In addition to the grueling physical exams, cadets were also required a high level of education
So, since I started my work with stories Army Special Forces, I will continue in this context, trying to preserve the chronology. It is trying, because it is not so easy.
The fact is that after the successful attacks of the fighters Arik Sharon, Meir xAr Zion, Aaron Davidi, Mordechai Gore and other officers of the 101 and 890 units of the landing battalion, the already tough competition between people from different Jewish military organizations of the 40- period x
In addition, the specifics of the theater of operations changed rather quickly, it was necessary to expand all the time, improve training, use new equipment, weapons and, consequently, change tactics.
Special forces operations have become much more complex and multifaceted, what yesterday was an achievement, has become the norm. The radius of action and goals were getting farther and more difficult. It took interaction with other types of troops and government services.
Only the basic foundations laid by the founders — courage, heroism, and the will to win — did not change. Since many people received specialized training even before the proclamation of the State and before the formation of the IDF, they successfully applied their potential and experience in the service.
One such specialist was Abraham Arnan. The guy from a religious, large family was born in Jerusalem in 1930, Abraham Erling (his name was later changed to Jewish Arnan) was the eighth child in the family. At the age of 16, he joined Agana, and in 18 he graduated from the Palmach Commanders course.
He took part in a number of key battles of the War of Independence, was wounded several times. At the beginning of 50-x began working on the creation of military intelligence IDF. He specialized in illegal intelligence, gathering information on the territory of hostile states.
Worked in Iraq and Iran. He was the one who had the idea to create a special military intelligence unit under the general staff. The idea embodied in 1957g. The new unit was a consolidated detachment selected from the veterans of the 101 unit, paratroopers, as well as veterans of the Arab Platoon of Palmach.
The Arabic Platoon is a group of Palmah fighters created on the initiative of Igal Alon in 1943. The group intended for intelligence and sabotage activities was disguised as an Arab population. It consisted mainly of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries or born in Israel in the families of repatriates of those.
The fighters of the Arab Platoon knew Arabic well, they understood the intricacies of the culture and the mentality of the Arabs could easily dissolve in the crowd. The total experience of the fighters of a completely different profile served as a solid basis for creating one of the best special forces in the World.
The unit wore 269 and 262 indexes, but it is more known under the name of Sayret MATKAL - which means the Special Forces of the General Staff.
The first issue of special forces military intelligence MATKAL 1958g. Please note that some of the fighters have a characteristic eastern appearance, the second part of the fighters with a European appearance. In this photo, Arnan himself (standing second from left), also the future Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak - (sitting third from right).
Abraham Arnan studied the history of the British SAS, in particular, he was very impressed with the book by David Stirling (the founder of SAS). Therefore, he formed his unit along a similar principle, focusing on the same key elements of training.
Admission to the unit was strictly limited for reasons of secrecy. In addition to the grueling physical exams for endurance and willpower, Arnan demanded that the cadets also have a high level of education and intellectual abilities.
With education, some problems have arisen with regard to the "Arab Legion". Many immigrant families from Arab countries were formally poorly educated. At first, there were concessions in this regard.
The existence of the unit itself was not advertised until 80x. Most of the operations of the special unit MATCAL are classified to this day. Nevertheless, a number of operations brought, without exaggeration, worldwide fame to the unit and the State.
Despite the image of the anti-terrorism unit created in 70, MATCAL is not one. From the available bits of information, leaked in 2000-x in the autobiographical books of Israeli Air Force officers, you can draw a slightly different picture.
For example, in the middle of 60, small detachments (up to five fighters) of the MATCAL units secretly penetrated into the territory of Egypt by helicopters. The helicopters were carefully prepared, especially navigational routes were painstakingly built at the headquarters of the Air Force, the best and most experienced pilots were flown.
Helicopters were going at extremely low altitude under the cover of the terrain. Also mentioned are specific heavy equipment developed by the military intelligence technology department. What exactly did these groups and what kind of equipment we can only guess.
Given that all participants in the operations were marked by high rewards, we can assume that the operations were intelligence and had strategic importance.
Considering also that in the Six Day War 1967 of the year Israel was well aware of the location, armament, strength, staffing and even the daily routine of the Egyptian units deployed on the Sinai Peninsula, it can be assumed that military intelligence had a hand in it the face of his elite unit.
Several such operations commanded Ehud Barak. Code names of operations, dates and some details of operations appear in a number of memoirs and are confirmed by the AOI award documents.
