No terrorist can feel safe anymore.
A huge amount of material has been written on the topic of Israeli special forces. From quite sane, good articles to complete nonsense. The balance of scales inexorably leans towards delirium. I decided to try to write a review of the main Israeli special forces based solely on authoritative sources and personal information.
Today in Israel you can count dozens of different elite and not very special units. These are police, counter-terrorism, reconnaissance, sabotage, evacuation, engineering and other specialized units of different types of troops, police, border guard service.
Also, almost every infantry or tank the brigade. Plus, a number of narrow-profile units attached to individual military branches or to ministries and departments.
Many of these units are of course classified and information about them is not so much. This partly gives rise to a great multitude of all sorts of myths and speculations often reaching the point of absurdity.
I will describe only a few of the most well-known and illustrious units of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). But first, a little bit of the section ...
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF - from TsVA Ha Agan Le Israel) was founded on May 26. Two weeks after the proclamation of independence and already during the first war of Israel - the “War of Independence”.
In fact, it was the unification of several Zionist paramilitary organizations in the army. The backbone of the new army was composed of the fighters "Agan" (Defense).
Many of the soldiers who arrived in Israel already had combat experience gained during their service in the armies of other countries. These were mainly Jewish soldiers of the British Army, the Polish Army, the Red Army and the fighters of partisan units who fought on the fields of the Second World War.
Also in Israel itself (Mandatory Palestine) there were many young activists of Zionist organizations, some of whom were trained by the British to repel a possible fascist invasion of Palestine.
The first such detachments were the Palmas (Makhats Plugs - Attack Companies). Many of the children born in Mandatory Palestine joined the ranks of Jewish militarized organizations from the age of 13-14. And by 16-ti became full fighters.
The British also prepared Jewish fighters for saboteurs, divers, demolition men. One of the founders of the Jewish special forces can be called Ord Charles Wingate (Wingate).
Ord Charles Wingate is a British intelligence officer.
This officer, imbued with the idea of Zionism and the creation of the Jewish State, prepared many future fighters for the Israeli special forces at the end of the 30s. Jewish soldiers conducted a series of operations in Lebanon and Syria.
For example, Moshe Dayan performed such special tasks, during one he lost an eye.
Considering that by the year 1943, the situation in British Palestine became tense and turned into a Zionist guerilla war against the British Mandate in some places, and also considering that Jewish settlements needed constant protection and protection from Arab banditry, in general, people with combat experience at the time of formation The state was already quite a lot.
Much more significant problems were associated with a lack of weapons and military equipment.
The first specialized special unit of the IDF is considered to be Yehida 101 (101 Division). This unit was created by 5 August 1953. The initiator of the creation was Colonel Michel Shaham, and the unit commander was Captain Ariel (Arik) Sharon.
Commander-in-Chief Mordechai Macklef agreed with the idea of Shaham and Sharon to create a small, secret, special unit for sabotage and special operations in the rear of the enemy.
Actually, a young student of the Faculty of History Sharon with his friends and a colonel who commanded the Shahs district of Jerusalem had previously “played about” operations in the Arab rear. But it was in August that the 53 division received official status.
Fighters 101 units on the march, pay attention to the weapons - the German MP-40.
At that time, the main AOI submachine gun was the British Stan and his copies produced in Israel. Stan was a capricious and unreliable weapon, so the 101 fighters armed themselves mainly with MP-40 and American Thompsons. Having existed for about five months in total, the division with a total of ~ 50 people nevertheless entered history. 101 conducted a series of effective and daring attacks, and raids were organized on the lairs of terrorists who attacked from neighboring territories controlled by their Arab neighbors.
It was the people of Sharon who became the first division to work in advance, to work hard and uncompromisingly. In addition to Arik Sharon, many very talented, intelligent professionals gathered in this division.
They developed their own doctrines of warfare with Arab terror. These methods, in spite of their effectiveness, subsequently greatly frightened the leadership of the army and the State, since the international community repeatedly condemned the force methods of the Israelis, and problems arose in the form of economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Raid on Kibiya village
In December, 1953 th terrorists infiltrated from Jordan threw a fragmentation grenade into one of the houses in the Yehud settlement. A woman and two small children died, and several people were injured.
The government of Israel responded promptly. The 101 squadron, together with the paratroopers from the 890 battalion, was assigned a combat mission - to enter the village of Kibiya with a battle, destroying the living force, causing maximum damage to the infrastructure, destroying a number of infrastructure buildings and turning the villagers to flight.
At the same time, it is still unclear who changed the softer wording of the order from the General Staff, but Sharon received such a harsher order from the central district.
Fighters of the 101 squad infiltrated Kibiya village on Jordanian territory and captured it in combat. Then 45 homes of the dominant families were blown up.
