry brigade - repelled from the Artillery road (Naveh - Yoreh junction) by an IDF tank company (401st armored brigade).

22nd armored brigade (T-55, attached from the 6th mechanized infantry division)

1st mechanized infantry brigade (T-55, from the 6th mechanized infantry division) - tries again to advance south towards Ras Sudr, outside of the Egyptian SAM coverage, and again it suffers heavy losses in IAF airstrikes and fails to advance beyond Uyun Musa. On the following day, Israeli T-55 crews (of the 225th armored battalion) cannibalize the deserted Egyptian T-55s for spare parts.

164 active MBTs, 58 wrecked MBTs, 50 APCs, 12 artillery batteries identified on the eastern bank.

IDF Masreck stronghold still holds under the Egyptian siege.

 

The 4th armored (full) and 6th mechanized infantry (with just one of its brigades) divisions are still on the western bank. At night, a lone Egyptian BRDM-2 is captured by IDF 401st armored brigade troops deep behind the Israeli lines. The POW interrogation reveals that the 6 captured Egyptians are 4th armored division reconnaissance troops.

 

 

All in all, Egyptian army forces identified in the Sinai by IDF intelligence include: 759 active MBTs, 148 wrecked MBTs, 235 APCs, 49 artillery batteries. Adding the numbers per sector gets active 779 MBTs, 148 wrecked 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 - and to bring it forward from October 15th to the 13th (it would be later postponed to the 14th).

The Israelis, OTOH, start to question if and when would the Egyptian armored divisions cross, and to consider crossing the canal themselves at the current situation, in order to transfer the fighting over to enemy territory, destroy Egyptian SAM sites and cut the supply lines to the Egyptian forces in Sinai. In the meanwhile, the IDF concentrate on the offensive into Syria, while the Israeli armor formations in Sinai reorganize (after the hasty mobilization and heavy losses), adjust their tactics, hold their grounds and exploit their advantage in long range tank gunnery. The Israeli forces in Sinai are reinforced by the reserve 247th paratroop brigade (416th, 564th and 565th battalions) and by two battalions (469th, 582nd) from the reserve 317th paratroop brigade. 175 mm artillery ammo stocks run low and the Southern Command orders to fire only with the Command's permission.

 

At night, deep behind the Egyptian lines, IDF airborne artillery troops take positions on Jabal Ataqa with two M102 105 mm howitzers (max range - 11.5 kms) and fire 90 shells at two Egyptian targets to the NE. Having landed on the mountain by two IAF CH-53s, the Israeli force is eventually extracted by just one, after several failed landing attempts due to heavy fog.

 

Off the map:

Two EAF Tu-16 bombers attempt to strike IAF Etzion AFB, but fail to locate it and instead they bomb Abu Rudays on their way back. 8 Israeli paratroopers are lost, as well as one of the Egyptian Tu-16s.

Soviet An-12 and An-22 transport aircraft start landing in Egypt, delivering arms, as a part of the Soviet emergency effort to re-supply the Egyptian and Syrian armies by air and sea. In reaction to the Soviet re-supply operation, the US starts a re-supply operation of its own, named Nickel Grass, to deliver arms to Israel. Initially, the US operation is limited by the transport capacity of unmarked El Al B707s and B747s, which were hastily modified from passenger to cargo configuration.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 2 weeks later...

October 11th:

Egyptian 135th independent infantry brigade troops assault Yoram second-line post before dawn, repelled by 4 Israeli Centurions (originally from the 429th armored battalion, 500th armored brigade) attached to the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion, 11th mechanized infantry brigade. Shortly later, IDF 11th brigade infantrymen decimate Egyptian commandos east of Yoram, in a battle during which the 128th mechanized infantry battalion XO is killed when a RPG hits his halftrack. After these engagements, IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade is given command of Yoram defenders.

Egyptian 15th independent armored brigade assault eastwards, repelled by IDF 217th armored brigade from its positions on Objective Vermont (142nd battalion) and Objective Wroclaw (113th battalion). The Egyptian T-62s are flanked from the south (Maror second-line post area) by IDF 126th armored battalion, which rejoins the 217th brigade for a short while from the 11th mechanized brigade, TF Nammer, to which it has been attached for the last 3 days. IDF 113th armored battalion CO (the second one, whose predecessor was captured by the Egyptians on October 8th) is killed in his M113 during the battle.

IDF 86th mechanized infantry battalion leaves the 204th mechanized infantry brigade and joins the 460th armored brigade.

IDF 106th armored battalion is detached from the 14th armored brigade in the central canal sector and rejoins the 164th armored brigade in the southern canal sector.

Naveh - Yoreh junction (east of Tzeidar second-line post) is abandoned by the IDF tank company tasked with defending Yoreh road, after the M48s suffer losses to Egyptian Saggers. Later on, the 4 surviving Israeli tanks are joined by the 202nd paratroop battalion (of the 35th paratroop brigade) and together they recapture Naveh - Yoreh junction with no resistance. IDF 89th mechanized infantry battalion (of the 875th mechanized infantry brigade) deploys to Objective Akhbarosh, shortly north of the intersection between the Lateral Road and Wadi Mabouk.

IDF TF Asaph (named after its CO Asaph Hefetz), a battalion formed of paratroop recruits and a Tiran company (of the 25th armored battalion, 274th armored brigade) under the 252nd armored division, is ordered to clear Wadi Sudr of the Egyptian commandos that were flown by helicopters to the wadi on the first day of the war. TF Asaph advances in the wadi from the NE to the SW, meets no enemy at Ras Al-Jundi, but falls into the Egyptian 143rd commando battalion ambush near Bir Abu Jarad and retreats after suffering losses. Two IAF Super Mysteres finish off the Egyptian force at noon, but the Israeli troops would get back to open Wadi Sudr for movement only as late as October 15th.

IDF 100th armored battalion, commanded by Ehud Barak, arrives in the Sinai. It was ad-hoc established at the Armor School on October 9th by reserve tankers who hastily returned from abroad (like Barak himself), with M48A3s that were left behind during the October 6th mobilization due to poor mechanical condition (Ordnance School tanks?). The 100th armored battalion spends the day with the 274th independent armored brigade (T-54/55s, all with 105 mm guns) at Mavdil - Padui junction, while Barak is planned to lead a special operation to cross the canal with T-55s in Egyptian paint scheme and rescue Masreck stronghold on the way back. The 100th and 227th armored battalion COs replace each other for a short while, as Barak teams-up with the Tirans.

In Merchav Shlomo, the IDF 35th paratroop brigade completes its redeployment from Ras Sudr to Abu Znayma, with its 890th and 450th battalions. However, the brigade's heavy weapons (mortars, RRs) remain at Ras Sudr area.

At night, in the Gulf of Suez, covered by 175 mm artillery fire that suppresses the Egyptian garrison at the Green Island fortress (made famous when Israeli SOF raided it in 1969), Israeli naval commandos try to approach the besieged Masreck stronghold by rubber boats. The Israelis retreat after taking heavy radar-guided 130 mm coastal gun fire from Ras Mahagara.

On the same night, at Port Al-Ghardaqa, Israeli naval commandos destroy an Egyptian Komar missile boat with limpet mines, but they can't locate the second Komar. Two additional Komars are at Port Safaga. The presence of Egyptian Komars in the Red Sea denies the Israeli plan for beach landing in the Gulf of Suez, Operation Or Yarock, as the heaviest Israeli combat vessels there are Dabur-class patrol boats, while all the Sa'ar missile boats are in the Mediterranean.

 

October 12th:

Egyptian second-echelon armored and mechanized infantry divisions start sending their forces across the canal, preparing for the major offensive into central Sinai. 14 Egyptian SAM battalions 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 into Egypt on the evening of October 13th, but postpone the crossing operation when the Mossad finds out about the upcoming Egyptian armored offensive. The IDF prefer to wait and destroy the Egyptian armored divisions in the Sinai, possibly outside the Egyptian SAM umbrella, rather than facing massive counterattacks immediately after the first Israeli tanks cross into Africa. The upcoming 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, exploiting the gap between the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade defenses and the Greater Bitter Lake, which was discovered by the IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion on October 9th.

Before dawn, Egyptian 19th infantry division troops take positions near Notzah and the IDF 195th armored battalion is welcomed with Saggers and RPGs when it comes to recapture the area in the morning. IDF 52nd armored battalion is sent to help the 195th and by the evening the area is in Israeli hands again. 

IDF 4th tank battalion is detached from the 204th mechanized infantry brigade and joins the 11th mechanized infantry brigade (to which the 4th battalion's Sherman tanks originally belonged).

IDF 100th armored battalion is sent to reinforce the 460th armored brigade of the 162nd armored division, after the suggested Masreck stronghold rescue operation is aborted for being too risky.

IDF 198th armored battalion is detached from the 500th armored brigade and rejoins the 460th armored brigade.

In the evening, IDF 162nd armored division is withdrawn from the frontline to prepare for crossing into Egypt. The 162nd division XO, Dov Tamari, stays to command the frontline positions facing the Egyptian 2nd field army, which are handed over to the reserve 274th independent armored brigade (228th, 227th and 25th armored battalions).

At night, Soviet military advisors tour the Port Said - Ismailia - Damietta area for proper Scud-B deployment sites. The Soviet CO will be killed in an IAF airstrike at Port Said on October 19th. The Soviet Scud instructors were sent to Egypt in August 1973, along with equipment for a SSM brigade.

 

October 13th:

Based on aerial reconnaissance, IDF intelligence identifies 942 active and 262 wrecked Egyptian MBTs in the Sinai: 32 with the 135th brigade, 132 active and 15 wrecks with the 18th division, 110 active and 55 wrecks with the 2nd division, 257 active and 104 wrecks with the 16th and 21st divisions, 221 active and 35 wrecks with the 7th division, 216 active and 58 wrecks with the 19th division. These numbers add up to 968 active and 267 wrecked MBTs.

