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Subject: Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Your Thoughts
S-2    9/24/2005 6:39:33 AM
I've just posted this on the Israel board in reply to a related question, but feel moved to throw it over here amidst all of you tankers. "RE:Kippur-Golan Battles of 7th Armored Bde. 9/24/2005 6:27:27 AM I can't remember the title nor the author, but it was an excellent book (trust me)detailing the fight on the Golan between two Israeli brigades, subsequent reinforcements as they were fed into the battle by the IDF Golan Command, and the best part of three-four Syrian tank divisions, while dealing with Syrian commandos throughout the brigades rear. To this day, the singularly most impressive tank battle that I've ever read. Nothing at Medina Ridge or 73Easting, nor Kursk, nor any other eastern front fight comes to mind for sheer chaos, intensity, close range violence, and courage. All that Prokharovka at Kursk was supposed to be, this fight actually was-in spades. Israel's shining moment, by far." So much of modern combat in a high intensity environment trace their origins to, or were again reinforced by these battles (and the Sinai)in Oct. 1973. Crew survivability in vehicles, conduct of combined arms, ATGWs, psych studies on battle stress in high intensity environments, casualty management and evacuation... the list is endless, actually. Most of our battle force by 1985 was designed to fight, survive, and win in this very environment.
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gf0012-aust    Rabinovich   11/8/2005 2:02:23 AM
the book is actually: "The Yom Kippur War - The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East" ISBN 0-8052-4176-0
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S-2    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Your Thoughts/Brittle Steel Reply   11/9/2005 12:26:31 PM
I can only imagine the reverence with which that battle is spoken of by Israeli veterans then, and young tankers now. I presume that the lore of that series of battles is a common requirement to young Israeli tankers of today. In my mind, as I'm sure I've stated, the greatest of all tank battles. Bar none.
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BrittleSteel    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Your Thoughts/Brittle Steel Reply   11/10/2005 12:55:58 AM
Yes, every in every battalion is well educated in the stories of their involvment in wars. I learnt all about the war even the names from Brigade commanders to first sergents. The stories of the Yom kippur war are a source of pride, honor, and pain.
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S-2    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Horsesoldier Reply   11/10/2005 2:30:03 AM
"The troops that fought on the Golan in 1973 were brave, adaptive, and resourceful, but they also benefitted immeasurably from the incompetence of their enemies. That incompetence helped them survive serious doctrinal and organizational flaws of the IDF at the time. Had the Syrians been anything but a junior varsity team the results would have likely been much different." I think that, in part, you may have misunderstood me. I agree with you completely that IDF forces on the Golan, and the Sinai, suffered from a neglect of adequate artillery and infantry integrated into their formations. They had, for a variety of rationales, neglected the proven, time-honored principle of combined arms combat in the offense and the defense. Their forces were clearly unbalanced, and paid for it repeatedly in the early phases of the battle. This was perhaps the single most significant lesson "re-learned", or otherwise, from these battles. I've no argument with the tactical acumen of the Syrian tankers, given their limited alternatives available in a phone-booth slugfest. The initial battlefield offered little room for Syrian manuever. The Syrian high command showed extreme clumsiness, however, in failing to exploit initial successes that could have led them off the heights, and into the Jordan River valley. This failure is inexplicable, given the strategic implications to Israeli defense that an aggressive advance would have posed. Further, while second rate in equipment and training, Syrian soldiers fought with determination and great bravery in the killing zones. None of my readings have offered any hints of panic and cowardice by Syrian troops faced with the full fury of Israeli tankers fighting for their lives.
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BrittleSteel    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Horsesoldier Reply   11/10/2005 9:16:25 AM
s-2: You are mistaken, as other in this thread have stated, about the syrian arms. They er well equipped with the most up to date soviet weaponry. THey had the latest t-62 with night sitghts, new SAM-6's, Sagger missiles (which the world had not yet seen), and new soveit combat air craft.
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S-2    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Horsesoldier Reply   11/10/2005 9:51:24 AM
The export versions of much of the Soviet aircraft weren't to the same standard as their own. Further, while I don't disagree about the revelation of saggers, ZSU 23-4, or SA-3/6&7, virtually all their artillery was towed, and most of their other weaponry pedestrian. Their latest T-62s, night-sighted or not, were staggered by your own 105mm L7/M68 cannons because of their poor internal design and defect-riddled armor. Their 115mm smoothbore had kills, to be sure. But if that was the Soviet's best, it clearly wasn't good enough. You held the battlefield at the end. Your crews were better, and so were your tanks. Nor were their Soviet-styled battle drills up to the task, when it gets right down to it. Given the confined battle space of the northern and southern Golan, this was very much a set-piece engagement, which should have been a perfect scenario for the "classic tank division in the assault" nightmare of every then-NATO commander. Instead, even aided by the incoherance of the Israeli force structure, operational/tactical surprise, and overwhelming numbers of quite brave, committed Syrian soldiers, this perfectly tailored force, well schooled in the latest Soviet doctrine, and equipped with their "finest", if I understand correctly, fell flat on its face. One hell of a long sentence, but I guess that sums my thoughts.
