Suez Crisis 1956 – Cold War DOCUMENTARY

Every empire in the history of our world has a moment or event which we popularly envision to be the.


Every empire in the history of our world has
a moment or event which we popularly envision to be the beginning of their final downfall,
even if they survive for a long time after it. Today we will cover one of these turning
point moments in history for both the British and French Empires, which declined in the
wake of World War II. In the aftermath, the global balance of power permanently shifted,
and events that happened in 1956 finally showed how much. Welcome to our video on the Suez
Crisis of 1956. If you are interested in the history of this era, don’t forget to check
out our second channel – The Cold War – the link is in the top right corner. Shoutout to the Ridge for sponsoring this
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use code “KNG” Link in description! Ever since its completion in 1869, the Suez
Canal was considered strategically crucial to the British Empire, who relied on it to
link their home islands with India. To keep control of the canal, Britain took control
of Egypt in 1882, and the country remained dominated by foreign will in various forms
until after World War II. With the weakening of British influence over their colonies and
the breakaway of India, the importance of the Suez Canal increased because of its status
as an oil artery, as Britain shipped the majority of its oil through it.
A military coup in July 1952 deposed the Egyptian monarchy and brought the Revolutionary Command
Council to power, and in 1954 Gamal Abdel Nasser secured power as the President. The
pan-Arab nationalism favoured by this faction was suspicious to both Britain’s new Prime
Minister Antony Eden, who saw Nasser as a threat to his nation’s oil interests, and
Israel, whose government believed a weak, divided Arab world would be less of a threat
to its existence. A number of diplomatic maneuvers on both sides and re-intensification of the
Israeli-Arab conflict began to ramp up the crisis to a fever pitch.
In this atmosphere, Arab ‘fedayeen’, or partisans, launched raids into Israeli territory
from Gaza, Egypt, Jordan and Syria. IDF commandos responded in kind, while the Egyptian navy
blockaded the Straits of Tiran and prevented Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Seeking
high-quality Soviet equipment, Nasser conducted an arms deal with the Communist satellite
Czechoslovakia, but in the Cold War climate this led the United States to retract funding
from Egypt’s Aswan dam project. It was this final straw that led Nasser to nationalise
the Suez Canal in July 1956, convincing Britain and France that the Egyptian leader had to
go. After extensive military planning, the allies
decided to enact a revised Operation Musketeer, which General Charles Keighley outlined as
such: Stage one was for Britain and France to gain air superiority, and then a ten-day
‘aero-psychological’ campaign to overthrow Nasser would begin through strikes on transportation
and communication infrastructure, along with economic centres. The third part of the plan
was an Anglo-French airborne and naval assault aimed at occupying the canal zone.
Initially not connected to these allied preparations, Israel had already been preparing to invade
Sinai for months, and this was made easier when Nasser began to concentrate his forces
near the Nile Delta and Suez Canal, where his intelligence told him the allies offensives
would arrive. IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan drew up Operation Kadesh to exploit the situation,
and assigned four army groups to accomplish its objectives. A northern line of advance,
attacking towards al-Arish, would be taken by three brigades – two infantry and one armoured,
under Brigadier General Haim Lascov. Along the central axis – stretching across Sinai
from Ketziot to al-Ismailiyah – was Colonel Yenudah Wallach’s slightly larger detachment,
comprising 2 infantry and 2 armoured brigades, while the lightly defended southern zone from
the Mitla Pass to Suez was assigned only the 202nd Paratrooper Regiment. The fourth element
near Aqaba was assaulted by only one reserve infantry brigade.
By October 29th 1956 the IDF troops had taken their places at staging points in the Negev
region, and it was at 3PM the same day that Operation Kadesh began with an aerial assault
by IAF Mustangs on Egypt’s Sinai communication network. As this was happening, the 9th Infantry
Brigade in the far south captured the staging point of Ras an-Naqb without any casualties
by midnight on October 30th, bypassing Egyptian positions and attacking from unexpected angles.
Slightly further north, Ariel Sharon’s 202nd Parachutist Brigade began its militarily negligible
but politically crucial drop deep into Sinai4 an hour after Kadesh began. It was a raid
which would trigger the so-called ‘Sevres Protocol’, giving Britain and France the
excuse, they needed to enter the war, nominally to expel both Egypt and Israel from the canal