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 (and then Mandler would have succeeded Adan as the Armor Corps CG), succeeds him now as the 252nd armored division CO, while the command of TF Nammer is handed over to Sasson Itzhaki. Among the injured is the 164th brigade XO, who is replaced by the 104th battalion CO. Since many of its Shot Cals are attached to other formations and since the CO was promoted and the XO was killed (on October 10th), the 104th armored battalion is written-off the ORBAT table.

East of Hamadiya, a flight of 8 Iraqi AF Hunters (operating from Quwysna airbase) takes-out an IDF M107 battery from the 329th independent heavy artillery battalion. The exploding propellant charge bags destroy 3 out of 4 M107s and all ammo trucks. Two of the Hunters are shot down by Israeli AAA, but one of them crashes directly on two halftracks mounting 120 mm mortars from the 342nd heavy mortar battalion (214th artillery regiment, 143rd armored division). 

After a week-long siege, IDF Masreck (aka The Pier) stronghold men surrender to the Egyptian 19th infantry division forces.

IDF 126th armored battalion is detached from the 11th mechanized infantry brigade (TF Nammer) and rejoins the 217th armored brigade (162nd armored division).

Under IDF 500th armored brigade, the 433rd armored battalion XO is injured.

IDF start welding Browning .30 cals externally on the M19 TC cupolas of the M60A1s, instead of the unreliable M85 machine gun.

At night, hoping to recreate the success of the operation in Syria on the previous night, heliborne (CH-53s) jeep-mounted Israeli SOF set an ambush on the Cairo - Suez road, not far from Al-Qatamiya airbase, deep behind the Egyptian lines. However, following the failure of a similar operation in Syria at the same time, the SOF are ordered to return and, after evading an Egyptian tank sent looking for them, they are extracted by the CH-53s under Egyptian AAA fire. During the operation, one of the CH-53s caught fire and the crew was ordered to abandon it on Egyptian soil, while an IAF jet fighter was scrambled to destroy it in order to prevent the trophy from the Egyptians. However, eventually the crew found the problem to be minor and flew back to the Sinai. 

On the same night, four Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack targets on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline, near Damietta, with Bofors 40 mm and OTO Melara 76 mm gun fire. The Egyptians respond only with coastal gun fire, with no results.

In the Red Sea, Israeli naval commando boats patrol the Shadwan Island coastline, following an intelligence report about Egyptian rubber boats being prepared there for a commando beach landing operation. The Israeli boats exchange machine gun fire with the island defenders, but can't locate any Egyptian boats.

 

The major Egyptian armor offensive of October 14th:

 

1527da_5468a89b0e9a4b739f52d972b9f7fd66~

 

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-34/85s are lost. The map mistakenly attributes this assault to Egyptian 18th infantry division troops.

 

 

Egyptian 2nd field army:

 

Egyptian 18th infantry division sector:

Egyptian 15th independent armored brigade assault towards Baluza is repelled by IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade. At first the Egyptians assault Martef second-line post and the Israeli 11th brigade CO orders his tankers to let the T-62s come as close as 800 meters. A nervous IDF 279th armored reconnaissance battalion tank crew opens fire at 1200 meters and the others follow, along with the 11th brigade HQ tanks (2 Shermans and 3 ex-217th brigade Centurions). As their attack is blocked, the Egyptian T-62s try to flank from the south, but then they take fire from the IDF 226th and 4th tank battalion Shermans positioned at Objective Vermont. ~40 Egyptian T-62s are lost.

IDF 228th armored battalion (of the 274th armored brigade) repels an Egyptian 136th mechanized infantry brigade assault at Hazizit - Maadim - Tiltul junction, east of Mifreqet frontline stronghold. At some point the 228th battalion is reinforced by the 198th armored battalion from the 460th armored brigade. 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 on Havragah are barely repelled by IDF 274th armored brigade. Under the heavy Egyptian pressure, IDF 25th battalion is reinforced by the 430th armored battalion from the 500th armored brigade. ~25 Egyptian T-55s are lost. IDF 25th and 227th armored battalion COs are injured. The only Tiran captured by the Egyptians in the war (from the 227th battalion) lies burnt SW of Zarqor (Kathib Abu Al-Uruq), after being hit by a Sagger missile.

At night Havragah is captured by Egyptian 2nd infantry division troops that accompanied the 24th armored brigade. On October 15th, after heavy fighting, Havragah is recaptured by IDF 274th armored brigade, reinforced with a M113 company. During this battle, the 274th brigade CO Yoel Gonen (who is the younger brother of the Southern Command CG) is blown out of his tank when it's hit by a RR, but luckily returns to the tank 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 battles with the IDF 143rd armored division (blue - before noon, green - afternoon):

 

1527da_d12d333bfeab4224a14072f5a7ce987a~

 

Egyptian 14th armored brigade assault towards At-Tasa is repelled by IDF 421st armored brigade positioned around Ziona. 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, 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 on Hamadiya, towards At-Tasa, 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.

One company from the IDF 87th armored reconnaissance battalion takes observation position at Horvah second-line post.

IDF 600th armored brigade does not participate the tank battles on this day. IDF 410th armored battalion CO leads 5 of his M60A1s, alongwith 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion troops, to decimate heliborne Egyptian commando company that landed south of At-Tasa. IDF 407th armored battalion is sent south on the Lateral Road to the Mitla Junction, in order to reinforce the 401st armored brigade (252nd armored division) in its battle with the Egyptian 4th armored division forces. The 407th battalion would return to the 600th armored brigade on the next morning, after seeing no action in the southern canal sector. In the afternoon the 600th armored brigade (with its 409th and 410th armored battalions) replaces the 14th armored brigade at Hamadiya, as the 14th is withdrawn to prepare for the upcoming 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 had crossed the canal with the task to reach the Mitla Junction at the western edge of the Mitla Mountain Pass. The Egyptian 3rd armored brigade assault through Wadi Mabouk surprises the IDF 401st armored brigade and the Egyptian vanguard almost reaches the IDF 89th mechanized infantry battalion (of the 875th mechanized infantry brigade) positions on the Lateral Road, but the 401st sends its 46th armored battalion (reinforced with 4 Centurions from the disbanded 104th armored battalion of the 164th armored brigade) to decimate the Egyptian brigade in the wadi, with some help from the nearby 202nd paratroop 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 (of the 113th mechanized infantry brigade, 6th mechanized infantry division) assault is repelled at Naveh - Yoreh junction by IDF 202nd paratroop battalion (of the 35th paratroop brigade, reinforced with 7 M48s). Several Egyptian T-55s are lost. The map mistakenly attributes this assault to the Egyptian 22nd armored brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division as well).

Egyptian 22nd armored brigade assault south towards Uyun MusaRas MisallaRas DahaysaRas 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 carries-out 69 CAS 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) and their APCs are captured east of Jabal Al-Aran with almost no resistance, after wandering in the desert for two days.

 

 

When the one-sided results of the armor battles become clear, the IDF try to draw more Egyptian forces into the battlefield by transmitting false radio messages about the allegedly severe situation of the Israeli forces under the heavy Egyptian pressure. However, the worn-out Egyptian army doesn't take the bait. The planned paratroop landings at Al-Jidi and Mitla passes are aborted by the Egyptians.

 

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 suffers a heart attack and replaced by his predecessor. The Egyptian SAM battalions that were deployed to Sinai since October 12th start retreating back to Egypt.

 

At night, 5 Israeli navy Dabur patrol boats attack Ras Gharib (off the map) and destroy 15-20 Egyptian boats, attenuating the Egyptian commando beach landings threat on the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Suez. In addition to their standard Oerlikon 20 mm and Browning .50 cal guns, the Dabur crews make use of Carl Gustaf 84 mm RRs, as well as explosive devices.

 

To counterbalance the increased Soviet arms deliveries and in light of the Israeli success in the Syrian theater, Operation Nickel Grass is also expedited. US C-141 and C-5 airlifters start landing in Israel in the evening, carrying substantially more arms than the modified El Al B707s and B747s that have been carryiing-out the mission since October 10th. F-4s and C-130s are delivered by flight and A-4s would follow on October 17th. Since Portugal is the only European country that allows the Nickel Grass aircraft to enter its airspace, the aircraft refuel at Lajes airbase. Over the eastern Mediterranean the US aircraft are escorted by IAF jets, whereas the US ships would be escorted east of Malta by Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats starting on October 21st. From the IDF perspective, the most needed items which can be put into immediate use in battle are 175 mm, 155 mm artillery shells and CBUs.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 3 weeks later...

October 15th:

 

1527da_f28f0a4c7a4946299b2b8d24a395e914~

 

Northern sector:

On the night of October 14th-15th, once again, Egyptian 103rd commando battalion troops cut-off Budapest stronghold from the SE, this time by advancing on foot through the salt marshes south of the stronghold. During the march, their Saggers get wet and become unusable. At dawn, the besieged Budapest defenders repel an Egyptian beach landing assault by OT-62s and Zodiac boats, suffering no casualties, while halftrack-mounted Israeli troops head NW to reopen the road leading to Budapest. The road, codenamed Mikhpelet, remains blocked until noon, as the Israeli mechanized infantry (first a company from the 204th brigade, later a company from the 11th brigade) suffers heavy losses before the last surviving Egyptian commandos surrender. 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. Exploiting the gap between the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade defenses and the Greater Bitter Lake, found by the 87th armored reconnaissance battalion 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 the 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, to destroy Egyptian SAM sites (the ones on Jabal Ganifa in particular) and 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 407th armored battalion (unmarked on the map) returns to 600th armored brigade (143rd armored division) in the central sector after spending the night under the 401st armored brigade (252nd armored division) west of the Mitla Junction. At At-Tasa, the battalion CO is informed that his younger brother was killed on October 8th (with the 421st armored brigade at Ziona) and that his brother-in-law is MIA (captured by the Egyptians on October 9th afternoon, during the failed 409th armored battalion assault on Televiziya), so he is ordered to return home. After several attempts to object the decision, the CO eventually obeys and the 407th armored battalion, commanded by the XO, is attached to the 14th armored brigade for the crossing operation.

