An Engineering Corps reconnaissance platoon held a war drill on the Golan Heights this week in which it practiced entering a battle arena to blaze a trail for forces in a ground offensive.
The platoon belongs to the Lahav Battalion, which is a part of the 7th Armored Brigade.
“Our job is to be the eyes and long hand of the battalion, to analyze the situation on the ground, locate obstacles (they could be enemy positions, mines, or any other threats), and get them off the ground in any way possible, in order to allow the Engineering Corps to advance into the heart of the enemy’s territory,” Lt. Zahi Fish, commander of the reconnaissance platoon, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening.
IDF combat engineers would be the first to enter a real battle, and the reconnaissance platoon is the battalion’s spearhead, always being positioned at the head of the force, he said.
“We will work in any area and sector in order to insert Combat Engineering forces into the fighting,” he explained. The reconnaissance platoon is known as “the first among the firsts.” Its members are trained in camouflaging themselves as they enter hostile arenas, setting up look-outs, and gathering intelligence. The information they pass on includes up-to-date images of enemy positions and terrain analysis, including of physical features, type of soil, and natural obstacles such as streams and rivers.
Where needed, the platoon detonates explosives to remove obstacles, allowing rest of the military vehicles in the battalion to advance.
During the drill this week, soldiers practiced covert actions that included penetrating hostile areas, planting explosives and blowing up structures.
The soldiers cover long distances quietly by traveling in IDF Hummers. They can direct artillery fire at enemy target locations.
Once their work is complete, the rest of the battalion can enter the battle zone, inserting D9 armored bulldozers, mechanical engineering vehicles, armored personnel carriers and a vehicle that charges at obstacles to demolish them (known by its Hebrew acronym, Puma).
The battalion would in turn clear a path for larger infantry and armored units to advance into enemy territory.