Shaetet 13 (Flotilla 13)
Shayet 13 - the secret division of the Israeli Navy for special operations. Despite being tied to the navy, it is a fairly universal broad profile unit that can also perform special tasks on land and parachute from the air.
The main purpose of the unit is of course reconnaissance, sabotage and special operations in the enemy rear. Naturally, the sea to this day is the best way to covertly penetrate enemy territory and an equally optimal way to withdraw.
This unit as well as MATKAL closely cooperates with the Israeli military and foreign intelligence, most of the operations are classified.
Fighters X "13 during exercises. Photo by Ziv Koren.
In 1943, a separate detachment was created in the structure of the Palmachs, a division of Palyam (Puga Yamit - Sea Company) is actually the progenitor of the Israeli Navy.
By the middle of 40, the leadership of Agana had serious disagreements with the British authorities. The British authorities began to actively resist the arrival of Jews in Mandatory Palestine.
Since the main way of delivering repatriates from Europe was by sea, the main forces of the British were concentrated on this direction. The British not only harshly suppressed the delivery of repatriates by sea, they also used the fleet to deport Jews to special concentration camps in Cyprus.
Therefore, it was decided to create units capable of opposing them, including sabotage against British warships and deportation ships.
Yohai ben noon
Yohai Ben Noon - the first commander of the Israeli commandos and the first commander Sh'13
So in 1945 was born the Link of Marine Saboteurs under the command of Yohai Ben Nun. Yohai Fishman was born in Haifa to a native Israeli woman and a repatriate from Russia. His childhood was spent in Jerusalem 30's, where Arabs often smashed Jewish neighbors. According to the memoirs of Yohai, this was precisely the reason for his life choices.
In 16 years he entered Agana, in 18 he graduated from college and entered Palmach. In 1944, he left PALMAX and began his studies at the medical faculty of the Hebrew University.
But a year later he met Abraham Zakai, who persuaded him to return to Palma, to the newly created sea company. He graduated from the commanders' course and already in 1945 began to conduct operations against the British, which continued until the announcement of the UN plan for the partition of Palestine.
Yohai Ben Noon commanded a variety of sabotage operations against the ships of the British fleet. During the bloody events in the Haifa port of 1947, Yohai and his men guarded the Jewish workers in the port and trained them in self-defense.
They also conducted raids in two Arab villages, from which pogrom-mongers emerged.
In 1948, he commanded units in battles near Jerusalem. But he was soon returned to his duties, commanded the ships sailing to Europe for new repatriates and weapons. Imported to Israel the ship of the Russian Fleet "Albatross".
Upon completion of these operations, Johai Ben Noon was assigned to create a special detachment of sea saboteurs already in the IDF structure. 6 Italian torpedo boats, capable of carrying explosives of 300 and delivering speed up to 35 nodes, were handed over to the detachment.
This weapon, developed by the Italians in WWII, was a boat filled with explosives. He was controlled by one fighter, who at high speed was to send him to an enemy ship, and he jumped in 100 meters to the point of collision.
Then he picked up the fighter already commander boat.
Sketch of Italian boat MTM, in Israel, these boats are called Karish (Shark in Hebrew)
The people were selected from immigrants of PALYAM and Jewish veterans of the British naval forces. The first instructor of the new division was Italian Fiorenzo Capriotti, the fighter of the 10 fleet of MAS. Fiorenzo was captured by the British during a sabotage in Malta on 1941. He spent in British and American captivity about 6-years.
After the liberation, he was recruited by the Israeli Mossad, Le aliyah Bet, to purchase and inspect the same torpedo boats and other equipment for the nascent Israeli naval forces. In 1948, Capriotti arrived at the port of Haifa disguised as a Jewish repatriate.
Capriotti began training with the fighters Ben Nun and quickly found a common language with them. He was an experienced sea bomber and was well versed in the technical and tactical aspects of the use of boats. The skills transferred to them were needed before the end of the training.
October 27 1948 th fighters Yohai Ben Nun had a debut operation, sinking the Egyptian fleet flagship Amir Faruk escort ship, and damaging a minesweeper accompanying him off the coast of Gaza.