IDF reserve 247th paratroop brigade, which was kept at the rear until now, joins in under the 143rd armored division with its 416th and 565th battalions, as the paratroopers are planned to be the first to cross, by rubber boats, before the AFVs. Detached from the 247th brigade is the 564th paratroop battalion, which is split between Baluza (CO's TF, under TF Nammer) and Jabal Umm Khashiba (XO's TF, aka TF Doron).

As the Israeli forces and bridging equipment flow towards the central sector, enormous traffic jams are created around At-Tasa. The 143rd armored division XO, Jacob Even, is tasked with organizing the movement and the crossing while Sharon would command the fighting.

IDF artillery in the central canal sector is reinforced with the 899th medium artillery (M109s) and 270th independent rocket artillery (BM-24s, captured in 1967) battalions, sent from the Golan Heights. This is not depicted on the map. So far, the IDF didn't deploy any M109s or rocket artillery to Sinai, as the two IDF M109 battalions (the 405th and 899th) and the single IDF rocket artillery battalion were all deployed in the Golan.

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.

 

Merchav Shlomo (off the map):

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 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.).

 

Based on aerial reconnaissance, IDF intelligence identifies 830 active 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. Additional 375 MBTs are to be found at the outskirts of Cairo, belonging to the 3rd mechanized infantry division, Republican Guard, Armor School.

A different IDF source identifies 787 active 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 carries-out 58 airbase 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:

 

1527da_07cb2fb0835d4073b0245bbb60cd447f~

 

The road from At-Tasa to Laqeqan stronghold is codenamed 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 codenamed Tirtur.

The north-south road along the canal, about 3 kms east of it, is codenamed 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 codenamed 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 if including the 429th battalion), with its 430th and 433rd 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 codenamed 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 captures 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 even a SAM site), but the Egyptian resistance starts growing 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 are immobilized by off-road landmines while trying to bypass the 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 suffers 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 suffers heavy losses and its CO (the second one, whose predecessor was ordered to return home earlier that day) 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 paratroop companies commanded by the 890th battalion XO Shmuel Arad, attached 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 paratroop reconnaissance battalion (from the 317th paratroop 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, suffering heavy losses including the CO (the second one, whose predecessor was killed on October 8th).

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 about 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) launches its battalions from Objective Hamadiya to raid Objective Missouri 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 salvos 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 paratroop 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 battalion XO. These are joined by the 605th crossing battalion pontoons, towed all the way from Baluza by a tank company from 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 transport 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.

 

 

Off the map:

 

In the southern Suez Canal sector, IDF 164th armored brigade (under the 252nd armored division) sends its 183rd and 106th armored battalions to attack the Egyptian 7th infantry division (of the 3rd field army), in order to prevent Egyptian armor (notably the 25th independent armored brigade T-62s) from embarking north to help the 16th infantry division (of the 2nd field army). IDF 106th armored battalion advances west and engages the Egyptian 11th mechanized infantry brigade positions at Ash-Shatt WW2 Croatian refugee camp, while the 183rd armored battalion flanks and engages the camp from the north, as well as the Egyptian 8th infantry brigade positions to the west. At sunset the Israeli Centurions are ordered to retreat back to Mitzvah.

 

IDF 440th armored division HQ arrives in Merchav Shlomo with the purpose of commanding Operation Or Yarock, that is planned to commence 48 hours after Operation Abirey Lev. IDF 35th paratroop brigade HQ and its 890th paratroop battalion leave Abu Znayma for At-Tur, as they are planned to take part in Or Yarock. The 450th paratroop battalion is ordered to stay and defend Merchav Shlomo, the 202nd paratroop battalion remains under the 252nd armored division and the 50th paratroop battalion is still committed to the Syrian theater.

Operation Or Yarock, the beach landing north of Al-Ghardaqa, is postponed again and again for various military and political reasons. All in all, orders to execute and then to abort Or Yarock were given 3 times during the war. On the third time, on October 22nd, the AFVs have even already been loaded onto the tank landing crafts. 

The defense of Ras Dahaysa - Ras Misalla area is handed over to TF Ayalon (named after its CO Aryeh Ayalon), an ad-hoc established brigade-sized force under the Merchav Shlomo Command. In addition to the 450th paratroop and 225th armored battalions (the latter was based near Sharm Ash-Sheikh before the war), TF Ayalon is attached with the 182nd independent tank (Sherman) and 9400th infantry (ad-hoc established) battalions, 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 tank battalion - the 268th of the 670th mechanized infantry brigade (the rest of the 670th is at the Golan Heights).

 

At night, Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack targets on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline with gun fire. Two boats hit targets near Ras Al-Kanais (aka Ras Al-Hikma) and later targets near Ras Ad-Daba'a, with no Egyptian response. Four other boats hit a target near Baltim and later targets near Rosetta (aka Rashid). When the Sa'ars head to leave the Rosetta area, Egyptian missile boats briefly burst out of the Port of Alexandria (Egypt's main naval base) and launch Styx missiles that miss the Israeli boats.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 2 weeks later...

Operation Abirey Lev continues, October 16th:

 

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Egyptian 16th infantry division is deployed at western Hamutal (Abu Waqfa), Makhshir (Kathib Al-Khayl - Kathib Abu Tarabush), Televiziya, Missouri, Amir (Al-Galaa farm, aka the Chinese Farm) and Tirtur road. After the morning fog clears, the daylight allows effective use of Sagger ATGMs against the Israeli 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.

In order to participate Operation Abirey Lev, and as the plan to execute Operation Or Yarock is denied, the IDF elite 35th paratroop brigade HQ and its 890th paratroop battalion depart from At-Tur (off the map) in C-130s (that were supplied on the day before, under Operation Nickel Grass) to join the 162nd armored division in the central Suez Canal sector. However, the brigade's heavy weapons (mortars, RRs) remain at Ras Sudr area (off the map) under the 440th armored division.

 

 

IDF 143rd armored division:

 

IDF 247th paratroop 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 paratroop battalion crosses and joins the 565th paratroop 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, captures Deversoir airfield with light resistance and then raids 5 Egyptian SAM emplacements in the Aida Planes, the open desert plains west of the agricultural area, destroying 4 of the Egyptian 106th heavy SAM brigade sites: 6120, 6218 (empty), 6316, 6418, 6419. 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 attached to the 14th armored brigade and engages TeleviziyaMissouri and Amir at long ranges. After suffering 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 been sent to battle. However, Tirtur road is still blocked by the Egyptian 16th infantry brigade troops.

 

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 suffering 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 captured 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).

 

The 143rd armored division HQ takes position in Matzmed. The 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 Hibayta). The ill-prepared assault is stopped after the 126th takes heavy Sagger fire. The 162nd division CO decides to wait for the 35th paratroop brigade to arrive from Merchav Shlomo before attacking again.

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, SE of At-Tasa.

 

Off the map, the IAF carries-out 39 SEAD sorties and destroys 4 more Egyptian SAM battalions in the Al-Gamil - Port Said - Port Fuad area, suffering no losses. These SAM battalions were brought there to replace the 3 battalions destroyed on October 10th, which were in turn brought there to replace the 5 battalions destroyed on October 8th.

 

 

IDF 143rd division CO Sharon is criticized of over-optimistic reports before and 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, claiming that the Egyptian troops on the eastern bank would anxiously retreat north once they observe Israeli forces advancing on the west bank. The Chief of General Staff David Elazar asks to dismiss Sharon, but the MoD Moshe 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 was withdrawn from the frontline (its positions were taken by the 274th independent armored brigade on October 12th) and is waiting for an order to cross towards Deversoir.

In order to replace the heavily-beaten 116th mechanized infantry brigade and to destroy the crossing Israeli force, the Egyptian 23rd armored brigade (of the 3rd mechanized infantry division), 85th paratroop battalion (of the 150th paratroop brigade) and 73rd commando battalion (of the 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). The EAF carries-out 38 ground attack sorties and 306 interception sorties, losing 14 jets.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 2 weeks later...

The paratroop battle of the Chinese Farm, night of October 16th-17th:

 

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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 162nd armored division:

 

IDF elite 35th paratroop brigade HQ and its 890th battalion are landed east of Hamadiya by CH-53s (after the C-130s took them to Rephidim AFB), but without the heavy weapons and equipment that were left behind in Rephidim AFB and in Merchav Shlomo. 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. Rather than some scattered Egyptian commando/AT teams, the Israeli paratroopers are surprised to encounter 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 suffers 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). The Uniflote pontoon barges (630th and 605th crossing battalions) are then towed on Akavish road by the 264th armored battalion XO's TF (of the 421st armored brigade, 143rd armored division) 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 is Arabic for sand dune), preparing to ambush the Egyptian 25th independent armored brigade expected to attack the bridgehead from the south.

 

 

IDF 143rd armored division:

 

IDF 247th paratroop and 421st armored brigades are at Deversoir - Abu Sultan area.

IDF 599th armored battalion bypasses Akavish road and advances to Laqeqan, after a long night navigation through the sands south of Kishuf (Jabal Hibayta). 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, since trucks couldn't go through the sands) for the forces in Africa. The 634th crossing battalion CO is injured by Egyptian artillery.

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. As described, after a mechanized infantry company from the 460th armored brigade reports that Akavish road is open, the pontoons are towed towards the canal.

 

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 Objective 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 and 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 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, SE of Ceylon (At-Tasa).

 

Off the map:

At Port Said, Israeli naval commandos sink 4 Egyptian navy vessels with limpet mines: an Osa missile boat, a P-183 torpedo boat, a Vydra-class landing craft and a patrol boat. Two of the Israeli commandos are lost at sea.

Edited by Iarmor
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October 17th:

 

Some of the Egyptian forces identified by IDF intelligence, based on aerial reconnaissance:

 

2nd field army:

2nd infantry division sector: 77 active MBTs, 95 wrecked MBTs, 45 APCs, 24 artillery batteries.

16th infantry division sector: 121 active MBTs, 254 wrecked 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 active MBTs, 47 wrecked MBTs, 60 APCs, 33 artillery batteries.

19th infantry division sector: 123 active MBTs, 106 wrecked MBTs, 80 APCs, 40 artillery batteries.

West of Suez: 19 MBTs, 23 APCs.

