401st Brigade

Accessed 25-JUN-2018

The 401st Brigade, also known as the Tracks of Iron Formation ("Utzvat Ikvot Ha-Barzel" עוצבת עקבות הברזל) is a regular armored brigade in the IDF under the command of the Steel Formation (162nd Division). Today the brigade operates Merkava Siman 4M tanks with the 'windbreaker' active defense system and the Digital Land Battle computerized combat management system. These are the most advanced tanks in the IDF and among the most advanced in the world. The current Brigade Commander is Col Ohad Najma.



Six-Day War and the War of Attrition

The brigade was created as a reserve unit of Magach tanks under the command of Col Uri Bar-On. During the Six-Day War, the brigade arrived with only the 46th Reserve BN which fought in the Rafah area. Afterwards, the brigade became part of the regular army and served together with the 14th Brigade in the Sinai Division (252nd Div). The division's role was to hold the 160-kilometer line of the canal. In 1968 the 79th BN was transferred from the 7th Brigade to the 401st Brigade. The brigade was the first to receive the new Magach 6 tanks purchased with American aid. 46th and 79th BN of the brigade participated in Operation Assuta in the a-Zafi area south of the Dead Sea, which was carried out in parallel with Operation Karameh.[1]

During the War of Attrition the brigade served as a forge for the experienced tankers that constituted the bulk of the reserve system who participated in the Yom Kippur War.[2]

Commanders of th 79th BN (401st Brigade)

Avigdor Ben Gal1968-1970Commander during most of the War of Attrition, later a Maj Gen
Dan Shani (Friedberg)1970-1970Medal of Honor in Six_Day War, killed in War of Attrition serving as 79th BN commander
Avigdor Ben-Gal1970-1970returned to command with death of Dan Shani, later a Maj Gen
Jacob Lapidot1970-1972later a Gen
Shlomo Nitzani1972-1973commanded in Yom Kippur War until injured 07-10-1973

The Yom Kippur War

Before the Yom Kippur War, the brigade was stationed on the southern front as part of the 252nd Division. Two brigades (401st and 14th) rotated every three months: one brigade was placed on the front lines while the other was in the rear to train and maintain their tanks and weapons. At this time Dan Shomron, who had been transferred from the Paratroopers into the Armored Corps, served as the brigade commander. At the outbreak of the war, the 401st was stationed in the rear in the Rafidim and Bir Tamada Camps. When the figthing erupted, the 79th BN was transferred to the 14th Brigade, while the 52nd BN was transferred from the 14th to the 401st.

With their initial success, the Egyptian Air Force began a large bombing campaign. The brigade headquarters was hit and nine soldiers killed. The brigade was ordered to move toward the southern part of the Suez Canal and try to connect with the strongholds there. The brigade carried out the order but Dan Shomron's proposal to evacuate the outposts fell on deaf ears. The division commander, Maj Gen Mandler, ordered the men in the strongholds to halt any evacuation. Shomron attempted to rescue some of the fighters in the strongholds that had been contacted but failed.[3]

The brigade tried to stop the advance of Egyptian infantry and armor into the Sinai but was only partially successful. At the end of the second day of the war, less than half of the tanks remained in usable condition and dozens of soldiers had died. However, the brigade had delayed the construction of bridges in the southern part of the canal.

On 8 October, the brigade attacked Egyptian forces in the area of "cracker" (מפצח) close to the Lexicon axis destroying about 20 tanks and other ammunition trucks, but was forced to withdraw after Egyptian artillery and air strikes. That afternoon the 164th Brigade arrived in the sector and took responsibility for the Gidi Pass while the 401st Brigade stationed itself in the Mitla Pass area.

On 9 October the brigade halted an offensive by the Egyptian 19th Divison, destroying about 60 enemy tanks. On the same day, the forces of 46th BN abandoned the Keret Moreh Ridge following orders in what turned out to be a major mistake for which the brigade's troops would pay dearly. In the following days, the brigade's forces continued to fight Egyptian troops in the area and on 12 October the 202nd BN commanded by Doron Rubin captured the area south of the brigade.

On 13 October Albert Mandler, who commanded the division, was killed in the area south of the brigade, the result of an ambush by Egyptians armed with Sagger missiles, and Kalman Magen was appointed to replace him. On 14 October, the brigade participated in actions that stopped an Egyptian armored assault, and the 46th BN assisted the 202nd BN and other forces in Wadi Hawak which resulted in the destruction of 60 Egyptian armored vehicles without suffering any casualties.

After the War

At the end of the war and after the cease-fire agreement with the Egyptians, the brigade returned to the eastern side of the canal and was stationed at the Tasa Junction under the command of Ehud Barak, also a member of the paratroopers. At the time the brigade included three battalions of Magach tanks (52, 46, 195).

About a year before the outbreak of the First Lebanon War, the 195th BN was moved to the 500th Brigade, and the brigade was reinforced by a reserve battalion of soldiers from Hesder Yeshivas.