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Carl S    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Syrian Leadership   11/10/2005 10:28:09 PM
"The Syrian high command showed extreme clumsiness, however, in failing to exploit initial successes that could have led them off the heights, and into the Jordan River valley. This failure is inexplicable, " A year or two ago I ran across some remarks that might give a hint. The comentator (a British citizen) was in Sryria then. He claims to have observed the Syrian corps and army commanders had set their HQ so far back from the battle that they were literally in the Damascus suburbs. He watched these Generals sitting in their rather comfortable command posts listening calmly to the reports "as they sipped iced coffes" while their divsions were shot to pieces.
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BrittleSteel    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Syrian Leadership   11/10/2005 11:27:39 PM
Israel's opposing tank force was not on the same modernity as the Syrians with their soviet t-62. Israel had centurion tanks and israeli-upgraded shermans. Israel di have a few Pattons but they were all in the south facing egypt. Also i don't know what you mean by defect riddled armour with regards to the T-62. Soviet steel is amazing, so much so the all the t-55 and t-62 that israel had capture had been put right into the israel tank corp. The only advantage the enturion had over the t-62 was that the cannon could be depressed more than the soviet tank. The steel on the t-55 is so good that though it is now on longer uses as a tank its chasis has been kept by the IDf and turned into rock hard APC called the 'achzarit' I'll send you a photo if you'd like. So artillary was towed, so what? The amount of artillery the Syrians had and have today is staggering, and they are firing form thier main land into the ocnfined area of the golan hieghts.
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S-2    RE:Golan Heights, Oct. 1973- Brittle Steel Reply   11/11/2005 1:49:22 AM
It sounds like I'm wrong about the armor, but I plead innocence. It was that daft anti-"T-62 tank terror" propaganda that I was drilled with at Threat briefings in the late seventies. Also, it seems like you would prefer a T-62 to a Centurion had you been there. I defer to a tanker. Have you read the threads of others and mine? I'm certain that I said that the initial barrage of the Syrians was quite large, and effective. I also said that it wasn't particularly agile later in the battle. Neither did they shift fires effectively nor did they redeploy effectively. Moreover, their towed systems were poorly protected and consequently heavily degraded by counterfire and IAF strikes, particularly during the Israeli counter offensive towards Damascus. Checked out your "Achzarit". Interesting vehicle. Not certain just what I think. Very low profile, and very heavy with seventeen tons of upgraded armor added after turret removal (44 ton total). Still, the Mk. II seems agile enough at 20hp/T. Seems modestly armed with a single remote 7.62mm when fully buttoned. Three other pintle mounts available otherwise. Looks good for transporting troops through harms way. They ought to convert some into ambulances and resupply.
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Worcester    RE:Centurions ate T-62s   11/11/2005 5:56:19 PM
S2: "Also, it seems like you would prefer a T-62 to a Centurion had you been there." Aside from the desperate courage of the IDF, if we need one single factor for success, it was the Centurion tanks; the exchange/kill ratios (especially range adjusted) and dozens of anecdotal stories from tank crews point to the Centurions devastating advantages in both main gun power/accuracy and armor. IDF stories of T-62 shells ricocheting off Centurion plate while individual creews killed 7, 8, 10, 11 Syrian tanks at long ranges are well-founded. After all, the Brits designed the Centurion to do EXACTLY that - to sit overlooking a river on the north German Plain and destroy Soviet armor at extreme range, time after time after time. And that is WHY the IDF purchased Centurion in preference to anything else. And that is WHy the British 105mm L7 gun was adopted by ALL NATO armies for all tanks - German, US, whatever. In fact the later marks of Centurion were substantially developed precisely because of Israeli experience both after 1967 and 1973 to keep the advantage over the Soviet equipment. Which explains why the British were the first (in NATO) to upgrade to the 120mm gun, gyroscope stabilized gun platform, laser range finder and lead computer in the Chieftain of which six were being tested by the IDF in combat in 1973 in the Sinai. They were found so powerful that the IDF occasionally used them as medium artillery. The long established IDF/Centurion legacy won 1967 and 1973.
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