 

Operation Abirey Lev continues:

 

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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 frontline 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's 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 (both of the 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 tank company from the 599th battalion (reinforced with a tank 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 the 85th paratroop battalion (150th paratroop 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 paratroop reconnaissance battalion forces. IDF 599th armored battalion secures the Bailey bridge over the Freshwater Canal east of Abu Sultan.

IDF 565th paratroop battalion (247th paratroop brigade) assaults Serapeum with 8 halftracks and 2 M48s, but repelled by the Egyptian 73rd commando battalion (129th commando regiment). The paratroopers who dismounted from the leading halftrack get trapped in one of the village houses with little ammo, later rescued by the 416th paratroop battalion.

IDF combat engineers connect Uniflote pontoons and establish a full bridge by the afternoon.

 

 

IDF 214th and 215th artillery regiments (143rd and 162nd divisions respectively) are north of Akavish road, between Ceylon (At-Tasa) and Hamadiya. IDF 55th independent heavy artillery battalion (M107) redeploys back to the Sinai from the Golan, joining its battery that was left behind in the Sinai when the 55th was sent to the Golan in September. Now 3 out of 4 IDF M107 battalions are in the 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 M107 175 mm gun barrels are changed by 203 mm barrels, turning the M107s into M110s. Almost all BM-24 rockets had already been depleted as well.

 

IDF 429th armored battalion (from the 500th armored brigade) holds Ziona.

IDF 890th paratroop battalion regroups and the 35th paratroop brigade is attached to the 143rd armored division.

Off the map, IDF 401st armored brigade and TF Ayalon prepare to attack towards Uyun Musa, as a local initiative. Leaving its 52nd armored battalion behind on the Mitla road, the 401st armored brigade is sent south on the Lateral Road with its 46th and 195th armored battalions, joining with the 202nd paratroop battalion on Yoreh road. However, the assault west on Yoreh road is disapproved and the 401st brigade returns north to the Mitla road. TF Ayalon waits until the next day for a paratroop company (from the 202nd battalion) to join it, then starts assaulting northwards but stops shortly after.

 

IAF carries-out 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.

Edited by Iarmor
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Night of October 17th-18th:

The IDF 162nd armored division crosses the Suez Canal over the Uniflote pontoon bridge, with its 460th and 217th armored brigades and artillery (including the M107-equipped 647th independent heavy artillery battalion and a M109 battery 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 (606th armored assault engineer battalion) which was operating with the 421st armored brigade. The 198th armored battalion returns to the 460th armored brigade from the 14th armored brigade.

Deep behind the Egyptian lines, as on the night of October 10th, IDF airborne artillery troops take positions on Jabal Ataqa with M102 105 mm howitzers and fire 120 shells at two Egyptian targets to the NE. This time the weather is of no trouble, but on the way back the two CH-53s have to evade heavy Egyptian AAA fire, with several bullets hitting the helicopters.

The Egyptian 16th infantry brigade (of the 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 the IDF advance west of the canal.

The Egyptian 150th paratroop brigade, rushed towards the Israeli bridgehead from the Enshas airbase - Bilbays airbase area with its two remaining battalions, the 81st and 89th, arrives in Nafisha. In the morning it will head to Serapeum.

In order to relieve pressure from Budapest stronghold, six Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack the Egyptian fortifications near Port Fuad with gun fire, whereas the Egyptians unsuccessfully return radar-guided 130 mm coastal gun fire.

Israeli navy Qishon-class tank landing craft, loaded with a single mortar-carrying halftrack fastened to its deck, attacks Marsa Thalamat with 81 mm mortar fire. 

 

October 18th:

 

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IDF 162nd armored division:

 

IDF 460th armored brigade breaches through Objective Uri westwards on Saqranoot road, despite heavy resistance by Egyptian 129th regiment commandos. IDF 189th armored reconnaissance battalion CO (the second one, whose predecessor was injured on October 8th) is killed during the battle. Objective Uri is eventually cleared by IDF paratroopers from the 247th brigade. The following assault of the 460th brigade on Tzach Junction (19th, 100th, 198th armored battalions) of the Treaty Road (codenamed 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 and turns west on Haifa road, through Abu Sultan Camps. The leading battalion, the 142nd, reaches the Treaty Road, captures Objective Arrel and destroys counterattacking Egyptian 23rd armored brigade T-55s (injuring the Egyptian brigade CO). However, Haifa road is then blocked by Egyptian tanks and commandos (129th regiment), who inflict losses to the 113th and 126th armored battalions. Despite destroying the Egyptian tanks, the 113th and 126th battalions are forced to bypass the road in order to join the cut-off 142nd battalion at Objective Arrel. The 142nd armored battalion attempts to advance south from Arrel on the Treaty Road towards Tzach Junction, in order to assist the 460th armored brigade, but stops as it takes heavy fire (that injured the battalion CO).

Later on, the 126th armored battalion raids SAM sites 6516 and 6413A (aka Objective Matzlema A) further to the NW (off the map) and returns to Objective Arrel before sunset on the last fumes of fuel. At night Haifa road is eventually cleared by IDF paratroopers, while the 217th armored brigade parks at Objective Arrel.

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-worthy MBTs.

 

 

IDF 143rd armored division:

 

IDF 421st armored brigade (all of its tanks have crossed to Africa by now, but some are with the 247th paratroop brigade) heads north, turns NW through Abu Sultan Camps and reaches Objective 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 paratroop brigade, reinforced with some 421st brigade tanks, holds Deversoir - Abu Sultan area. Some of its troops clear Objective Uri of Egyptian commandos, while others engage Egyptian 150th paratroop brigade forces (81st and 89th paratroop battalions) around Serapeum, at the northern flank of the bridgehead.

 

In addition to its battered 890th battalion, the IDF 35th paratroop brigade (unmarked on the map) is reinforced with the 469th paratroop battalion and with TF Doron (564th paratroop battalion XO's force). The 35th brigade crosses the Suez Canal at sunset and takes positions alongside the 247th.

 

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 by Israeli artillery fire.

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 knocked-out ones. The 184th battalion's first attempt to advance fails, as it suffers heavy losses to flanking fire from 3 entrenched Egyptian tanks at 100 meters range. However, shortly later the 184th does manage to advance several kms on the eastern bank, helped by a mistaken EAF strike on the Egyptian positions. East of the 184th, the 79th advances a shorter distance due to heavy Egyptian resistance.

The Israeli troops observe a steady flow of Egyptian soldiers who flee west from Missouri and cross back to Egypt. 118 burnt and 15 intact Egyptian T-54/55 MBTs are counted in the area captured by the Israeli 14th armored brigade during Operation Abirey Lev. To replace its losses, the 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's 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 and accompanied by SP AAA. The towing operation is lead by the 143rd division XO. Egyptian artillery and aircraft fail to damage the bridge and it's finally pushed to the Suez Canal at night, north of Matzmed stronghold.

IDF 409th armored battalion assaults NW, engaging every Egyptian vehicle left active among the many deserted ones, and halts east of Objective Amir after suffering losses to landmines, Saggers and an airstrike. A downed EAF fighter jet crashes directly on the 600th brigade CO's 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 unharmed.

 

 

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 independent rocket artillery battalion CO is killed by Egyptian artillery and by the evening the battalion fires its last 240 mm rockets.

 

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. Although the 252nd armored division was originally planned to replace the 143rd armored division south of Ismailia, it is decided that the 143rd would keep its current mission and the 252nd would be tasked with the mission planned for the 143rd - accompanying the 162nd on the way south and securing its western flank. Surprisingly, Sharon supports this change, which prevents his division from participating in the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army, since he believes it's more important to push the 2nd field army north rather than to encircle the 3rd. 

 

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 paratroop and 52nd armored battalions (with the 401st armored brigade XO) and the 875th mechanized infantry brigade (reinforced with Shot Cals from the disbanded, soon to revive 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, Barukh Har'el, is ordered to take command of the 164th brigade and lead it into Africa.

 

 

Thanks to reconnaissance images obtained by Soviet satellites (see Kosmos 596 and its successors), the Egyptians realize at last how massive and dangerous the Israeli crossing operation really is. Egyptian artillery fire, fighter jets and transport helicopters (dropping explosive barrels) constantly strike the Israeli bridgehead, which is defended by IAF Mirages and two SP AAA battalions (207th, 208th). EAF carries-out 32 strike sorties and 342 interception sorties, losing 23 jets and 7 helicopters. Among the lost Egyptian jets are 3 ex-Libyan Mirage 5s, operating from Tanta AFB, that were sent to strike a target in central Israel but were shot down by IAF Neshers (Israeli Mirage 5s) over the Mediterranean. The two ex-Libyan Mirage 5 squadrons (one of which is still manned by Libyan pilots), along with the single Su-20 squadron, form the advanced fighter-bomber fleet of the EAF (the long-desired MiG-23 would be pressed into service only in 1975). Also among the lost Egyptian aircraft are two Mi-6s that were shot down by Israeli tank main gun fire (M48s from the 599th and 196th battalions).

IDF 143rd armored division engineer officer is killed by Egyptian artillery fire 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 carries-out 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.

Edited by Iarmor
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IDF breach into Egypt, October 19th-20th:

 

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October 19th:

 

IDF 162nd armored division (solid blue):

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, 59205917, 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 heads south to engage Fayid airbase (this movement is not shown on the map).

IDF 217th armored brigade heads west from Objective Arrel, assaults and captures Objective Maktzerah, while the 401st armored brigade (of the 252nd armored division) provides 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. On the way south, the 126th armored battalion engages SAM site 5914 (dummy) and its CO is injured by a Sagger salvo.

North of Jabal Umm Kathib, the 460th armored brigade stays to engage the Egyptian 2nd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division, 3rd field army) T-55s positioned at Objective Mitznefet, on the western Israeli flank, at 3-4 kms range. After assisting the 460th by engaging Objective Mitznefet from the north, the 217th armored brigade starts advancing SE towards Jabal Ganifa, alongside the 500th armored brigade.

At night, the 460th brigade parks NE of 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 (this movement is not shown on the map). 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 entrenched Egyptian tanks in a battle during which the 46th battalion CO is injured.

