IDF completes exercise to prepare for northern front

Infantry, armored units participate in Jordan Valley war drill focused on readying forces for northern battle arenas.

A tank from the 52nd Armored Battalion 370 (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
A tank from the 52nd Armored Battalion 370
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
The IDF recently completed a large-scale war drill in the Jordan Valley, designed to prepare both infantry and armored units for battle in a northern arena, army officers told The Jerusalem Post last week.
The brigade-wide exercise saw close cooperation between infantry soldiers from the Kfir Brigade and the 52nd Armored Battalion of the Armored Corps, who advanced through difficult, hilly terrain and used live fire, as they practiced conquering enemy positions.
During the exercise, soldiers on foot marched over 20 kilometers in 10 hours, before meeting up with armored units at rendezvous points, under the cover of artillery fire. They then practiced storming enemy positions with the assistance of tanks.
Capt. Ezri David, a Kfir Brigade Operations Branch Officer, said the training was focused on preparing forces for northern battle arenas, though not exclusively.
“We prepared for all scenarios, including ones that could occur on the southern borders, where one of our battalions is heading to,” he said. “This exercise was very unique, and more challenging than usual.
“Compared to the last drill we held,” David added, “when I was a company commander, we moved up in our abilities, not just by one rung, but by an entire ladder.”
The war drill gradually grew in scope, until it involved the entire brigade, he added.
“Training with the Armored Corps enabled us to see how they operate. We’ve been working on cooperation with them for years, and learning to take advantage of one another’s abilities. The exercise involved three battalions from our brigade, and one armored battalion,” David said.
The combined forces came under the control of the commander of the 52nd Armored Battalion, Lt.-Col Udi Tzur.
“He is the one who activated the infantry companies.
Other forces took part too, such as artillery, and field surveillance units, who provided intelligence to every battalion,” David said.
Despite budget cuts, and perhaps because of them, training, when it occurs, is more intensive now than in the past. Even though the number of exercises has decreased in frequency, David said.
“A few months ago, we carried out an urban warfare drill and in the future, we’re practicing fighting at night. Then, we’ll return to our operational duties in Judea and Samaria,” David explained.
Lt.-Col. Tzur said his armored battalion played a central role in the week-long exercise.
“In the last act, we used live fire in the middle of challenging terrain. It was a very successful event, I’m glad to say,” he stated.
“We take part in infantry exercises, and sometimes they take part in ours. This is very necessary, because I don’t see a situation anywhere, in the north or south, where infantry can operate without the armored corps, or vice versa, as a maneuvering force,” he continued. “We have to be combined to achieve our goals.
“Everyone expressed their relative advantage. Our advantage is the huge scope of firepower we bring. Infantry walk and fight, and they can enter buildings that house threats to our tanks, but they do not have the ability to strike targets at long range like a tank battalion can,” he said.
“The terrain was very difficult, but simulates the territory we’d fight in,” Tzur added.