The Golan Heights June 1967


Map Code: Ax01223

The Golan Heights presented the Israelis with a similar challenge to that facing the Italians along the Isonzo River in World War I: a well-entrenched enemy commanding high ground, on fractured karstic terrain. The wisdom of attacking was questionable; enemy dispositions would not favour air superiority and effective tank deployment, decisive factors in Israeli success to the south. Finally, buoyed by rapid successes against Egypt and Jordan, the desire to eliminate the strategic threat posed by Syrian possession of the Heights outweighed the risks. A two-day bombardment was followed by a combined tank and infantry assault on 9 June. The Israelis had a crucial advantage over the Italians at Isonzo – versatile and dynamic leadership. Intense resistance was overwhelmed or circumvented. On 11 June, the Israeli forces converged on the regional capital Kuneitra to find it deserted: Damascus radio had incorrectly announced its capture, causing the defenders to flee.

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