As the IDF moves toward tightening cooperation between its different forces, the Gaza Regional Division completed a wide-scale drill earlier this week, exercising interoperability during an infiltration from the Gaza Strip.
As part of the drill, all the division’s units practiced going from routine operations to emergency mode.
The threats that the forces were facing were in multiple arenas – on the ground, underground, in the air, at sea, and near-ground (the drone threat).
The forces came from different army wings – infantry, tanks, missile batteries, navy vessels, and air force choppers. In addition, intelligence units played a major role in guiding the other units and alerting them about different threats.
OC Gaza Division Brig.-Col. Nimrod Aloni said after the drill ended that his units managed to “attack, with tight cooperation with the air force, multiple targets in a short time.
“We were operating throughout the entire front, and it enabled us to examine and practice the entire might of the Gaza Division,” he said. "It is the second division drill we had in the past three months, and we keep going forward in this pace — being sharper and becoming more lethal.
The 75th Armored Battalion is now the tanks unit in charge of defending the Gaza border. Its commander, Lt.-Col. Itamar Michaeli, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that his unit – which is deployed from the southern part of the border to the sea – played a major role in the different scenarios that were practiced.
“We worked on different infiltration options: from ones taking place in the area of the barrier, to raids on the communities and the valuable assets located inside [the border]," he said. "We were planning the most complicated scenarios, where the enemy can make the threat more difficult for us: [act] in a higher volume with multiple friction points – places where there will be a mix of civilians, army forces and enemy forces. We practiced inside the communities along the entire border.”
Michaeli noted that despite the intensity of the wide-scale drill, exercising large amounts of various threats is not uncommon for his battalion. “We practice on a regular basis and [also] carry out drills on the company level. In this case, we did it at the division, brigade, and battalion levels.
“If you compare it to basketball practices,” he said,” if we usually practice layups, we now practice a full five-player team match.”
Regarding the interoperability of the forces, Michaeli said that this is a sign of the IDF trend to improve the cooperation of forces operating in different parts of the battlefield.
“There is a major advancement in the way the IDF promotes partnerships,” he said. “There was a significant technological leap that raised the IDF’s power: whether it is in the ability to close fire-circles quickly or in improving the pace that intelligence is flowing between the units. There are many elements here that strengthened the army due to recent improvements and changes.
“Now we can see these changes in the IDF's tactical ranks – in brigades and battalions – and we saw it in the drill,” the commander said.