zone. This force advanced towards a heavily-garrisoned Themed and struck at dawn, when the sun was
blinding Egypt’s defenders. Israeli armour quickly overwhelmed opponents at the gap and
then took the area. Despite subsequently suffering aerial attack
by some Egyptian aircraft, Sharon then managed to take Nakla by breaking Egyptian morale
with artillery barrages. A masterful tactician but a dreadful strategist, Sharon then disregarded
the overall aims of his mission and entered the Heitan defile on bad intelligence, attacking
a well-defended gorge and a feature known as the ‘saucer’. After a day of heavy
combat which cost 38 Israeli lives, night favoured the IDF commandos and they secured
the area. The real fighting however, was in the centre and north, where Colonel Josef
Harpaz’s 4th Infantry Brigade moved to storm al-Qusaymah at night. Moving through difficult
terrain, and using a pincer maneuver to encircle the city, they collapsed the Egyptian forces,
and the city was captured just after 3am. Israel was now free to march towards the indefensible
city of Abu Uwayluh – a vital transportation hub with nearby roads leading out into the
entirety of Sinai, which if captured could lead to the fall of the entire peninsula.
What was defensible were the series of ridges east of the city – Ruafa, Umm Shihan and Umm
Qataf – known collectively as the ‘hedgehog’. For three days, 3,000 entrenched Egyptian
defenders held off around 12,000 Israelis, beating off attack after attack. Eventually
the IDF managed to encircle the hedgehog with the 7th Armoured Division after al-Qusaymah
fell, but resistance still proved difficult to crack.
Along the northern Rafah salient, Colonel Benjamin Givli’s 1st Infantry and Colonel
Haim Barvel’s 27th Armoured Brigades were faced by Brigadier General Jafaar al-Abd and
his reinforced 5th Infantry Brigade, along with a reserve at Rafah itself. It was a formidable
defensive zone, with dunes protecting the south while 18 small hills in the north and
centre provided high ground and ambush positions from which Egyptian troops, dug in with bunkers,
barbed wire, fences and mines protecting them, could attack. Moshe Dayan planned to use three
similarly powerful spearheads in order to get through this position, with each instructed
not to spend time reducing enemy positions, and to instead concentrate on making a breakthrough
somewhere, before converging at a place called the ‘Crossroads’, 3 miles west of the
salient. While fighting in the remainder of the Sinai
continued, Dayan waited to launch his three-pronged assault in the north until the Egyptians were
distracted by other military considerations. At 8PM on October 31st – thirteen hours after
Egypt had rejected the allies’ ultimatum to withdraw from the canal zone – ordinance
dropped from RAF Canberra bombers started hammering airfields and bases – eight in the
canal zone and four in the Nile Delta5 – at night.
With the bombardment of Egypt underway, Dayan’s northern attack began without much success
due to still-intact enemy defences. However, after infantry cleared several hills with
rockets, the 27rd Armoured Brigade’s Super Shermans and AMX-13s managed to smash through
the northern flank after a costly 3 hour fight. Before the pincers around Rafah could close,
Egyptian commander Al-Abd complied with Nasser’s second directive to withdraw, pulling what
remained of the Egyptian 5th Infantry out of danger and leaving the Israeli success
incomplete. As the infantry mopped up, flying columns of the 27th pushed quickly west towards
al-Arish. After being stalled for a few hours at the narrow Jeradi Pass, Bar Lev’s troops
managed to break through, but Egyptian artillery fire forced them to halt at twilight on the
1st of November. By this time, Nasser’s armies were withdrawing
wholesale from the Sinai Peninsula. Those pulling back from Rafah were joined by units
from the ‘hedgehog’, whose defenders had to flee through the desert and fell victim
to the environment in their retreat. Israeli success in the north severed Gaza from Egypt,
and Moshe Dayan, who considered the strip to be a ‘bridgehead’ for Egyptian assaults
on his state, commanded the 11th Infantry and 37th Armoured to first secure Gaza City,
and then Khan Yunus. After a 58 hour campaign, Gaza was conquered.
Far to the south, Israel’s main priority in Operation Kadesh was to reopen the Straits
of Tiran by securing dominance on the Gulf of Aqaba coast and capturing Sharm el Sheikh.
Since the beginning of the operation, the 9th Infantry Brigade had been ordered to remain
at Ras al-Naqab, as Moshe Dayan feared Egyptian air attacks would obliterate them in the open.
Sharon’s 202nd pivoted south along the Gulf of Suez to open a second front, while the
9th Infantry advanced in tandem. After retreating all the way to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian commander
Zaki was hit by ground forces behind a withering screen of airstrikes and surrendered at 9:30am
on November 5th. Operation Kadesh had finished, but Musketeer had barely even begun. West from the land theatre in Sinai, the allies
