Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review of The Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog

Author:  Chaim Herzog.
Title:  The Arab-Israeli Wars.
Publisher:  Vintage Books.
Publishing Date:  1984.
Price:  $14.95.

This is book, The Arab-Israeli Wars, by Chaim Herzog was my crash course into modern Middle East military history.  Though dated, the book covers all the conflicts from the War of Independence in 1948 to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. 

The most interesting campaigns to me were the War for Independence in 1948 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.  Part of the problem in reading this book is the all too familiar repeats of history like the backstabbing on the part of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and to a less extent, Iraq.  The Israelis were either able to play different Arab governments off or use interior lines from being overwhelmed. 

The Sinai desert factors in the conflicts starting in 1948.  Egypt lost the Sinai peninsula in the subsequent campaigns.  The Soviet Union basically bankrolled the Arab governments with their equipment until it got trashed by the Israelis in the different wars.  The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was the only campaign were Arabs (and the Egyptians in particular) showed real imagination and ingenuity in dealing with the Israeli military.  The Egyptians were able to launch a surprise attack on the Israelis and almost rolled over them in the Sinai.  But lousy Egyptian leadership and a divided officer corps gave the Israelis time to recover and launch a counter attack.  The Syrian attack on the Golan heights turned into another Marianas "turkey shoot" with the destruction of over 850 AFVs and thousands of support vehicles.    

Now that I've educated myself on the Arab-Israeli Wars, I'm not thrilled about Battlefronts Arab-Israeli Miniatures Game.  What's the point in playing the Arabs in 1965 if I'm going to get trashed every time I game them?  I think the 15mm Khurasan Yom Kippur range would be a much better investment for a wargamer's time and cash.  I'd just use unofficial stats for Egyptian, Syrian, and Israeli forces for the Yom Kippur War if I were going to game the conflict.  But that's just me...

I'm more interested in 28mm Arab-Israeli figures.  Or 28mm Israeli-Hezbollah figures for the more recent Lebanon campaign.  But I recommend the Herzog book as a single volume history.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review of the book. I have purchased Kurasan Syrians, along with their T-62 and T-55. You can go wrong buying them. The figures are slightly large than Peter Pig.