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Six Day War

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n 5th June 1967, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), on the orders of Defence Minister General Moshe Dayan, unleashed a pre-emptive strike against the armed forces of their four main Arab opponents.

In the early hours of the morning, Israeli Air Force Super Mystere B2s flew in fast and low over airbases in Egypt. The fighter-bombers dropped specially-designed low-level bombs known as "concrete dibbers", which penetrated the runway surfaces before detonating - wrecking the runways, neutralising the Egyptian air force at one stroke. Later that day, similar attacks would be carried out against airbases in Iraq, Syria and Jordan, crippling the Arab air forces and giving the Israelis absolute air superiority.

The prevailing popular memory of the Six Day War, is of massive armoured sweeps around the Sinai Peninsula by the armoured divisions of Generals Tal, Joffe and Sharon. In terms of territory conquered, this is valid: the Sinai was taken within two days - the fighting on the 7th and 8th of June mostly involved pursuit of the retreating Egyptian forces. With command of the air, Israeli forces had no need of attritional battles on the ground. The Sinai was an ideal arena for armoured forces, with large open spaces for manoeuvre and few significantly populated areas.

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