Revenge for EL-AL
Nevertheless, the open part of the history of the unit is often purely army sabotage operations. The first widely known operation was a raid on Beirut airport 28 December 1968.
The operation was a response to a new wave of Arab terror that swept through Europe that year.
Thus, in the summer, terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took EL-AL flight from Rome to Tel Aviv, hijacked the plane to Algeria, after lengthy negotiations, the hostages were released in exchange for the release of Israeli prisoners from terrorists.
And on the eve in Athens, an EL-AL plane threw a grenade and fired from an automatic weapons.
Two days later, the Israeli army responded with a bold retaliation operation. Coming from the 890-th battalion, and at that time, the commander-in-chief of the airborne troops of the AOI, Rafael Eitan, conducted a lightning operation in the capital of Lebanon - Beirut.
A combined detachment of paratroopers and special forces soldiers MATKAL total number of 66 people, on helicopters passed along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea with the lights off.
There were only markings on the blades, allowing you to keep a distance and visual contact. The troops landed near the largest, at that time, airport in the Middle East.
The special forces soldiers carried on their backs large backpacks with explosives and a detailed list of the scheme on the sides of Arab airlines. Arab aircraft 14 aircraft were mined by double charges, one per wing. Part of the aircraft were passengers, which the fighters drove out.
The approaches to the airport were blocked, spikes were scattered on the roads, bags with slippery substances and a thick smoke screen were set up. In preparation for the evacuation, the helicopter pilot circling in the air above the airport, noticed that trucks and an armored personnel carrier were moving from the North in their direction.
The pilot ordered the on-board mechanic to open a warning fire under the wheels of the vehicles, but they continued to move, then fire was opened to kill from a heavy onboard machine gun. Having received damage the column rose.
As a result of the detonation, all 14 aircraft of three Arab airlines were destroyed. The paratroopers and special forces without loss and complications returned to base.
In the period 1969-1972. MATKAL fighters conducted another series of raids in the Egyptian and Syrian rear. Basically, these were the classic scenarios of army special forces. Undermines of bridges, air defense systems, attacks on patrols, breaks in communications, etc.
8 May 1972. The 551 flight of the Belgian airline Sabena following the route Brussels-Vienna-Tel Aviv was seized by terrorists from the organization Black September and landed at the international airport named after M.A. Ben Gurion in Lod.
Onboard there were about 100 passengers (mostly Israelis) and crew members. There were four terrorists, two men and two women. They were armed with two pistols, grenades and two death belts hidden under clothing.
Ali Hassan Salame, a well-known Palestinian terrorist, planned the attack, he was later among the organizers of the terrorist attack in the Olympic village of Munich that same year. Before Sabena, "Black September" acted exclusively against the Jordanian authorities.
The name of the organization itself was reminiscent of the bloody operation of the Jordanian army against Palestinian terrorists in Jordanian refugee camps.
The terrorists demanded that 315 release their "colleagues" from Israeli prisons, otherwise threatening to blow up the plane with all the passengers. The MATKAL fighters arrived at the scene and began preparations for the assault.
The command of the operation was assigned to the unit commander Ehud Barak. In the assault group were selected the best fighters units. While negotiations were underway, an assault plan was being developed.
A good opportunity came at a time when the terrorists demanded to refuel the aircraft and deliver food on board. Rehavam Zeevi (ל"ל) proposed to use only small caliber pistols during the assault.
The plan was as follows. Under the guise of mechanics closer to the plane, allegedly for technical inspection and refueling. Then storm the plane at once from all five exits.
The assault team also included a veteran unit, and at that time a general security officer who three years before this incident alone repulsed an attack by four terrorists on an Israeli plane in Zurich.
16 fighters MATKAL took up positions, Ehud Barak gave a start to the beginning of the operation whistle. A minute later, two terrorists were dead, two terrorists were captured. Ten minutes later the operation was completed, the explosive was a dummy.
Nevertheless, three passengers suffered, one person with an eastern appearance jumped in front of the assault group and was wounded, it turned out that he was a Jew from Belgium, and not a terrorist. In the accident, seven 0.22LR caliber bullets hit, but they managed to save him.
One woman was seriously injured during a short skirmish in the cabin and later died, another passenger was injured in a skirmish. During the operation, two special forces soldiers were slightly injured. Benjamin Netanyahu received a tangent wound from his partner's gun in the ensuing fight with a terrorist.
One of the terrorists tried to hide in the "outhouse" where he was "soaked."
Speaking of prime ministers, this is perhaps the only example in world history where two future prime ministers stormed the plane at once - Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.
