Brigade 3 - Alexandroni

Accessed 20-JUL-2018

The Alexandroni Brigade (Brigade 3, previously Brigade 820 and Brigade 609) is an IDF reserve brigade. The brigade started out an an infantry brigade that operated during the War of Independence and was assigned to the Haganah (named after the Alexander River). It was established on 1 December 1947 and its commander during most of the war was Dan Even (Epstein). After the declaration of the state, the Alexandroni Brigade became an IDF brigade.

Table of Contents

The War of Independence

The Alexandroni Brigade was one of the first four brigades in the Haganah. With its creation, it was set in the area between Carmel to the north and Gush Dan to the south. At the beginning of 1948, the brigade participated in Operation Nachshon to break the siege of Jerusalem. At the end of 1948, in Operation Chametz the brigade had conquered the Arab village of al-Hiriya, south of Bnei Brak, and then conquered Jaffa in cooperation with the Givati and Kiryati Brigades.

Shortly before the Declaration of Independence, it participated in Operation Medinah at the village of Saba (Kfar Saba in Arabic). In the battle to conquer the village on 13 May 1948, 29 soldiers from the brigade were killed at roadblocks near Nebi Yamin.

The brigade fought against the Iraqis on the Sharon Front. Its 32nd BN participated in Operation Ben-Nun A to take control of Latrun but it failed. Many of the soldiers of the 32nd BN were injured during this battle.

On 23 May 1948 in Operation Namil, the brigade conquered Tantura, which after the liberation of Haifa remained the only Arab base along the coast and through which ran a connection to Lebanon from which attacks were launched on the Haifa-Zichron Ya'acov road.

On 20 June 1948, while the ship Altalena was anchored in front of Kfar Vitkin, the Alexandroni Brigade received an order to top the ship from unloading, encircle the ship and confiscate its cargo. Unpon completing the encirclement, the Brigade commander, Dan Even, sent an ultimatum to Menachem Begin from the Ministry of Defense demanding that the ship and its contents be handed over to the army. Begin was required to give an answer within 10 minutes (so he could not hesitate). Begin did not want to accept the ultimatum and an exchange of fire began in which six Irgun and two IDF soldiers died. The battle was halted after talks between Begin's deputy, Ya'akov Meridor, and Dan Even, at the initiative of the Kfar Vitkin members, in which a cease-fire was established with an agreement that the weapons unloaded on the shore were to be transferred to the IDF.

In Operation Dani which was held in July 1948, the brigade conquered the villages in the area of present Rosh Ha'Ayin: Renate, Wilhelma, El-Yehudiya, Tira and Kula, but failed to conquer Tul Karm. On 15 July, the village of Kula was captured by the 1st BN of the Arab Legon in a battle that saw many casualties among the Alexandroni Brigade's forces. Later, the village was reoccupied by an Israeli force and then again by the Legion finally being captured by Israeli forces on 18 July. During that same month, the brigade participated in a police operation to contol the "Little Triangle" on the way to Haifa.

With the establishment of a headquarters at the front that served as the brigade command center, Gen Dan Even, the brigade commander along with a large number of staff officers, became the Commander of District B ) the Central District).

After November 1948, the brigade was on the southern front besieging Faluja. The brigade suffered heavy losses in the battle for Iraq al-Manshiyya as part of Operation Liquidation (Chi'sul). Toward the end of the war, the brigade participated in Operation Stabilization that was part of Operation Ovda, conquering Ein Gedi, Masada and the Mt Hebron area.

At the end of July 1949, with the ending of the War of Independence, the order was given to disband the brigade which was done soon after. Since then, the brigade was re-established as a regional brigade that served in the Northern Command as a reserve infantry brigade. In the 2000s, this reserve brigade was given the name Alexandroni.

The Tantura Affair

In the 1990s, Teddy Katz, a master's degree student in history at the University of Haifa, wrote a thesis entitled "The Arabs Left the Villages at the Foot of Southern Carmel in 1948." In the work, katz claimed, based on oral interviews with veterans, that soldiers of the Alexandroni Brigade massacred the residents of Tantura, killing some 200 unarmed men. He was sued for defamation by the veterans of the brigade. In a compromise agreement, it was determined that the case would be dropped and that Katz would withdraw the accusation and issue an apology. Haifa University reexamined the work, which had originally been assigned a grade of 97, and decided to disqualify it.

