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At the Decisive Point in the Sinai

Generalship in the Yom Kippur War

The Yom Kippur War pitted Israel against Syria in the north and Egypt in the south in October 1973. Caught by surprise and surrounded by enemies, Israel relied on the flexibility and creative thinking of its senior field commanders. After Israeli forces halted the Egyptian troops on the Sinai Peninsula, Major General Ariel Sharon seized the opportunity to counterattack. He split the Egyptian army and cut off its supply lines in a maneuver known as Operation Stouthearted Men. Sharon's audacious, controversial decision defied his superiors and produced a major victory, which many believe helped win the war for Israel.

At the Decisive Point in the Sinai is a firsthand account of the Yom Kippur War's most intense engagement by key leaders in Sharon's division. Jacob Even, deputy division commander of the 143rd Division, and Simcha Maoz, a staff officer, recount the initial stages of the Suez crossing, examine the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) response to Egypt's surprise attack, and explain Sharon's role in the transition from defense to offense. They detail Sharon's struggle to convince his superiors of his plan and argue that an effective division commander is revealed not only by his leadership of subordinates, but also by his ability to influence his senior officers.

The strategic failure of the Israeli high command during the Yom Kippur War has been widely studied, but At the Decisive Point in the Sinai is one of the few works to examine the experiences of field-level commanders. Even and Maoz challenge students of military leadership by offering a case study on effective generalship.

About the Authors

General Jacob Even, IDF (Ret.), led armored units at all levels and served as both division commander and IDF National Defense College commander.

Colonel Simcha B. Maoz, IDF (Ret.),
held staff and instruction positions in the infantry and paratroops command before being assigned to the General Staff.

Review

"At the Decisive Point is the single best volume I have ever read on the Yom Kippur War. It bridges the gap between the two standard forms of writing on the 1973 conflict—the memoir and the historical monograph—and does so in a very effective manner."—Robert M. Citino, author of The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943

"The authors' work, in sum, presents an interesting and informative account of the Yom Kippur War on the Sinai front."—Israel Affairs

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