times during the last fifty years, the Sinai Peninsula has been a war
front between Israel and Egypt. During this period many military
lessons had been learned, particularly in logistics, air power and
ground operations. Maintaining an armed force in the desert had always
been a difficult task. The distance between the armies, the natural
physical conditions and the demands of armored warfare complicated the
military moves of both sides.
need to find and destroy the enemy in the large empty spaces of the
desert, while controlling the main junctures, passes and airfields, had
an additional effect on air force and ground troops movements.
This article examines the
lessons drawn from the Sinai experience and will review the build-up of
the two armies.
The Israeli army transformed
from an infantry army to a modern, fast and powerful army, based on
well-trained and experienced units and air force.
In 1955 the Egyptian army
changed its British equipment and was supplied by Eastern European
countries. In the late 1970s it switched yet again to western arms,
this time elaborate new American weapons along with some French
During the 1956 and 1967
wars, the Egyptians occupied the Sinai and had a military infrastructure
to assist them. After the Six Day War in 1967 the Israelis occupied the
Sinai, had access to the military infrastructure and improved it, using
it also in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
For the past twenty years,
following the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt there has existed
no military infrastructure in most of the Sinai.
The last part of the article
examines the main factors which may influence the next war in the Sinai
– should it occur.
These factors include the
control of airfields and important roads and routes, as well as
deployment of ground troops, operations in the Red Sea and the Suez
Canal and identification of the various armed vehicles traveling in the