The First Lebanon War

During the First Lebanon War, the brigade, under the command of Col Uzi Levatzur, operated in the eastern part of the eastern sector near the Syrian-Lebanese border under the command of Brig Gen Emanuel Sakal of the 252nd Division in the Eastern Corps. The brigade consisted of three battalions of Magach 6 tanks - 46th BN under the command of Lt Col Zvika Fried, the 52nd BN under the command of Lt Col Uri Agmon, and the 3477th Reserve BN under the command of Lt Col Ofer. The brigade advanced in the direction of Ein Yatta via Roshya and Kfar Kook, and ended in the Deir al-Askir area at the time of the cease-fire.

After the war, based on the troops of the reserve battalion from the Hesder Yeshivas, a regular battalion was established - the 34th BN.

After the First Lebanon War

Following the War in Lebanon, the brigade carried out routine security activities in various sectors including Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the security zone in southern Lebanon (until close to the withdrawal in 2000). Some of the activity was carried out using tanks, some as infantry.

With the outbreak of the Second Intifada, its main activity was in the Gaza Atrip and in Judea and Samaria.

The brigade currently uses Merkava Siman 4 tanks, replacing the Magach 6 which it had used until 2004.

Second Lebanon War

The brigade took an active role in the entire Second Lebanon War. Their modern tanks fought primarily in the eastern sectors of Mutella and also took part in the battles of Bint Jbail. Because of the increased use of destructive anti-tank weapons and because the birgade's tanks formed the first line in the fighting in their sector, the brigade suffered numerous losses. Twelve soldiers were killed in the fighting in Lebanon and dozens more were injured.[4]

One of the most well-known stories of the 401st Brigade during the Second Lebanon War it the story of the 'construction crew',[5] (כוח בניה koch binaya) an independent group from the 46th BN under the command of Maj Benya Rein. The team consisted of Maj Benya Rein, SSG Alex Boinmovich, SSG Adam Goren[7] and Uri Grossman[8], son of David Grossman. Rein was a company commander that did not command a company at the time and gathered soldiers after the war started. The team, known as the 'construction crew', engaged in rescue and saved several lives inside Lebanon. In one case, the 'constuction crew' rescued eight engineers from a damaged Puma APC under fire. A few minutes after the rescue, it took a direct hit from an anti-tank missile. In another rescue, the crew's tank was hit directly by an advanced anti-tank missile and four were killed on the spot. After the war, the team was awarded a Citation for the courage and bravery they exhibited during the battles and rescues in Lebanon.[4]

Ongoing Security Activity in the Gaza Strip

The brigade took part in actions in the Gaza Strip and it is even credited with wounding and capturing guerillas[9] during the fighting as the 52nd BN participated in numerous operations and hit dozens of guerillas which earned it the Chief of Staff's Award for outstanding unti in 2008.[10] In 2010, the Merkava Siman 4 tanks of the brigade began to be equipped with the 'windbreaker' system. In March of 2011 the system recorded its first interception of an anti-tank rocket that was fired at a tank of the Eshet BN. By the second half of 2012, a 'windbreaker' had been installed on all of the brigade's tanks.

The 401st was the leading armored brigade in the 2014 Operation Tzuk Eitan thanks to its 'windbreaker' active defense system, which protects it against anti-tank missiles and rockets. During the operation, the brigade's forces destroyed numerous enemy targets and injured dozens, with at least 120 killed. The 'windbreaker' system operated successfully and interecepted a number of the anti-tank rockets and missiles fired at the tanks. The Digital Land Army system that was installed in the tanks will significantly improve the battle management of and communications between tanks and the command center as well as with the various elements on the battlfield.

Brigade Units

The composition of the brigade is based on armored battalions, some of which have been replaced over the years. In some years, the brigade included an infantry battalion and today the brigade also includes a combat engineering battalion. The main units in the brigade are:

46th Sha'lach Battalion

The battalion was first established as an infantry battalion in the reserves after the War of Independence[11] and took part in the Sinai Campaign. In 1961 it was transferred to the Armored Corps and operated under the 7th Brigade as an AMX-13 tank battalion. In 1965 in was converted to Magach tanks and was the founding battalion of the 401st Brigade. That is how it entered the Six-Day War in which it fought as a reserve Magach battalion under the command of Uri Bar-On. The battalion included three companies under the command of Amnon Giladi, Dan Shani and Shalom Engel (Ein Gal). A fourth company from the Armored Corps School commanded by Amos Katz (commander of the Magach at the KKL ??? NB: this has something to do with the tank commander's course. KKL-JNF ?? קורס קציני השריון course 191 ?? from news article at Yad LaShiryon website describing the graduation in Feb 2018 of a class of new officers). Shalom Engel was the only company in the IDF with 105mm cannons and diesel engines. (NB: The Magach M48 only mounted a 90mm cannon and a gasoline engine so what tank was this? Israel did not receive the M60 until later so this might be M4 that mounted a 105mm howitzer.) The other seven companies (3 in the 401st, and 4 in the 79th BN) all had 90mm cannons and gasoline engines. The battalion fought with the Paratroopers Brigade with 84th Division in the battles of the Rafah Crossing. After the war it was established as a regular battalion under the command of Aryeh Keren and took part in Operation Karameh. During the War of Attrition it operated in the Sinai under the command of Amos Katz and Meshulam Ratts. In the Yom Kippur War is fought in the southern sector of the Suez Canal. The battalion also participated in the First Lebanon War. In 2004 it acquired Merkava Siman 4 tanks and took part in the fighting in the Second Lebanon War among them, the Battle of Saluki. During Operation Tzuk Eitan, the battalion fought in the Beit Hanoun area.

