Yom Kippur, No Peace, No War, October 1973...

 

...a new Cold War series title from Pen and Sword

 

Title: Yom Kippur, No Peace, No War, October 1973

Author: Peter Baxter

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52670-790-1

Another title from Pen and Sword in their Cold War 1945-1991 series of histories.  It's hard to realise that this all happened 44 years ago now, and I remember it happening.  The book tackles the background of the situation following the earlier 6-day war of 1967.  Tied up with it all is the series of complex relationships between the various nations of the Middle East, and in turn their relationships with the Super Powers, the politics of oil and the post-WW2 establishment of the Jewish homeland that is Israel.

In October 1973 Egypt, along with Syria, planned a new attack on Israel, which since the 6-Day War now occupied a much larger area, including the Sinai peninsular.  This new war took Israel by surprise, indicating a failure in their intelligence gathering which was unusual and which in turn was to have fallout in their internal politics.  One physical obstacle the Egyptian forces had to overcome was a 20m high sand rampart along the length of the East bank of the Suez Canal.  They defeated it by using high pressure hoses using the water from the canal to 'hose' gaps which their tanks could then advance through.  In the North of Israel,  in the Golan Heights, it was the Syrian army which attacked.

The chapters give a good guide to how these various complications and the story of the war is explained.  There are 11 chapters, The Holy Land: No Peace, No War: Fortress Israel: The Egyptian Strategy: The New Arab Armies: The Totality of the Tank: War: The Politics of War and the War of Politics: The Turning of the Tide: Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat: and finally War, The Instrument of Politics.  Well illustrated throughout the book with archive photos, including a section of colour ones, it does illustrate the importance of both air power and that of the Tank.  I wonder if you asked armour historians/enthusiasts to name significant tank battles since WW2, how many would name the Battle for Chinese Farm?

After their initial losses, the Israeli forces defeated both the Syrian and Egyptian attacks, but it meant relatively heavy casualties for a small nation such as Israel.  In the end, the Sinai was returned to Egypt and diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt went on to an official level.  The troubles between nations in the Middle East continue, but the effects of the Yom Kipur War were a significant milestone in the history of the region and this explains all the complex issues very well I felt.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin