Medical Support During The Sinai War Of Attrition (1968-1970): A 30-Year Perspective
Z. Gimmon, J. Adler
Dept. of General Surgery, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem and Medical Section, Israteam, Lod
The War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt along the Suez Canal line lasted 23 months (9/1968-8/1970), during which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were mostly in fixed fortifications. A few of the important principles of field medical support, which became cornerstones of IDF procedure, were established during that war. These included use of armored vehicles for evacuation under artillery fire, as well as emergency treatment, physiological stabilization, and maintenance of the wounded until evacuation.
The latter objectives were achieved by stationing medical officers and paramedics within the fortifications, where they remained with the troops. A field surgical hospital was established in Refidim which had a trained surgical staff and a well-equipped emergency department. It included an operating theater and post-op recovery facilities for proper surgical care until evacuation to hospitals in the rear.
Tables showing the number of casualties throughout 1 year of the War of Attrition are presented. Better personal shielding by helmets and body shields decreased the number and severity of head and thoraco-abdominal injuries. The relative large number of those who died-of-wounds was due to the proximity of medical facilities, so that treatment could be administered within the fortifications. Otherwise, many more would have been included among the killed-in-action.