Battalion Commanders

Walter Hanegbi1962
Yitzhak Ben-Ari1962-1963
Uri Oren1963
Gideon Gordon1963-1965commanded Iron Chariot Brigade
Uri Bar-On19677head of Northern Command HQ
Aryeh Keren1967-1968
Amos Katz1968-1969future commander of Sinai Formation
Meshulam Ratts1969-1971awarded Medal of Valor, fell in Yom Kippur War
Gideon Avidor1971-1972
Guy Bar-Kochba1972-1973
David Shoval1973-1974later led Ben Chayil Formation (454th Brigade)
Chaim Elkan1974-1975
Amit Baruch1975-1976
Medinia Yariv1976-1977
Yehuda Naveh1977-1978
Aaron Baumwell1978-1980
Israel Goldstein1980-1981
Zvika Fried1981-1982
Zeev Goldblatt1982-1983
Zion Sapir1983-1985
Dudu Kedar1985-1986
Udi Adam1986-1987later GOC Northern Command
Uri Rosenthal1987-1988
Moti Kramer1988-1989
Didi Ben-Yoash1989-1991future officer in the Armored Corps during an emergency
Uri Cohen-Shoval1991-1992
Halutzi Rudi1992-1994later Chief Armor Officer
Guy Jacob1994-1996
Assaf Goren1996-1997
Amir Lev1997-1999
Yitzhak Turgeman1999-2001later commander of Ga'ash Formation
Tomer Golan2001-2003
Dudi Kimchi2003-2005
Elad Rezabi2005-2007battalion commander during Second Lebanon War
Johnny Cohen2007-2009later commander of 600th Brigade
Eran Shani2009-2011later commander of Steel Chariots Brigade
Dudo Songo2011-2013currently commands 8th Brigade
Ohad Maor2013-2015
Tsafrir Maur2015-2017current Deputy Commander of 401st Brigade
Isaac Alfasi2017-

52nd HaBokeem Battalion

The battalion was established in March of 1947[12] and fought in the War of Independence as part of the Givati Brigade, and in recognition for helping to break the siege of Negev by the Egyptian army it was given the name the ha-bokeem/the breachers battalion. During the Sinai War, it operated as an armored infantry battalion in the 7th Brigade, and after the war it was transformed into an armored battalion. During the War of Attrition, the Bar-Lev line was placed under the command of the 14th Brigade.

In the Yom Kippur War the battalion commander was Emmanuel Sakel, and it was located at Ta'azim in the Ras Sudar area in the southern sector of the Egyptian front, at full strength. When the fighting broke out, the battalion was put under the command of the 401st Brigade and Dan Shomron participating in the containment and counter-attack to cross the canal until it stopped at the 101th kilometer; during with it suffered heavy losses. The battalion turned back an Egyptian effort south of the Bitter Lake almost completely destroying an Egyptian armored battalion and came to the aid of a neighboring battalion as part of a brigade attack along the Mitla axis, passing through enemy armored and infantry forces.

During the Second Lebanon War, the battalion participated in the fighting in the central sector of southern Lebanon.

During Operation Tzuk Eitan, the battalion fought under the command of the Givati Brigade. For this the battalion was awarded a Citation by the GOC Southern Command.[13]

Jacob Perry (Frolov)later President of Military Appeals Court
Aviv Barzilai
Joseph Geva1949-1951later Military Attache in USA and Canada
Avraham Tamir1951-1952
Aharon Doron1952-1953later Head of Personnel Division
Shlomo Lahat (Chich)later a General and Mayor of Tel Aviv
Yitzhak Bar-OnAugust-October 1956
Uri Romcommander during Sinai War
Albert Mandlerbecame a General, killed in the Yom Kippur War
Shaul Givolilater Chief Education Officer
Gideon Altshuler1964-1965
Sasson Itzhaki1965-1967commander in Six-Day War
Amnon Reshef1967-1969later Commander of Armored Corps
Ran Sarig1970-1972commander during War of Attrition, then of Ram Formation
Emanuel Sakalcommander during Yom Kippur War, later became commander of Field Forces Command
Uzi Ben-Yitzhak1974-1975later Commander of Field Training Base and Commander of the Judea Division
Uri Agmon1982commanded Sinai Formation
Shmuel Paz1984
Moti Bar-Lev1985
Chaim Malka1986-1987
Sami Turgeman1992-1994later GOC Southern Command
Yoni Zur1994-1996
Boaz AvrahamMarch 1996-March 1998
Yigal Slovik1999-2001head of Personnel Division of Ground Forces
Zvika Zoranlater Commander of Haifa District of the Home Front
Tsahi Segevcommanded battalion during Second Lebanon War after commander injured
Guy KabiliCommander during Second Lebanon War until his injury
Ronan Digmi
Erez Saadon
Ronen Tamim2010-2012later commanded Chariots of Iron Brigade
Udi Zur2012-2014Operations Officer of Southern Command
Sagiv Dahancommander in Operation Tzuk Eitan currently Operations Officer of Judea and Samaria Division
Nissim Hazan2016-

