Mémoires de la guerre de 1956 à Suez
Beyond the din of the battle: Stories from the struggle for Port Said | MadaMasr
At midnight on November 4, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Abdellatif al-Bughdadi snuck out of the Revolutionary Council premises in Zamalek, where they had been camped for days, and took the road to Port Said.
Egypt had been under attack by Israeli forces since October 29, and was bombarded by French and British forces on October 31, after rejecting a British ultimatum to withdraw from the canal area. Nasser, Bughdadi and the rest of the Revolutionary Council gathered in Zamalek in an attempt to hold the fort. Their days and nights were rife with panic, anxiety and arguments as to whether they should surrender, given the dreary outlook for both them and the country.
On November 4, Nasser decided to break the paralysis and head to Port Said to assess the damage and entice a stranded military to send back-up forces from Sinai to Port Said. Bughdadi insisted on joining him.
The road to Ismailia was littered with scenes of defeat: tanks and military vehicles were stranded, set on fire, burned, or simply abandoned. Bughdadi recounts in his memoirs how a shocked Nasser kept asking him why he thought every vehicle looked the way it did. As they drove into the night through the disaster in silence, he recounts how Nasser kept murmuring to himself in English, “I was defeated by my army…”