10 Heroic IDF Battles: No. 1 The Battle of Jezzine (1982)


24 Tammuz 5776

Sunday, July 31 2016

 

UPDATES 9 am Israel time

…Palestinian terrorism not in the mainstream news yesterday…

*A terrorist was captured at the Oranit checkpoint with knives, axes, guns, and ammunition in his car.

*An IED was discovered near Metulla when a suspicious bag was reported.

*A major stabbing attack was thwarted: 4 Palestinians armed with knives were captured at the checkpoint outside the Palestinian settlement of Hawara in Samaria.

*Major “rock” attacks occurred at Husan, Road 443, Ras al Amud, Rachel’s Tomb, Issawiya, and Silwan.

*An IDF observation post near Mt. Hebron was attacked by terrorists throwing Molotov firebombs.

*Yet another personal bodyguard of Mahmoud Abbas was arrested by the Shin Bet and IDF and Anun and charged with fomenting terrorism.

…Palestinian terrorism not in the mainstream news last week…

During a 5 day period this past week, our good friends at hakolyehudi report that there were more than 120 terrorist attacks on Israelis. Miraculously, despite the attempted stabbings, Molotov firebombs, arson, shooting, and “rock attacks, only one Israeli was physically wounded–a soldier in the Old City of Jerusalem.

TODAY’S BLOG: 

Earlier this month, your humble servant read a piece in the Jerusalem Post which stated that the Israeli raid on Entebbe was “most probably Israel’s last heroic hurrah” and as such has a special place in the Israeli and international mind.

On the one hand, there is no doubt about the special nature of Entebbe, but to suggest that this was the last heroic hurrah is to demean the valiant soldiers of the IDF who have fought innumerable heroic battles since then.

What will follow in this blog over the next few weeks is a description of 10 military actions that took place after 1980 which displayed the heroism of Israeli soldiers.

Number 1: The Battle of Jezzine (South Lebanon)

 The First Lebanese War

Monday, June 8, 1982

The picturesque town of Jezzine, Lebanon strategically located

The picturesque town of Jezzine, Lebanon, strategically located near a junction of roads–one of which leads to the southern Beqaa Valley and the other to Jebel Baruk.  Note the winding road.

The IDF objective was to take the town and the junction in order to have access to the southern Beqaa Valley. To that end, an IDF division under the command of Menachem Einan was sent to take the area.

Note the Israel border with the cities of Metulla and Majdal Shams at the lower right.

Note the Israel border with the cities of Metulla and Majdal Shams at the lower right.

Einan’s soldiers closed in on the town from the south at 1:00 am in the morning of Tuesday, June 8. A brief battle ensued and the IDF lost two tanks. At the same time, an Israeli drone discovered that a Syrian column was approaching Jezzine from the north via the Shouf Mountains.

By 2 am, an advance tank group from the 198th Battalian reached the outskirts of Jezzine only to find that Syrians were already there. One company of tanks remained on the outskirts, as the other advanced forward into the city.

The tank company that advanced was immediately assaulted by RPGs and grenades on the main street of Jezzine, but managed to reach the other side where 3 Syrian T-62 tanks blocked the north exit of the town.

The Israeli forces managed to destroy the three tanks; however, the company waiting on the outskirts was subjected to a withering Syrian assault from the town by commandos using Sagger anti-tank missiles. Three Israeli tanks were destroyed, and the company was forced to retreat.

At this point, the Israeli tank companies were divided on both sides of the town with the Syrians firmly in place in the middle.

Nevertheless, the IDF tank group which had fought its way through Jezzine in the town continued its advance to the nearby town of Huma. On the way there, in what can only be described as sheer heroism, the tank crew of company commander Captain Tzur Maor managed to destroy 6 more Syrian T-62 tanks which had been placed in ambush positions around turns in the winding road.

This is probably the last picture made of Commander Tzur's tank--you can barely make out a Syrian tank that had just been destroyed behind it.

This is probably the last picture made of Commander Maor’s tank–you can barely make out a Syrian tank that had just been destroyed behind it.

A short time later Captain Maor and his tank crew were killed when their tank was hit by a shell from another Syrian tank (which was later destroyed).

During the rest of the night, the surviving tank crews, untrained in infantry warfare, managed to repel dozens more Syrian commandos which were thrown against them. All of the commandos who attacked them were killed.

The battle in Jezzine continued with another Israeli tank group moving up to support the one that was already there. At the end of the battle, Israeli forces were in control of Jezzine.

But not without a cost: 6 Israeli soldiers were killed and 11 more badly wounded; moreover, 9 tanks were either destroyed or badly damaged.

A Syrian tank that was still burning at dawn after the battle.

A Syrian tank that was still burning at dawn after the battle.

On the Syrian side, an unknown number of Syrian tank crew members were killed in the 20 tanks that were destroyed. An entire Syrian commando unit was wiped out.

In sum, the Battle of Jezzine was a tactical victory that ensured Israeli successes later in the war. The soldiers of the IDF fought valiantly against superior and well-entrenched forces to carry the day.

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