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A Diary of the Six Day War - Day Four

http://zionism-israel.com/ezine/Six_Day_War_Diary_4.htm

Michael Shacham

Day 4 - Thursday, June 8, 1967

As the sun rose the next morning I saw an unbelievable sight! We were in a wide valley surrounded by burnt out military vehicles as far as you could see… But we were on the move again. I was ordered to join a tank battalion as a recon jeep under the one other jeep that the battalion commander had that was commanded by an officer. I was a sergeant, so he outranked me and I was under his command. (I was not happy to leave my own unit, but you do as ordered and I did.) We set out bright and early, the two jeeps leading the tank battalion along the road to the Jidi pass. We soon arrived and passed though a narrow break in the sharp hills that arose on both sides of the road. The pass was not much wider than the narrow road itself. We climbed up the narrow pass through the top and down the other side towards a wide plain with many sand dunes that were like small hills.

The nights with little to no sleep began to have their effect on me. In the warm morning sun I began having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I was afraid that I would fall asleep and fall out of the jeep. As we were moving along I opened my eyes just in time to see a large force of Egyptian tanks spread out in front of us. My adrenalin kicked in right away I was wide awake. I radioed my commander in the other jeep “Do you see what I see?" Luckily for us, they were having breakfast with little campfires here and there. We were ordered back as fast as possible, and our tanks took up positions at the pass itself. There was room for two if we took turns at the road. The rest were spread out further back. The recon were taking turns looking at the enemy from a high point and reporting to the commander of the battalion. As my turn came up. I took a look at the Egyptian side and saw that they were charging up the hill. The lead tank was closing in on us. I reported to the commander what I saw. He said that he asked for air force help but was told that none was available. The Egyptian tank was getting closer and closer, when out of nowhere one Israeli air plane came overhead and hit the lead tank. The rest of the Egyptians must have thought that there were more airplanes and turned around back towards their original positions. As they turned, we the two jeeps were ordered to follow them and direct the tank fire. This was again a very challenging situation. Our tanks followed us and we jeeps found ourselves dodging fire from both sides, us being in the middle. The other jeep was on the right side of the road and on the high ground and I was on the lower side where I could not see as well as the ones on the other side. I was dodging tanks and fire among the low sand hills, when our jeep moved out from behind a hill. About 100 yards away, there was an Egyptian tank firing at us with his machine gun. I could see the bullets hitting in the sand right next to the tires of the jeep. There was no point shooting at a tank with a machine gun since the bullets would not penetrate. So I ordered the man in the back to hand me a smoke bomb that we had there, and I threw it at the tank. We immediately disappeared into a thick cover of black smoke. I ordered the driver to turn around and go back behind the hill and up it as far as he could go. I then climbed the rest of the way on foot with my Uzi and the radio man. I located the tank, still where I left it and directed our tank fire at the Egyptian tank. It was knocked out. After several hours of fighting we prevailed, and as we prepared to move on we found out the officer in the other jeep had lost his jeep. It had flipped over and was out of commission. The battalion commander ordered me to give my jeep to him and we had to stay behind and hitch a ride to the canal and back to our unit with the supply trucks. So. while the rest of our force reached the canal that night, the night of the fourth day, my team was forced to spend another night on the road in the back of a supply truck. I fell asleep as soon as I found a place to stay on the truck.

Michael Shacham


Michael Shacham is a well known American-Israel sculptor. A brief biography and summary of Michael Shacham's philosophy of art are given at the conclusion of this series.

His Six Day War Diary is presented in parts:

A Six Day War Diary - Prologue

A Six Day War Diary - Day 1

A Six Day War Diary - Day 2

A Six Day War Diary - Day 3

A Six Day War Diary - Day 4

A Six Day War Diary - Epilogue

 

Posted at http://zionism-israel.com/ezine/Six_Day_War_Diary_4.htm

NOTICE: Copyright

 

This material is copyright by Michael Shacham, 2007, and protected by intellectual property law. All rights reserved. Any commercial use requires written permission of the author.

 

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