were intensifying their bombardment campaign in hopes of destroying the Egyptian air force,
in order to gain aerial supremacy before a land invasion began. As the sun appeared over
the horizon on the morning of November 1st, carrier-based Seahawks, Sea Venoms, and Corsairs
joined Cyprus-based F-87F Thunderstreaks in strafing and bombing Egyptian planes which
had not already been evacuated elsewhere. By the end of the day, 200 of Nasser’s aircraft
had been destroyed. With aerial supremacy secured, the allies
wanted to destroy enemy morale by attacking refineries and petroleum installations, but
worries about retribution against British oil interests in Iraq made this a non-starter.
Instead, a watered-down ‘aero-psychological’ campaign began with the bombing of Radio Cairo’s
headquarters and the destruction of its transmitter, while elsewhere aircrew balked at having to
drop propaganda leaflets over Egyptian cities. When push came to shove, limitations and fear
of civilian casualties rendered these morale attacks a useless sideshow compared to larger
military concerns. At the same time, preparations for phase III
began, with multi-purpose fighters switching to tactical and operational targets, such
as armour and trucks capable of reinforcing the canal zone, infrastructure on which they
could travel, and vehicle concentrations in the area.
With the coast fully clear, boots were now ready to set foot on Egyptian soil in the
form of Anglo-French parachutists, who were given the objective of securing valuable points
in the canal zone before UN talks, resuming on the 5th, could call a halt to operations.
After taking off from Nicosia at 4:15AM on that day, the 3rd Parachute Battalion Group
began their airdrop over a designated area 5 miles west of Port Said. Within an hour
of landing they had captured Gamil, before beginning their advance on Port Said itself.
10 miles southeast, minimal Egyptian resistance allowed focused French parachutists to easily
seize Raswa, which contained crucial waterworks for the port. Allied air superiority allowed
French commanders to circle about the battlefield in an airborne command post, allowing effective
integration of air support. Subsequent offensives also managed to eliminate all Egyptian resistance
in Port Fuad by late afternoon on the 5th of November.
At about the same time, the commander of Port Said – Brigadier Salaheddin Moguy, requested
negotiations after repelling an attack by parachutists. But after around four hours
– at about 9:30PM – he rejected all terms, by which time the allied armada was offshore
and ready to initiate landings. Before dawn on the 6th, attack aircraft strafed Port Said
and allied destroyers shelled it, forcing Egyptian soldiers to abandon their defensive
positions and flee inland. When 7AM came, men of 40 and 42 commando made
landfall and began to immediately use blitzkrieg tactics to thrust straight for strategic objectives
inland. After gaining this beachhead, the amphibious assault troops were continuously
reinforced, for the first time in history by helicopters operating from carriers Ocean
and Theseus. Egyptian resistance was fierce, but the disembarkation of Centurion tanks
gradually rooted them out of bases in such buildings as the Customs House and Navy House.
While resistance in Port Said still slowed down operations, a column a paratroopers reinforced
by Centurion tanks began a swift advance inland advance towards Al-Qantarah; they had been
informed of the upcoming ceasefire and wanted to get as far as they could. However, the
darkness of night, a cratered road, and confusion between various mixed units executing the
unplanned operation, prevented much progress. Instead, by 2AM on the 7th they were entrenching
in darkness near al-Cap, a canal station four miles north of al-Qantarah.
Once the Egyptian forces in the city realised that the British were so close, they set up
their own blocking positions half a mile away from the enemy’s front line. For five days
after, the British troops suffered small-arms fire and the threat of a full-scale attack
during the ceasefire. On the 5th of November the United Nations
Emergency Force, or UNEF, was created in order to provide a neutral peacekeeping unit to
replace the occupying forces. Danish, Norwegian and Colombian troops would replace the entrenched
Anglo-French throughout the ceasefire. The war was effectively over – US and Soviet pressure
had forced an Anglo-French withdrawal from Egypt, and an Israeli retreat from the Sinai
Peninsula. We are planning to cover more modern conflicts
both on Kings and Generals and our second channel The Cold War – the link to which
you can find in the description or in the top right corner, so make sure you are subscribed
to both. We would like to express our gratitude to our Patreon supporters and channel members,
who make the creation of our videos possible. Now, you can also support us by buying our
merchandise via the link in the description. This is the Kings and Generals channel, and
we will catch you on the next one.