Battalions in 1948

Battalion NumberCompositionDate EstablishedMain ActivityBattalion and Company HQCommanders and Other Key Figures
31HI"SH veterans from the Samaria and Hefer districtsDecember 1947Transportation security on roads in the region: Netanya, Hadera, Ramat, Hashofet and Ein Shemer. Sweeps of the Ein Shemer Airport and Karkur Police Station, the conquest of Arab Kfar SabaHaderat, Shlomo, HaMa'apilShmuel Admon (Rappaport), Ya'akov Noor Sela (Lichtenstein)
32HI"SH companies from the Sharon and Petach Tikva settlementsDecember 1947Secure the traffic on the Sharon Highway from Petach Tikva to Ramat Hakovesh. Seize and secure pumping facilities at Rosh Ha'Ayin and the quarries at Migdal Tzedek. Capture the Beit Lid camp, Tel Litvinsky (Tel Hashomer) and participate in Operation Chametz. May 1948 attached to 7th Brigade to participate in Operation Ben-Nun A to take Latrun (which failed)Galil Yam, Kfar Yavetz, Kfar Yona, Kfar Hess, Kfar SabaZvi German
33HI"SH from Gush Dan (concentrated in Ramat Efal) and GADN"A companies from Ramat Gan, Givatayim and Bnei BrakDecember 1947Secure settlements east of Gush Dan. Had a platoon in Har Tuv. Held Tel Litvinsky while participating in Operation Nachshon, Operation Hametz, Operation Medina (the conquest of Arab Kfar Saba), Tantura, Kakun, Operation Sho'ter and Operation Hisol Borochov, Givatayim, Kfar Sirkin, Majdal yaba, Ramat Gan and 9 Har-TovBen Zion Friedman (Ziv)
34Staff from the Alexandroni training camp, which trained recruits and commandersMay 1948Brigade Support Battalion (including a reconnaissance company, a jeep company, and an armored vehicle company)the Rambam Neighborhood, Givatayim
37IRGU"N membersJune 1948Dora Camp in NetanyaSamuel "Mike" Amiti

After the War of Indepndence

The 1950s

In January 1950, the brigade was reformed as the 3rd Reserve Brigade. It was stationed on the Syrian front where it took part in the battle of Tel Mutila.

The Six-Day War

In 1965, the brigade became a regional brigade along the border with Syria and Lebanon.

During the Six-Day War, the brigade was commanded by Col Emanuel Shaked and had four infantry battalions -

The brigade was activated during 18-19 May 1967, and began to dig and lay mines with the help of 602nd BN (NB: an engineering unit) which had been attacked to the brigae. On 2 June in an encounter with a Syrian force, two soldiers from the PALSA"R unit were killed. On 3 June, a Syrian force trying to cross the Jordan was attacked by 32nd BN and fired on by artillery.

On 9 June, the brigade became part of the assault on the Golan Heights. The main effort was planned for the northern sector through Givat Ham (above Kfar Szold) but David Elazar ordered feint attacks in other aras to prevent the Syrians from identifying the main effort. On the morning of 9 June, the brigade commander, Emanuel Shaked, ordered the 33rd BN, which was not at the front, to occupy the pisitions of Deirdre and Tel Hilal. Later, the brigade moved on the Golan Heights:

During the fighting the brigade lost some 40 fighters.

After the war it became the 820th Brigade, taking responsibility for the Golan Heights with its base at the Yitzhak Camp ("Nafach") in honor of Halfon.

The Yom Kippur War

The brigade under the command of Col Zvi Bar was activated on Saturday, 6 October, with the outbreak of the war. The brigade's battalions helped defend the Jordan bridges and fought terrorists on Mount Dov. The brigade's reserve battalions and the mortar battalion were deployed on the Lebanese border, while the commando unit took part in the fighting on the Golan Heights. Later, the brigade fought the War of Attrition in the Syrian Enclave.

The Lebanon War

After the war, the brigade became an infantry brigade and was renamed the 609th Brigade. The unit was manned by veterans of the Golani Brigade. During the First Lebanon War, the brigade's forces fought in the central sector.

