500th Brigade


SOURCE: 24MAY2018

The 500th Brigade, also know as the Kfir Formation, was an IDF brigade that operated as a semi-regular brigade in the Tze'elim facility (previously known as Facility 500, hence the brigade's name) from 1972 until the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and then continued as a regular unit until 2003 when it was disbanded.

Until 1974 the brigade used Sh'ot tanks (NB:Centurions) and after that, until it was disbanded, used Magach (NB: Magach 6 - M60A1) tanks.

During the Yom Kippur War the young brigade was commanded by Col. Aryeh Keren and fought as part of the 162nd Division which was commanded by Maj. Gen. Avraham (Bren) Keren as the brigade was among those that crossed over the Suez Canal and participated in the Battle of Suez.

Between the 1975-1990 Interim Agreement between Egypt and Israel and the start of the withdrawal following the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, the brigade could be found in the visinity of the Parker Junction (east of the Mitla pass) in the Sinai. It was later moved to the Jordan Valley in the area of Beqa'ot where it performed routine security missions.

During the Peace for Galilee War, the brigade participated in the fighting in the central sector under the command of the Steel Formation (NB: 162nd Div.) in Ein Zahleta.[1] It reached the Beirut-Damascus road in the area of the town of Zofar and from there went to Hamdoun and Alai to finally reach Beirut. In 1984 the brigade together with the 162nd Div. entered Lebanon for a year holding the eastern sector near the Bekaa and Jebel Baher.

The brigade participated in Operation Defensive Shield and in 2003 the decision was made to disband the unit.

Table of Contents

History

Establishment of the Brigade

The brigade was first established in the summer of 1972 as a reserve brigade and Col. Aryeh Keren was appointed as its commander. There were at first three tank battalions in the brigade: רומח Romach/"Spear" (429), סערה Se'ara/"Storm" (430), and גור Gur/"Cub" (433). In each battalion there were three companies of Sh'ot tanks (NB: Centurions) and a company of infantry. The brigade also included a reconnaissance company and a medical company.

The Yom Kippur War

The brigade was commanded by Col. Aryeh Keren and consisted of three battalions of Sh'ot tanks: Bn 429 commanded by Lt. Col. Dan Sapir, Bn 430 commanded by Lt. Col. Elyanshiv Shimshi, and Bn 433 commanded by Lt. Col. Nahum Zaken, as well as a reconnaissance company commanded by Capt. Joseph Saidon and a medical company commanded by Capt. Menachen Stern. The brigade fought on the Egyptian front as part of the 162nd Division led by Avraham Adan. From October 8, 1973 to October 15, the brigade halted Egyptian forces in the area of the Suez Canal opposite the city of Ismailia. On October 17 the unti participated in the destruction of an Egyptian T-62 tank brigade east of the Great Bitter Lake and the day after that the brigade crossed over the Suez Canal. From October 19 to October 24 the brigade broke into the open in Egypt and the west of the canal where it destroyed missile bases, army camps and Egyptian armored and infantry forces until it reached the city of Suez, where it became tied down in the battle for control of the city of Suez. On October 25, it gained control of the area between the Little Bitter Lake and the city of Suez completing the task of encircling the Egyptian Third Army by controlling to the eastern side of the canal.

After the war the unit became a regular brigade. Later, the brigade received Patton M60 tanks. In the period between the Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1975 and the IDF withdrawal from the western Sinai in 1980, the brigade had its headquarters at Parker Junction, east of the Mitla Pass.

With the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt (NB: in March of 1979), the brigade left its permanent base in the Sinai to settle into the Jordan Valley. The 429th BN was trasferred away from the brigade to the 211th Brigade. In May 1981 the 195th BN, previously assigned to the 401st Brigade, was added to the brigade.[2] The battalions of the brigade were now: סערה Se'ara/"Storm" (430), and גור Gur/"Cub" (433). ואדם Adam/"Adam" (433), and two other companies: the חרוב Haruv/"Locust" company and the reconnaissance company.

