The Outgoing Chief Armor Officer Reveals: The Corps Has A Classified Unit That Deals With Locating And Engaging The Enemy
Brigadier General Najama speaks for the first time about the classified formation that operated in the “Guardian of the Walls” and expands on the improved exposure capabilities, the upgraded protection and the high readiness. He talks about the issue of armor, and the involvement of the corps in the next war with Hezbollah. “The armor is both advanced, and ready, He is a strong force”
Translated from Hebrew Original Link
Just before Chief Armor Officer Brigadier General Ohad Najama entered the office, the encrypted phone in his possession rang and over the line the commander of a classified unit of the Armored Corps reported that he was deploying forces in the Gaza Division against the backdrop of high alert and fear of anti-tank fire by Islamic Jihad units at civilians and IDF soldiers. He will soon complete thirty years of service in the IDF, most of them in a tank. His story is the story of the entire corps. Not everyone wants to reach it, but from the moment you enter the ranks of the corps, it’s hard to say goodbye to it.
He even wanted to be a paratrooper and fought for it, but his profile dropped. He arrived against his will in Shizphon, became a tank commander, fought in the security belt, in the second intifada, in the second Lebanon war, with cast lead and a solid cliff, and to make the story complete, he received command of the armored corps two years ago.
About the differences in ground warfare with and without a tank, this week a very experienced infantry officer in the training of the Northern Command for the war against Hezbollah said: “When you are under pressure of time to reach the target and there is a vigilance in front of an enemy aiming a sniper rifle and launching missiles at you, and suddenly you hear the growl of a tank’s engine The chariot, its caterpillar touching the ground and breaking stones, and that sharp sound that penetrates the body, you feel much safer. Fighting with a tank is fighting from another world.”
“My greatest pride? That the armored forces, including the classified unit, arrived on time.” Brigadier General Ohad Najama (photo: official website, IDF spokesman)
The last three years have been very busy for the tanks of the Armored Corps. According to IDF data, about 800 shells were fired by the tanks in operational activity at hundreds of different targets. In Operation Shumer Homot, in May 2021, about 345 shells were fired at dozens of targets. The average percentage of hits in a series of shots is around 95%. In Operation Dawn Islamic Jihad targets and operatives were attacked, and five terrorists were thwarted. IDF data shows that the success rate in hitting is over 90%.
Operation Wall Guard in May last year was a turning point for the Armored Corps. While the Air Force flaunted its airstrikes and the ground fighters were photographed wearing ski masks in and around the settlements and operated drones, operating from the woods and behind mounds of dirt in the Gaza Division, the chariot tanks and among them a classified unit of the Armored Corps.
“My great pride? That the armored forces, including the classified unit, arrived on time, went up to the positions, shot, hit and opened fire,” said Najama in an exclusive interview with Walla, “with all the frustration we wanted to enter (Gaza AB) and this is a legitimate decision not to do this move. We had a high level of readiness, the systems worked 100%, coordination of fire aims, everything hit. It’s not for nothing that two armored units received certificates of appreciation after the operation. We hit 72 targets at the end of which there is a terrorist. We fired 1,900 shells. There were about fifty closures of my circles fire”.
But the change that the Armored Corps has undergone in the last two years is not only reflected in the operating methods, the quality of the active protection (wind jacket) that has been upgraded, the scope and accuracy of the armaments and the rate of fire, but the exposure capabilities of the enemy defined by the land arm as the classified operations of the Armored Corps.
“Today there is a classified unit in the Armored Corps,” explained a chief armor officer. “As soon as the tank crew and the classified force locate the enemy, they can hit him with a variety of weapons or transmit the information to units on the ground or in the air. The operational process was tried with great success in Operation Wall Guard. The only event that raised criticism against the ground forces was on the issue of fraud, during which tanks and tanks arrived.” Put on the fence line in the Gaza Strip to convince the terrorist organizations.”
“You shoot a piece of wood into a building… you destroy it. It’s a deadly tool.” Brigadier General Ohad Najama in the field (photo: official website, IDF spokesman)
After Operation Wall Guard, when the specific weight of the tanks became apparent to the senior command, in the combination of the advanced technology that reveals the enemy’s location with the ability to close the circles of fire that were shortened (revealing the enemy’s location, transferring the information to the attacking force, shooting and hitting), it was decided to assign tasks to the armored forces in the campaign between the wars. In the last two years, the armored forces have taken on a double-digit number of infrastructure destruction missions on the Syrian border that were intended to serve the military activity of Hezbollah and Iran in Syrian territory.
“The shooting capabilities, the impact, the accuracy… you fire a shell (shell, AB) into a building… you destroy it. It’s a deadly weapon,” Brigadier General Najama referred to the use of armor in the campaign between the wars to thwart the intentions of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, ” It’s a complete process that includes models in advance, an orderly battle procedure, arriving at the location, and carrying out the mission.”
