The IDF Artillery Corps as you have never seen it before

As the March 2012 cycle joins the Artillery Corps, we collected ten facts you never knew about the soldiers with the turquoise berets

Date: 22/03/2012, 4:13 PM     Author: Idan Sonsino

When you hear the word “artillery” it’s hard to imagine anything other than giant cannons. Few really know how the modern Artillery Corps operates, or that it possesses some of the most advanced technology in the IDF (Zahal). We salute IDF (Zahal) artillery combat soldiers and bring you ten interesting things you never knew about the Artillery Corps, shedding some light on the huge range of roles within the cutting edge corps.

1.Within six months, the Skyrider unit, the Artillery Corps’ in-field UAVs, will be receiving unique, complex simulators. The work of Skyrider operators is slightly different from that of the Air Force’s UAV operators. For instance, they carry their UAV into the field with them in a backpack.

2.Although the IAF receives most of the credit for Gaza operations, the Artillery corps is an integral part of the attacks. The “Moran” unit of the corps (that works with precise guided munitions) is one of the most significant weapons used in the region. Additionally, Artillery Corps soldiers operate the long-arm radar system that detects the site of rocket launches, and is vital to the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

3.Predicting the weather is an important job in the Artillery Corps. This fall, the corps will open their new and more advanced Meteorology system. The soldiers will receive high-tech weather balloons, which will be critical in providing the IDF (Zahal) with critical data on the weather. Such information is vital to several IDF (Zahal) activates such as accurate artillery fire and for unconventional warfare response forces, who need wind data to predict the spread of deadly gasses.

4.When not operating their cannons in times of emergency, Artillery corps soldiers receive operational deployments in Judea and Samaria. In a recent event where a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in Jerusalem, it was a battalion of Artillery soldiers that found the perpetrator and encircled his house.

5.Shivta, the Artillery Corps’ training base, is one of the corps’ primary symbols. The site, home to the Field Artillery School, is known for its special atmosphere and its remote location. The base is named after Tel Shivta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located nearby. Shivta was a 2,000-year-old village built on the Negev’s Incense Route, which enabled the desert to bloom in antiquity.

6.As an important historical site, Tel Shivta is overseen by the Israel Antiquities Authority. That means that today’s “commander” of the ancient site is Shuka Dorfman, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. His previous experience? Among other roles, he served as Chief Artillery Officer in the 1990s.

7.Speaking of archaeology, before the Artillery Corps acquired cutting-edge technology, IDF (Zahal) soldiers were forced to make do with field guns that were hundreds of years old. Among these weapons were guns obtained from Mexico, which had actually been used in the Mexican War of Independence over a century earlier.

8.And a glance to the future: Facebook. Earlier this month, the Artillery Corps became the first unit whose beret trek was broadcast live online. Thousands of people from all over the world logged in to the official IDF (Zahal) Facebook page late at night to watch the soldiers march.

9.The color of the Artillery Corps’ berets was chosen democratically. In the year 2000, the artillery soldiers voted to switch from black berets to the turquoise ones that they wear today.

10.There is more to the Artillery Corps than artillery, drones, and radars. The corps also has rockets stronger and more advanced than ever. These days, the Artillery Corps is also involved in a broad effort to make its rocket capabilities as precise and efficient as possible.