Nahal Battalion Golan Heights war drill 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
A key battalion of the IDF’s Nahal infantry brigade held a surprise war drill
this week, mobilizing troops from around the country to a staging area in the
North, and launching a live-fire exercise together with other army
Lt.-Col. Menny Liberty, Commander of the Nahal Reconnaissance
Battalion, has been stationed on the Golan Heights for the past four months, but
stressed that the drill was not related to the Syrian arena.
The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday, he described the drill as “very unique,” adding
that in his many years of service in the IDF, he hasn’t seen a drill of this
Liberty was originally told by his superiors that there would be
a limited exercise for commanders based only on the use of maps, when suddenly,
on Monday, a full-scale combat drill was announced.
simulates reality. We never know when an emergency might catch us. Within
a few hours, we had to go from a routine operational phase to being ready for
war. We gathered all of the battalion from the northern region, and other
places, like the Jordan Valley,” Liberty said.
Liberty’s battalion is
made up of various companies, including ones that specialize in reconnaissance,
explosives and missiles.
The forces were joined on the Golan Heights by
tanks and artillery units, as well as a Sky Rider drone unit (made up of
Artillery Corps soldiers who operate drones and join ground forces in an
“Within a few hours, we were at the staging area, moving
swiftly from routine to emergency mode. We received the ‘mission’ from the
brigade, and did an equipment check. At 10 p.m., we were ready to move,” he
said. “The scenarios we had to confront simulated an emergency in a northern
arena,” Liberty added.
At first light, the forces launched a live-fire
drill. Tanks opened fire and artillery gunners joined in as hundreds of infantry
soldiers moved forward.
“It’s very challenging to hold a drill like this
on terrain like the Golan Heights,” Liberty said. “If we practice for drills for
weeks before they occur, they come out perfect. This is the element of surprise,
heading out for war at a moment’s notice,” he said.
budget cuts leading to a reduction in training, the exercise was held on time
officially allocated for operational duty. It’s a good way to continue intense
training despite the budget cuts, Liberty argued.
“I’m very proud of the
unit, and it’s ability to move from one phase to another so quickly, while
dealing with all of the scenarios simulating enemy combat,” he
Senior IDF officials who attended the drill, including OC
Northern Command Maj.- Gen. Yair Golan, provided good feedback, he
Separately, Liberty addressed the Syrian civil war raging just
over the border he is guarding.
“You see the fighting, but we are not a
side in this. The rebels and the Syrian army are fighting each other – our
central mission is to safeguard the quiet on the Golan Heights. To allow normal
daily life and tourism to continue,” he said. “The fighting isn’t directed at
us. Our mission is to defend the border, and prevent a spillover.”