Israel’s Blitzkrieg in the Desert
This paper is a summary of the military history of the 1967 Middle East War. Topics covered include: The causes leading to the outbreak of hostilities, the three fronts of conflict, and a brief discussion of the aftermath. There is also a close look at individual battles.
To the southwest, the fortress of Jerardi was the main defense around Rahfa. The fortress itself contained thirty bunkered tanks and several thousand troops. The Egyptian 7th division defended the whole of Rahfa, supported by a substantial amount of artillery. Following a thirty-minute air strike, Israeli armor charged the fortification. Immediately, the lead tank struck a mine and exploded into flames. Immediately, the Israeli columns decided to flank the positions, and infantry in half-tracks followed close behind. The attack quickly bogged down in the dunes, but not before the Israeli Patton tanks succeeded in knocking out all of the six battalions of Arab artillery. As a result, Jerardi fell to the Israeli’s, fifty of whom lay dead (Marshall, 1967 pg. 45). However, once a lead IDF tank force reached El Arish, the Egyptians closed their scattered forces around the highway and retook Jerardi, which the IDF had no garrisoned. The result was 10 hours of close combat with submachine guns and grenades. Once the fighting had ended, the division spent until dawn Tuesday regrouping.