Kibiya was one of the main bases of the Arab (then they were not yet called Palestinian) terrorists. In addition, a Jordanian fortified point was nearby, which was also defeated. The Arab Legion soldiers stationed there also fled.
As a result, more than 60 people, including women and children, died from the Arab side. They hid in cellars and in attics, waiting for it to end, and were inundated with fragments of blown-up homes.
The members of the assault team denied the premeditated murder of civilians. According to them, there was no time to thoroughly search every house. They found one girl and an old man, who were sent to a nearby village and began to mine houses they thought were empty.
Apparently frightened, some of the residents hid and sat quietly in the cellars, in the attics and upper floors, hoping to wait out the raid. Thousands of people in this village fled without hindrance. The attempts of the Arab counterattacks were repulsed by a covering group.
The order featured two more smaller villages that also needed to be penetrated, but this order was not executed, only diversion maneuvers were conducted there and they started a shootout. Sharon reported on the task, noting about 15 killed enemies.
The UN and the international community have traditionally condemned this raid. What is actually not surprising given the number of civilians killed. As a result, this resulted in political and economic sanctions, the United States refused to sell arms to Israel.
The 101 division was soon formally disbanded, although its entire backbone joined the 890 landing battalion, and in fact Arik Sharon became a battalion commander. In addition to the episode in Kibiye, there were still a number of “punctures” of the unit ending with scandals.
There are a variety of assessments of the actions of the 101 unit, ranging from the fact that these were the best and most effective methods of dealing with terrorists to the fact that these were fascist methods of punishers.
However, from a technical point of view, these were perfectly planned and completely different operations than those previously carried out by IDF fighters. In the 4 month of their work, the 101 division made a lot of noise and sowed panic among the Arabs.
No terrorist could feel safe anymore. 101 fighters attacked refugee camps, fortified Arab villages, blew up houses, ambushed, captured prisoners, which led to the demoralization of the enemy.
There was no longer a border beyond which it was safe. Terrorists could expect attacks on Egyptian and Jordanian territory, in the camp and on the march. The Israelis were driving Bedouin tribes of robbers across the hot Negev desert, wreaking havoc and panic in their ranks.
They also conducted a grueling 42-kilometer march round trip in a cold and snowy night over the hilly terrain of Hebron in order to undermine the home of one of the main Arab terrorists.
Although in essence, this unit did not conduct anything even remotely resembling the complexity of the British SAS operation, for example. But it was this unit that gave rise to and laid a solid foundation in the formation of the legendary AOI units, which soon showed the whole world how to fight terror.
It was the fighters of this unit who became the progenitors and developers of the concept of bold sabotage attacks to the enemy's rear, which then became an integral part of any Israeli war and military operation.
Several of the most legendary army commanders were raised in the ranks of this unit, and the 890 Battalion, which arose on its basis, who later served to ministers, chiefs of the general staff and the highest posts in the army and the State.
In the meantime, the 1954 year began and the 101 division was disbanded. Ariel Sharon became commander of the 890 airborne battalion. More than half of the 101 fighters integrated into the new division.
The part considered that a larger connection with stricter rules is not for them and someone wandered off to where. Nevertheless, Sharon saved the backbone of his people from 101, each of whom deserves a full-fledged separate story.
In the same year, Yitzhak Rabin, then the head of the personnel training department at the General Staff, proposed the creation of his own special forces school. The main goal was to increase the level of physical, tactical and strong-willed training of special forces officers.
Intelligence 890 th landing battalion 1954g. Armament MP-40 and American PP Thompson.
Arik Sharon and his deputy on the 890 Battalion, Aaron Davidi, have developed a detailed selection, training and certification program for the special forces school. The program included three months of intensive grueling training at the base of the airborne troops Tel Nof.
The cadets were mainly IDF officers with good physical training. The program included parachute training, hand-to-hand combat, tactics, sapper and other disciplines.
Fighters for the development of hand-to-hand combat skills. In the corner is an icon about the end of the unarmed combat course.
Ariel Sharon and Aaron Davidi. Israeli PP Uzi on the shoulder of Aaron Davidi. "Black Arrow" was the first combat operation where they used a new Israeli submachine gun. The assault group also used the Bazooka grenade launchers for the first time.
By 1955 year, the situation on the borders of Israel became very tense. Syria, Egypt, Jordan, who were defeated in 1948, still wanted to rehabilitate themselves.
In fact, this was a sluggish war - Arab terrorists still made attacks and forays, people still died. SWAT again carried out actions of retaliation.
Sharon understood that it was not enough to punish individual extremists, that it was necessary to deprive them of the support of neighboring states. Therefore, for the support of terrorists often punished neighboring countries. The peculiarities of the current conflict dictated their conditions for an effective struggle.
Black Arrow 28.02-01.03 1955
In the Gaza Strip (then the territory of Egypt), an operation took place which was caused by a series of murders and attacks in the border area, committed by terrorists penetrating from the Sector. An order was received to conduct a sabotage on the territory of a military base near the city of Gaza.