IDF 164th armored brigade attacks and captures Tzach Junction. Its 183th armored battalion assaults the Egyptian Tzach Junction defenders from their rear, from west to east, while the 106th armored battalion provides covering fire from the northern flank. Later on the 164th brigade heads west on Saqranoot road and parks near Saqranoot - Vadaoot junction, SW of Maktzerah.

The Egyptian forces at the Aida Plains - Ridan Al-Hama area are remnants of the 23rd 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. Among the Egyptian losses is the 23rd mechanized infantry division CO.

 

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 battalion remains at Laqeqan for now. The 14th armored brigade assaults and captures Objective Orcha and Serapeum from west to east, despite heavy Egyptian resistance causing heavy losses for the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion. The defending Egyptian 81st paratroop battalion (from the 150th brigade) is supported by 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 paratroop 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 paratroop brigades advance north and clear the close terrain on the western bank of the canal, scattered with Egyptian fortifications and ramparts. The Egyptian 150th paratroop brigade forces retreat north.

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)

 

The two remaining battalions of the Egyptian 131st commando regiment, the 133rd and 223rd, are rushed to Ismailia - Serapeum area from the Egyptian rear (the other two, the 103rd and 183rd, have already suffered heavy losses fighting in the northern Sinai). Egyptian 3rd armored and 1st mechanized infantry brigade (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 and Sukhois suffer heavy losses to IAF Mirages in massive air-to-air combats.

 

At night, off the map, four Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack targets on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline, near Baltim and near Rosetta (aka Rashid), with 40 mm and 76 mm gun fire. No effective Egyptian response is observed.

On the same night, off the map as well, Israeli naval commandos attack the Egyptian Komar missile boat at Port Al-Ghardaqa using bomb boats, but with no success. 

 

October 20th:

 

IDF 162nd armored division (dashed blue):

In the morning, IDF 460th armored brigade (196th, 198th armored and 19th tank battalions) keeps engaging the Egyptian 2nd armored brigade forces at Objective Mitznefet on the western flank, while its 100th armored battalion raids SAM sites 5416 and 5317 (mistakenly marked on Jabal Umm Kathib, where 5615 is). The 86th mechanized infantry battalion is at Fayid.

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 ordered to clear the coastline of the Greater Bitter Lake. As the 198th and 19th battalions are detached from the 460th brigade, joining the 500th and 217th brigades respectively, the 460th advances eastwards with just its 196th and 100th armored battalions, passing by Jabal Al-Qitt and Jabal Shabrawit, while the 86th mechanized infantry battalion struggles to clear the close terrain on the coastline and to advance SE. The enemy forces in the Fanara area, including the Palestinian 107th infantry brigade, the Kuwaiti Al-Yarmouk infantry battalion and Egyptian 207th armored battalion (of the 2nd armored brigade) remnants, utilize the close terrain to put up heavy resistance and to block the Israeli advance. IDF 198th armored battalion, which is then called to leave the 500th brigade and rejoin the 460th brigade, descends from Jabal Ganifa and assaults the Egyptian rear SE of Fanara, but gets blocked by a heavy Sagger salvo. 

IDF 500th armored brigade (reinforced for awhile 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 tank battalion from the 460th armored brigade) rapidly advances SE in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra and cuts off Asor road. The 217th brigade destroys many Egyptian army trucks as they drive unwittingly on Asor road, as well as 3 SAM sites: 5321 (on Jabal Gharra), 5121 (beyond Asor road) and 5020 (beyond the Cairo - Suez railway).

Egyptian 6th mechanized infantry brigade (mistakenly marked as armored, of the 4th armored division) forces retreat southwards from Objective Bologna.  

 

IDF 252nd armored division (dashed green):

IDF 106th armored battalion (of the 164th armored brigade) is split into two. The XO's force, named TF Moreno, returns to Tzach Junction and heads south on Havit road (the Treaty Road). TF Moreno then assaults and captures Fayid airbase, alongside a paratroop company of the 50th battalion. Shortly later, the IAF starts operating Fayid airbase for cargo airplanes and helicopters.

The other half of the 106th armored battalion, commanded by the CO, remains under the 164th armored brigade, alongside the 183rd armored battalion. The 164th and 401st armored brigades 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 of the 401st armored brigade. 

 

IDF 143rd armored division (dashed blue):

IDF 14th armored and 35th paratroop brigades (the latter is reinforced with the reserve 48th paratroop battalion, which has arrived from the Jordan Valley) advance further north and clear the close terrain on the western bank of the canal, which is scattered with Egyptian fortifications and ramparts. The opposing forces, of the Egyptian 150th paratroop brigade and 131st commando regiment, put up light resistance. The Egyptian paratroopers blow-up a bridge over the Freshwater Canal, near Ayn Ghassin, despite a direct order from the 2nd field army CO not to do so (the Egyptian brigade CO will be dismissed immediately after the ceasefire), in order to flood the area with water and turn the soil into swampy mud that will slow down the IDF. OTOH, the water supply for the whole area, between the blown bridge and as south as Suez, is cut-off. SAM site 6521 is captured by the IDF, after it was destroyed by an 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 79th armored battalion tank fire 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.

 

North of Deversoir, an IDF M107 battery from the 647th independent heavy artillery battalion (not depicted on the map) is knocked-out by a BM-21 rocket barrage. The explosions destroy 3 M548s and 2 out of the 4 M107s.

IDF combat engineers launch a third bridge over the canal, improvised by the 605th crossing battalion using pontoons mounted on wagons (with wheels taken from old Mosquito aircraft). This new bridge, established where the Gillois carriers used to operate, is nicknamed the Austerity Bridge. Some claim that these modified wheeled pontoons, that were developed before the war by a lower-ranking engineer against a Chief Engineer Officer's order to abandon the idea, 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.

At the northern sector (off the map), IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade is reinforced with the 268th tank battalion (Sherman) and with a Shot Meteor company, which redeploy to the Sinai from the Jordan Valley. The 268th is the organic tank battalion of the 670th mechanized infantry brigade, which is still at the Golan Heights. The Shot Meteor company was formed of 205th armored brigade tanks that broke down during the 205th brigade's journey from Ramallah to the Golan on October 7th.

 

IDF 50th paratroop battalion (of the 35th paratroop brigade), which had left the Golan Heights on October 17th, lands in Rephidim AFB, gets halftracks and arrives to At-Tasa in the evening. The map mistakenly depicts it alongside the 86th mechanized infantry battalion near Fayid.  

 

IAF destroys the 6 Egyptian 95th heavy SAM brigade sites at the Ismailia - Abu Suwayr airbase area, suffering no losses.

 

At night, off the map, two Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack targets on Egypt's Mediterranean coastline, first near Damietta and later near Baltim. No Egyptian response is observed.

Edited by Iarmor
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  • 2 weeks later...

IDF breach into Egypt continues, October 21st-22nd:

 

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October 21st:

 

IDF 162nd armored division (solid blue):

IDF 500th armored brigade (430th and 433rd armored battalions) struggles to advance south on Jabal Ganifa and parks near SAM site 5423

IDF 460th armored brigade, with its 198th (mistakenly marked 196th) and 100th armored battalions, follows the 500th armored brigade south on Jabal Ganifa and parks SW of it.

IDF 50th paratroop battalion crosses the canal and gets attached to the 460th armored brigade, along with the 429th armored and 271st combat engineer battalions. These troops join the 196th armored and 86th mechanized infantry battalions in clearing the Treaty Road and the agricultural area along the western coastline of the Greater Bitter Lake, from Fayid to Fanara. The opposing forces are remnants of the Egyptian 207th armored battalion (2nd armored brigade, 4th armored division) and the Palestinian 107th infantry brigade. After the IDF 429th armored battalion CO (the second one, whose predecessor was killed on October 8th) is killed by Egyptian artillery, the 429th battalion heads west on Vitamin road, at the foot of Jabal Shabrawit, and parks near SAM site 5620 (this movement is not shown on the map), with the intention to catch up with the 500th armored brigade.

IDF 113th armored and 19th tank battalions (under the 217th armored brigade) repel two Egyptian 113th mechanized infantry brigade counterattacks on SAM sites 5121. Utilizing the rocky and hilly terrain, Egyptian infantrymen manage to reach close range and try to climb on the Israeli tanks with handgrenades, leading the Israeli tanks to fire their machine guns at each other.

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 (of the 4th armored division) 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 nearby Egyptian SAM sites and armor around Objective Mitznefet. While the 106th armored battalion (mistakenly marked on the map as the 183rd) engages Egyptian armor near SAM site 5615 (on Jabal Umm Kathib, south of Objective Mitznefet), the 183rd armored battalion heads north, turns west to SAM site 5914 (north of Objective Mitznefet, found empty) and then proceeds south again, destroying Egyptian armor on its way.

The battered Egyptian 2nd armored brigade (mistakenly marked on the map as mechanized infantry) retreats from Objective Mitznefet.

 

IDF 143rd armored division (solid blue):

After an unpleasant argument between the division CO Sharon and the Southern Command CG Gonen on the radio, in which Sharon has refused a direct order from Gonen, MoD Dayan compels 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 Evsha - 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 paratroop 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 ramparts between Serapeum and Jabal Mariyam. The opposing Egyptian forces are of the 150th paratroop, 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.

The 143rd division CO Sharon deploys his HQ to Egypt, while his XO Even remains in Matzmed to command the bridgehead.

 

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.

 

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) in the afternoon. The assault is repelled as 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 joins TF Atzloot with his halftrack, ordered to assume command, and eventually TF Atzloot retreats at night after evacuating most of its wounded. Surprisingly, no Tiran tank is seriously damaged in this battle.

Egyptian troops remain in control of the Artillery Road in this sector, 15 kms east of the canal. All in all, during the 9 Israeli assaults on objectives Hamutal and Makhshir starting on October 8th, 61 Israeli soldiers were killed and 6 were captured by the Egyptians, alongwith 27 MBTs (8 Centurions, 13 M48A3s, 6 M60A1s), 6 M113s and 2 halftracks that were abandoned in Egyptian-held territory.

