Israeli Order of Battle in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

Israeli order of battle for the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.


Israeli Ugda

The organisation of an Ugda (Division) was fairly flexible. They all had at least one armoured Brigade plus optional Infantry Brigades.

Israeli Division / Ugda 1967

  • 1+ x Armoured Brigade
    • 2 x Tank Battalions (50 tanks)
    • 1+ x Mechanised Infantry battalion (half-tracks)
    • Artillery
    • Reconnaissance company
  • 0+ x Mechanised (half-tracks) or motorised (trucks) Infantry Brigade

Israeli Commands

Lt. Col Moshe mechanised brigade

Eshel-Dramit (1979) had a mechanised brigade under Lt. Col Moshe fighting in Samaria but I’m not sure where his brigade fits into the order of battle below.

Lt. Col Moshe mechanised brigade

  • 1 x Mechanised (half-track) Infantry Brigade (Lt. Col. Moshe)
    • 1 x Tank Battalion with M50 Shermans
    • 2 x Mechanised (half-track) Infantry Battalion
    • 3 x 120mm mortar batteries
    • 1 x Jeep reconnaissance company

Northern Command (West Bank; Gen. Elazar)

  • “Peled” Division (Gen. Peled)
    • Armoured Brigade (Col. Ram)1
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with Centurions
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with AMX-13s
    • Armoured Brigade (Col. Bar-Kochva)1
      • 3 x Tank Battalions with Shermans
      • 1 x Mechanised (half-track) Infantry Battalion
    • Infantry Brigade (Col. Yehuda Gavish)

Notes:
(1) involved in the Golan Heights

Central Command (Jerusalem; Brig. Gen. Uzi Narkiss)

General order of battle is from Laffin (1982). Details of Paratroopers largely from Gur (1978). Other bits and bobs from Eshel-Dramit. (1979). Robert McAuthor sent me the orbat for the Etzioni.

Central Command (Jerusalem; Brig. Gen. Uzi Narkiss)

  • 6th “Etzioni” (Regulars) / 16th “Jerusalem” Infantry Brigade (Reservists) (Col. Eliezer ‘Lezer’ Amitai)1,2
    • Operations Officer: Maj Amos Ne’eman
    • 161st Infantry Battalion (LtCol Asher Drezin (wia); replaced by Col. Yehoshua Nevo)
    • 162nd Infantry Battalion (LtCol Gideon Roschile)
    • 163rd Infantry Battalion (LtCol Michael Piekas (kia))
    • 68th Infantry Battalion (LtCol Zri Ophir)
    • 953rd Chin Infantry Battalion (LtCol Ahaaronson3)
    • 954th Chin Infantry Battalion (LtCol Yaakov Vardi3)
    • 962nd Chin Infantry Battalion (LtCol Nehemiah Oz3)
    • 963rd Chin Infantry Battalion (LtCol Shmuel Shaked3)
    • 262nd Engineering Battalion (LtCol Illai Alon)
    • 1 x Artillery unit
      • 6 x 155mm cannons
      • 18 x 25-caliber cannons
      • 18 x 17-caliber cannons
      • 6 x 160mm mortars
      • 12 x 120 mm mortars
    • 1 x Medical Unit
    • 1 x Signal Unit
    • 120th Unit (Mt. Scopus garrison)
      • equivalent to two reinforced companies
    • 1 x Tank Squadron (Sherman) (Maj Aharon Kamove)
    • 90th Reconnaissance Company (Maj Yosef (Yossi) Langotsky)
    • 1 x Tank Detachment from 182nd Armoured Brigade
      • 14 x Tanks
  • 10th “Harel” Armoured Brigade (Col. Ben-Ari)
      1 x Tank Battalion with mix of refitted Centurions and M50 Shermans
      1 x Tank Battalion with AMX-13s
      1 x Infantry Battalion with Half Tracks
  • 55th Reserve Airbourne Brigade (Col. Morechai ‘Motte’ Gur; Duty commander ‘Moshele’) including
    • 28th Parachute Battalion (Yossi P.)
      • Artillery Liaison Officer
      • One company commander was ‘Hagai’
      • Company A
        • Engineer Section (‘Iran’ & ‘Giora’) – attached from Engineer Company
      • Company B
      • Company C
        • Engineer Section (‘Dan’) – attached from Engineer Company
      • Company D
        • Engineer Section (‘Eitan’) – attached from Engineer Company
      • Support Company (‘Rafi’)
          81 mm Mortar Platoon – more than 4 weapons
      • ??
    • 66th Parachute Battalion (Yossi ‘Herzl’ Y.)
      • Artillery Liaison Officer
      • Company A (‘Gabi’)
        • Platoons under ‘Pinia’, ‘Gadi’, ‘Ofer’
        • MAG section (Uri Dan)
      • Company B (Capt. ‘Dudik’)
        • Platoons under ‘Yoav’, ‘Zvika’, ‘Mike’
      • Company C (‘Dadi’)
        • Platoons under ‘Yoram’, ‘Miller’, Dani Yizchaki
        • MAG section (Zvika Magen)
      • Company D (Capt. Giora Ashkenazi)
        • Platoons under ‘Bloom’ replaced by ‘Zvika’, ‘Buki’, ‘Reuben’
        • MAGs section (‘Aharon’)
        • Mortar Section (Presumably 52 mm)
      • Assault Platoon (‘Shmerer’) Presumably a extemporised unit.
      • Reconnaissance Platoon (‘Zami’)
      • Support Company (‘Zvika’)
        • 81 mm Mortar Platoon (‘Hermoni’)
        • Heavy Machinegun Platoon (Abe) – Gur (1978) called these “heavy artillery” and “heavy guns” but the men carried the guns upstairs and fired them from windows with two helpers holding up the front legs of weapon’s tripod, so probably a heavy machine gun.
          • 3 x Section
        • Recoilless Gun Platoon (‘Eshkoli’) (mounted on jeeps)
      • Tank company (‘Rafi’) attached to 66th Parachute Battalion from some other unit (??)
        • 1 x Command Tank (‘Rafi’)
        • Platoon (‘Saul’) with 3 tanks
        • Platoon (‘Arzi’) with 3 tanks
        • Platoon (‘Gilboa’) with 3 tanks
    • 71st Parachute Battalion (‘Uzi’)
      • Artillery Liaison Officer
      • Company B (Lt. ‘Eilat’)
      • Company (‘Mussa’)
      • Company (‘Zamush’)
      • Somewhere a platoon under Sgt. Amos Wool
      • Support Company (‘Bikel’)
        • 81 mm Mortar Platoon (‘Zviki’)
      • ??
    • Support Company (‘Ziklag’)
      • 2 x 81 mm Mortar Platoons
      • Also called upon 160 mm and 155 mm artillery
    • Engineer Company (Capt. ‘Yod-Bet’)
      • Platoon (Capt. ‘Yod-Bet’) assigned to Battalion 66
      • Platoon (Lt. ‘Avi’) assigned to Battalion 28
        • 3 sections, each assigned to a company
    • Reconnaissance Unit (Micha Kapusta) – attached to Battalion 28
    • Communications Company (‘Orni’)
    • Transport Company (Maj. ‘Katcha’)
  • Infantry Brigade (Col. Shehem?)
  • Infantry Brigade (Col. Yotvat?)

