The war fought between the forces of Egypt and Syria against Israel from Oct. 6 to Oct. 25, 1973 has many names, from the Yom Kippur War to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Ramadan War, or October War. Whatever name you prefer, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of conflict is on Oct. 6, 2013. To mark that anniversary the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, a study that examines the causes and consequences of the U.S. intelligence community’s failure to foresee the Yom Kippur War. The photos in the slideshow come from that study. The Yom Kippur War started with a surprise attack against Israel by forces of several Arab states, primarily lead by Egypt and Syria, with smaller forces contributed by Iraq and Jordan. Early gains were achieved, with Egypt and Syria seizing back some of the land they lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. Despite being outnumbered, Israel was able to rebound, mobilize, and counterattack. The Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights were the scenes of the heaviest fighting. When a ceasefire was signed on Oct. 25, Israel was only 25 miles from Damascus and 63 miles from Cairo. The Yom Kippur War was also something of a proxy war, as the U.S. provided military equipment to Israel, while Egypt and Syria relied on the support of the Soviet Union.
The Yom Kippur War: 40th Anniversary in Photos
Egyptian vehicles cross the Suez Canal on Oct. 7, 1973, during the early days of the Yom Kippur War. Egypt conducted Operation Badr, which resulted in the successful crossing of the Suez Canal. To do so they ingeniously used high pressure water cannons to blast holes in the Israeli defensive sand walls. CIA photo Egyptian SA-2 "Guideline" missiles on their transporters in the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War. The SA-2s were considered outdated by the Yom Kippur War, but the Egyptian air defenses of SA-3, SA-6, and SA-7 missiles, along with the older SA-2s, took a serious toll of Israeli aircraft, especially the A-4 Skyhawks. CIA photo Israeli armored vehicles prepare for an attack on the Sinai Peninsula. CIA photo Israeli tanks, including Sho'ts and an M50 "Super Sherman," move through the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War. The Sinai was the scene of intense fighting between Egypt and Israel during the conflict. CIA photo Israeli paratroopers advance in the Sinai Peninsula during the Yom Kippur War. CIA photo An Israeli Sho't, the modified Israeli version of the British Centurion tank, in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War. The Sho't became legendary during the Battle of the Valley of Tears, when less than 100 Sho'ts stopped the advance of around 500 Syrian tanks. CIA photo Israeli forces cross a bridge over the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. An Israeli attack on Oct. 15, 1973, crossed the canal. CIA photo An Israeli M60A1 Patton crosses the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. Israeli Pattons saw use against both Egypt and Syria, but were more heavily used on the Sinai Peninsula. CIA photo Israeli M60A1 Patton is directed across a bridge spanning the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. Using innovative tactics and advanced technology, Israeli forces achieved a remarkable military recovery stopping the Egyptian advance and encircling Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula. CIA photo An Israeli soldier examines a captured Egyptian SA-3 Goa missile site captured during the Yom Kippur War. The advanced Soviet-made SA-3s made up the backbone of the Egyptian air defense network. CIA photo Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and Defense Minister Mustapha Tlas visit Syrian soldiers along the Golan Heights front during the Yom Kippur War. Hafez, who is the father of current Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, joined with Egypt to launch the Yom Kippur War against Israel. CIA photo An Israeli Sho't on the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War. Israeli tank commanders suffered high casualties during the war due to their tendency to stand high in the turret in order to get a better view. CIA photo Destroyed Syrian tanks and APCs litter the Golan Heights along the Purple Line during the Yom Kippur War. The Purple Line was the ceasefire line between Syria and Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. After that conflict, Israel built antitank defenses, including the antitank ditch seen at right. CIA photo Israeli artillery pieces fire on Syrian positions during the Yom Kippur War, Oct. 12, 1973. The artillery appear to be M68 155 mm howitzers. The M68 entered service with the Israel Defense Forces just in time to participate in the conflict. CIA photo Israeli tanks occupy the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War. The Golan Heights, which had been captured by Israel during Six-Day War in 1967, was the scene of heavy fighting as the Syrians initially captured much of the southern Golan Heights before being pushed back by an Israeli counterattack. CIA photo Knocked out Syrian T-62 tanks during the Yom Kippur War. T-62s were capable opponents against Israeli M60A1 Pattons and Sho'ts, but suffered heavy losses. CIA photo Syria's Banyas oil terminal burns while under attack by Sa'ar 3-class missile boats during the Yom Kippur War. The destruction of the Egyptian and Syrian navies by the Israeli navy allowed Israeli missile boats to attack Syrian coastal oil facilities with impunity. CIA photo Israeli soldiers during the Yom Kippur War. The attack by Egypt and Syria caught the Israel Defense Forces by surprise, but Israel quickly rallied and counterattacked. Ironically, the fact that the surprise attack came on the Jewish holy day sped the call-up of Israeli reserves, since virtually all were home for the holiday. CIA photo An Israeli M1 Super Sherman during the Yom Kippur War. The M1 was a modified version of the famed M4 Sherman, in this case an M4A1 with cast hull, but apparently with a newer turret mounting what appears to be a 76mm gun. Obsolete tanks such as the Super Sherman were pressed into action due to the desperate nature of the fighting. Despite this, they held their own thanks to the use of high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) ammunition. CIA photo An Israeli soldier catches a rest on a tank tread during the Yom Kippur War. CIA photo A destroyed Israeli M60A1 Patton during the Yom Kippur War. The location of flammable hydraulic fluid in the front of the turret was discovered to be a severe vulnerability, and the Israelis as well as the U.S. switched to non-flammable hydraulic fluid and made other modifications as a result of lessons learned. Photo courtesy of the CIA An Israeli F-4 Phantom screams low over the desert during the Yom Kippur War. Israeli Phantom were vulnerable to advanced air defenses during the war, with 37 lost by the middle of October. Israel received an emergency resupply of 36 U.S. Air Force Phantoms during Operation Nickel Grass. CIA photo A Soviet Union-made T-55 tank during the Yom Kippur War. Syrian and Egyptian T-55 tanks were outgunned by the Israeli Sho't tanks, which carried a 105 mm main gun, compared to the 100 mm main gun carried by the T-55. CIA photo Israelis repair captured tanks during the Yom Kippur War. Israel captured many Egyptian and Syrian T-55s and T-62s and pressed them into service. The Israelis named them Tiran, or Dictator. CIA photo An Israeli POW is returned home after the Yom Kippur War. He is one of the lucky ones, as both Egypt and Syria were accused of executing captured prisoners. CIA photo An Egyptian POW is returned home after the Yom Kippur War. It has been estimated that some 8,372 Egyptians were captured during the conflict. CIA photo A column of Egyptian trucks pass through a U.N. checkpoint after the Yom Kippur War. Israel and Egypt agreed to a military disengagement on Jan. 18, 1974, that resulted in the creation of a security zone between the two countries. CIA photo