IDF028 General Ariel ‘Arik’ Sharon



One of Israel’s greatest heroes and finest military commanders of the ‘Yom Kippur War’ was Ariel ‘Arik’ Sharon (1928-2014). A native-born Israeli, Sharon first served in the army during the War of Independence in 1948. A natural leader he proceeded rapidly up through the ranks in all of Israel’s wars and confrontations and by the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in October 1973 he was assigned command of a reserve armoured division. Almost immediately he led his division in an unauthorized counter attack across the Suez Canal before moving north intending to cut supplies to Egypt’s Second Army. Along with another Israeli armoured division he went on to encircle and partially destroy the Egyptian Third Army before threatening its capital, Cairo. A UN-brokered cease fire was declared on 25 October 1973. The war had lasted just 19 days and cost Israel over 2,500 killed and three times that number wounded. This was more than all of Israel’s casualties in the previous wars combined. Arab losses however are estimated to have been much greater… in excess of 50,000 killed and wounded. Ariel ‘Arik’ Sharon was an often controversial figure but a superb and intuitive military commander who was described by former Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin as ‘Israel’s greatest field commander’ After retiring from the army, ‘Arik’ Sharon entered politics and eventually became the country’s 11th Prime Minister from 2001-2006. He died in 2014. Our K&C tribute to this formidable Israeli General shows him as he appeared during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, moving among his troops.