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from IDF Blog | The Official Blog of the Israel Defense Forces.
During the second week of the Yom Kippur War, the IDF stops the Egyptian advance, but this is not enough. To put a decisive end to the battle, the IDF must cross the Suez Canal and enter Africa.
Battle on the Suez Canal
On October 14, 1973, the Egyptian military launches its second major attack on IDF forces. As hundreds of Egyptian tanks and artillery fire on Israeli forces, three IDF brigades successfully contain the attack. The IDF’s victories are decisive and represent a turnaround in the battle on the southern front. The superiority of the IDF tanks becomes clear, and the breakdown of the Egyptian offensive enables Israel to reach the crossing of the Suez Canal.
The IDF crosses the canal between the second and third Egyptian armies – just north of Great Bitter Lake near one of Egypt’s weakest positions. Because the northern and southern parts of the Sinai are now secured, no Egyptian offensive can reach these areas.
Rushing towards the canal and helped by a diversion attack, IDF forces manage to reach the crossing point but are soon discovered. In order to secure the crossing area – known as the ‘Chinese farms’ – the IDF engages with Egyptian troops in a brutal battle. In the first night of combat with Egyptian forces, more than one hundred Israeli soldiers are killed.
Meanwhile, IDF paratroopers cross the canal on rubber boats in an effort to secure the bridgehead. IDF troops have trouble transporting the main bridge that they will need to cross the canal. IDF forces enter the African continent and destroy three Egyptian anti-aircraft missile units, clearing the skies for an attack by the Israel Air Force.
The Egyptian forces are taken completely by surprise. They try to attack the bridgehead on the Israeli side, but their efforts are in vain. While attempting to carry out this strike, the 25th Brigade of the Third Egyptian Army is totally eliminated. After three days of intense battle, the IDF finally secures the Chinese farms, and Israeli forces invade Egyptian territory behind the enemy lines. Two IDF divisions advance southward to the Egytian town of Suez, while another moves toward Ismaila from the north and the east.
Meanwhile, the superior force of the Israeli Navy destroys tens of Egyptian ships in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Suez. The IDF’s successful ground operation allows the IAF to enter Egyptian airspace. As the IDF prepares to encircle the Egyptian Third Army, it is approaching victory on the southern front.
Advancing into Syria
In the Golan Heights, the IDF forces are deep inside Syria. The IAF operates intensively over the Syrian skies. The air force attacks the Syrian military’s headquarters in Damascus and destroys Syrian airports near the capital. Confrontations between Israeli and Syrian planes are not uncommon in the air.
The IDF attacks ground forces sent to Syria by the Jordanian and Iraqi militaries. Because the foreign tanks are equipped with night vision systems, unlike the Israeli tanks, they stop the IDF’s advance but do not regain any territory.
As the IDF approaches Damascus and Cairo, Israel is advancing toward victory. The IDF has struck hard at enemy forces and has delivered a clear message: the IDF is a formidable fighting force, and its territories can not be threatened.