9th Eshet Battalion

The battalion was established during the War of Independence in the Negev Brigade as a raiding force led by Israel Carmi with two infantry platoons from the brigade. In 1953 it was converted into an Armored Corps unit and fought in the Sinai Campaign with AMX-13 tanks. During the Six-Day War, it fought as an infantry battalion under the command of Merdechai Avigad as part of the 7th Brigade. The company commanders were Yoav Vespi, Uzi Levtzur and Yossi Peled. During the War of Attrition, it fought along the Bar-Lev Line with the 14th Brigade. In 1973 it acquired Patton tanks and fought in the Yom Kippur War in the northern Sinai under the command of Yomtov Tamir. During the fighting 67 of its soldiers were killed.[14] In December of 1980 the battalion was attached to the 211th Brigade in Central Command.[15] When the 211th Brigade was disbanded in 1991, the battalion was moved to the 401st Brigade. In 2005 the unit was equipped with Merkava Siman 4 tanks. It participated in the fighting during the Second Lebanon War.

Battalion Commanders

Israel Carmifirst commander, later Chief of Military Police
Haim Bar-Levlater became eighth Chief of Staff
Yehonatan Dotan
Arie Shachar (Schwartsman)later head of Southern Command HQ
Shmuel Givon
Uri Romlater head of Civil Defense
Yitzhak Arad
Israel Hadar
Israel Granitlater commander of Iron Chariot Formation
Moshe Lipson
Bezalel Amirlater Chief Education Officer
Moshe Nachson1959
Walter Hanegbi
Mordechai Tzippori1963later Chief Armored Officer
Eli Doron1963
Eldad Avidar1964-1965
Mordechai (Maxi) Avigadlater Defense Attache to West Germany
Yaakov HadarFeb 1968-Oct 1968later commander of Bnei Hail Formation
Shlomo ArbeliOct 1968-Dec 1969commander during War of Attrition
Uriel RosenDec 1969
Giora Chaika1971commander National Center for Land Training
Yom-Tov Tamircommander during Yom Kippur War and later IDF Attache in England
Shmi Atar
Yitzhak Lev-Ari
Yigal Eyal1979
Shlomo Ariel
Yiftah Ron-Tallater Commander of the Ground Forces
Udi Amir
Agai Yechezkel1995later Planning Branch
Einav Shalevlater an officer in the Operations Branch of the Central Command
Effi Dafrincommander during Second Lebanon War, later commander 27th Brigade
Lior Hochmanlater commander of 460th Brigade
Tomer Yifrach
Yair Burns
Ohad Najimalater commander of the brigade
Itay Brin2012-2013later commander of Ram Formation
Yorai Ben-Hur2013
Ophir Zilberstein2013-2015later commander of Harel Brigade
Gideon Kfiral2015-2017
Elad Efrati2017-


Like the armored PLASA"R, the role of the reconnaissance company (PLASA"R) is the collection of combat intelligence in enemy territory, in real time and without being detected to lead the armored brigade to the fighting. The unit also carries out infantry tasks, and patrols (both on foot and mounted). As of 2014, the unit has been awarded five citations, most of them during the Second Lebanon War.


War of Attirtion

The unit was first established in 1968 during the War of Attrition. Its primary function was to carry out operations along the Suez Canal, including long-term observation, ambushes and patrols. The training course included infantry training, vehicle: jeep patrol and APC, long-range patrol, topography and navigation, and field intelligence. One of its most prominent commanders at the time was Maj Benny Katzin. At the close of 1972 the unit was disbanded for the first time.

