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The Israeli AF in the Yom Kippur War

The Israeli AF in the Yom Kippur War Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2015 Title The Israeli AF in the Yom Kippur War
Author Ra'anan Weiss Publisher Isra Decals Publications
Published 2014 ISBN 9783935687997
Format 192 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $56.00


Here is a new and interesting title from author Ra'anan Weiss (IsraDecal) looking at the Yom Kippur War (October War). After Israel had dealt a decisive victory against the forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan during the 1967 War, the United States had continued to supply the Israeli Air Force (IAF) with Kurnass (F-4E), Ahit (A-4), and other airframe types to offset similar force build-ups in the Arab states by the Soviet Union. By 1973, Israel knew another war was coming, but didn't recognize the extent of battle planning between the forces of Egypt and Syria.

On the first day of Yom Kippur, 6 October 1973, at 13:50 hours, Arab forces launched their attacks. While Syria began moving its massive tank force down into the Golan Heights opening a northern front for the Israeli Defense Forces, Egyptian engineers created bridges across the Suez Canal to move its own forces to assault Israel on its southern front. The IAF was launched into defensive actions to blunt the initial assaults of the combined air forces of Egypt and Syria.

As the initial hours of the war unfolded, the forces of Syria were numerous but were relatively manageable. The big surprise was came from Egypt who employed man-portable anti-tank missiles to decimate the Israeli armor that rushed into the Sinai with inadequate infantry support, and as the IAF moved in to counter the Egyptian assault, they were confronted by Soviet-made integrated air defenses that included the deadly SA-6 and ZSU-23-4 Shilka.

This title provides a day-by-day look at the IAF during the war. The author spent seven years compiling an impressive database of photos, events, and information. The title starts with the events that followed the 1967 War and leading into Yom Kippur 1973. There is a very interesting look at each IAF base, which squadrons were assigned to each base, and what aircraft types were operated by each squadron. Coverage of the war starts with October 6th and is broken down day by day through the end of the war on October 24th. For example, by October 8th the IAF had lost 38 aircraft and the while the Syrians had lost 20 aircraft and the Egyptians had lost 80 by this point, the Arab states had more than enough combat aircraft to compensate and a steady stream of supplies coming courtesy of Moscow.

While I've gathered a number of titles covering IAF and Israeli Army operations, this is one of the first I've seen that provides detailed information on the operations, kills and losses (by tail number) during this conflict. There are over 800 color and black & white images as well as over 25 color profiles illustrating this title with some interesting looks at a variety of aircraft and weapons loadouts.

If you're a follower of the exploits and accomplishments of the Israeli Air Force, this is one title you won't want to miss. This title is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Wingman Models for this review sample!