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Friday, June 27, 2008

IDF trains in mock Arab village (with video)

In an effort to train the troops for urban guerrilla warfare, the IDF spent $30 million about a year and a half ago to build a mock Arab village on a base near Be'er Sheva. With the possibility of a mass invasion of Gaza in the offing, IDF troops have been using the base to prepare.
Dozens of infantry companies, mainly from the Givati Brigade, stormed the large "village" set up in the desert, at the start of another day's instruction at the IDF's Ground Troop Training Center.

Built a year and a half ago, the GTTC is a mock Arab village complete with outlying rural areas, a downtown district and a winding maze of streets and alleyways, pregnant with the constant risk of an unexpected close encounter with the enemy.

During Thursday's drill, that enemy was a company of female soldiers, dressed in khaki pants and camouflage jackets - a nod to the garb of choice among Hamas and Hizbullah gunmen. Equipped with machine guns, Humvees mounted with rocket-launchers and a steady hold on key positions in the village, the "enemy" soldiers' resemblance to the IDF's most potent recent threats extended far beyond clothing.

Explosions continued rocking the town as the sun began to show itself completely, and soldiers, some of whom lay "wounded" or hunkered-down under enemy fire, were forced to deal with a range of volatile factors in the battlefield. As the drill progressed, dozens of officers monitored their troops, looking for flaws and weaknesses that on a real battlefield, in a real conflict, would mean real casualties.

"What are you doing?" barked one company commander as his troops barreled their way into the courtyard of a home. "Do you want to die? You have to move in better than that if you want to do it right."

Troops were seen evacuating their wounded comrades to safety as others focused heavy gunfire at buildings where "terrorists" had been trapped and were firing in volleys at approaching soldiers.

Designed to train combat units for urban warfare, the GTTC village aims to replicate situations that soldiers may encounter in an urban combat situation. While Thursday's drill highlighted basic familiarity with the buildings and other logistical factors in such an environment, other drills feature civilians, media personnel and a central market area filled with people and goods.

Additionally, the GTTC has made the implementation of lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War a top priority. Concepts such as the maneuverability of infantry forces and greater collaboration with the Air Force are heavily stressed, with an emphasis on creating a light, fast-moving fighting force that suffers minimal casualties - a tacit acknowledgement of key mistakes made in the summer of 2006.

Soldiers seemed to be adjusting well on Thursday morning, and commanders, who refused to be interviewed, seemed pleased with their troops' performance and hard work.

As the drill ended, smoked billowed over the village and the sun was rising red behind a hulking minaret. From that point, commanders were taken to a debriefing room outfitted with the latest digital equipment, to review snapshots, analyze video clips and make recommendations for improvements.
Read it all.

And now let's go to the videotape. As a bonus, the background music is Neshika Neshika (Kiss, Kiss) by Rinat Bar.


At 2:40 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The IDF looks prepared. Israel's leadership isn't as confident as it used to be in the old days Israel could decisively win a conflict. That's perhaps because they're tired as Ehud Olmert has said, of "winning" And they want to avoid a victory since that would put the lie to the "there is no military solution" mantra often heard from Israel's governing and chattering elite.

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it built over the 40 million dollar mock-up of Neve Dekalim?

Sarcasm intended.


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