The Sinai Campaign – 1956 

Credit: Kings and generals

Using animated 3d icons representing opposing forces, this documentary does a superb job of tracking the prioress of this strange war when Israel was allied with Britain and France. Using animated 3d icons representing opposing forces, this documentary does a superb job of tracking the prioress of this fast victory, ultimately undone by President Eisenhower.


After the 1948 War of Independence, during which the Arab nations surrounding Israel attacked the new state in an effort to prevent its establishment, the people of Israel focused on building their country.

But these efforts were diverted by countless terrorist incursions, namely “fadayun” infiltrating the Israeli-Egyptian border. Israel was forced to adopt measures to halt these attacks. In addition, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian president, nationalized the Suez Canal (which had previously been administered by Britain and France) and closed its waters to Israeli shipping. This effectively cut off Israel’s ability to trade with much of the world.

In a sweeping operation of 100 hours, the IDF took control of the entire Sinai peninsula, under the skilled command of Lt. Gen. Moshe Dayan.

Born in 1915 in Degania, Israel’s first kibbutz, Moshe Dayan fought as a teenager in the battle for Israel’s independence. After excelling in his military career, he was appointed the IDF’s fourth Chief of General Staff in 1953 and went on to serve as Israel’s Minister of Defense.

The IDF’s successful paratroop landing into the eastern approaches of the Mitla Pass near the Suez Canal (the first paratroop landing in Israel’s military history) launched the Sinai Campaign at 17:00 on the Octobe 29, 1956. Once on the ground, IDF forces advanced through southern and central axes into the Sinai peninsula.

The next day, October 30, an IDF reserve brigade, equipped with requisitioned civilian buses, negotiated the difficult desert track through the Peninsula and captured Sharm el-Sheikh at the southernmost tip of the Sinai peninsula. Britain and France then joined the IDF’s war efforts on November 1, launching a devastating strike on the Egyptian Air Force, which until that point had been engaged in battle with the Israeli Air Force, leaving it virtually incapacitated.

On November 2, a battalion of the Nahal Brigade achieved the second significant victory of the war by parachuting into El-Tor under the command of Mordechai Gur (later to become the IDF’s tenth Chief of Staff). The battalion was met on the ground by the Paratrooper’s 890th Battalion. This landing marked the completion of Israel’s control over the Sinai Peninsula, though the territory conquered during the Campaign was promptly transferred to Egyptian hands.

Though Israel lost 171 soldiers in battle, the Sinai Campaign is considered an impressive military success, having achieved its initial goal of halting the terror attacks emanating from Israel’s shared border with Egypt. After the success of the Sinai Campaign, Lt. Gen. Moshe Dayan continued to contribute to the state of Israel and played a key role in four wars, as well as helping to negotiate Israel’s historic peace treaty with Egypt.

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