Yom Kippur War

For the Yom Kippur War the brigade was left without a PALSA"R unit. So the 14th Brigade's reconnaissance company was transferred to the 401st Brigade. On the eve of the war, the PALSA"R observed signs of war on the Egyptian side reporting: clearing mines, wearing helmets and command patrols. The unit participated in the difficult containment battles, including the counterattack with the 52nd BN on 6 October. At the same time, the unit deployed a network of observation posts in the southern sector of the Suez Canal to report on enemy forces. On 14 October, during the Battle of Wadi from an observation post established by brigade commander Maj Amichai Buchwal that was opposite the wadi and reinforced by members of Southern Command intelligence came the report of a joint Egyptian attack. The attack moved into the wadi and tried to cross 252nd Division from the south. The brigade's tanks were called to the scene and opened fire destroying many Egyptians and halting the attack. Later the unit participated in the crossing of the canal and reached the 101 kilometer marker on the Suez-Cairo road where it stayed for nearly six months. In the battles of the Yom Kippr War the PALSA"R lost seven, including company commander Maj Nachum Shemer. After the interim agreement and withdrawal from the west bank of the canal, the PALSA"R set a network of long-range observation point in the Tasa area receiving a reserve platoon commander. At the end of 1974, this platoon was also disbanded.

The Fighting in Lebanon

The unit was formed again in 1992 by veterans of the reconnaissance units of the Infantry Corps with the name, PALSA"R 401 (Reserve) in order to meet the need of the IDF to create a path forward for heavy and difficult weapons (such as tanks) into enemy territory, for observation and spotting targets in hostile territory for artillery fire.

The Second Intifada

In April 2002, the unit, in cooperation with the Golani Brigade, participated in the occupation of the Muqata in Ramallah as part of Operation Defensive Shield. Some of the most prominent of the unit's actions was the capture of the killer of Minister Rechavam Ze'evi in Jericho, the capture of Marwan Barghouti (head of the Tanzim) and the taking part in Operation First Aid. In March 2003, the unit's soldiers killed five guerillas in the village of Tamun on their way to carry out an attack on one of the Jordan Valley settlements. For this operation, the unit received an award from the Chief of Staff, Moshe (Bogey) Ya'alon.

In December 2003, the 500th Brigade was disbanded and PALSA"R 500 (regular) was renamed to become PALSA"R 401.

Second Lebanon War

During the Second Lebanon War, under the command of outgoing commander Maj Shlomo Tzan and incoming commander Maj Yossi Penso a member of the Golani Brigade, the unit carries out a large number of actions deep inside enemy territory that included long-range surveillance of a hundred hours or more, as well as raids on villages controlled by Hezbollah. During the battle in Saluki, the PALSA"R fighters rescued the wounded of the 9th BN from their tanks and also transported casualties from the Nahal Brigade. After the war, five of the unit's fighters received medals for their actions during the conflict, including SSG Itai Steinberger who fell in the Battle of Branduria in the eastern sector as he ran to rescue the wounded under fire, and Yotam Shish, commander of the sayeret unit, who received a Chief of Staff's Citation.

Operation Cast Lead

During Operation Cast Lead, the PALSA"R, under the command of Maj Erez Tal, carried out preliminary observations to identify targets for the 401st Brigade, and directed the brigade's forces to their targets. The PALSA"R also carried out raids on explosive factories in the Gaza Strip.

Operation Tzuk Eitan

In Operation Tzuk Eitan the unit operated together with the Nahal Brigade deep in Beit Hanun and Beit Lahiya, raiding houses and searching for tunnels.

Assessment and Selection, and Training

Required Profile - 82 with no disqualifying sections

Assessment - five days (after enlistment) which includes marches, tests for teamwork and motivation. Another option is a week of interviews for those who failed out of volunteer units (tes, Shayetet 13, Sayeret MATKA"L, etc.) (NB: aviation, Naval commando unit, Army special operations, etc.) )

Training - the course to train the soldier in the unit lasts for about 14 months in the IDF.

At the same time some soldiers leave to take specialized courses: an operational course in driving a HMMWV, a sniper course, a medics course, a course in forced entry (NB: ?? my best guess), and a course in field interrogation. At the end of the course, an Armored PALSA"R 401 combat pin is awarded to the graduates.

The Role of the PALSA"R in Combat

Unit Commanders

Yoel Ronen1992-1994founder of the unit
Ziv Eyal1994-1996
Dror Hovbakov1996-1997
Chaim Ben-Lulu1997-1999
Yaron Finkelman1999-2001commander during Second Intifada
Noam Lanzini2001-2003commander Operation Defensive Shield, occupation of the Muqqata and operation to arrest Marwan Barghouti
Gilad Amit2003-2005later commander of Samaria Brigade
Shlomo Tzan
Yossi Panso2006-2008commander Second Lebanon War
Erez Tal2008-2009led during Operation Cast Lead
Yossi Ben-Yakar
Liron Aroch
Nadav Atar
Oren Tzabar2013-2014led Operation Shuvu Achim
Alexei RudyanovJuly 2014-March 2015led during Operation Tzuk Eitan
Yoav Amir[16]March 2015-August 2016
Shay SuissaAug 2016- Sept 2017
Eli MalachiSept 2017-

52nd PALMA"S (auxilary company פלוגה מסײעת )

The auxiliary company of the Armored Corps (Armored Auxiliary מסײעת שריון ) is a company whose mission is to assist the tanks and combat forces of the Armore Corps on the battlefield by means of reconnaissance forces, observation forces, and mortar fire. In almost every armored battalion there is an auxiliary company.

