The Golan Heights: 1973

v.1.0 April 22, 2001


Israeli histories avoid giving formation designations as far as possible, preferring to use the name of the formation commander. Because General Chiam Herzog's War of Atonement for some reason does include many formation numbers for the Golan Heights battle, it becomes possible to compile a rudimentary orbat for this famous action. Interestingly, General Herzog omits formation numbers for the Sinai battles. This sketchy and incomplete orbat represents an effort by the Editor to draw out persons who may be more familiar with the situation, and who may be willing to enlighten us.


1 Armored Division

91 Brigade

? Brigade

? Brigade

3 Armored Division

15 Armored Brigade

? Brigade

? Brigade

5 Mechanized Division

46 Armored Brigade

61 Mechanized Brigade

112 Mechanized Brigade

132 Mechanized Brigade (may be from one of the armored divisions)

7 Mechanized Division

68 Mechanized Brigade

78 Armored Brigade

85 Mechanized Brigade

9 Mechanized Division

33 Mechanized Brigade

52 Mechanized Brigade

Affiliation Not Known

42 Brigade

47 Armored Brigade

51 Armored Brigade

3 Iraq Mechanized Division

Assad Republican Guard Brigade

40 Jordanian Armored Brigade


Eyton's Mechanized Division (North)

Laner's Armored Division (Center)

Peled's Armored Division (South)

Two of these three divisions carried the numbers:

14 Reserve Division

21 Reserve Division

Brigade District Golan (a territorial brigade)

7 Armored Brigade (North)

14 Reserve Brigade

17 Reserve Tank Brigade

19 Reserve Brigade

20 Brigade

70 Reserve Brigade

79 Reserve Tank Brigade

188 Armored Brigade (South)

Paratroop units

188 Armored Brigade is also called the Barak Brigade. Together with 7 Brigade, the Barak Brigade held off the initial five-division Syrian onslaught long enough to permit reinforcements to arrive and stabilize the front. While 7 Brigade received much attention, many Israelis believe that the Barak Brigade made the more heroic defense. In any case, the fight these two brigades put up has earned them a permanent place in Israel's military history. How they held off a force some six times their superior in numbers, coming within minutes of defeat, is a lesson worth study for any student of military history. Only a handful of tanks numbered in the single digits eventually stood between the Syrian attackers and defeat: had the Syrians broken through before reinforcements arrived, they would have reached the Mediterranean within hours and cut Israel in two. Whether this would have changed the course of the war is a matter for debate, but certainly Israel's victory would have turned out much more costly. Conversely, it needs noting that the Syrians, battered as they were, held the Israeli counterattack against Damascus to a crawl. Though some may disagree, Israel was exhausted and weakening as the war went into its third week, and was compelled as much as the Arabs to accept a cease-fire.


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All content © 2003 Ravi Rikhye. Reproduction in any form prohibited without express permission.