Barack with subordinates on the wing of the plane, in the hands of Barak Beretta's pistol model 71 cal. 0.22LR
21 June 1972, the MATKAL fighters conducted an operation in southern Lebanon. Two groups led by Ehud Barak (assault) and Benjamin Netanyahu (cover) ambushed a convoy of high-ranking officers of the Syrian army, capturing five of them as prisoners and destroying Lebanese soldiers accompanying them.
One special forces soldier was injured. The officers were abducted in order to exchange them for an Israeli pilot and several other Israeli prisoners of the Air Force mechanics.
Benjamin Netanyahu (Jonathan's younger brother) fighter MATKAL, the current Prime Minister of Israel.
Operation "Spring of Youth"
On the night of 10, April, 1973, a combined detachment of about thirty Israeli special forces, consisting of MATKAL fighters, naval swimmers and paratroopers' brigade special forces, conducted one of the largest retaliation actions in the center of Beirut.
This operation was a response to the wave of Palestinian terror that swept Europe in the early 70's. The seizure of aircraft and sea liners, attacks on Israeli missions abroad and the death of the Israeli Olympic team at the Olympics in Munich.
After being expelled from Jordan, Lebanon became the main base of Palestinian terror, in fact a whole base of Fatah (Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine) settled in Beirut.
MOSSAD’s foreign intelligence agents gathered reliable information about the headquarters of Palestinian terrorists in Beirut and prepared the necessary base for the operation.
For a long time, the special forces fighters practiced the operation to the smallest details. Conducted reconnaissance and observation of targets, selection of routes, landing sites, etc. It was a very thorough and hard work of several departments of the army and special services. The combined squad of special forces was taken by sea by boat to the Navy, off the coast they were transferred to low-speed Zodiac boats and landed on a deserted beach where they met with intelligence agents who had prepared the transport.
The objectives were as follows:
Aviva is two seven-story buildings in the center of the Muslim quarter of Beirut, where Fatah activists lived. High-ranking leaders lived here, including Yasir Arafat’s deputy, Yusef a'Najar, Fatah press secretary, Kamal Nazser, and the head of Black September, responsible for operations in Israel and in the territories, Kamal Eduan.
The task - to eliminate the "cones" was entrusted to a group under the command of Ehud Barak. The group also included Jonathan Netanyahu (Benjamin's older brother).
"Gilya" - Another seven-story house in which the Fatah fighters settled. The task of undermining the house was assigned to a group of reconnaissance paratroopers and two officers of an engineering special unit at the airborne brigade.
"Tsilya" - An armament factory producing mines, land mines and explosives in the north-east of Beirut.
Warda - Two buildings in the south of Beirut, a weapons factory and the headquarters of Fatah Gaza.
"Judit" - a workshop for the repair of weapons.
The operation was very noisy; in addition to bodyguards and terrorists, several Lebanese gendarmes were also killed. Accidentally killed an Italian pensioner who opened her door during the withdrawal of the assault group.
Nevertheless, the operation was so lightning that the police in Beirut (at that time it was a thriving resort city) did not even have time to understand what was happening. All goals were met.
During the battle at the goal "Gil" were killed two Israeli paratroopers. Nevertheless, in the ensuing battle, a detachment of paratroopers was able to suppress resistance and undermined the building.
The fighters of Barak performed their part almost flawlessly. In this operation, Ehud Barak dressed in women's clothes, a detachment of liquidators played the role of strolling tourists, where Barak was a burning brunette.
According to Palestinian data, the attack killed 14 people including three leaders. According to intelligence reports, which prepared the operation and according to the testimony of the fighters, in addition to the three main targets, several dozens of terrorists and at least two Lebanese gendarmes were eliminated.
The greatest failure of this operation can only be considered that Hassan Salame and Yasser Arafat, as it turned out later, were a couple of hundred meters from the scene, but did not find themselves that night in the apartments of their associates.
During the flashing in 1973. Judgment Day Wars Special forces soldiers of the General Staff urgently needed on the northern border of Israel. There were fierce battles for the Golan Heights. The fact is that to all other troubles were added raids by the Syrian "commandos".
The Syrians threw assault groups of commandos to the rear, as well as for the assault on IDF fortified points. In fact, a group of MATKAL fighters under the command of Yoni Netanyahu became for a while the special forces of the 36 armored division and appeared in the heaviest sectors.
The “commandos” called the Syrian assault groups created under the clear influence of the Soviet instructors - they conducted a number of successful assault assault operations by capturing key IDO strongholds and blocking the routes. Including at the beginning of the war, OP Hermon fell.