In 1949, it was decided to merge the divisions of boats and combat swimmers, saboteurs into one.
So 1, January 1950 was born The 13 Flotilla was born, and Yohai Ben Nun was appointed as the first commander. The 13 figure was the lucky number of the squadron since the days of PELAM, whose fighters gathered each month on the 13 number to "raise a glass."
This became a tradition after one of their first ships sank in the sea during a storm, and fighter Zeev Fried reached the coast by swimming.
The assembled team was already quite experienced in various aspects of the activity. Over the years of fighting the British, they have learned a lot.
They closely cooperated with the European representatives of the emerging intelligence Mossad, often under the guise of sailors visited abroad, studying the structure of the ports and the nuances of sabotage work in the field.
Also made reconnaissance attacks and to the closest neighbors in Lebanon and Egypt. So the deputy commander Sh'13 was appointed Yossi Dror, a man of Palmach, who led the operation to sink a ship with weapons for Arabs in Italy.
In general, Shaehet 13 in Italy had already had exits to Italian combat swimmers for the purpose of training and purchasing equipment.
In 50, Shaehet 13 fighters continued to train and improve their skills. Initially, we worked with the Italians, then switched to the French and the British. In general, the fighters of Flotilla-13 preferred to train and learn from everyone who succeeded.
So a number of officers Sh'13 visited the training bases of French combat swimmers and was trained by the British SBS. Acquired skills and use of new equipment allowed the unit to reach a new level.
Training has become longer and more extensive, even then the course of the fighter Sh'13 became one of the most difficult courses in Israel. At the end of the course, the fighters made a grueling rally of more than 200-km long.
In the middle of the 50-x fighters switched to French equipment, which greatly expanded their capabilities. New breathing apparatus gave a particularly tangible advantage. Also, the fighters carried out many training and reconnaissance operations in the Mediterranean.
However, in the Sinai Campaign and in the Six-Day War, Navy Special Forces fighters did not perform high-profile successful operations. The detachment consisted of only a few dozen fighters and was not particularly used for its intended purpose.
A number of operations were even failed. The morale in the squadron was badly damaged after the 6 fighters were captured by the enemy during a failed operation in the port of Alexandria.
The first, for many years, designated operations began at the end of the 60s during the war of attrition. Raids on Adabiyah and Green Island and sabotage in Egyptian ports. Here the detachment suffered losses again, but the tasks were completed.
In 1969, the Egyptian commandos carried out a bold operation at the Israeli stronghold of Metzah on the east bank of the Suez Canal. 7 was killed and 5 was wounded by Israeli soldiers, and the Egyptians took prisoners.
These events have greatly undermined the morale of the personnel of the Israeli strongholds of the Suez Canal. The command ordered Sh'13 to carry out a retaliatory action. The target was a well-fortified Egyptian stronghold on Green Island.
For a successful assault, at least 40 special forces soldiers were needed, but at that moment there were fewer people in Sh'13. Then they decided to attract fighters to sarayat MATKAL.
But those, in turn, did not have experience in using scuba gears, so it was decided that the MATKAL fighters would come up on boats after the signal to capture the bridgehead from divers Sh'13. But the operation did not go according to plan and a fierce battle ensued on the shore.
A squad of 20-ti commandos for 17 minutes cleared the greater half of the island, only then came to the aid MATKAL. Commander Senior Lieutenant Amikhai Ayalon then demonstrated personal prowess and heroism.
Being several times wounded by fragments of grenades, he personally, under heavy fire, cleared several machine-gun nests, continuing to command the detachment until the end of the operation despite serious injuries and heavy bleeding.
Half of the Sh'13 attack aircraft were injured by the time of MATKAL's arrival. Green Island was completely stripped, about 80-ty Egyptian soldiers died defending positions. Among them, 12 Egyptian commandos, the entire infrastructure of the OP destroyed by explosive charges, including radar and air defense weapons.
The special forces detachment also came under shelling, which the garrison called upon itself. In all, 3 fighter Sh'13 and 3 from MATKAL were killed in that battle.
Golda Meir Ami Ayalon
Israeli Prime Minister rewards Captain Ami Ayalon with the Order For Heroism for the operation on Green Island. The captain is dressed in the uniform of the Navy with a large sign of Sh'13.
