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January 13 , 2008

Soldier in the Sinai

A General's Account of the Yom Kippur War


In surprise attacks on Israel in October 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights, igniting what became known as the Yom Kippur War. In the north, Israel succeeded in blocking the Syrian advance, but in the south, it failed to achieve an operational decision in the defense campaign. In Soldier in the Sinai, mobile and armored warfare expert Major General Emanuel Sakal analyzes the operational and strategic decisions made by Israel's political and military leadership and assesses the causes of the defense's first-phase failure.

Prior to the conflict, the government approved the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) strategy, dubbed "the regulars will hold." This plan assumed that the IDF regulars on the front lines, supported by the Israeli Air Force, would effectively counter the Arab attack even if deterrence failed. Employing operations research, simulation, and computerized war games, Sakal examines the virtual results of an alternative approach by the Israeli military and explains how ineffective air support, an inadequate tank strategy, and a delay in mobilizing its reserves crippled the country's air force.

An intriguing and detailed evaluation of Israel's flawed defense, Soldier in the Sinai offers a firsthand account of military strategy from a general who commanded a regular tank battalion that fought in the most desperate battles of the conflict. Based on extensive research, including interviews with the principal officers involved, this book provides a meticulous critique of the faulty assumptions and lack of planning that contributed to the disastrous early battles of the Yom Kippur War.

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