In their first exercise since Operation Protective Edge, the soldiers of the reconnaissance company of the 7th Armored Brigade trained for situations that the IDF (Zahal) will likely face in its next war.
In mud and rain, between mountainous terrain and urban sites, the soldiers of the reconnaissance company of the 7th Armored Brigade prepare to face any challenge that might come their way during combat in northern Israel. The simulation begins dramatically with an anti-tank missile fired at a house. Two soldiers are wounded from the attack, and medics quickly open bandages in order to keep them alive. Suddenly, a smoke grenade is thrown towards the area where Maj. Goldstein, a company commander, is located and a large explosion is heard.
The training simulates the first days of fighting on the northern front. The soldiers need to learn from their experience in Operation Protective Edge and must be prepared to apply their skills to any front. The reconnaissance company played a critical role in the operation by targeting terrorists and Hamas tunnels that were utilized to infiltrate into Israel. “We do not know what will happen throughout the course of the exercise,” said Maj. Goldstein. “This means that each step resembles reality; we are not playing games.”
This unit has a unique and crucial responsibility: the soldiers are the first to advance in combat in order to observe the battlefield and provide real-time intelligence to the tanks. The company is specially equipped with observation devices used to collect precise intelligence from the area and to pass it on. They notify the tanks of possible targets and ambushes that may surprise them.
In order to prepare for any scenario, the reconnaissance company trained for a wide variety of military situations. “We strengthened the ability of the soldiers to remain in enemy territory as well as their capacity to fight in urban territory for a long period of time,” described the brigade commander, Col. Nadav Lotan.
The soldiers learned to rapidly transition from a regular day to an emergency situation that requires entering enemy territory. The reconnaissance soldiers had to face demanding adjustments during the course of the exercise. “We cannot afford to slip up during the switch from night to day, between routine and emergency, and between mountainous terrain and built-up territory,” Col. Lotan emphasized. “These moments require sharp decisionmaking and quick and efficient responses.”
The soldiers successfully carried out the exercise despite encountering strong rain, difficult terrains, and surprise attacks. Precise field intelligence and readiness for battle are essential for success in military campaigns. They proved their determination and readiness in facing the numerous surprises that came their way and fulfilled the tasks demanded of them. The rigorous training sharpened the skills of the soldiers and has increased their motivation in confronting the wide range of Israel’s threats.