>>>The war in the North and in the South
The war in the North and in the South 2018-02-19T22:11:58+00:00

The war in the North and in the South

The northern front – The war on the Golan Heights

On the northern front on the Golan Heights, along the length of the Syrian-Israeli border, three mechanized Syrian infantry divisions (consisting of 660 tanks) and 1200 artillery batteries opened fire. The Israeli military presence consisted of two infantry brigades in outposts under the command of the 820th Regional Brigade that was stationed at the Nafach Military Base, two tank divisions (the 7th Division in the Northern Golan and the 188th Division in the Southern Golan) and 44 artillery batteries. Unlike the Egyptians who concentrated on capturing the outposts on the front, the Syrians skipped over the outposts and turned their attention to territorial depth, except for the Israeli Hermon outpost. This had served as an important Israeli observation post for intelligence and for the air force, but it fell to a Syrian commando force when a small force was landed by four helicopters while the rest of the force came by foot from the Syrian Hermon.

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On October 7, the Syrian advance was blocked on the northern part (the Battle of the Valley of Tears), but the Syrians sent another armored division to the Kudna area and the forces penetrated the central area of the Golan (Chusniah and Nafach). In the Southern Golan, the Syrians advanced to the Jordan River crossings and reached beyond Katsvia on the slope of the Yehudia road (Route 87) and Moshav Nov, seven kilometers from the Sea of Galilee. However, that evening, two divisions joined the battle and the Syrian advance was blocked. The next day, October 8, three Israeli divisions carried out a coordinated attack and repelled the Syrian division. On October 9, the Eitan Division blocked a huge Syrian tank offense. On October 10, the expulsion of the Syrian forces from all the territories that they had captured since the start of the war, with the exception of the Hermon outpost, was completed. The Syrians lost 900 tanks.

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The Battle of the Valley of Tears

The Battle of the Valley of Tears was one of the most critical defensive battles waged against the Syrian army during the first days of the Yom Kippur War. Syrian armored forces and infantry tried to break through Israel’s front line in the northern sector of the Golan Heights. Battalion 77, under the command of Brigadier General (reserve) Avigdor Kahalani managed to hold back the Syrian forces. The assault failed and approximately 300 Syrian tanks were destroyed. The IDF lost 76 fighters. A memorial was built to commemorate the fallen soldiers.

On Tuesday, October 10, the decisive battle was waged in the Valley of Tears, which actually sealed the fate of the war on the Golan Heights. The Syrians amassed forces in an attempt to break through the Israeli line along the Hermon mountain range, north of Kuneitra. Under heavy artillery fire, a massive attack of Syrian tanks and half-tracks managed to close the distance between the sides and brought about a “tank to tank battle”, with a mere few hundred meters separating the sides. The Syrians were on the Valley of Tears road. The heavy artillery fire made it difficult for the IDF soldiers to see the area and identify the enemy. Under the command of the tank battalion commander, Avigdor Kahalanni, a few tanks, which fought courageously, enduring losses in life, the reorganization of tank teams, a lack of ammunition, a feeling of uncertainty and the omniscient presence of death, managed to reach the ramparts – from where it was possible to see the valley and to gain strategic control over the entire area.

It was a battle of turret opposite turret. Kahalani’s forces were determined as they advanced rapidly tp seize the ramparts. They got there minutes before the Syrian tanks and started to hit them from a very short distance. Meanwhile, reinforcements also reached the area and climbed, the Bostar range, which is south of the Valley of Tears and started to destroy Syrian tanks. The arrival of the fresh reinforcements surprised the Syrians and wiped out the last Syrian attack. The destruction of the enemy at the Valley of Tears was total.250 destroyed Syrian tanks were counted. The Battle of the Valley of Tears has entered the IDF history of warfare. This was one of the most significant battles which sealed the fate of the war on the Golan Heights.

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On that night, we walked together, the night after Yom Kippur. Dov and I, on our way to the meeting place. Together we were pushed towards the Rabbi.

