a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Yom Kippur War

Years: 1973-1973
Battle deaths: 6,450 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Israel, Egypt, Syria

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-03-04 14:15:37
President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt died in September 1970. He was succeeded by Anwar Sadat, who resolved to fight Israel and win back the territory lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. The plan to attack Israel in concert with Syria was code-named Operation Badr (the Arabic word for "full moon").

Egypt and Syria attempted to regain the territory Israeli forces gained during the 1967 war. Their armies launched a surprise joint attack (though recent evidence suggests that some key figures in Israel were aware of it ahead of time) on October 6, 1973, well aware that it was Yom Kippur, the most significant Jewish holiday. Syrian forces attacked fortifications in the Golan Heights and Egyptian forces attacked fortifications around the Suez Canal and on the Sinai Peninsula. After three weeks of fighting, the IDF was able to hold off the advancing Arab armies and eventually push them back beyond the original lines.

According to Israeli accounts, 2,688 Israeli servicemen were killed in the war and several thousand more were wounded. 314 Israeli soldiers surrendered or were taken prisoner by the Arab forces (242 by Egypt, 68 by Syria and 4 in Lebanon). 8,783 Arab soldiers either surrendered or were captured by the Israelis (8,372 Egyptians, 392 Syrians, 13 Iraqis and 6 Moroccans). All POWs had been exchanged by mid-1974.

It is estimated that a total of around 19,000 Egyptians, Syrians, Iraqis were also killed in this conflict. The Egyptian and Syrian air forces together with their air defences shot down 114 Israeli warplanes during the conflict for the loss of an estimated 442 of their own, including dozens which were accidentally shot down by their own surface-to-air missile batteries. During the war, the Barak Armored Brigade played an important role defending Israel’s borders against the Syrian attack in the southern Golan Heights. 112 soldiers were killed in action there.

Despite the fact that on October 22 a cease-fire was declared, fighting continued until October 25, by which time the Egyptian Third Field Army had been completely encircled. This event prompted the Soviet Union to threaten direct intervention, which provoked the Nixon Administration to issue a stern diplomatic warning and raise the Defense Condition (DEFCON) -- an action not taken since the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis. No further diplomatic or military action was pursued due to complete cessation of hostilities on both sides by October 26.

Although by the numbers, Israeli losses were considerably less than the Arabs’, Israeli public confidence had been severely shaken. Israel had been unprepared for the surprise attack. The nation’s lack of preparation was blamed on the Defence Minister Moshe Dayan and an outraged public demanded his resignation. The president of the Supreme Court set up a commission to investigate the performance of generals during the war. The commission recommended the resignation of the Chief of Staff, but reserved judgement on Dayan. In 1974 Dayan submitted his resignation to Golda Meir.

As a result of the Yom Kippur War, an international agency known as the Multi-National Force and Observers were established to monitor the ceasefire between Egypt and Israel and to patrol the border between the two nations. A special military decoration, the Multi-National Force and Observers Medal, was established for service members who performed border and security patrols along the Egyptian-Israeli border.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved [dat]


Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset v3.0 (link) #104

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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