Off the map, IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade redeploys from Martef second-line post - Vermont area to Maror second-line post area. IDF 204th mechanized infantry brigade redeploys from Budapest stronghold - Yoram second-line post area to Martef - Vermont area. IDF 275th regional brigade takes command of the Budapest - Yoram area again.

For a planned offensive on Port Fuad, the IDF establish in Baluza another division-sized TF named Sela (Hebrew for Rock), commanded by the Chief Infantry and Paratroop Officer Emmanuel Shaked. TF Sela is formed of several infantry formations, mostly ones that only now redeploy 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. In addition, TF Sela is attached with the 279th armored reconnaissance and 564th paratroop battalions.

 

Further off the map:

At night, four Israeli navy Sa'ar missile boats attack coastal targets at the Abu Qir Bay with gun fire and Gabriel missiles and also sink two Egyptian observation boats on the way. When the Sa'ars head to leave the bay, the Egyptians launch several land-based anti-ship missiles that miss the Israeli boats. 

Before the dawn of October 22nd, at Port Al-Ghardaqa, Israeli naval commandos destroy an Egyptian Komar missile boat, numbered 501, using LAW rockets supplied under Operation Nickel Grass. Exactly 6 years earlier, on October 21st 1967, Komar 501 participated the sinking of INS Eilat.

 

 

October 22nd:

 

IDF 162nd armored division (dashed blue):

The 162nd division is ordered to speed up its advance due to the upcoming ceasefire.

IDF 500th armored brigade swaps sectors with the 460th armored brigade forces on Jabal Ganifa (198th and 100th armored battalions). The 500th, which got back its 429th armored battalion, advances SE on Jabal Ganifa, destroying many Egyptian T-55s (3rd armored brigade remnants) and overrunning SAM sites 5123 and 5124 oi its way.

IDF 460th armored brigade, with its 198th and 100th armored battalions, clears SAM sites 5323 and 5324 (dummy) and engages Egyptian tanks on the Treaty road at long ranges from positions on Jabal Ganifa. Then it descends eastwards from Jabal Ganifa towards the Ganifa Camps and the Treaty Road. At the same time, IDF 196th armored, 50th paratroop, 86th mechanized infantry and 271st combat engineer battalions (under the 460th brigade as well) keep advancing SE on the Treaty Road and capture Fanara and Kasfarit airbase.

IDF 113th and 126th armored battalions (of the 217th armored brigade) repel another Egyptian counterattack on SAM site 5121. IDF 19th tank battalion then advances south, cuts off the Cairo - Suez railway and gains control over the Cairo - Suez road, which is the main line of supply for the Egyptian 3rd field army. Many Egyptian army trucks are destroyed as they drive through the road, unaware of the Israeli tank presence.

At noon, in order to assist the 460th armored brigade, the Southern Front CG orders the 162nd division CO to rapidly send his 500th and 217th armored brigade east towards the agricultural area on the western bank of the Suez Canal.

The 217th armored brigade waives its control on the Cairo - Suez road, passes by SAM site 5027 on its way east and parks west of Ash-Shalufa for the night, not before capturing Objective Luca (126th armored battalion) and Objective Mina (142nd armored battalion).

The 500th armored 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 armored brigade, attached with the 19th tank battalion again, parks at night around Ganifa and the Ganifa Camps after clearing the area. One of its M48s blocks the way of an Egyptian soft-skin convoy, one of which is surprisingly found to accommodate 3 Israeli POWs, who were being transferred from Kibrit towards Cairo. These POWs were caught on the same day near Botzer stronghold, after taking a wrong turn with their car. At once the Israeli POWs are freed and their Egyptian captors become POWs themselves.

After sunset, the Egyptian 3rd field army CO and his staff, along with the 6th mechanized infantry division CO, escape their forward HQ (near SAM site 4927) to the main HQ on Jabal Uwaybid. The 3rd field army CO escapes on the only truck left usable, while the others escape on foot.

 

IDF 252nd armored division (dashed green):

IDF 164th armored brigade rapidly advances SE in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra. It's lead by the 183rd armored battalion, which cuts off Asor road and clears Egyptian bunkers in mountainous area south of the road (NW of SAM site 5121). At the afternoon, while the 183rd battalion engages Egyptian tanks to the SE and picks two 217th armored brigade tank mechanics left near SAM site 5121, the 106th armored battalion takes the lead and advances further south, after leaving one tank company to block Asor road. The 106th battalion cuts off the Cairo - Suez railway and gains control over the Cairo - Suez road south of SAM site 5020, 101 kms from Cairo. That same area was abandoned at noon by the 217th armored brigade forces.

IDF reserve 179th armored brigade (Shot Cal), 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 is ordered to cross only with its dieselized Centurions, so it leaves in Sinai 7 Shot Meteors which it has gathered during the fighting in the Golan (these belonged to either the 679th or 205th armored brigades). 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 Vadaoot - Vitamin junction near Jabal Umm Kathib and defends the Israeli western flank, engaging Egyptian armor at long ranges. In addition, its forces captured 10 downed EAF pilots within the last 48 hours.

 

IDF 143rd armored division (dashed blue):

IDF 14th armored and 35th paratroop brigades are surprised to hear about the upcoming ceasefire and try to speed up their advance. IDF 184th armored and 424th infantry reconnaissance battalions advance and halt south of Nafisha, while the 35th brigade paratroopers are blocked by the Egyptians after crossing a bridge over the Freshwater Canal, south of Abu Atwa. 3 Israeli M60A1s, attached to the 48th paratroop battalion from the 79th armored battalion (actually these are 87th armored reconnaissance battalion remnants), are lost to a RPG salvo fired by Egyptian 133rd battalion commandos (of the 131st regiment) ambushing near the sewage treatment plant. In another engagement, an Israeli tank has to destroy an Israeli halftrack which was taken over by Egyptian troops, after the Israeli paratroopers had dismounted from it to scan through the tangled vegetation.

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 214th artillery regiment is reinforced with a battery of M-46 130 mm guns, manned by men from the 873rd independent medium artillery battalion. Detached from their battalion in the Golan on October 21st, these artillerymen are flown to Fayid airbase and acquire freshly-captured ex-Egyptian guns and ammo.

 

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 TF Nammer:

IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade captures the Maror second-line post (off the map) before dawn. Covered by the 4th tank battalion, the 54th mechanized infantry battalion assaults on foot, taking only artillery fire, and finds Maror manned by only 4 Egyptians. In the morning, the 4th battalion Shermans advance further and decimate an Egyptian AT ambush. However, when the 11th brigade HQ deploys at Maror, a surprising Sagger salvo launched 2.5 kms from the northern flank takes out two Centurions (the 11th brigade gathered a few, probably ex-217th brigade vehicles) and two M113s (inorganic vehicles as well), including the brigade CO's own tank and APC. The brigade CO luckily survives unharmed, but the G3 is killed.

After assisting the 11th mechanized infantry brigade with the eastern outskirts of Maror, IDF 228th armored battalion (of the 274th armored brigade) redeploys to Objective Hamadiya, replacing the M60A1 platoon that was detached from the 409th armored battalion (600th armored brigade) to defend it. This move is not shown on the map. The frontline 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 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.

TF Sela's planned operation to capture Port Fuad (off the map) is aborted. The 279th armored reconnaissance battalion rejoins the 11th mechanized infantry brigade. OTOH, despite it's equipped with Shermans, IDF 226th tank battalion is ordered to detach from the 11th mechanized infantry brigade, to cross the Suez Canal and join the 252nd armored division in Africa.

 

 

Israeli artillery (175 mm and 155 mm, firing from both banks of the Suez Canal) and aircraft carry-out Operation Bendigo, destroying 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. As the Egyptian SAM belt keeps shrinking, IAF A-4s, F-4s and Super Mysteres carry-out more CAS sorties, mostly targeting the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Africa.

Egyptian artillery and AF keep striking the Israeli bridgehead. 12 Israelis, including the 605th crossing battalion XO, are killed in a heavy Egyptian rocket artillery barrage. OTOH, the EAF 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 taking a heavy toll on the attacking Egyptian aircraft.

In order to warn Israel to stop the IDF advance, the Soviet MoD Grechko finally accedes the Egyptian pleas and approves the Soviet military advisors in Egypt to launch 3 Scud-B ballistic missiles at Israeli targets in the 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.

Soviet MiG-25s land in Cairo West AFB (where they had been deployed before, between March 1971 and April 1972) and start flying reconnaissance missions over Israeli territory. IAF F-4 jets and Hawk SAMs fail to intercept the fast, high-flying MiG-25 (and the F-15 is still only a wet dream).

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.

Edited by Iarmor
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Encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in the Sinai, October 23rd:

 

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In order to finish the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in the Sinai ASAP, the Israeli forces in Africa are reinforced with several armor and infantry formations. IDF 226th tank battalion (detached from the 11th mechanized infantry brigade, TF Nammer on October 22nd) crosses the canal, heads south and joins the 252nd armored division. In the evening follows the 52nd armored battalion (detached from TF Garnit in the morning), which heads south after crossing and parks SW of Fayid AFB. There, in between the 143rd and 252nd armored division areas, the 52nd armored battalion forms the Southern Command's reserve in Africa. The 162nd armored division is reinforced with the 564th paratroop (flown to Fayid AFB by IAF CH-53s) and 484th infantry reconnaissance (crosses the canal on BTR-152s) battalions, in addition to the 50th paratroop battalion which is attached to it since October 21st, in order to expedite the mop up of the agricultural area on the western bank of the canal.

 

IDF 252nd armored division (green):

IDF 401st armored brigade (46th and 195th armored battalions) hastily leaves Jabal Umm Kathib area (not waiting for the 11th mechanized infantry brigade to replace it, leaving the area unoccupied for a short while), rapidly advances SE, in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra, and then east on Asor road. Its task is to reach Suez and south of it, in order to complete the encirclement of the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai. 

IDF 164th armored brigade sends its 106th armored battalion to cut the Cairo - Suez road south of SAM site 5020, 101 kms from Cairo. At the same time, its 183rd armored battalion captures SAM sites 5321, 5320A and B (aka Avit A and B) on Jabal Gharra, as well as SAM site 5121.