The purpose of the operation is to disable the water supply system, undermine the railway station, and destroy the infrastructure. The living force of the Egyptian army could be destroyed only if it interfered with the execution of the task.
The command was entrusted to Sharon. The operation involved graduates of special forces courses, as well as younger fighters - graduates of command courses of the landing troops. The operation was carried out, although it was slightly delayed.
Egyptian casualties - 37 killed and 31 injured, losses of paratroopers - 8 killed and 13 injured.
This was the first IDF operation directed strictly against the enemy army. According to the results of the operation, the Egyptians were hastily armed with new Soviet weapons, formally purchased from Czechoslovakia, which ultimately led to the 1956 Sinai campaign, with disastrous results for the Egyptians.
Several special forces officers of the 890 Battalion received the highest army awards for their courage on the battlefield.
Sharon examines trophies after the next retaliation operation. In this operation, 6 Syrians were captured to be exchanged for a soldier abducted at the border, as well as captive paratrooper fighters.
The official reasons for the operation were the shelling of Israeli fishing vessels and coast guard boats from the Syrian side. More than 20 cases of shooting at fishing boats were recorded in November, including shooting a cannon at a coast guard boat - damage was caused, there were no dead.
However, there is a version that in addition to this reason, which prompted the Israelis to respond, there was another one. The same outlined purchase of weapons by the Egyptians in Czechoslovakia.
The fact is that between Syria and Egypt there existed a military alliance obliging to immediately enter the war. Thus, by attacking Syria, Israel either broke off this alliance, if Egypt did not intervene for an ally, or forced Egypt to enter the war on favorable terms for Israel, since deliveries of Soviet weapons had just begun.
The IDF Command did not like the prospect that Egypt would buy 150 MiG-15 / 17 and then attack Israel. At that time, the IDF Air Force did not have jet planes capable of effectively countering the MiG-15 and, especially, the MiG-17.
In addition to the MiG fighters, Egypt "acquired" the Il-28 bombers, T-34, BTR-120 tanks, self-propelled guns and other weapons.
However, the operation itself consisted in the destruction of the Syrian fortified sites along the east coast of Lake Kinneret. And also, the capture of Syrian officers for the subsequent exchange for four scouts of the Golani infantry brigade captured by the Syrians almost a year ago.
The main strike force of the operation was Sharon’s 890 battalion, and he also commanded the entire operation. Auxiliary units, such as gunners, the coast guard, and a detachment of infantry from the Givati brigade, were provided for support.
Special Forces overnight coped with the operation and took strong points. As a result, almost 60 Syrian soldiers and officers were killed, another 30 were captured. Killed six special forces soldiers and 14 injured. For their heroism on the battlefield, 890 officers were awarded the highest awards by the IDF.
Egyptian trophy weapon, taken as a result of 20 minute assault on an army base in the rear of the enemy in the Sinai Peninsula. Together with the captured weapons, paratroopers carried out 29 of Egyptian soldiers and officers from this operation, some were wounded, so they were literally rendered.
The commander of the General Staff, Moshe Dayan, inspects the trophies of the operation "Egged" - Alpha machine guns (the Egyptian clone of the Spanish machine gun of the same name) based on Tel Nof. Arik Sharon and Meir xAr Zion are accompanied by a commander.
The mounted Machine Guns of the Browning system captured by the 890 battalion fighters in retaliation action. This weapon was seized at the Jordanian police station.
The decision to attack the police station came after an attack by Arab Legion soldiers on the IDF reservist unit during the 10.09.56 exercise. Then the Israeli military 6 died, on the second day fighters of the joint detachment from the 890-th and 88-th landing battalions attacked the Jordanian sector and blew it up.
In this battle, Meir Xar Zion was seriously wounded and the 890 medical officer of the battalion operated him directly in the field while the battle was going on. The bold decision of the doctor saved the life of the commander - a tracheotomy was needed because the bullet pierced his throat and stuck in the back of his head.
In general, the period from 1953 to 1956 passed in a year of sluggish conflict. The Arabs continued to attack the Israelis, the special forces responded with retaliation.
Actions of retribution were much less frequent than the attacks of the Arabs, but in almost every such action the Arabs suffered very tangible losses. The 101 division of Ariel Sharon marked the beginning of the very glorious and rich history of the Israeli special forces.
This moment was key, because it was from that moment that the AOI from the passively defending army turned into an army capable of advancing, inflicting preventive strikes, wreaking havoc and demoralizing the enemy.
Each of these enemies for these couple of years has felt that such actions of retaliation carried out by special forces. The doctrine, traditions, credo of this unit for a few years spread over many other units that began to be created in the army after the success of the 101 and 890 battalion of paratroopers.