To recapture the strategically important heights, the special forces soldiers of the general staff were involved. Netanyahu's detachment secretly made its way to the Hermon base station and reported that the OP was empty and he could take it, but the command rejected the initiative, which later resulted in great losses to the Golani brigade.
In three days of fighting, a special forces unit destroyed and captured the 40 order of the Syrian commandos and cut off all attempts to reinforce the Syrian units that were fighting with the Golani infantry brigade. MATKAL lost two fighters in these battles.
The same detachment Yoni evacuated, under heavy enemy fire, the battalion commander tank troops of Yossi Ben Hanan shell-shocked in a battle with the Syrians. For his courage, Netanyahu was awarded the medal "For Distinction" (Itur haMofet) at the end of the Yom Kippur War.
In addition to the Yoni squad, there were other operations of the MATKAL fighters in that war. For example, a detachment of Uzi Dayan - Deputy Yoni. Uzi began the war on the Egyptian front, worked out a plan with penetration into the rear and dressed in Egyptians.
But soon he was urgently recalled to the Syrian front to conduct a special operation in the rear of the Syrian army. The target was Syrian artillery batteries.
The task was complicated by the fact that it was necessary to pass through minefields, slip past the numerous Syrian units and secretly get close to the target, destroy it and also try to quietly go back through the patrols that had been alarmed.
The first night, the luck did not smile to the company of Dayan, but the second exit was successful. Coming out of the location of the artillery battery, the special forces were glad to find out for themselves that it had just begun to work. Under the crash of volleys of guns, the special forces fighters had no trouble getting close and destroying the Syrians, who, according to the recollections of Uzi Dayan, did not have time to understand where death came to them.
Captain Uzi Dayan Mount Hermon 1973. Note that given the sabotage nature of the operation, the fighters are armed with AK.
Dayan with the soldiers also participated in the storming of the OP Hermon. During the Yom Kippur War, the company Uzi Dayan did not lose a single soldier to those killed. Uzi himself was slightly injured and at the end of the war was sent to a hospital from where he fled 2 hours later. Nevertheless, several MATKAL fighters laid down their lives in this War.
On the Egyptian front, the special forces did not miss either. A consolidated detachment of 22 man in a cargo helicopter landed on the rear of one of the dominant heights. The detachment consisted of fighters MATKAL and artillerymen with two howitzers M-102.
In a short time, they fired 90 rounds of shells, shooting the headquarters of the 3 Army and the intersection of the main highway. Causing substantial damage to the Egyptians, the detachment was safely evacuated.
Another patrol of special forces was later abandoned to the rear by three cargo helicopters, the helicopters had patrol jeeps with recoilless guns. On these vehicles, the MATKAL fighters attacked the Kutnia airfield.
And already at the end of the war, special forces soldiers stormed the height of Jhibl Atka in the Sinai Peninsula. There was an Egyptian radar. During the assault, the special forces destroyed the 20 Egyptian soldiers without any loss on their part.
The 1973 war of the year was an ordeal for Israel and the army. The first days of the war were a real tragedy and shock.
Nevertheless, the IDF was able to get together and turn the tide of battles on all fronts. Not a small role was played by the actions of special forces that carried out various operations during the war.
The courage and heroism of the special forces often instilled confidence and raised the morale of regular units.
14 April 1974-th MATKAL was waiting for another test. A combined detachment of sixty fighters from the IDF Mountaineers unit and the special forces of the General Staff stormed the Syrian strong point at an altitude of more than 2800 - the top of Mount Hermon.
During the fierce battle, 12 Syrian fighters were killed a few more were captured. On the Israeli side, there were about 30 wounded. The top was taken.
Amiram Levin (right) - the commander of the assault squad who took the top.
5 March 1975-th two boats with Palestinian terrorists moored to the beach of Tel Aviv. Having landed on the embankment, the terrorists opened indiscriminate firing and threw several grenades.
We tried to storm the cinema, but it did not work. Then the terrorists ran further along the embankment and seized the Savoy Hotel. And again they demanded the release of the terrorists from prisons.
Four groups of MATKAL stormed the hotel, killed seven and captured one, but during the assault eight hostages and a special forces soldier were killed. In addition, the former commander of the detachment was killed, and at that time, the commander of the landing brigade Uzi Yairi, who arrived independently at the scene and joined the assault.
Such heavy casualties were partly the result of the bombing of terrorists by crushing the upper floors. The ship that landed the terrorists was intercepted thirty miles from Haifa by naval forces.