Egyptian Paratroopers

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Egyptian Paratroopers
US Army 52219 U.S., foreign paratroopers get ready for a big jump at Fort Bragg 6.jpg
Egyptian paratroopers conduct rehearsals at Pope Air Force Base during Exercise Bright Star '10.
BranchEgyptian Army
TypeAirborne infantry
EngagementsSuez Crisis, Six-Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Gulf War
Luiteneant General Magdy Abo ElMagd

Egyptian paratroopers are the airborne infantry units of the Egyptian Army.

The history of the paratroopers in Egypt begins with the foundation of the paratroopers school in 1954 by Saad el-Shazly, who commanded the first paratrooper battalion in Egypt. A UAR parachute battalion was dispatched to the Congo on 9 August 1960, as part of the United Nations Operation in the Congo.[1] The battalion was made up of 350 Egyptians and 150 Syrians, all speaking either French or English, under the command of Saad el-Shazly, though later reports gave the battalions strength as 550. It was originally announced that the unit was to go to Coquilhatville in the north, but it appears to have spent a significant amount of time at the airport at Léopoldville.

The paratroopers fought in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, without conducting any combat drops. Shazli writes that there were three parachute brigades in the force structure.[2] The numbers usually associated with the parachute brigades are 150, 160, and 182, and Shazli uses two of those designations. Trevor N. Dupuy writes the 182nd Brigade was assigned to Second Army, while 150 and 160 were in GHQ reserve,[3] and Shazli says a brigade moves forward from reserve on or about 17/18 October 1973. Ismalia is a likely location for where the 182nd Brigade fought,[4] and a brigade coming forward from reserve would be consistent with the 150th.[5]

Ismail Azmy, commander of the 182nd Paratrooper Brigade

After the Battle of the Chinese Farm, Ismaila was under threat. The 182nd Paratrooper Brigade, comprising the 81st, 85th and 89th Battalions (each composed of three companies) under the command of Colonel Ismail Azmy, was assigned responsibility for defending the area south of Ismailia against an Israeli offensive. Azmy arrived at Nafisha with the bulk of his brigade at midnight on October 17, where he was briefed by Brigadier General Abd el-Munim Khalil, commander of Second Army. Khalil identified the west bank strong points as objectives for the paratroopers to secure, as the ramparts could be used to provide fire support to Egyptian forces on the east bank. The paratroopers would also hold Serabaeum and the bridges there over the Sweetwater Canal.[6][7]

In the Battle of Ismailia, the combined Egyptian paratrooper-commando (Sai'qa) force managed to achieve a tactical and strategic victory at a time when Egypt's general situation on the battlefield was deteriorating, and GHQ was in a state of confusion. Sharon's advance toward Ismailia had been halted, and Second Army's logistical lines remained secure.[8] According to Dupuy, the Israelis remained about ten kilometers south of Ismailia, now mostly a wrecked city.[9]


  1. ^ Middle East Record Volume 1, 1960. The Moshe Dayan Center. pp. 28–29.
  2. ^ Shazly, Lieutenant General Saad el (2003). The Crossing of the Suez, Revised Edition (Revised ed.). American Mideast Research. ISBN 0-9604562-2-8.
  3. ^ Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt (1978). Elusive victory: The Arab–Israeli Wars, 1947–1974. San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-011112-7.
  4. ^ Suez '73
  5. ^ "Command Decision - Test of Battle -- View topic - Chinese Farm OB". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  6. ^ Hammad (2002), pp.426–428
  7. ^ O'Ballance (1997), p.235
  8. ^ Gawrych (1996), p.73, and Gawrych (2000), pp.220, 231
  9. ^ Dupuy (2002), p.529