100 thoughts on “Suez Crisis 1956 – Cold War DOCUMENTARY”

  1. Consider subscribing to our second channel – the Cold War – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCGvq-qmjFmmMD4e-PLQqGg we would love to get to 100k by the end of the year. 🙂

  2. Seriously? Replacing troops by nations who are not at war? Like Sweden 🇸🇪 Denmark 🇩🇰 and Colombia 🇨🇴 in egypt 🇪🇬?
    They are: « Ok… what are we doing here? »

  3. Excuse me, if you guys are recruited by gaming or movie firms in the future, please dont leave us…your videos were fascinating since i started watching them and it gets better and better…your documentaries are the only ones which managed to make me stay awake watching…

  4. First ever Kings & Generals video I've had issues with. It cut short before discussing the financial problems which forced Britain to comply with American demands for a withdrawal.

  5. Why don't u make video on india pakistan war of 1971, interesting material- new nation bangaldesh was born that year

  6. is it possible to do some documentary's on the various pictish tribes and their incursions into britian , post rome leaving there and this upload was a great and highly informative documentary as always!!! never stop

  7. I've always believed that Egypt should have sided with the USA after 1952….none of this would have happened. We had a narcissist son of a *** ruling the country with a bunch of wannabe- uneducated officers and they introduced the concept of nepotism in Egypt. This concept ultimately ruined the country and its army. Brigadier generals were assigned according to their loyalty and not according to their qualifications. Shortly after that, all of Egypt was being assigned jobs accordingly and the country fell into dismay and chaos.
    A very sad but true documentary.

  8. Left right and center, Nasser was being blocked.
    He is merely reacting to British Aggression.

    This video shows from the beginning British PM want to fight with the new Egypt Government.

  9. 2 key things you didn't discuss here. Firstly, future Canadian PM Lester B. Pearson was the one who formulated the ceasefire and was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his actions. Secondly, one of the sticking points of the ceasefire was that the Straits of Tiran were not to be blocked again under any condition. Egypt violated that in April 1967 to close Israel off from the Red Sea, effectively setting the casus belli for the Six Day War two months later.

  10. Eden also rejected the idea of France joining the commonwealth with the Queen as head of state. Eden was a failed opportunist.

  11. Great video! One thing that can be improved is that the soundeffects sometimes are to loud and drown out the commentaries. Otherwise it is near perfection.

  12. Did any Muslim nation win any war when they were ran by nationalism? It seems like nationalism does not work when it comes to Muslims.

  13. USSR told Britain, the France and Israel if you don’t get the f** out of Egypt 🇪🇬 I will enter the war on the side of the Egyptians and trigger World World War 3….. Uncle Sam (the yanks) get soooooo scared 😧 and told their father (Britain) ….Dady listen I think 🤔 your getting old now… it’s about time you retire in the commonwealth home for old people and drink your tea. Since than, grandpa Britain, the French eating croissants and Israel…(illegal colonisers of Palestine 🇵🇸) must seek future wars permission from Uncle Sam. True story ✌🏽✌🏽✌🏽✌🏽✌🏽

  14. dam, the Egyptian army can't handle sunlight and don't fight well at night! guess they should be more careful on scheduling their fights…..

  15. 3 super powers vs one defending country. do we still call armies as "defence force" when they invade country thousands of miles away?

  16. france& britain . always there. when a thirth world state decide and try to stand on it s feet and be strong. fucking colonialists imperialists

