Story of Zvika Greengold, hero of the Yom Kippur war, said to be false

Back in August of 2015 we had linked to an article describing the actions of Zvika Greengold, an Israeli Medal of Valor recipient who was said to have single-handedly destroyed numerous Arab tanks during the Yom Kippur War.  A new article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is making the claim that Greengold’s story was a tall tale spun to boost unit morale.

Excerpt:

2799866078A senior Israeli army officer who fought in the Yom Kippur War says he made up one of the most famous tales of Israeli heroism in that war, in an effort to boost morale.

In a report broadcast Friday night on Channel 2, Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. (res.) Yair Nafshi said he concocted the story about how IDF tank commander Lt. Zvika Greengold single-handedly destroyed dozens of Syrian tanks in the Golan Heights in October 1973, holding off the Syrian advance.

Nafshi, a battalion commander in the 188th Brigade in which Greengold also served, said he created the story in order to improve morale in the unit, which had lost a large number of troops in the war.

“We had to rebuild [the unit] from nothing. What did you want? We needed some kind of story,” said Nafshi.

Another officer interviewed for the report, Col. (res.) Amnon Sharon – who fought with Greengold and was taken prisoner by the Syrians – said that when he finally met up with him, Greengold made no mention of destroying the tanks. “The public needs to know the truth, so I can’t remain silent any longer,” said Sharon.

Read the full article here.

 

 

US Tanker Herbert Hoover Burr

The Kansas City Star has posted a story about US Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Herbert Hoover Burr as part of their “Hometown Heroes” series.  Burr was a tank gunner in the 11th Armored Division who was awarded for bravery on several occasions during the fighting in Europe in 1944-1945.

Article excerpt:

herbert_h-_burrOn March 19, 1945, just outside the German village of Dörrmoschel, an American tank, already ablaze from a rocket strike, rounded a corner and and surprised an enemy anti-tank gun crew in the road.

Point-blank range. Surprised the tank driver, too. All the Germans had to do was pull the lanyard and blast a shell — big enough to blow up a building — into the tank. But they didn’t. Probably because the tank was so badly damaged it didn’t appear to pose much of a threat.

What they didn’t know: The 24-year-old soldier driving the tank was a scrappy Kansas City house painter who liked to drink beer and fight.

No, Herbert Hoover Burr, alone in that tank, did not have a working gun. But at that point in that day and in a war that had gone so long, he didn’t need one. He dropped the hammer and headed straight for the German 88 mm anti-tank gun.

“So unexpected and daring was his assault that he was able to drive his tank completely over the gun, demolishing it and causing its crew to flee in confusion,” said the citation for the Medal of Honor that Burr received for actions that day.