According to the results of the Doomsday War, there were ambiguous conclusions, although the Sh'13 fighters caused significant damage to the Egyptian fleet, sinking several warships.
Also Flotilla involved in joint operations with other units. Including, in the previously mentioned by me "Spring of Youth".
Fighter Sh'13 with a Kalashnikov, Note the improvised optics and attached US-made M203 rifle grenade launcher.
Taking into account past failures, the necessary conclusions were drawn for the future, and Sh'13 in the middle of the 70s began to work in the northern direction of Lebanon and Syria.
As a result of their active and concerted intelligence activities, a large number of ships with weapons for Palestinian terrorists were sunk.
During this period, Ami Ayalon, an ambitious and talented officer, became Sh'13 commander.
In April, the 1980 th detachment of Sh'13 fighters secretly sailed toward the Lebanese coast at night. Having landed on the shore, they quietly surrounded the camp of militants. Having taken positions, they suddenly attacked the militants with heavy fire.
Then they stormed the headquarters building and undermined it. As a result, the militants lost 20 people killed, 3 of whom should have committed an act of terrorism in Israel in the near future. Among the special forces were two wounded.
The modified AK is a frequent symbol of Sh'13 saboteurs, this shows a folding butt from Israeli Galil.
In general, the period from the beginning of 1979 to the spring of 1981 became the high point of Sh'13. They conducted more 20 operations against terrorists in Lebanon and the squadron received the highest award from commander-in-chief Rafael Eitan.
In 1983, the fighters conducted an operation in Syria. As planned, it was necessary to eliminate some militants by placing the blame on others. But the operation failed, as the Syrian military were killed.
In 1984, fighters Sh'13, together with the Navy and the Israeli Air Force, conducted a brilliant operation in Libya. North of Tripoli, 14 terrorists were destroyed. The squad left with two easily wounded.
The biggest tragedy of the unit was the night of 5 on September 1997. A squad of 16 fighters was on a secret mission in Lebanon and ended up in a well-organized Hezbollah trap. On the route of the detachment were powerful land mines.
As a result of the explosion, 11 fighters died. Hezbollah also attempted to capture the rest or kidnap the remains of the bodies. The evacuation operation was also very complicated. And led to the death of another person from the evacuation team.
The purpose of the mission is still secret, the reasons for the failure are also unreliable. At the end of 2000's, information appeared that Hezbollah was then able to intercept communication channels from the Israeli UAV.
In those years, the channel was not encrypted, so they saw which area was interested in the Israeli military intelligence and prepared an ambush there. I did not see official confirmation of this information.
Landing landing. Again, AK and Mini Uzi with a silencer.
In connection with the outbreak of violence in the Palestinian territories in the 2000's, the command decided to connect Sh'13 to the urban police operations in the territories. This decision cost several more lives of fighters and officers of the unit. Dozens of terrorists were killed, even more arrested.
The most significant operations of Sh'13 in recent years can undoubtedly be considered the interception of ships with weapons. Hundreds of tons of various weapons from grenades to anti-ship missile systems did not reach the Lebanese and Palestinian recipients.
In 2002, five hundred kilometers from the Israeli coast, the vessel Karine A with a large consignment of weapons from Iran to Gaza was intercepted. More than 50 tons of machine guns, sniper rifles, mortars, ATGM and ammunition were unloaded from the holds in the port of Eilat.
Next was a series of operations against the smuggling of weapons from Iran, and according to unconfirmed reports, to Iran. In the period 2000-x were intercepted several ships under the flags of different countries with a variety of weapons including missiles, rockets and large-caliber mortars.
Fighters Sh'13 work out the capture of the ship.
Another area of operational activity of Sh'13 became Palestinian terrorists. Since the beginning of the second intifada, the special forces have conducted many operations to capture and eliminate terrorists and to destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian terror.
Many operations were not directly related to the main profile of the unit, which caused an ambiguous assessment of this practice. In any case, the navy special forces showed a high level of work. It did not go, however, without loss - 6 special forces soldiers died performing operations in the territories.
The most scandalous operation in recent years was the storming of the Turkish cruise ship Mavi Marmara.
