Soldier in the Sinai
A General's Account of the Yom Kippur War
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
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.
"This is the book that every serious student of the Arab-Israeli Wars and the IDF has been waiting for. There is nothing like this book in print in English. As a battalion commander in the war, General Sakal has unique personal insight, but his analysis is nonetheless precise, balanced, and unflinching." -- Major General David T. Zabecki, USA (Ret.)
""A fascinating study that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the 1973 Yom Kippur/Ramadan War. Based on extensive interviews, the author has provided a detailed critique of the faulty assumptions and lack of planning that contributed to the disastrous early battles in the Sinai in October 1973." -- Jonathan M. House, author of Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century" --
"Several English-language books and articles have described the Yom Kippur War, but none offers a more detailed account of the early phase of the Sinai campaign than Soldier in the Sinai. [...] Rich in operational and tactical detail and firsthand observations, the book is packed with insights and lessons for historians and military professionals." -- Michigan War Studies Review