Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Edward Gibson Lanpher
LANPHER: I think we all thought it was probably a just war in the sense that Israel didn't really have much of an alternative. I don't think we spent a lot of time pondering that question. We were all too busy. Our ambassador, Ambassador Barbour, was probably the most plugged in American ambassador there ever was. When the first air strike went off on Monday morning, he was invited to the cabinet room and sat with the rest of the cabinet for a briefing on it. He was like the 21st member of the cabinet. That was the nature of the relationship. So, we were very well informed. With the Egyptian air force out of action, the war was essentially won in the first hour. The rest of it was on the ground as the Israelis blitzed with their tank force through Gaza and into the northern Sinai. I was one of the first Americans down into the northern Sinai after the war. The devastation of the “blitzkrieg” was quite incredible.
Q: What was the impression of the two armies that you were gettinfrom the attaches, the Egyptian and the Israeli armies?
LANPHER: The Israeli army and the Israeli air force were exceedingly well trained and maintained their equipment well. They were much smaller, but man for man probably 10 times as effective. Our attaches thought they were damned good, but you never know until you're tested. Looking ahead, after the war... At that time, the biggest tank battle ever fought in the world was done in the central Sinai, over 1,000 tanks engaged. It was near the Mitla Pass.