Notes:
(1) involved in the Golan Heights
(2) Gur (1978) and Eshel-Dramit. (1979) refer to the “Jerusalem” Brigade and Laffin (1982) to the “Etzioni” Brigade. I decided they were the same outfit as all sources give the commander as Col. Amitai. Robert McAuthor emailed to say they were one and the same, and were the 16th Etzioni brigade (also called “Jerusalem” Brigade because most members were from Jerusalem) (Robert cites Six Days of War: June 1967 and the making of The modern Middle East by Michael B. Oren, Oxford University Press, 2002), however, Floyd Waite emailed to say the two units were different. According to Floyd the 6th Etzioni were Regulars and 16th Jerusalem Brigade were Reservists but under the same command for the defense of Jerusalem (Floyd cites Eshel-Dramit). The Orbat that Robert sent through certainly looks the size of two brigades, not one. Robert later sent through some more information:

The 6th Etzioni Brigade was formed in 1947 to conduct operations in the Jerusalem area. Because it never left Jerusalem and operated solely within the Jerusalem Military District, it was commonly referred to as the “Jerusalem Brigade.” At this time, the Commander of the Etzioni was also the Commander of the Jerusalem Military District. The 6th had the following battalions 61, 62, 63, 64, and 68 at various times. The 6th Etzioni was disbanded following the war. It was re-created as a Central Command reserve brigade in 1955. In September 1958 it was transferred to the Southern Command and re-designated as the 14th Brigade. In 2010, the reserve 408th Infantry Brigade was renamed Etzioni Brigade and given the number 6.

A second brigade was established in Jerusalem in October 1948 with four active four battalions 161, 162, 163, 164, and two Chin (Guard Force) battalions as the Jerusalem District Brigade. The 16th Jerusalem Brigade was established in January 1949 using personnel from the 6th Etzioni Brigade, the 4th Brigade, and various local forces in the Jerusalem District. The 16th was changed from active to reserve status in June 1949. The 16th was reorganized in the early 1950’s with the assignment of the 161, 162, 163, 164 reserve infantry battalions and the 953, 954, 962, 963 Chin Battalions. By the time of the Six Day War, the fully mobilized Jerusalem Brigade had around 8,000 personnel. The Brigade has also been referred to as the 116th Brigade, a designation which appears to be an example of IDF order of battle obfuscation.

