Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 10
The Palmach and the Night of the Bridges
i. Givat Hayim
ii. Ramat Gan
iii. Night of the Bridges
iv. Attack on Railway Workshops
v. OP Agatha
vi. Bombing of the king David Hotel
vii. Operation Shark
Rivers and wadis separated Palestine from neighbouring countries. Numerous bridges connected Palestine to Lebanon,Syria, Egypt and Transjordan by road and rail. Some bridges were centuries old, some very modern. The painting on the left depicts the 13th century Damia bridge across the river Jordan in the 19th century.
On the night of the 16th to the 17th of June 1946 the Palmach succeeded in blowing up seven road bridges and two railway bridges, effectively cutting Palestine off from contact with the outside world. This was their major contribution to the United Jewish Resistance.
Preparations for the huge project started early with the Palmach platoons scheduled to carry out the operation, reconnoitering the area around their allotted target, taking photographs and working out possible access and escape paths.
To camouflage the real purpose of their operations, confuse the British, and allow platoon members to escape more easily, the Palmach simultaneously carried out around 50 diversionary operations throughout the country.
Most platoons succeeded in destroying their targets and in escaping to safety even when they came under fire.
Only one attempt ended in tragedy and without the whole task accomplished. Nehemiah Schein's platoon had been detailed to blow up two bridges, one road and one rail, over the Nahal Kziv. The police discovered the platoon while it was sneaking toward the bridges. During the ensuing shoot-out some explosives blew up, destroying the railway bridge and killing 13 Palmach members. The remnants of Schein's platoon avoided capture by taking refuge in a cave near Kibbutz Hanitas. The road bridge remained intact.
Next- Irgun's Attack on the Railway Workshop
Text - Copyright British Palestine Police Association