Multiple times, Egyptian forces trapped between Agrud and the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road desperately try to breach the road and the railway and escape westwards, while additional Egyptian forces, coming from the west (Objective Zanzibar, SE of Jabal Uwaybid), attempt to breach the road eastwards and remove the Israeli encirclement. Exposed in unfavorable positions, the IDF 106th armored battalion is under heavy pressure from both east and west and its CO (the second one, whose predecessor was injured on October 9th) is killed. However, with help from the 183rd battalion and by resorting to mobile defense tactics, the 106th manages to survive and to repel all Egyptian breaching attempts.

The Egyptians forces around the 101 km milestone 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.

After helping to stabilize the 106th armored battalion's hold on the Cairo - Suez road, the 183rd armored battalion leaves the 164th armored brigade, returns north and then heads east on Asor road. Along with TF Moreno (the 106th armored battalion XO's force), which arrives from the north, it heads south and assaults the Shell Oil Company storage site at Agrud and the nearby SAM site, both are parts of Objective Marze'ach. In the evening, while Objective Marze'ach is being cleared, the 401st armored brigade arrives there from the north. TF Moreno stays to hold the Suez - Cairo road, facing west, while the 183rd armored battalion is attached to the 401st armored brigade, which rushes to the SE on the Cairo - Suez road (with lights on, to allow faster movement). West of Suez the 401st armored brigade turns south and its forces reach Ataqa, Port Al-Adabiya, Ras Al-Adabiya and Ras Mahagara around midnight. Finally, the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in the Sinai are fully encircled.

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 to Agrud.

In the afternoon, IDF 226th tank battalion joins the 252nd division and occupies the positions abandoned by the 401st armored brigade at Vitamin - Vadaoot junction, near Jabal Umm Kathib. Its forces (mistakenly marked as a company from the 183rd battalion) climb Jabal Gharra, capture SAM sites 55185519 and 5420 and engage SAM site 5418. 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 106th armored battalion forces at the 101 km milestone are joined by TF Yaron (a paratroop battalion from the 9100th brigade, named after its CO Uri Yaron) which is landed there by IAF CH-53s to reinforce the 164th armored brigade.

 

IDF 162nd armored division (blue):

Before noon (solid), IDF 460th armored brigade, alongside the 564th paratroop and 271st combat engineer (mounted on its halftracks, fighting as mechanized infantry) battalions, clears the Ganifa - Kibrit area and to 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, attached with the 50th paratroop battalion, reaches the canal north of Ash-Shalufa and the paratroopers spread both northwards and southwards, clearing the Egyptian 3rd field army fortifications and ramparts in the agricultural area along the western bank of the canal.

In the afternoon (dashed), the 162nd division XO, Dov Tamari, leads the 564th paratroop, 86th mechanized infantry, 271st combat engineer battalions and one Shot Cal company from TF Moreno 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.

IDF 460th brigade rapidly advances through several abandoned SAM sites (and the Egyptian 3rd field army forward HQ, which is near SAM site 4927, but mistakenly marked on the map at Objective 4925) 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 Cairo - Suez 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 is now solely responsible for the western bank of the canal south of Kibrit Peninsula. In addition to its 126th, 142nd and 113th armored battalions and the 50th paratroop battalion, it is now reinforced before sunset with the elite 484th infantry reconnaissance battalion (mistakenly marked 184th). In the evening the 217th brigade continues to clear the agricultural area along the western bank, while slowly advancing southwards. The brigade HQ is attacked by Egyptian infantry and several officers are injured, including the XO.

After finding out they are encircled, Egyptian 3rd field army troops of various units retreat into the streets of Suez.

 

 

Meanwhile in the Sinai:

 

IDF 11th mechanized infantry brigade is detached from TF Nammer and redeploys to At-Tasa as the Southern Command's reserve in the Sinai. Shortly after the 11th is ordered to cross the canal and join the 252nd armored division. Maror second-line post is handed over to 204th mechanized infantry brigade troops.

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 paratroop 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 (off the map), head north and join TF Ayalon at Ras Dahaysa - Ras Misalla (off the map). 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 near 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 north of Uyun Musa, around Mavded and Tzeidar ex-IDF second-line posts.

 

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 Evsha - 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.

IDF 270th independent rocket artillery battalion leaves the Sinai on its way back to the Golan Heights, where there are still some unfired 240 mm rockets left.

 

 

Following the collapse of the ceasefire and the Israeli advance, the Soviets put on alert 4 airborne divisions in addition to the 3 that are on alert since the October 11th Israeli breakthrough into Syria. Now all 7 Soviet airborne divisions are on alert to join the fighting in the Middle East. In addition, Soviet navy 5th squadron vessels are ordered to head to Port Said, including one cruiser, 3 destroyers, one frigate and 3 landing ships (one Alligator-class and two Polnocny-class) loaded with marines.

Edited by Iarmor
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Battle of Suez, October 24th:

 

1527da_35eae294ad8c4ef79ec7335e135d0210~

 

IDF 162nd armored division (blue):

IDF 217th armored brigade (heavily 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:

 

1527da_019dd97a75da4abeab46df880c272292~

 

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 downsized paratroop battalions, the 564th 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 advance into the built-up area from the north, in order to rescue the isolated paratroopers, but takes a heavy Sagger salvo and halts. 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 Israeli 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'ach 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 paratroop 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 11th mechanized infantry brigade (54th and 128th mechanized infantry, 279th armored reconnaissance and 4th tank battalions) crosses the canal before dawn, heads south and joins the 252nd division. On its way south the 11th brigade is attached with the 52nd armored and 226th tank battalions. The 52nd battalion joins the 226th battalion on Jabal Gharra, near SAM sites 5518 and 5519, from where they engage Egyptian 2nd armored brigade (4th armored division) remnants positioned at the northern part of Objective Bologna and NW of it (north of SAM site 5317). The remaining 11th brigade forces sweep through the area in between Jabal Ganifa and Jabal Gharra and eventually reach the 101 km milestone on the Suez - Cairo road.

IDF 401st armored brigade is tasked with clearing 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-34/85s). The 401st brigade HQ enters Port Al-Adabiya along with the 183rd armored battalion and meets there IDF 179th armored brigade forces. 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. The 179th armored brigade heads back north, later followed by the 183rd armored battalion.

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 brigades decimate the Egyptian forces trapped between Agrud and the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road. The 179th armored brigade and TF Moreno (106th armored battalion XO's force) advance west from Agrud, while the 106th armored battalion and TF Yaron hold the 101 km milestone and repel armored assaults from both the east and the west (east and SE of Jabal Uwaybid). TF Moreno rejoins the 106th armored battalion at the 101 km milestone.

In addition to Egyptian 4th armored and 6th mechanized infantry division remnants, the Arab forces attacking the Israeli 164th armored brigade from the west include the Algerian expeditionary force - an armored brigade equipped with T-55s.

At night, IDF 183rd armored battalion heads west on the Suez - Cairo road to rejoin the 164th armored brigade. It surpasses the 101 km milestone by mistake, takes enemy tank fire from Objective Zanzibar (SE of Jabal Uwaybid) and retreats back east to the 101 km milestone.

The Egyptian 3rd field army forward HQ, which is near SAM site 4927, is cleared by IDF paratroopers, who capture there over 500 POWs. However, most officers had already fled and the documents and radio tapes were all burnt.

 

IDF heliborne SOF (Sayeret Matkal, aka Unit 269) destroy the Egyptian intelligence post on Jabal Ataqa and consolidate positions there. Jabal Ataqa provided the Egyptian intelligence with LOS observation as far as the western ends of the Mitla and Al-Jidi mountain passes.

 

Meanwhile in the 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 paratroop battalion elements of TF Ayalon. Other than that, the Egyptian 7th and 19th infantry division forces hold the same positions as on the previous day.

Edited by Iarmor
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Ceasefire lines, October 24th:

 

1527da_af192c00cb594ea7adf9caa27893908c~

 

Israeli army:

 

TF Nammer holds the frontline from Budapest stronghold (the only Bar-Lev frontline stronghold left standing) on the northern coast of the Sinai peninsula to Objective Hamadiya, including Maror and Havragah second-line posts and the eastern dune of Objective Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan). Its HQ is at Baluza.

143rd armored division is spread over two continents, in positions facing both north and west. It holds the frontline at the southern half of Objective Missouri in the Sinai, north of the Chinese Farm, and at the northern half of the area occupied in Africa, south of Ismailia and north of Jabal Umm Kathib. It is responsible for the Israeli bridge area, around Matzmed stronghold - Deversoir.

162nd armored division holds the western bank of the southern canal sector between Fanara and Suez, besieging Suez and the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai from the west.

252nd armored division holds the frontline in Africa west of the 162nd armored division, between Jabal Umm Kathib and Ras Mahagara (including the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road and Jabal Ataqa).

440th armored division holds the frontline in the southern canal sector in Sinai, between the Bitter Lakes and Uyun Musa (including Mitzvah and Notzah second-line posts and the Egrofit observation post of Ras Misalla), besieging the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai from the east.

Southern Command forward HQ is on Jabal Umm Khashiba, alongside communication, surveillance, radar and EW facilities.

 

Total: 570 MBTs, 17 artillery battalions + 6 batteries.

 

 

Egyptian and allied Arab armies:

 

Northern sector:

135th infantry brigade holds the frontline in the At-Tina plain - Sabkhat Al-Mallaha area in northern Sinai, from Port Fuad to At-Tina.

 

2nd field army:

18th infantry division holds the frontline in the Sinai around Al-Qantara.

2nd infantry division holds the frontline in the Sinai east of Al-Firdan Bridge. It controls an Artillery Road segment east of Ash-Shajara (ex-IDF Nozel second-line post).

16th infantry division holds the frontline in the Sinai SE of Ismailia, facing both east and south. It holds Abu Waqfa (the western dune of Objective Hamutal), Kathib Al-Khayl and Kathib Abu Tarabush (the last two form Objective Makhshir together) and controls the nearby Artillery Road segment.