The priority of the armored corps is the Lebanese front. The fear is of terrorist groups of Hezbollah that have infiltrated the settlements and outposts, therefore as usual there are tanks scattered along the entire border. “The tank is mobile, fast and accurate for defense. With its technology, it also knows how to locate the enemy and attack,” the Kashnar explained, adding, “Our second required achievement is to arrive with large forces at the border and start maneuvering. We have several reserve and regular brigades that know how to reach the border in a few hours and go kilometers ahead (into enemy territory, A.B.) in order to provide security space.
” and the control of the enemy, in the rocket, missile and mortar bomb sites and in his special formations located in the heart of the population and in fortified sites above and below the surface of the ground.
So what will the next war look like? What will be the location of the tank?
“In the past, there was a lot of talk about movement, mobility, protection, and lethality. That’s a thing of the past. Now we’re talking about connectivity. The way the tank connects to the other forces in the area and transmits information (targets) to it. You’re also there when exposing the enemy. Our special formation brings the enemy’s exposure . There is still a person at the end who calculates all the information and processes all the sensors. This is an important tool in the war.”
It is impossible to avoid the question about the disruption of the traffic routes, especially after what happened in the Wall Guard operation when routes were blocked and the tanks were supposed to move on carriers from south to north and vice versa. What will happen in the next war?
“We are preparing for this scenario. Also in the fire train exercise, we practiced movement on the map of alternative axes with an emphasis on the northern arena. These axes allow various vehicles, including tank carriers, to move from place to place efficiently and quickly in emergency situations. In addition, we practice traveling on axes and roads.”
“It’s no longer a tank and a cannon, but a sensor machine.” Chief armor officer (photo: official website, IDF spokesperson)
How do you define the “Barak” tank that is undergoing trials and will enter operational service in the summer of 2023?
“It’s no longer a tank and a cannon, but a sensor machine. Me and Yoel (Colonel Yoel Strick A.B.) called it an “assault exposure machine”. Its sensors put together a picture. We’ve long since moved from scanning to investigation. It investigates the area and builds a completely different picture of the enemy and the information This through the connectivity you can transmit to everyone. Either attack or direct forces. They will also fight with closed shelves without sticking their heads out of the tank to see and then they will not be exposed to sniper fire. In the summer of 23 there will be a first lightning tank company in the 401st brigade.”
During the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah managed to hit the armored columns that were moving in the Saluki Wadi using a large number of the most advanced anti-tank missiles in the world. What will a crossing of the Saluki look like in the Third Lebanon War?
“He will see differently thanks to our exposure system. The defenses. The defense is an attack. We will reveal all of it in the future, but from what we can tell the ‘wind jacket’ type defense system greatly improves our attack. It makes the attack much more accurate and at an early stage. There are those who fantasize about so that the team will shoot at the enemy even before he launches the missile at the tank. Already now the tank knows how to close in on the enemy very quickly before he goes away and hits him. The accuracy is better for technological reasons. Except for the word fire? Everything is automatic. There are quite a few improvements. Like automatic loading of a windbreaker.
And still most of the reserve forces in armor are based on Merkava Mark 3 tanks while the regular rides on Merkava Mark 4 tanks.
“That’s right. Mark 3 Falcon is still a tank compared to all of them. He has a ShoB. Except for defenses? He has everything. There is no more Mark 2. When the lightning comes in, the next Mark 4 reserve brigade will be formed in reserve.”
So how do you explain the situation that despite the technological changes, the importance attached by the top of the IDF to tanks, including in the field, the Armored Corps still has problems with motivation before enlistment. Why do they prefer running on the hills than maneuvering a tank protected against missiles with a firepower comparable to an infantry company?
“Admittedly, it’s challenging. It’s challenging to tell the story. Today the media has everything but you don’t know anything yet (alluding to the classified unit that has not been fully disclosed so far AB). In 2019 I took up the position I would have met 18-19 teams in the battalion. Today? Except A low peak in Division 401 as a result of a planning problem (they did not correctly calculate the end of service of members of the Yeshivas of the Seder AB)… we have an average of 24-25 teams. Today we are in the area of 0.65-0.75 competing for every place (for comparison: in the Golani it ranges around The 4 are candidates for any place). In the past we were at 0.3 and I’m still not satisfied. But let’s tell the whole story. When you come today for preparation at BHD 1, there are 43 beds waiting for the cadets of the Armored Corps, because that’s what I need. I have 74 soldiers who wanted to be officers. After sorting we have 65 in preparation. Think what motivation the officer has. That’s why it’s like magic. How do you take a force… whose motivation is 0.7 everywhere and… how do the commanders bring the motivation to such a situation. The Armored Corps today is the corps with the lowest eagle. Check me out with the HR people. Better than Golani. Four department commanders when I was a general are today company commanders. It’s a feeling of pride. Four MPs from my time as a general will be generals next year. The recruitment process is challenging but once they arrive at the armory there is stability and more than that. There is also the quality of commanders.”