Lightning War: Six Days in 1967

The term “lightning war” refers  to tactics developed by the German Army in World War II.  Their word was blitzkreig.  Blitzkreig strategy was a huge step away from the static battle lines still in evidence in the trench warfare of World War I.  It made use of new technology including the capacity for more rapid movement on the ground and finely tuned air-to-ground attacks.

The Lightning War: The Israeli-Arab Conflict is Colonel W. Byford-Jones’ account of the 1967 war, which is also often referred to as The Six-Day War for the same reason he chose the title he did for the book.  It was a fast war.  The Israelis fought the armies of four neighboring enemies for six days, making massive use of highly developed tank strategies.  They did this successfully in spite of the fact that many of the tanks they were using dated from the early months of World War II.  The obsolescence of their tank brigade impacted both maintenance  and battle plans because they simply did not have the benefit of standard parts, standard operating procedures or standard training processes….because they  literally used whatever old tanks they could get their hands on.  

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Colonel Byford-Jones tells of his conversation with a friend in Israel when he was researching the book.  His friend pointed out a map of Israel hanging on the office wall. (Note: The white portion of the map is what he references.  This map illustrates what Israel took [and later gave back] in the 1967 war.)

“Your country looks so small,” I said, for want of something to say.

“See,” he said, sipping his coffee.  “The country is all border.  Except in the Negev, no inhabited place is more than twenty miles from an Arab frontier.  You and I know what that means in these days of long-range fire.  You just can’t live out of range of Arab fire no matter where you go.  We’ve gotten used to it.

“…of course, they’ll attack in the night if they come at all.  If they could make a breakthrough–but they never will–they’d be here in minutes by plane and twenty minutes in mechanized vehicles.”  (p. 12) 

Both before and since The Lightning War, Israel has suffered surprise attacks from enemies near and far.  In 1967, the Israelis didn’t wait to be attacked.   

They went out like Joshua and came back like Joshua.

  Joshua 10:42 says,  “All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel.”

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