Small Wars Journal

Armored Warrior: This is How the Israeli Army Will Use Its Deadly Tanks to Fight

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 7:08am

Armored Warrior: This is How the Israeli Army Will Use Its Deadly Tanks to Fight by Michael Peck – The National Interest

… The IDF would love nothing better than to fight an old-fashioned tank battle, at which it is famously proficient. But twenty-first-century warfare is more about guerrillas and tunnels, and these are the bane of high-tech, mechanized armies. The U.S. military has struggled with subterranean warfare from Iwo Jima to Vietnam, where the famous “Tunnel Rats” had the thankless task of crawling underground to dig out the Viet Cong. The IDF has had to cope with Hamas infiltration tunnels dug from Gaza into southern Israel. Last year, the Israelis discovered several Hezbollah tunnels between southern Lebanon and northern Israel, stoking fears of a surprise Hezbollah attack to seize the Galilee.

The problem is that tanks can’t get inside a tunnel, but a Hezbollah fighter with an anti-tank missile can pop out of one and destroy a $5 million Merkava tank. Haunting the Israeli Armored Corps is the debacle of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, when Hezbollah used a sprawling network of tunnels in southern Lebanon to ambush and knock out numerous Israeli armored vehicles.


The Israeli armor commanders that TNI spoke with seemed grimly determined to avoid a repeat of 2006.  “We understood there was a need for change,” Schneider said.


Standing near a firing range, with three wedge-shaped Merkava III tanks maneuvering in the background, Major Dori Saar, operations officer for the 188 th Armored Brigade, described how Israel will use tanks to defeat tunnels. “The tanks will provide fire support for the infantry and engineers,” he explained…

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