Between December 1st and 6th, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) 215th Artillery division completed a tactical drill simulating a war with Lebanon. According to Israeli Media, a new operational concept aimed at producing a higher level of effectiveness on the battlefield was tested.
Hundreds of troops as well as officers, commanders and reservists from the 402nd and 55th battalions participated in the tactical drill taking place in the Jordan Valley.
402nd Battalion Commander Lt.-Col. Udi Amir said the size and level of the exercise were “something that has never happened before.”
“One of the important parts of the drill is the new operational concept which will allow us to independently fulfill the mission.”
Amir emphasized that the military drill was necessary so that the 215th Artillery division could effectively learn how to use new state-of-the-art weapon systems that the IDF’s Artillery Corps have been supplied with recently. These include high-caliber gun systems, remotely piloted aerial vehicles and new computer systems.
With all the new technology and systems, “it’s easier for us to destroy the enemy before they disappear,” Amir said.
However, he also stressed, “We know how to differentiate between Hamas and Hezbollah, which is a quasi-army on a different front. There are many differences but the use of technology and techniques are similar.”
In an apparent warning that despite drilling in the North, the West Bank isn’t put in the background.
On top of learning how to use new technology, the exercise includes maneuvering batteries in urban areas, but also in mountainous terrain.
“In Lebanon we know that many villages will be evacuated, something we don’t have in Gaza and that will allow the IDF to maneuver much easier,” he said.
For Israel, which is in a political crisis, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urgently needs an escalation of some sort to remain in power, there’s potential to cause such an incident on several fronts. Thus, readiness is needed on all fronts.
“The troops like to be in the field and feel ready for war, be it in the North or the South,” said Amir. “With this enemy or the other, we know there will be challenges and fatalities, so we drill a lot, whenever we have time.”
In November 2019, the IDF launched a surprise two-day military exercise Northern Israel to test the Northern Command’s “readiness and operational capabilities.”
Whether the military exercise was successful is never certain with Israel, since they’ve had repeated incidents such as a tank crew falling asleep and the tank rolling down a hill.
In April 2018, one soldier was killed and three others were injured when a shell caught on fire inside a tank along the Egyptian border.
The exercise, however, may be useful in the war against Hezbollah tunnels along the Israel-Lebanon border. In October 2019, Israel established its first dedicated anti-tunnel unit, to combat the enemy tunnel network.
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