(3) Some of the Chin commanding officers may have been Majors

Southern Command (Gen. Gavish)

Details primarily from Laffin (1982).

Laffin (1982) says Gen. Gavish was GOC southern command but Herzog (1982) says Gen. Gonen was – presumably the same Gonen that Laffin has leading the 7th Armoured Brigade.

Operated in Sinai.

Southern Command (Gen. Gavish)

  • “Tal” Division (Gen. Tal)
    • 7th Armoured Brigade (Col. Shmuel Gonen)
      • 79th Tank Battalion with M48 Pattons
      • 82nd Tank Battalion with Centurions
    • Armoured Brigade (Col. Aviram)
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with Shermans
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with AMX-13s
    • 202nd Airborne Brigade (Col. Rafael Eitan)
      • 890th Paratroop Battalion 88th Nahal Paratroop Battalion
      • 771th Reserve Paratroop Battalion 202nd Paratroop Battalion
      • Paratroop Reconnaissance Battalion (Sayeret Tzanhanim) (Maj. Dan Shomron)
      • Paratroop Engineering Group
    • Mechanised Reconnaissance Task force (Col. Baron) including:
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with M48 and some AMX-13s.
  • “Yoffe” Division (Gen. Abraham Yoffe)
    • Armoured Brigade (Col. Shadni)
      • 2 x Tank Battalions with Centurions
    • Armoured Brigade (Col. Sela)
      • 2 x Tank Battalions with Centurions
  • “Sharon” Division (Gen. Ariel Sharon)
    • Armoured Brigade
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with Centurions
      • 1 x Tank Battalion with Shermans
    • 80th Reserve Para Brigade (Col. Dani Matt)1
    • Infantry Brigade
    • Mechanised Reconnaissance Battalion with AMX-13s
  • Independent (8th?) Armoured Brigade (Col. Mendler)1
    • 2 x Tank Battalions with Shermans
    • 1 x Mechanised (half-track) Infantry Battalion

Syrian Front (Gen. Elazar)

The units marked above with note 1 were also involved in the Golan Heights.

Other units were:

Other units on the Syrian Front

  • 1st “Golani” Infantry Brigade
      Reconnaissance force (Sayeret Golani, also called the “Flying Lizards”)
      1st “Lightning” Battalion (G’dud Barak) (Lt-Col. Musa Klein)
      13th Battalion
      17th “Gideon” Battalion (G’dud Gideon)
      72nd “First Conquerors” Battalion (HaBokim HaRishonim)
  • 3 -4 x Infantry Brigades with integral tank support

Israeli Equipment

Armoured vehicles

  • 250 x Centurion Mk. III and V tanks
  • 200 x M48 Patton tanks
  • 200 x Sherman tanks updated with French 105 mm gun.
  • Possibly 200 unmodified Shermans (based on number of Sherman battalions mentioned above)
  • About 200 x AMX-13s (based on number of AMX-13 battalions mentioned above)
  • 2 battalions of reconditions M7 Priest self-propelled howitzers with 105 mm guns
  • Several batteries of 155 mm guns on Sherman chassis (possibly the Soltam L33 155 mm Self-propelled Howitzer or the French M1e 1950)
  • M3/M9 Half tracks (APC) with .30 cal machineguns
  • M3/M9 Half tracks with 120 mm mortars
  • M3/M9 Half tracks with 90 mm Anti-tank guns
  • M3/M9 Half tracks with SS-11 wire-guided AT missiles

Infantry weapons

  • 7.62 mm Belgian FN/FAL self-loading rifle
  • Heavy barreled 7.62 mm Belgian FN/FAL self-loading rifle as squad support weapon.
  • FN MAG 7.62 mm light machine gun.
  • Israeli Uzi sub-machinegun was issued to paratroops, commandos, infantry junior leaders and vehicle crews. Note: Gur, 1978, has a tendency to call these “machineguns”.
  • Machinegun
  • Anti-tank rifles
  • Bazookas
  • 52 mm mortars
  • 81 mm mortars

Other

  • Hawk anti-aircraft missiles
  • Browning .30 and .50 cal machine guns.

2 comments to Israeli Order of Battle in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

  • The 16th Jersusalem Brigade was a reserve brigade based in and around Jerusalem. The reason it has so many battalions is that the four “unknown” battalions were secondary static defense units composed of older reservists. In essence the 16th Brigade was a front line “offensive” unit that also had command and control over the four territorial defense battalions in addition to it’s offensive units. The reason that it gets confused with the 6th Etzioni Brigade is b/c that unit was the regular brigade responsible for defending Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence. It was disbanded after the War in 1949, and replaced by the 16th Reserve Jerusalem Brigade. The Etzioni brigade was reactivated as the 14th reserve brigade in the 1950’s and assigned to the Southern Command.

    Hope this helps

    Stu Kohn

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