This enabled the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to send several attack waves against Egyptian airfields on the first day of the war, overwhelming the Egyptian Air Force, and allowed it to knock out other Arab air forces on the same day.This has contributed to the Arab belief that the IAF was helped by foreign air forces (see Controversies relating to the Six-Day War).and equipped with some 300 modern Western tanks, 250 of which were U. They possessed sizable numbers of M113 APCs, a new battalion of mechanized infantry, and a paratrooper battalion trained in the new U. They also had 12 battalions of artillery and six batteries of 81 mm and 120 mm mortars.
The Egyptians were caught by surprise, and nearly the entire Egyptian air force was destroyed with few Israeli losses, giving the Israelis air superiority.
Simultaneously, the Israelis launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, which again caught the Egyptians by surprise.
James Reston, writing in The New York Times on May 23, 1967, noted, "In discipline, training, morale, equipment and general competence his [Nasser's] army and the other Arab forces, without the direct assistance of the Soviet Union, are no match for the Israelis. Even with 50,000 troops and the best of his generals and air force in Yemen, he has not been able to work his way in that small and primitive country, and even his effort to help the Congo rebels was a flop." On May 26, 1967, The CIA estimated:" The Israelis … would still be able to drive the Egyptians away from the entrance to the Strait of Tiran, but it would certainly cost them heavy losses of men and materiel." Israeli Central Command forces consisted of five brigades.
The first two were permanently stationed near Jerusalem and were called the Jerusalem Brigade and the mechanized Harel Brigade.
This article is about the Arab–Israeli war in 1967.