Friday, May 25, 2012

IDF elite units learn how to cross a body of water while attacked

In a rare exercise, Combat Engineering Special Forces and others use a variety of advanced methods to battle the dangerous Jordan River current while under attack
Date: 24/05/2012, 6:38 PM     Author: Florit Shoihet

Elite Combat Engineering unit responsible for special IDF missions, in collaboration with other forces, trained in crossing a body of water while under attack. Battling the strong current of the Jordan River, the soldiers combated enemy forces waiting for them on the other side of the bank.
The drill presented the ultimate method for transferring infantry soldiers across a body of water during combat, during both day and night time. In order to complete the mission, the commando combat engineering force used different kinds of bridges, inflatable boats and ropes in a variety of scenarios. The unit also was also responsible for securing the soldiers and weapons crossing the river, capable of rescuing them if necessary from the dangerous currents. Heavy combat engineering equipment including Caterpillar D-9 armored bulldozers were used during the drill as well, which included reconnaissance forces as well as infantry, artillery and armored units.
"This is an operational challenge we might encounter even in unexpected regions," explained former Regional Armored Division commander, Brig. Gen. Agai Yehezkel. "The purpose of this exercise is learning how to overcome this challenge," stressed Brig. Gen. Yehezkel.
A training exercise where forces are required to cross a body of water is rare in the IDF, last held four years ago. Since then many things changed in the IDF, especially in terms of technological advancements and new capabilities utilized during in the drill. The bridge the combat engineering forces laid over the body of water can extended to tens of meters in length, and is meant to significantly expedite the passage of infantry soldiers.
"We have high expectations, though I completely trust these soldiers. No enemy in northern Israel will be able to stop you," said Northern Corps commander, Maj. Gen. Noam Tivon during the drill. "Preparation is essential, so that once ordered we can operate flawlessly," he added. "Determination and toughness of our commanders is key and our training must be tough."Maj. Gen. Tivon detailed the various possible conflicts the soldiers might face, stressing the need to operate quickly and effectively.