The pro-Palestinian organizations, with the support of the new government of Turkey, organized a major provocation on which the army ranks of Israel successfully "pecked".
"World Flotilla" - a project that made a lot of noise in the world press even before the release, gathered under its banner several ships that advanced to break through from the sea, due to the coming to power of Hamas, the Gaza Strip.
Under the cover of delivering humanitarian aid, several hundred activists from various pro-Palestinian and peacemaking organizations were gathered. On the cruise ferry Mavi Marmara put more than 700 people. At least one hundred of them were activists of extremist groups and had a clear plan of action.
The ships of the Israeli Navy took to the group of ships of the Peace Flotilla in neutral waters and warned that their course lay in the zone of the army blockade. The ships were asked to proceed to the port of Ashdod, where the humanitarian cargo will be inspected, and then transported by trucks to Gaza, as was the case with all the humanitarian assistance received in the region.
The ferry with activists ignored these demands and the command decided to disembark the special forces group on board. This idea ended pitifully, the first few fighters were brutally attacked by an organized group of people armed with both improvised and targeted melee weapons.
A group of activists was wearing life jackets, had gas masks, communications equipment and were well armed. Special Forces soldiers began to descend to the upper deck from a helicopter on a tightrope.
Not having time to touch the deck, the fighters armed with paintball non-lethal weapons were knocked down with rods and sticks. Part got knife injured. One fighter was thrown overboard to the lower deck.
The fighters wore Glock combat pistols in their underwear holsters. These pistols were taken away by the activists and from them fire on special forces was opened. One of the fighters was dragged inside the ship.
Understanding the complexity of the current situation, the commander of the operation gave the order to switch to military weapons - the special forces soldiers began to clean the ship.
The result of the confrontation became the 9 killed and 28 injured activists, 10 special forces were injured, two severe severity. The operation caused a violent reaction in the world and in Israel, the relations between Turkey and Israel were heated to the limit.
In general, Israel suffered a crushing defeat, because the organizers of the provocation achieved the desired result. Sh'13 was also hit as performers of the assault.
One of the activists next to the captured beaten fighter Sh'13, raised up the index finger of his right hand - a symbol of the Islamists.
Today, Shaeet 13 is still a secret unit in the IDF Navy. The flotilla is divided into three companies "palgot":
Palgat haPoshtim - Assault Company, responsible for sabotage and assault operations including disembarking from the sea, seizing enemy targets, freeing hostages and counter-terrorist operations.
They are undergoing sabotage, sniper, counter-terrorism training with elements of close-fire combat, sweep tactics and assault on buildings, ships, strong points, etc. The most elite company with the highest requirements for selection.
Palgat Tsolelim - combat swimmers, divers. The group whose main tasks include subversive operations under water.
Surface Palga - operators of speedboats and special ships of the flotilla, provide delivery, fire support and evacuation of the assault group. They are responsible for the combat operations of the group at sea and also working out close cooperation with ships and submarines of the Navy.
In addition to the AUI Sh'13 itself, there are also a number of small specialized units in the Navy.
Speedboats of the 13 Flotilla.
All candidates are carefully selected. For enrollment in recruits, the Sh'13 recruit undergoes a grueling four-day exam and an extended medical examination.
The course of the young Sh'13 fighter lasts for 20 months and includes standard infantry squadrons, parachute training, shooting training, control of small speedboats, navigation, long marches with elements of survival and orientation, engineering training, hand-to-hand combat, counterterrorism.
Special attention, of course, takes the course of combat diving. Including survival in difficult conditions, hypothermia, lack of visibility and various critical situations under water.
The most different ways of delivery to the coast, the newest scuba gears, scuba diving equipment, landing options from submarines and landing from air to water are being worked out. Joint exercises with similar units from abroad are regularly held.
The course of the young fighter Shaehet 13 is considered one of the most difficult in the Israel Defense Forces. A large number of applicants do not complete a full course both in view of excessive physical exertion and tests for moral stability and endurance, and as a result of injuries. As in other elite divisions, most candidates are eliminated during the course and settle in other less elite divisions.
Analogues Shaehet - British SBS, American NAVY SEALS, Italian COMSUBIN.