The weapons of the auxiliary are: in Shizafon they are trained to use a shortened M-16 as a personal weapon, for the specialists they use the M4 carbine with add-on weapons as needed (grenade launcher, sniper rifle). (NB: having trouble with the term PAKA"LIST פק״ליסט Cannot find any definition for this word but from the context 'specialist' seems a good guess.) In battalion operations it depends on the battalion's budget for add-ons and weapons. The specialties are assisting snipers, launchers, Negev machine gun, driving HMMWVs, driving APCs and combat medic. (NB: What is PAKALI"M an acronym for?? I was able to find what PAKA"L is an acronym for: פק״ל - פקודת קבע ללוחם which has the meaning, command fix warriors, and described as a military expression to describe expertise.)

In the 401st Brigade there are auxiliaries in 52nd BN that completed the course in August 2015 and joined the battalion (the cycle of November 2014).

Among those recruited by the Armored Corps, those with a profile of 82 and above will be assigned to the auxiliary company. The new recruits will undergo basic training at Shizafon that instructs them up to the level of Rifle 05. Basic Training includes rifle training, fieldcraft, determining specialties and combat in the open and in built-up areas up to platoon level. After 4 months of basic training, the recruits begin advanced training where they will be divided into reconnaissance, observation and mortars. Each will undergo slightly different training. The advanced training takes place mostly at the Base at Shizafon and partly in the north, as initially the soldiers in all of the training platoons go through field warfare and navigation. Then their special training begins.

In the reconnaissance unit the troops will be trained as scouts, which includes navigation, camouflage, tracking, scouting routes of advance, sabotage and more. In addition, the platoon is trained to rescue and extract tank crews who are injured during combat. Reconnaissance troops travel in APCs (NAGMA"SH). In the observation platoon, the troops are trained in observation, which also includes navigation and camouflage, observation using binoculars and advanced intelligence, the construction of observation posts and more. The observation platoon is also mounted in APCs. In the mortar platoon, the troops are trained in the use of mortars which includes the operation of advanced command and control systems, firing 81mm and 120mm mortars and fields of fire on the battlefield. The mortars platoon travels in APCs or on foot as needed.

At the end of the training there is more training with the operational company. The 'beret' march of the auxiliary company ranges from 40 to 60 km, the warrior pin is an auxiliary pin is an "zapargul' pin with wings and binoculars for reconnaissance, a sword for observation, and a mortar for the mortars. (NB: the pin is also used by the 460th Training Brigade.)

601st Battalion

The Assaf Battalion (601) is a battalion of the Combat Engineers Corps that is assigned to the tank brigade Ikvot Ha-plada/"Tracks of Iron" (401). The battalion includes companies of sappers (aka combat engineers) operating PUM"A heavy engineering armored APCs, and a company that operates D-9 bulldozers, and other bridging equipment. The battalion's role in combat it to create a path for the brigade's tanks through minefields, anti-tank trenches, dirt ramparts and other obstacles. In addition, the battalion also builds firing positions and protective positions for tanks as well as recovering tanks and vehicles damaged or stranded with the assistance of the Ordnance Corps.

Battalion 601 was the first engineering battalion in the IDF and was established in 1947 using the engineering companies of the Golani Brigade, the Givati Brigade and the 7th Brigade. The companies were formed into a regular battalion in 1954. The battalion helped to build the "Snake Path" to Masada. In 1956, the battalion's heavy construction equipment (TSAMA"HA צמ״ה - ציוד מכני הנדסי) company was formed. The battalion has taken an active part in all of Israel's wars. In 1956, the battalion won the Chief of Staff Citation (the first of its kind in the IDF) for Operation Amora, the destruction of Egyptian infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula. From 1967 to 1969, the battalion worked to build and maintain the Bar-Lev Line of fortifications while under heavy Egyptian shelling. For this action the Engineering Corps won the Israel Defense Prize in 1969. In 1979-1980 following the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, the battalion was responsible for the demolition of intelligence, air control and other facilities such as Um Heshiva (NB: Command post, electronic surveillance and warning facility built on Mt Heshiva in the northwest Sinai.) and IB"A 511 (NB: Air Control Unit 511, an Israeli Air Force base in the Sinai located 8km north of the Refidim base.) With the evacuation of the Sinai, the battalion moved to the Jordan Valley with the base located on a dominating hill [17] above Moshav Gittit. Battalion commander Eli Yitzhaki conceived the name "Camp Assaf" in light of the verse "to win the Gittit for Assaf" (Tehilim 61:1) and it became the battalion's name. (NB: He was probably struck by the similarity between Moshaf Gettit and the Gittit from the Psalm verse (Tehilim is Hebrew for Psalm) but the Google translation is nothing if not cryptic. I entered the line three times asking google to translate and the third was - in order to win the lottery - which I found more than just a little amusing. So you got me stumped as to who Assaf might be, but it is a good story.) In 1982 under Pini Dagan, the battalion played in important role in Operation Peace for the Galilee where it took control of a booby-trapped street filled with the enemy by shooting an 'armored viper'. (NB: An explosive line charge used to clear a path through a minefield. Very similar to the Linear Demolition Charge System used by the US Army.) On 7 October 2000, three soldiers from the unit were kidnapped by Hezbollah on Mount Dov. With the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Assaf Battalion, led by Amir Olu, was the first engineering force to enter Lebanon with the task of uncovering Hezbollah posts and clearing their weapons sites along the border, some of which included roadside bombs with hundreds of kilograms of explosives. At the start of 21st century the unit was transferred from Central Command to the 401st Brigade. In 2012 the Assaf Battalion was the first to receive the new D-9 bulldozers with improved fourth generation armor. In 2014 the unit took part in Operation Tzuk Eitan, fighting in the Beit Hanoun area under the command of the Nahal Brigade where it destroyed four tunnels.

