Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Some Military History

Everyone knows about the Czech rifles that saved Israel. But I was not aware of the extent of the cooperation, which actually came at the behest of the Soviet Union. Ha'aretz reports on an exhibit documenting the short-lived alliance:
As part of the deal signed in January [1948], Czechoslovakia supplied some 50,000 rifles (that remained in use in the IDF for around 30 years), some 6,000 machine guns and around 90 million bullets. But the most important contracts were signed in late April and early May. They promised to supply 25 Messerschmitt fighter planes and arranged for the training - on Czech soil and in Czech military facilities - of Israeli pilots and technicians who would fly and maintain them. The planes, which were disassembled and flown to Israel on large transport planes, after their reassembly played a very important role in halting the Egypt Army's advance south of Ashdod, at a place now called the Ad Halom Junction.

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