BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES: ISRAEL'S SIX DAY WAR PART 1 OF 3
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched the most successful pre-emptive air strike in military history. Within a few hours, virtually the entire Egyptian air force lay in smoldering wreckage.
In 1967 the tension in the Middle East had neared boiling point. Border incidents between Israel and Syria, Egypt, and Jordan had increased massively during the early 1960s, with Palestinian guerrilla groups actively supported by Syria.
In May, 1967, Egyptian President Nasser, his prestige much eroded through his inaction in the face of Israeli raids, requested the withdrawal of UN forces from Egyptian territory, mobilized units in the Sinai, and closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israel. Israel responded by mobilizing.
The escalation of threats and provocations continued until June 5, 1967, when Israel launched a massive air assault that crippled Arab air capability. With air superiority protecting its ground forces, Israel controlled the Sinai peninsula within three days and then concentrated on the Jordanian frontier, capturing Jerusalem's Old City and, on the Syrian border, gaining the strategic Golan Heights.
Fighting on three fronts, against the combined might of five different armies, Israel secured a stunning victory in a mere six days. So how did this tiny state manage to overcome an Arab enemy which had twice as many soldiers, three times as many tanks and four times as many airplanes?
Testimony from the combatants and military planners as well as commentary by key figures in intelligence offer an insight into the meticulous preparations that the Israeli military undertook in the 1960s.
Field testing of key Israeli weapons and analysis of battlefield strategy on both sides shows how this extraordinary victory was achieved.