IDF soldiers at Gaza border 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The IDF has completed a review of the structure of its infantry battalions and
is adding new capabilities aimed at making them more lethal in urban and
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The decision to conduct the review was made by IDF
Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi following Operation Cast Lead in
the Gaza Strip in early 2009 and after several new weapons systems were inserted
into battalions to assist troops in counter-terror operations, particularly in
urban settings like Gaza and villages in southern Lebanon.
One example of
a new weapon is the HTR 2000, a sniper rifle that is being distributed to all
infantry battalions. It has a range of more than 1,000 meters and can be used
with a special night-vision add-on scope.
The adjustable heavy tactical
rifle, made by the US firm H-S Precision, dramatically improves the capabilities
of the specially designated sniper units within each battalion.
Ground Forces Command, which oversaw the review, also purchased, earlier this
year, dozens of Polaris all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that are in the process of
being distributed to infantry battalions to transport supplies behind enemy
Each battalion will receive a number of the two-seater ATVs, which
can carry 700 kilograms of supplies in the back compartment as well as at least
one wounded soldier. The vehicles have a maximum speed of close to 80
“With all of these new systems we needed to figure out what the best
structure was of the battalion so all of the new capabilities would be
effective,” a top officer in the Ground Forces Command explained.
also provided battalions with explosives capabilities, enabling them to
independently blow down doors and walls and not be dependent on special Combat
Engineer Units like Yahalom.
Each battalion also now sends a number of
soldiers to undergo special camouflage training after which they become
responsible for erecting camouflaged positions for the battalion when necessary
Another decision was to retain the same basic
structure of a battalion with three regular companies but to add a specialized
platoon made up of the Polaris and heavy machine guns. Each company also now has
a special team of snipers and explosives experts.
Another system that was
used for the first time during the anti-Hamas campaign in Gaza was the
anti-structure shoulder-launched missile.
Used by infantry to destroy
Hamas positions inside homes and other structures, the Matador
advanced tandem warhead concept that can be operated in two modes:
fortified positions and other structures, and to create a hole in a wall
destroying the interior of a home.