10th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 3rd mechanized infantry division) is east of As-Salakhiya airbase, west of the canal.

23rd mechanized infantry division (with just its 118th mechanized infantry brigade), 150th paratroop brigade and 131st commando regiment hold the frontline in Africa at the Ismailia - Abu Suwayr airbase area, along the Freshwater Canal.

3rd mechanized infantry division, 116th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 23rd mechanized infantry division) and 35th independent armored brigade (mistakenly marked as 33rd) hold the frontline in Africa at the Aida Plains - Ridan Al-Hama area.

 

3rd field army:

7th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai between the Little Bitter Lake and Ash-Shalufa. It controls an Artillery Road segment at Objective Merukaz. 130th marine and 25th independent armored brigade remnants hold the ex-IDF Botzer stronghold, facing the Israeli-held Kibrit Peninsula.

19th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai south of Ash-Shalufa, north of Uyun Musa. It controls an Artillery Road segment at Qarrat Al-Murra (Objective Polygon).

2nd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division) holds the frontline in Africa around Objective Bologna.

6th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 4th armored division) holds the frontline in Africa around Objective Tango, on Asor road and the Cairo - Suez railway.

3rd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division) and an Algerian armored brigade (unmarked on the map) hold the frontline in Africa around Objective Zanzibar (SE of Jabal Uwaybid), on the Cairo - Suez road.

113th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division) remnants are south of the Cairo - Suez road, north of Jabal Abu Turyfiya.

 

Total: 1000 MBTs (510 east and 470 west of the canal, including the Red Sea theater), 160 artillery batteries east and 50 batteries west of the canal.

 

Both the 7th and 19th infantry divisions, as well as the force in Botzer, are encircled by the IDF. More and more of the encircled Egyptian troops try to swim across the canal from east to west, evading Egyptian gunfire, in order to become POWs and get some water. They claim that in one division the allowed water consumption is one canteen cork per day, while in the other it is a whole canteen per day. As of October 28th, Israel allows UN convoys (green) to supply the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai, in exchange for the Egyptians (unofficially, for now) lifting the blockade on the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab (off the map).

 

  

MBT fleet diagram - Suez Canal theater:

 

1527da_b29fa8732a1c4394bb508dd9d4ed3532~

 

Sinai (upper diagram):

October 6th: IDF 290.

October 10th: IDF 650, Egypt 700-750.

October 14th: IDF 700, Egypt 1000 (in the morning, down to 800 by the evening).

October 18th: IDF 280, Egypt 500-550.

October 22th: IDF 270, Egypt 500.

October 24th: IDF 180, Egypt 500.

 

Egypt (lower diagram):

October 6th: Egypt 1200 (additional 450 are in the second operational echelon. Total fleet is 2200).

October 10th: Egypt 450.

October 14th: Egypt 200.

October 18th: IDF 280, Egypt 350 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo).

October 22th: IDF 360, Egypt 300 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo).

October 24th: IDF 390, Egypt 260 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo, including 100 Algerian and 100 Libyan).

 

 

Expeditionary forces from several Arab countries are deployed to Egypt in order to support the war effort. Most of the ground elements have reached the Suez Canal theater only in the last days of the war and afterwards. They include the Libyan 9th armored brigade (T-55s, M109s), an Algerian armored brigade (T-55s), a Moroccan infantry brigade, a Sudanese infantry brigade and a Tunisian infantry battalion. The sole exception is the Kuwaiti Al-Yarmouk infantry battalion, which was deployed to the Suez Canal theater (around Fanara) before the war.

Other than the Kuwaiti battalion, which saw combat since October 20th, 3 Libyan M109s were found deserted near the Chinese Farm on October 23rd and the Algerian brigade went into battle on October 24th. The Moroccan brigade participates only in post-ceasefire skirmishes.

The Egyptian army is busy with reviving its armored and mechanized infantry divisions, using the hundreds of tanks supplied by the Soviets and other allies.

After a series of intense arguments, the Egyptian president Anwar As-Sadat secretly dismisses the Egyptian Chief of General Staff Sa'ad Ad-Din Ash-Shazli sometime between October 19th (as As-Sadat claims) and December 13th (as Ash-Shazli claims), replacing him with Muhammad Abd Al-Ghani Al-Gammasi. The clashes between As-Sadat and Ash-Shazli started when the president ordered the October 14th offensive, which was strongly opposed by the Egyptian generals, and intensified as the Egyptians watched their 3rd field army being encircled by the IDF.

 

On the Israeli side, a few days after the ceasefire, the 179th armored brigade leaves Egypt and its HQ returns to the northern Israel, while the 96th armored battalion is detached from it and becomes the first IDF T-62 battalion. The 179th is the only IDF brigade that fought against all 4 main opponents: the Syrian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian armies (and even the Egyptian navy). More significant deployment changes take place in November:

The 146th armored division leaves the Golan Heights and deploys to the Chinese Farm - Objective Hamutal area in the Sinai on November 6th. Under its command are the 205th (Shot Meteor) and 274th armored brigades and the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion. Later in November the 274th brigade is attached with the 88th amphibious armored reconnaissance battalion, which crosses the canal back to the Sinai and unites with its organic brigade not before a short period of Fanara-based amphibious activity in the Greater Bitter Lake.

The 162nd armored division redeploys back to Sinai, this time to the southern canal sector, alongside the 440th armored division. They prepare to wipe out the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army forces if the order comes. The planned operation is named Abirey Lev 2.

The 143rd armored division is assembled into Africa as the 600th armored brigade crosses the Suez Canal, after handing over its positions in the Chinese Farm area to the 205th armored brigade of the 146th armored division. The 143rd division is also attached with the 288th armored reconnaissance battalion (Shot Cal) of the 146th division, as well as with the 16th infantry brigade, which had spent the war along the Jordanian border (except for its 68th infantry battalion, which had lost two companies at the Bar-Lev Line strongholds in the beginning of the war).

The 252nd armored division is reinforced with the 204th mechanized infantry brigade (originally part of the 252nd, but spent the war under TF Nammer) and with the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion.

TF Nammer is attached with the 670th mechanized infantry brigade of the 146th division. The 670th brigade gets back its 268th tank battalion (Sherman), which had spent the war near the Jordanian border while the 670th fought on the Golan.

TF Sela leaves the Baluza area, crosses the Suez Canal and takes over the 162nd armored division positions on the western bank of the southern canal sector, besieging Suez city. Under its command are the 5th and 9100th infantry brigades, as well as several smaller TFs.

Ex-US army M60s (slick), supplied to Israel under Operation Nickel Grass, are pressed into service with some battalions of the 14th, 401st and 600th armored brigades, where they serve alongside battalions equipped with the surviving M48A3s (14th and 401st brigades) and M60A1s (600th brigade). The 9th, 257th, 407th armored and 87th reconnaissance battalions are revived, but the 87th is equipped with jeep-mounted TOW launchers instead of tanks. The first combat use of TOW missiles in the Egyptian theater took place on October 26th, when two missiles missed an Egyptian tank, two days after the first use in the Golan. M494 APERS rounds, aka Flechette, are supplied and pressed into service as well, as a part of the answer to the massive Egyptian use of ATGM-equipped infantry. 

Fresh war booty is also pressed into IDF service. Under the 252nd armored division, near Ataqa, the 265th armored brigade is established with two new T-55 battalions and with the 225th armored battalion (originally from the 274th armored brigade), which crosses the canal to join its new brigade. Another new T-55 battalion, the 453rd, is established near Baluza. Since it's much lighter, the T-55 deals the saline clay soil of the salt marshes in the northern sector somewhat better than the western designs. The 453rd tank battalion will later be attached to the 5th infantry brigade, completing its mechanization (the 5th brigade had received halftracks before the war, but no tanks yet). Additional T-54/55/62s formations are established under the Central Command (including the 96th armored battalion mentioned above), to face Jordanian M48s and Centurions in future conflicts. AT-3 Sagger missiles are also pressed into service with IDF paratroopers (some are mounted on jeeps, in addition to the captured BRDM-2 and portable 'suitcase' launchers) and used in combat against the Egyptians.

IDF 626th crossing regiment is formed of the 605th, 630th and 634th crossing battalions. The Uniflote pontoon, Cylinder and Austerity bridges are named Barukh, Johnny and Yehuda respectively, after combat engineer officers that were killed at the bridgehead area between October 18th and 22nd. On December 1973, a 22-meter-wide solid-earth causeway embankment is established by IDF 572nd heavy machinery battalion, solidly connecting Asia and Africa once again. Preparations are made to bridge the southern Suez Canal sector from west to east (towards the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army), as well as the Freshwater Canal from south to north (towards the western outskirts of Ismailia), but the orders never come.

General Israel Tal, the IDF deputy Chief of General Staff, officially replaces Gonen as the Southern Command CG on November 22nd. The embittered Gonen is assigned to command Merchav Shlomo (the southern Sinai region). Bar-Lev and Gavish return to their civilian life.

The first Israeli attempt to send oil tankers again to the Gulf of Suez fails on October 26th, as the oil tanker 'Siris' is hit by a naval mine in the Strait of Jubal and sinks. However, the Israelis overcome the naval mines problem and the oil shipping to the Port of Eilat recommences.

 

Skirmishes occur until a disengagement agreement is signed on January 18th 1974, following negotiations lead by General (res.) Aharon Yariv and Field Marshal Al-Gammasi at the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road, mediated by UNEF II CO LG Ensio Siilasvuo. The last Israeli force is withdrawn from the Suez Canal by March 1974, whereas about 90% of the Egyptian troops are withdrawn from the Sinai. As the Egyptian naval blockade on the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab is officially lifted, the two Israeli navy Sa'ar 4-class missile boats set sail from Haifa on February 25th, encircle Africa and arrive in Sharm Ash-Sheikh on April 1st.

Since they are equipped with Centurions, that are considered better suited for the Golan terrain than the M48s/M60s, the 146th armored division troops (now including the 164th armored brigade) are deployed again to the Golan Heights in March 1974 for some more skirmishes with the Syrians, that would continue until June 1974.

Edited by Iarmor
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