It was almost midnight, at the blessing of the new moon celebrated by the Hasidim of Amshinov. The Hasids alluded to the Rabbi as a man of wonders and that his blessing is impressive. We moved closer to the Rabbi, and the Hasidim pushing us from side to side listening closely to every word.
The Rabbi took my hand in his and while embracing it, he looked at me and said, “Terror and dread falleth upon them; upon them and not upon you.”
We left and got on the bus, thinking that in a few more days we would return. For three terrible days I saw the Rabbi’s face before me and I heard his words, and each time that the fear came and threatened me, I saw his image when he said, “…upon them and not upon you. Upon them and not upon you.” And I felt calm. Until I heard: Dov was killed. From that moment on, I never again saw the image of the old man.

From the book Adjusting Sights   by Rabbi Haim Sabato

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Hamezah stronghold.

Hamezah stronghold: Do you know how bad off we are?
The Brigade: We know that you held off the enemy.
Hamezah stronghold: Negative. Lots of wounded and several dead. We need help at once.


Hamezah stronghold was the last one to hold out on the Suez Canal. It held out under an Egyptian attack for eight days, completely isolated without any means of connecting up with it. Of the 42 soldiers that fought at the stronghold from the start of the war, onward, (and the officers that joined the stronghold and the fighters), only 16 soldiers were left. The stronghold decided to surrender

One of the most important factors that led to the decision to surrender was the condition of the wounded soldiers. The soldiers in the stronghold fought valiantly even when many of them were wounded and the situation was bleak.

Despite the very difficult conditions, the Hamezah stronghold managed to maintain the orderly structure of a combat unit, to take care of the wounded soldiers and to maintain continual contact with the home front until the last soldier was taken prisoner.

WHO KNEW IT’D BE LIKE THIS

Lyrics and music: Uzi Hitman

It’s no dream

the day will still come

the day we waited for

two thousand years

the last war.



We’d leave our house

leave our friends

wear the olive-green uniform

and go to different days.



Who knew that it’d be like this

that in a few nights without Mom

you’ll change from a youth to be

young man thundering forth.



It’s no dream

the day will still come

the day we waited for

two thousand years

the last war.



Days without a house

days without friends

instead of grass just a thorn
bush
hills, valleys and mountains.



Who knew that it’d be like this

that in a few nights without Mom

you’d get a title like this

of: “After me and Forward!”



We’ll return to the house

we’ll return to the friends

we’ll take off the olive-green uniform
and
we’ll return to the days like the past.


Who’ll let it be so 

that in a few nights without a house

we’ll go to different days and see

a dove with an olive branch.

.The southern front – 14 strongholds

On the southern front, IDF soldiers were stationed on the shore of the Suez Canal – a water-filled canal whose width is from 180 -220 meters and whose water is from 16 -20 meters deep, preventing direct and easy access from one bank to the other. In 1968, Israel began to construct the Bar Lev line, a network of fortifications which consisted of two rows of outposts: strongholds along the water and “Taozim” to the rear. On the eve of the Yom Kippur War, these outposts were only partially manned – 14 of the 30 were manned with 500 Israeli soldiers. Along the length of the Suez Canal, Israel built sand embankments which reached a height of 25 meters, at an angle of 45◦ -60◦, which prevented the passage of vehicles. Israeli engineers estimated that it would take a long time for the Egyptians to break through those embankments, enough time to enable forces from the rear to arrive.

The Egyptians Attack

On the southern front
Two Egyptian armies were positioned on the southern front, opposite the Suez Canal. They consisted of approximately 1700 tanks and 2000 artillery batteries. 5000 Egyptian infantry divisions crossed the Canal and occupied a 3-4 kilometer strip on the eastern bank. The Egyptians used water cannons to break through the sand ramparts on the Israeli bank of the Suez Canal. The attack surprised the Israelis and so the Egyptians met little opposition from the IDF.

Reserve units join the fighting

The Sinai division of the IDF confronted the Egyptian forces. They had seven artillery batteries, one tank brigade (Brigade 14) that was stationed on the line of outposts and 457 soldiers in 20 outposts. 200 additional tanks from Division 252 were in the Sinai, however they were too far away to be of assistance. Only after reserve forces arrived, with considerable help from the Air Force, was the Egyptian army stopped at the battle of Wadi Mab’uk on October 14. The Egyptians lost 200 tanks in the battle while Israel lost 20 tanks. This Egyptian defeat gave Israel the green light to begin its counterattack.

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