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 Days of Diege and War
The Thirty-Five Company 

 

The company was composed of 40 fighters, members of the Palmach and the Haganah Field Army commanded by Danny Mas, who was replaced in his post as commander of Gush Etzion by Uzi Narkiss.              The night after the attack, they set out on foot from Jerusalem to Gush Etzion, but were compelled to turn back. The next night between 4-5 Shvat 5748 (15-16.1 .1948) the fighters again set out on a different route, carrying  arms and ammunition, medical supplies, batteries and explosives to Gush Etzion.  After  being transported from Jerusalem, the company was delayed at the Moshava of Har-Tuv. Two fighters were left behind because they had no weapons.  On the way, another fighter sprained his ankle and together with two escorts returned to Har-Tuv.

The Memorial on "Battle Hill"

Despite the late hour (1:00 a.m.) and with 25 kilometers ahead of them, the thirty-five fighters continued onward towards Gush Etzion passing by hostile Arab villages on the ascent to the Hebron Hills. At dawn, they were discovered by early-rising Arabs in the region of the village of Zurif. They had only a very short distance to go in order to extricate themselves from the danger zone but their path was blocked.  A fierce battle developed between the unit and the masses of Arabs who surrounded it.  Moving together with their wounded towards the lofty Sansan Ridge, the fighters fortified themselves on Hill 573 which they reached from the deep Wadi Etzion.  The final battle that continued until evening took place on the hilltop.  Gush Etzion, the destination of their trek, could be seen on the horizon.

Only when the fighters' ammunition ran out, did the Arabs succeed in storming the hill and taking it over. The attackers pillaged, looted, and afterwards even mutilated the corpses. Two days after the battle, the corpses were brought to Kfar Etzion by the British police superintendent, Hamish Dugan , and buried.  Some of the finest fighters and commanders of the Palmach and the Field Amy were among those who fell.  After the War of Independence their coffins were transferred together with those of the other fighters who were buried in Gush Etzion to the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

 

 Casualties of the Therty-Five

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