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Paratroopers hone camouflage skills as IDF prepares for unstable borders
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
26/12/2013
When employed correctly, the cover will allow paratroopers to travel far beyond Israel's borders.
 
The Paratroop Brigade has launched a program to hone soldiers’ camouflage skills, as part of the IDF’s wider preparations for a turbulent region and the potential need to send forces behind enemy lines.

Capt. Rotem Mirazi, of the brigade’s reconnaissance battalion, was in charge of the training, and said that the aim was to spread the specialized knowledge of camouflaged combat to the remainder of the brigade’s battalions.

“Every company sent us two to three soldiers to learn these skills. They will then go back and teach the rest of their units.

Our goal this week was to instruct them in various methods on using camouflage kits, in different types of terrain,” Mirazi said.

When employed correctly, the cover will allow paratroopers to travel far beyond Israel’s borders and hold stakeouts and ambushes in the desert, forest, or urban areas.

“This is a critical capability in the context of combat,” Mirazi added. “If a certain force wants to watch a certain area for a period of time, they must avoid being seen.”

The IDF purchases and manufactures its own camouflage equipment, such as nets, to allow soldiers to blend in with a range of terrains, and has also tailored weapons used by paratroopers to this end.

“The equipment is very easy to use. We can get to places and disappear from view,” Mirazi said.

Paratroopers are trained to operate far from borders and parachute behind enemy lines.

With increasingly unstable borders around Israel, they may in future be called upon to tackle threats in places experiencing anarchy and terrorism, such as Syria.

Until now, only the reconnaissance battalion specialized in camouflaged warfare, but there is now a drive to pass on the skills to the remaining three battalions in the brigade.

Mirazi, who is a company commander in the reconnaissance battalion, told The Jerusalem Post that the training centered on setting up army positions.

Should the soldier’s commander want to set up an undercover position in the future, it will be up to the newly trained soldiers to carry out the mission, he explained.

Last year, the Paratroop Brigade held a nighttime parachuting exercise in the South involving 1,000 soldiers jumping out of Hercules transport planes.

The aim of the exercise was to practice getting paratroopers behind enemy lines in large numbers. After they landed the soldiers gathered at staging areas and formed attack units, before going on to storm mock positions.

Every battalion was ordered to organize itself on the ground within an hour to two hours before launching their offensive.

“The enemies around us are gathering near our borders,” a senior army source said at the time of the unusual drill.

“Through parachuting, we can cross borders and gain a huge advantage. The ability to bring 1,000 combat soldiers to a staging area is unique to parachuting, and cannot be replicated in any other way,” he added. “We can’t know if we’ll make use of this ability, but we can’t envisage the army without it,” he stated.

Speaking to the soldiers before the exercise, Col. Eliezer Toledano, commander of the Paratroop Brigade, said, “Many eyes are watching us in this drill: the eyes of the Israeli people, which must know that when Israel decides to, it can send 1,000 combat soldiers deep into enemy territory at a moment’s notice; the eyes of IDF senior command, which knows it needs only mark the spot, and we’ll already be there; and the eyes of our enemies, who will know that any moment, more than 1,000 paratroopers keen for battle will spit fire in their home turf.”
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