The Lebanon War

The brigade is commanded by Col. Doron Rubin and included 3 battalions of M60 tanks (Magach 6)(NB: The he.wikipedia article mistakenly identifies them as Magach 5 but that is the M45A5 and not the M60.): 195 BN under the command of Ami Even, 430 BN under the command of Yossi Aviram (died of a heart attack and replace by Deputy commander Danny Savorai, who was also replaced after an injury by company commander Eyal Gur-Aryeh), and 433 BN under the command of Bnei Or. 2 infantry battalions: 932 BN commanded by Sender Ben Ari, and 9263 BN commanded by Moshe Sela. And 601st Engineering BN under the command of Pini Dagan and a reconnaissance company. The brigade fought in the central sector in Lebanon as part of the 162nd Division which was commanded by Menachem Einan. On June 6, 1982 the brigade broke across the Akiya Bridge and moved as far north as the Basari River proceeding though mountainous terrain unopposed. The brigade then began actions again a Syrian force that blocked the route into the Ein Zahlata area. On 11 June when the cease-fire went into effect, the brigade was on Mount Lebanon, a few kilometers from the Beirut-Damascus highway. On 19 June the fighting resumed until the 24th the brigade carried out an incursion east of Ein Zahlata and stabilized the Beirut-Damascus highway in the area of Hamdun. During August of 1982 the brigade participated in fighting in the city of Beirut, forcing terrorists to leave Lebanon. (??)

Operation Defensive Shield

Following the attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya where 30 Israeli citizens were murdered, the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield. The 500th Brigade under the command of Uri Moskowitz helped in the conquest of Palestinian cities. 195th BN led by Guy Hasson, assisted the 310th Brigade and the 445th AR BN of the Yiftah Brigade and under the command of Haim Bar Sela take control of Bethlehem.

Breakdown of the Brigade

In July of 2003 the brigade was disbanded. Most of the troops became infantry and were transferred to the 90s' (NB: the refers to the battalions of the 900th Kfir Brigade: 90,92,93,94,96,97) while others were transferred to the Combat Engineering Corps. The reconnaissance company went to the 401st Brigade to replace the reserve company.

Currently the brigade badge is used and counted as one of the training units at the National Center for Land Training (MALI: מל״י). 195th BN was re-established as a battalion in the Armored Corps School where basic training and basic training (professions) (NB: specialst training?) for tank brigades and APC companies is carried out. In addition, there is the battalion-level instructor's course (KMD: קמ״ד) for the Armored Corps.

Battalion Insignia

Brigade Commanders

NamePeriodRemarks
Aryeh Keren1972-1974first commander and led in Yom Kippur War
Dan Vardi1974-1975later commander of Steel Formation (NB: 162nd Div)
Sasson Shilo1975-1976
Giora Chaika1976-1978later commander at National Center for Land Training
Shai Tamari1978-1979commander of Pillar of Fire (NB: 143rd Div)
Hagai Cohen1979-1981
Benny Taran1981-1982
Doron Rubin1982led during First Lebanon War, later head of Training Dept in General Staff Branch
Doron Yisraeli1982-1984
Avi Romano1984-1985period in Lebanon
Amit Baruch1985-1986
Moshe Ivri Sukenik1986-1988later IDF Attache in USA
Uri Agmon1988-1989later commander of Sinai formation (Division 252)
Nir Galili1989-1991Brig Gen, cmdr of National Center for Land Training
Yiftach Ron-Tal1991-1993future commander of Ground forces
Udi Adam1993-1995leader of Northern Command
Yechiel Gozl1995-1997later IDF Attache in France
Yossi Silman1997-1999later commander of SinaiFormation (Division 252)
Sami Turgeman1999-2001later Commander of the Ground Forces, GOC southern Command
Uri Miskowitz2001-2003Head of Computerization Department
Avi Askenazi2003later commander at National Center for Land Training and Division 252

Further Reading

Elyashiv Shimshi, Storm in October, Ministry of Defense Publishing (Storm Battalion in the Yom Kippur War), 1986 Elyashiv Shimshi, come on, damn it! On Speed in the Battlefield, Publishing Systems and Modan, 2011, pp. 167-186 - The chapter describes the functioning of the brigade's medical system in the Suez area Aviram Barkai, We're on Black: The Story of the 500th Brigade in Operation Peace for Galilee, published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan, 2016.

External Links

The Kfir Brigade - the "Kfir" unit on the Yad LaShiryon website. Shai Levi, "The tank exploded in front of my eyes like a mushroom of fire", Mako website, June 4, 2012. Shai Levi, left a mark and disappeared: IDF units dismantled, on mako website, February 26, 2013

Footnotes

1 ^ When I saw his picture, I froze. I felt like it happened yesterday, nrg site, October 22, 2001. 2 ^ Aviram Barkai, We're on Black, pp. 23-24.