Battalion Commanders

Moshe Peled
Uri Zeitlin
Shlomo Aharonishkicommander during Operation Litani, later became 14th Police Commissioner
Eli Yitzhaki
Pini Dagan1982commander during First Lebanon War
Yehuda Katorza
Yossi Rafaelovlater commander of YEHALA"M
Yaron Beit-Onlater commander of Jordan Valley Brigade and commander and YEHALA"M
Amir Olo2005-2007led during Second Lebanon War, later YEHALA"M commander
Dvir Peleg
Sahar Abergillater commander of YEHALA"M
Ido MizrachiLater YEHALA"M commander and Commander of the School of Military Engineering
Manor Yannai2012-2014led during Operation Tzuk Eitan
Zvi Yannai2014-2016
Gilad Eberlingy
Maoz Salomon2018- current commander

Evolution of the Brigade

(NB: Why is this information here and not in the narratives above?? It should be and I see it here as an indication of a "cut-and-paste" writing style that is disjointed and confusing. Above we were told that the 601st BN joined the brigade at the beginning of the 21st Century but here we are told that it happened in 2006. Why is it here and not in the piece about the 601st BN?? This should be a summary of the information presented above and not a place to introduce new information. And none of it is provided with a footnote so indicate where the information was found.)

Alumni Association

In 2012 some of the graduates of the 401st Brigade founded an organization called the "Organization of 401 Graduates". The goal of the alumni association is to promote business and volunteer cooperation between the graduates of the unit. The organiation grants scholarships and discounts for entrance exam courses and college entrance tests for discharged soldiers who need financial help. The organization also tries to connect graduates from the brigade with veterans to help and guide with starting a job search in the "Adopt a Graduate" program and also to support business initiatives of 401 Brigade graduates.[18]

Brigade Commanders

Uri Bar-On1967-Oct 1968led during the Six-Day War [19], later head of Northern Command HQ
Sasson ItzhakiOct 1968-July 1970
Dov TamariJuly 1970-1972later commander of Pillar of Fire (143 Div)
Avraham Rotem1972-1973head of Training Dept
Dan Shomron1973-1974commander during Yom Kippur War, later 13th Chief of Staff
Ehud Barak1974-1975later 14th Chief of Staff, Minister of Defense and Prime Minister
Emanuel Sackel1975-1977later commander of Field Forces Command
Menachem Einan1977-1978later Head of AG"A
Hagai Regev1978-1979later Military Secretary to Secretary of Defense
Yitzhak Rabin1979-1981later Chief of Staff
Ze'ev Livne1981-1982command of Home Front Command and IDF Attache in USA
Uzi Levtzur1982-1983led during First Lebanon War, later Commissioner for Soldiers'
Yitzhak Eshel1983-1985commanded Pillar of Fire (143 Div)
Moti Paz1985-1986commanded Red Division (80 Div)
Uzi Dayan1986-1987Deputy Chief of Staff
Shlomo Yanai1987-1990Head of Planning Div
Eyal Ben Reuvan1989-1991Commander of Military Colleges and member of Knesset
Avigdor Klein1991-1993officer in the Armored Corps
Udi Shani1993-1994Head of Communications Division
Avi Mizrachi1994-1996Head of Central Command
Uzi Zaguri1996-1998
Eli Reiter1998-2000commander of Ga'ash (36th Div)
Guy Tzur2000-2002commander of Ground Forces
Yaakov Barak2002-2004commander of Ground Forces and Head of IDF
Motti Khidor2004-2006led during Second Lebanon War
Yitzhak Turgeman2006-Mar 2008Head of IDF
Yigal SlovikMar 2008-Mar 2010Head of Human Resources Division at Ground Forces
Einav ShalevMar 2010-Jul 2012Head of Land Division
Sa'ar TzurJul 2012-AUG 2014led during Operation Tzuk Eitan, now Commander of IDF
Yair ValenskyAug 2014-Jul 2016
Ohad NajmaJul 2016- current Brigade Commander

Further Reading

** Moses Givati, in the Desert and Fire Road - The History of the 9th Battalion, Tel Aviv: Published by "Systems" and Publishing of the Ministry of Defense, 1994. ** Elyashiv Shamshi, Moved Already, Damn !, Modan Publishing, 2011, Chapter Five: Speed in Understanding the Battlefield, Armored Brigade 401, in Defense Battles in the Sinai, 6-7 October 1973, pp. 85-102.

