If the Jordanian guns caught them in the open as they crossed no-man’s-land, his battalion would be shredded. But Yaffe hoped that the Israeli bombardment prior to the assault would stun the Jordanians, including artillery spotters, sufficiently to permit the attack force to reach the enemy trenches.
At least 50 yards separated the two barbed wire concertinas, a stretch almost certain to be mined, but it would take too long to attempt to blow a path through with bangalores. The intensive shelling of the area before the attack was designed in part to detonate the mines, but the results could not be certain.
Returning to Bait Hakerem, the company commanders briefed their platoon commanders. Capt. Rutenberg, who would lead his men onto Ammunition Hill, said they would cross no-man’s-land in single file. If someone stepped on a mine, the men behind would step on him and continue moving forward in a straight line.
Under no circumstances would anyone stop to tend the wounded until the enemy positions dominating no-man’s-land had been taken.
Abraham Rabinovich is a former reporter with The Jerusalem Post who covered the Six-Day War. His classic account of the conflict, from which this essay was adapted, has just been published in a revised and expanded eBook – “The Battle for Jerusalem: An Unintended Conquest That Echoes Still” – available at Amazon.com.