  17. The Egyptian resistance in Sinai was stubborn and inflicted heavy losses on Israelis although the fact that the majority of Egyptian forces had withdrawn from the peninsula 2 months earlier to gather and focus on the canal and the heart of Egypt. When the Israelis started their offensive, the Egyptian commanders were told to hold their ground for 72 hours to allow the rest of the force to complete their redeployment, actually they succeeded in postponing the advancing Israelis armors then began their long and notorious withdrawal under steady and consistent aerial bombardment of Israelis and French air forces. Over all the Egyptian main headquarter didn’t handle their issues effectively, they redeployed their forced to counter the British and French on the canal but they didn’t manage to perform a successful defense. The air supremacy of the allied forces which had been anticipated any way overshadowed the the Egyptian commender's thinking and they couldn’t cope effectively with that. The core of the Egyptian army dispersed in unorganized detachments and fought on their own without the supervision and the direction of supreme headquarter which was under shock and confusion . The Israelis were unable to keep Sinai and was coerced to abandon it in 1957 but they managed to secure their greatest prize since rise of Israeli through opening the straits and allow shipments to enter Aqaba gulf so they were able to convert Eilat port to an international port. Consequently, they were able to gain economically and afford many vacancies for their citizens by running this port. Naser deliberately hided this political setback from his citizens and announced what took place as an ultimate victory on three nations without running any accountability on who ran the military operations during the campaign or sought for regaining the Egyptian dominance on Aqaba gulf as soon as he restored his military capabilities. The great Egyptian hero chose to indulge in sea of victory illusions despite the fact of losing strategically against his principal enemy. His Arabian foes who already had known these facts ,which were not available for the public, decided to embarrass him in every moment through publishing that Naser permitted Israel to use the traits without objections and he was hiding behind the Un forces in Sinai. Finally. These propaganda gave their fruits and provoked president Naser to issue his most notorious decision of blocking the straits and expelling the UN in May 1967 while his essential forces had been heavily engaged in longstanding war in Yemen. He believed that he could run the crisis by the same way he had done 11 years earlier and get out with his political gains without being embroiled in war. Awfully, that was proven utterly wrong and the seeds of June 1967 catastrophic defeat had been laid during 1956 needless concessions.

  18. Great video. I only wish that today's American diplomats were as effective as those guys were in 1956. Also kudos to the Egyptian army for fiercely defending their territory after getting triple teamed

  19. TLDR: Britain and France get the memo that they are no longer allowed to act contrary to the wishes of the real powers.

  20. This has been one of your best videos yet, simply on how well it was made with the animations. Keep it up! 1 Million is within reach

  21. Militarily the operation was a success, politically it was a huge disaster for France and Britain, who realized that hey cant pretend that they are still in the 19th century.

  22. While the military action visuals are cool, it feels like it was almost irrelevant to the crisis. The end was basically "oh but whoops the crisis was actually resolved in the UN" and wasn't really covered much. Would love to see a follow up video on the actual diplomatic stakes.

  23. Can anyone please tell how to make this type of videos …tools and softwares required to make this videos…pls guys looking forward for a valuable suggestion……

  24. This was was not only the end of Eden.. but it declared the end of the British empire
    Usa wanted originally to remove Nasser because of the arm deal .. but they were pissed the uk, france and israel conspired behind their back
    Which seemed like uk was trying to regain foothold they lost prior ww2
    Hens usa decide to teach uk a lesson
    The british pound suffered .. consipircy between the 3 countries were leaked to press under the name "protocol of sevres"
    Eden political career ended misrabliy
    Nasser came out of the war stronger than ever, he was appreachated for not bowing down for imperialism
    The war give him golden chance to nationalize the rest of banks, factories and land were under the control of foreigner
    Got closer to ussr without turning to communism , unlike the west they offered real help
    We wanted to build a free country
    60s were the golden era of egypt
    Yet the west didnt leave nasser or egypt alone
    I
    Usa unleashed israel back, then the islamists.. just to make sure egypt Nasser will never come back
    Well, know this .. we remember .. it is our canal our land we have been fighting for,
    Nasser idea will not die no matter how any islamists and dictators u throw on us
    We will be back

  25. The most interesting thing about this operation is that the most interesting things about this operation happened after it, and especially before it, not during it.

    I read a biography about Moshe Dayan, and the discussions and negotiations between Israel, UKread past and France are simply fascinating.

  26. Proud Egyptian and descendant of the brave city of Port Said .. My Grandfather (who wasn't a military man) hold any weapon he could get and fought with the people of the city against the invaders .. even women helped in the fight.
    It's a proud memory that my grandfather shared in defeating 3 countries altogether.

  27. Inaccurate to have Ireland covered in a union flag. It had broken away in 1919 & have completely shed any colonial tendrils upon the Republic of Ireland by 1948. It wasent part of the UK or the British empire by 1956.

  28. Why didn't you talk about the Egyptian Navy Torpedo boats that could sink a British destroyer and a French battleship? Or the Egyptian Airborne defensive operation in Suez city?

  29. ENOUGH LIES This video is full with misinformation and lies.. Giving the Israeli side of the story. The Israelis that invaded a country and try to take chunk of it in coordination Britain and France . They all failed because Naser refused to relent or surrender ,and the Soviet Union forced them to withdraw , by threatening to hit London , Paris and Tel Aviv with long range rockets.

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