External Links

Yael Livnat, 401th Brigade Commander: "Thanks to the means and capabilities of the tank, they can reach deeper and faster," IDF website (through the Internet archive), January 3, 2013 (link is inactive, July 1, 2017) Anshel Pfeffer, reconnaissance company: Nostalgia Patrol, Ha'aretz, May 28, 2009 The armored corps platoons (the link is inactive, July 1, 2017) on the IDF unit website Robi Hamerschlag, documentation: IDF tries the "Ma'aleh Ruach" system on the Channel 10 website, December 7, 2010 (originally from the "nana10" website) Roni Daniel, "The IDF is preparing for the next war," Channel 2 News, December 17, 2010 Yoav Zeitun, IDF celebrates history: "Windbreaker" answers Nasrallah, March 1, 2011 Lilach Shoval, "401 is the world's protected division," on Israel Today website Video clip anthem section 401 on youtube site The graduates' website - 401 graduates. Ron Ben Yishai, Hi-Tank: With the renewed armor that will fight Hezbollah, March 1, 2013. Video file August 1, 2013: "Without infantry tanks, you do not want to move," Yad Armion and Israel today Ben Caspit, the stars of "Tzuk Eitan": Thus the tanks broke Hamas' terrorist infrastructure on Maariv this week, August 22, 2014 The website of the 46th Battalion during the Yom Kippur War Running as a deer and a hero as a lion, a movie on the IDF's YouTube channel, April 9, 2015 Videos Battalion 79 of the 401th Brigade in the War of Attrition, at the Armored Corps site Uzi Levtzur, Successful - Battles in the West Bank to the Zone of Success, Armored Corps, 44 (description of the battles of the 401th Brigade in the second half of the Yom Kippur War), September 2013, pp. 127-120, [2] Video clip of the 401th Brigade in the new IDF website Gnome-emblem-photos.svg Pictures from operational employment 2017, the new IDF website Video clip Yuval of Strength, Determination and Evil: Armored Corps 401 Celebrates 50 Years Since Its Establishment, IDF Website, August 15, 2017 Ofer Aderet, The Forgotten Story of the Fighters Destroyed by an Egyptian Brigade in 1973, Published at the Ha'aretz Website, September 29, 2017 Yossi Melman, the missing battalion: The fighters who lost 67 of their friends and were pushed out of the history books, on Maariv this week, October 2, 2017 Battalion 601 Combat Engineering "Assaf" Stone No. 10: Assaf Battalion 601, on the website of the Combat Engineering Corps Assaf Battalion 601, on the website of the Combat Engineering Corps The Assaf Battalion, on the Armored Corps site Video file Video clip 601, YouTube


War of Attrition, on the 401th Brigade, Armored Corps site About the 401th Brigade at the Armored Corps site Elyashiv Shamshi, come on, damn it! On Speed ​​in the Battlefield, Publishing Systems, 2011, pp. 94-97 Hanan Greenberg, the second time a battalion commander was injured in the Armored Corps, Ynet website, August 13, 2006. - Major Benya Rein, Major General Medal, on the site of heroism Sergeant Alex Bonimovich, Honorary Major General, on the site of heroism Staff Sergeant Adam Goren The Honorable Major General, on the site of heroism Staff Sergeant Uri Grossman Amir Buhbut, when Golani applauded the armored corps, on the NRG website, August 17, 2007. Roi Sharon, "Everyone is initiating, striving for contact and wanting to fight," on NRG website, April 5, 2008. Battalion 46 - Shilo, at the Armored Corps site The 52st Battalion, which was set up at the Armored Corps site Yishai Karev, the Pioneer Regiment will receive the Citation of the Major General on the Channel 7 website, February 2, 2015 Yossi Melman: "The soldiers of the missing battalion from the Yom Kippur War are being exposed," Maariv website, 01 October 2017 Moshe Givati, The Way of the Desert and the Fire - The History of the 9th Battalion, published by the Security System and Systems, 1994, p. 434 Yiftach Carmeli, for the first time: PLASR 401 held a special training program for fighting in the Gaza Strip, IDF website (via the Internet archive), May 7, 2015 (link is inactive, July 1, 2017) 32 ° 06'12 "N 35 ° 24'14" E 401 Graduates Association website I swear to you, Avigdor Kahalani interviews commanders who fought in the Six Day War on the 40th anniversary of the war, Army Radio [1] (link is inactive, 11.8.2012)