LONDON (Aug. 31)
An upsurge in deliveries of Soviet weapons to Egypt since the Middle East truce went into effect Aug. 7 was reported from reliable sources over the week-end. They are said to include 203 mm. howitzers with an 18-mile range, the largest cannon in the Russian arsenal. According to the sources the big guns have not yet been deployed but presumably would be moved into position if the cease-fire ends. Another weapon reportedly delivered to Egyptian forces is the ZSU four-barrelled, radar controlled anti-aircraft battery, capable of firing 4000 rounds per minute. It has been seen so far only in the Soviet Union and Poland. Some observers believe the new weapon deliveries are intended to replace the heavy equipment losses suffered by the Egyptians under constant Israeli serial bombardment before the Suez Canal zone cease-fire went into effect. The new equipment, it is believed, will be manned by Soviet technicians.
It is estimated here that the Israeli Air Force intensive bombings of Egyptian military positions during May, June and July, mainly against guns and anti-aircraft missile emplacements, resulted to heavy equipment losses for the Egyptians and Egyptian dead and wounded has been placed at about 10,000 during those three months. According to observers here, the total number of Soviet military personnel in Egypt is currently estimated at 10,000 which includes several thousand technicians and advisors. According to estimates last spring there were as many as 40,000 Russian military personnel. Recent speculation that a “secret” Soviet development of a large naval base at Matruh, some 150 miles west of Alexandria, has been dispelled by western observers in Cairo who reported that there has been some dredging activity at Matruh but no evidence of a naval base.