The Second Lebanon War

During the Second Lebanon War the brigade was commanded by Col Shlomi Cohen[2]. Battalion 7012, commanded by Lt Col Roni Ben Haim, fought continuously for fifteen days in the villages of Rajmin, Shekhin and Jibin. During the fighting, the battalion killed dozens of terrorists, including three Hezbollah fighters, destroying many weapons.[4] In a short time, the battalion also captured the junction between the two villages of Rajmin and Shekhin, a key area that decided the course of the battle. The battalion also provided humanitarian aid to several dozen Lebanese civilians that included medical assistance. In September of 2007, the GOC Northern Command, Gadi Eizenkot, gave the brigade an award for "demonstrating dedication to the mission and striving for victory, responsibility, personal example, discipline and professionalism." After the war, the media reported complaints by some soldiers in the unit about lack of orders, irrelevant training, lack of equipment and claims by the commanders about the motivation of the soldiers. Some of the soldiers talked about the lack of supplies, lack of preparation, inadequate equ9pment, inadequate intelligence and that the purpose of the operation was not clear.

Battalion 8101 continued on through the villages of Rajmin and Shekhin, hwere battalion 7012 was located, to the Ras al-Baida area to the west. There the battalion encountered a group of terrorists on their way to the village with several soldiers injured in the ensuing firefight. The battalion spent two weeks in the area before being replaced two days after the cease-fire came into force for the paratroopers. They then made their way back to the border on a march that lasted less than one night.

Memorial Sites

Today there are streets in Modi'in, Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba, Netanya and other cities named in honor of the brigade.

Brigade Commanders

Lt Col Dan Even1947-1948Brigade 3 Commander
Lt Col Zvi German1948Brigade 3 Commander
Lt Col Ben Zion Friedan1948-1949Brigade 3 Commander
Lt Col Binyamin Tzur1949-1950Brigade 3 Commander
Lt Col Yosef El-Naham1950-1951Brigade 3 Commander
Lt Col Dov Yirmiya1951-1952Brigade 3 Commander
Col Yechezkel Pante1952-1955Brigade 3 Commander
Col Nachum Golan1955-1964Brigae 3 Commander, later commander of the Golani Brigade
Col Uri Baidatz1964-1967Brigade 3 Commander
Col Emanuel Shaked1967-1968Brigade 3 Commander during Six-Day War, later chief Infantry and Paratrooper officer
Col Ya'akov Stern1968-1970Brigade 3 Commander also Brigade 820, later head of Northern Command HQ
Col Ephraim Hiram1970-1971Brigade 820 Commander, later commander of Galilee Div
Col Tzur Sagi1971-1973Brigade 820 Commander
Col Tzvi Bar1973Brigade 820 Commander during Yom Kippur War, later commander of Border Police and Mayor of Ramat Gan
Col Uri Simhoni1973-1974Brigade 820 Commander, later head of the Training Dept.
Col Menachem Einan1974-1975Brigade 820 Commander, later head of AG"A
Col Asher Dar1975-1977Brigade 820 Commander
Col Pinchas Kuperman1977Brigade 820 Commander, also served as Deputy Brigade Commander
Col Giora Inbar1977-1978Brigade 820 Commander, later commander of Etgar Formation
Col Oded Nir1978-1980Brigade 820 Commander
Col Hogai Levy1980-1983Brigade 609 Commander, later head of Central Command HQ
Col Yitzhak Baram1983-1984Brigade 609 Commander
Col Effi Eitam1984-1987Brigade 609 Commander, later commander of the Galilee Div
Col Giora Inbar1987-1990Brigade 609 Commander
Col Razi Yahel1990-1992Brigade 609 Commander, later Head of Northern Command HQ
Col Aharon Ziv1992-1995Brigade 609 Commander
Col Tsafir Ben-Ze'ev1995-2000Brigade 609 Commander
Col Yariv Krieger2000-2004Brigade 609 Commander
Col Shlomi Cohen2004-2006Brigade 609 Commander
Col Asher Ben-Lulu2006-2007Brigade 3 Commander, commander of Northern Command
Col Oren Avman2007-2009Brigade 3 Commander, later commander of the Idan Formation
Col Resan Alian2009-2011Brigade 3 Commander, later Chief Infantry and Paratroopers Officer
Col David Zinni2011-2014Brigade 3 Commander, later commander of the Idan Formation
Col Yoav Yoram2014-2017Brigade 3 Commander
Col Hezi NechamaAugust 2017-Brigade 3 Commander

Further Reading

Ram Oren, Latrun, Keshet Publishing, 2002. Elyashiv Shimshi, "Another victory like this ... about the spirit of fighting in the Second Lebanon War," Modan and the Ministry of Defense Publishing, 2013. Gal Hirsch, War Story Love Story, Tel Aviv: Yedioth Ahronoth, 2009, ISBN 9789654828109.

External Links