Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Centurion MBT, and possibly the greatest one tank "stand against many" in history...

Thanks to Mordechai for the link!

Think about some of the greatest tanks in history.  If you didn't include the Centurion then you're not serious about armored warfare.  The Centurion didn't earn its fame in British service; it was the Israelis that made it famous and one battle in particular ensured that it would be immortalized.  via The Jerusalem Post.
The two tanks would infamously later be known as the Zvika Force.
“I gave the company commander, Hagai Tzur, the better tank, and went into the more damaged tank [as the tank commander],” Greengold said. “That’s how I headed out.” With shells loaded, the tanks drove along the Petroleum Road [which stretches from the Golan Heights to the Syrian border]. We headed out, southbound, to scan the Heights.”
“It was very dark. We were at the Kudna Road. As we drove, I ran into a Syrian tank. I immediately opened fire, and the tank burned.”
Following the encounter, Greengold’s Centurion tank broke down, from the force of its own attack.
“I took Hagai’s tank, and he drove the other tank back to base,” Greengold recalled.
Greengold was sure there were other Syrian tanks that had broken through into Israeli territory.
He headed off the road and drove on. “I was determined to continue the mission,” he said.
Greengold reached the village of Huseiniya, deserted by its Syrian residents during the Six Day War. From there, he saw “many vehicle lights shining. There were trucks and tanks there. The whole of the Syrian army had arrived.”
Greengold reported the alarming discovery to his superior officer. “He had a conceptual problem. He could not grasp this information suddenly. He asked me how many forces I saw. I said, four times as many as you have. I’m too small for them.”
“How many of there are you?” Greengold’s commander asked. “I could not say I was just one tank. They were listening to our broadcasts. So I said, ‘We are not enough.’” Greengold concluded that his superiors were too involved in the range of developing battles to understand the significance of his radio warning.
In his lone tank, Greengold and his crew opened fire on the Syrians, changing positions frequently to dodge return fire.
“I’m giving open-fire orders. Then I instruct the driver to go up [a mount] and descend – to avoid exposure. My sense was of responsibility. I stood there, facing the Syrian army, which was about to conquer the State of Israel. What kept going through my head was: I cannot fail.”

In subsequent years, Greengold said, that moment became part of a wider sense that the Jewish people’s back is “against the wall. We have no other option. We have nowhere to run to.”
Returning to his inconceivable one-tank battle against advancing Syrian armor, Greengold said, “I was not scared of dying. I was scared of failing. On the contrary, sometimes I thought that night, let them hit me already.” But Greengold kept fighting, striking Syrian tanks, and doing his best to stop the Syrians from overtaking the strategic Nafah base.
Towards midnight, Greengold’s superiors became aware of the scale of the threat to Nafah, and sent an initial backup force of eight tanks.
“They came straight from the armament warehouses,” Greengold said.
In the battles that raged, five Israeli tanks were destroyed, and just three remained.
I don't think people realize how close the Arab Army was to victory in the Yom Kippur War.

Just one or two different decisions by the attacking forces....Just one Company or Battalion Commander that didn't pause and continued the assault would have seen the end of the Jewish nation....or one tank commander deciding that the odds didn't favor him so he would abandon his position.

One man (or crew) actually can change the course of history. 

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