- 1 History
- 1.1 The War of Independence
- 1.1.1 Structure of the Brigade
- 18.104.22.168 82nd Battalion
- 22.214.171.124 88th Battalion and the Armored Corps School
- 1.1.2 Brigade Operations during the War of Independence
- 126.96.36.199 Operation Dani
- 188.8.131.52 Operation Death to the Invader
- 184.108.40.206 Operation GYs
- 220.127.116.11 Operation Yoav
- 18.104.22.168 The Conquest of Beit Jibrin
- 22.214.171.124 Operation Shmone
- 126.96.36.199 Operation Assaf
- 188.8.131.52 Operation Horev
- 1.1.3 After Operation Horev
- 1.1.4 The Brigade's Tanks During the War of Independence
- 1.2 The 8th Brigade Between 1949 and 1967
- 1.3 The Six-Day War
- 1.3.1 Brigade Operations During the Six-Day War
- 184.108.40.206 Progress in central Sinai
- 220.127.116.11 The Valley in Northern Golan
- 1.4 8th Brigade Betweem 1967 and 1973
- 1.5 The Yom Kippur War
- 1.5.1 Operations South of the Suez Canal
- 1.5.2 The Valley in Northern Golan
- 1.6 After the Yom Kippur War
Structure of the Brigade
The decision to establish the 8th Brigade was made towards the end of March 1948. Thus, the 8th Brigade was one of the last two brigades established by the Hebrew Haganah on the eve of the invasion of Israel by the Arab Armies. Initially the brigade consisted of three infantry battalions manned by instructors and fresh recruits from the various training bases.
At a General Staff meeting held on 17 May, the decision was made to accelerate the creation of the brigade with one battalion of APCs, making it the first armored brigade in the IDF. At the meeting is was also decided that the brigade would act as a reserve force in the defense against the Arab invasion and would be headed by Yitzhak Sadeh. The original plan for the brigade was for four battalions (two infantry, one armored and one motorized infantry) but only two battalions were established:
- 81 battalion - a commando unit led by Moshe Dayan, later changed to 89 battalion. It was to act as a mechnized raiding unit. The battalion consisted of two companies, one of half-tracks and one of armored vehicles, two Jeep companies and an auxiliary company.
- 82 battalion - an armored battalion under the command of Lt Col Felix (Herman) Battus.
Most of the personnel came from the Irgun and the LEHI as well as others who had served in the armored corps of foreign armies. However, the quantity and quality of the brigade's weapons and equipment at the beginning of the war, particularly the armor, was lacking and generally poor.
At the time that brigade began its training in the Tel Litvinsky area (later Tel Hashomer) and even during the first training session a company from 82nd Bn and some units from 89th Bn were sent to several battles against the Jordanian Legion neat the village of Ana, now Neve Monosson, following the capture of Yehudya (NB: aka Abassiya) by the Jordanian Legion (11 June 1948). The outcome of these battles showed that the companies lacked training.
Structure of the Brigade
The 82nd Battalion, which is now part of the 7th Brigade, was the first and only tank battalion in the brigade as well as in the entire IDF and was under the command of Lt Col Felix Battus who before enlisting in the IDF had served as an officer in the Red Army. At the beginning of the war it included a few armored half-tracks, some armored vehicles built in Israel along with three French R-35 tanks taken from the Syrian Army.
During the First Truce on the night of 29-30 June, two British Cromwell tanks were smuggled out by two British sergeants - Scottish tank commander Harry MacDonald and Irish mechanic Mike Flanagan - from the base where they were stored near the Haifa Airport and were handed over to IDF forces in Tel Aviv. According to the original plan, the last four Cromwell tanks of the British Army stored at the base were to have been stolen that night but because one would not start and another became stuck in the sand only two were were taken that night. The smuggling operation was directed by the military from a cellar on 2 Balfour Street in Haifa using walkie-talkies.
The tanks drove on their treads all the way from Haifa to Tel Aviv through Wadi Milek because the transport trucks that were supposed to load the tanks near Kibbutz Yagut did not arrive. Despite British pursuit to retrieve the tanks, MacDonald and Flanagan managed to reach Tel Aviv in a few hours. They were first brought to the city's old exhibition grounds and then later stored in the Borochov neighborhood of Givatayim, in the courtyard of a member of the Haganah (near the Water Institute) until they were finally handed over to the 8th Brigade a few days later in Tel Litvinsky.
These two tanks were assigned to the Anglo-Saxon Company in the battalion in which the soldiers from English-speaking countries served. In addition, ten more light but antiquated H-39 Hotchkiss French tanks were assigned to the Russian company, whose soldiers had served as tankers in the Red Army. The American M4A3 Sherman tanks that had been purchased from Italian army surplus did not arrive until the late stages of the war.
Some of the tank crews were as mentioned members of the MACHAL, veterans of tank units from English-speaking countries and immigrants from Eastern Europe, the most prominent of which was Major Lionel Drucker, an armored corps officer from the Canadian Army who was Jewish and joined the 8th Brigade, serving as the first IDF tank commander (the two Cromwell tanks stolen from the British Army were commanded by Lionel Drucker and are now exhibited at the Yad LaShiryon Museum in Latrun).
The battalion was organized into 7 companies:
- an armored company under the command of Yankele Huberman
- an Anglo-Saxon company with the Cromwell tanks and later the M4A3 Sherman tanks under the command of Zvi Rimmer
- a Russsian company with H-39 Hotchkiss tanks commanded by Grisha
- a mechanized infantry company commanded Baruch Bar-Lev
- an auxiliary support company commanded by Chaim Lipski
- a command company
- a GADNA company
More than once the battalion command ran into problems issuing orders since most of the battalion consisted of soldiers who spoke different languages (The heavy tank company spoke English, the light tank company spoke Russian and since no one in the battalion could speak both Russian and English communications between the units had to be translated from Russian to Yiddish and then from Yiddish to English).
On 10 July 1948 during Operation Dani, the battalion won control of Lydda Airport and play a central role in fending off the counterattack of the Jordanian Legion which ended with the reoccupation of the villages of Beit Nabala and Kula that had fallen in the Legion counterattack. On 18 July together with the Yiftach Brigade, the battalion tried for the fifth time to take control of Latrun. This time the Cromwell tanks were use in the attack as the armored column left al-Qubab and then headed toward the Latrun police station. When they reached the pumping station at the mid point the tank opened fire on the police station. But when the third shell was fired it misfired and became stuck in the barrel forcing the tank with withdraw to repair the problem. Bad communications with the commader of the half-tracks led his to believe this was a sign to withdraw and ordered the half-tracks to fall back. The commander of the operation did not was to expose the infantry to losses without armor backup and so ordered a general retreat.
On 27 July 1948 the battalion was to cooperate with the Givati and Yiftach Brigades taking an active part in Operation GYS (NB: Givati-Yiftach-Negev) to breakthrough to the besieged Negev force, however, after the failure of the infantry the battalion's plan was not carried out.
On 15 October 1948 the battalion combined with the Givati Brigade, the Negev Brigade and the Yiftach Brigade in Operation Yoav. On the morning of 16 October part of the battalion left (eight H-39 tanks and two Cromwell tanks) with the 7th Infantry Bn. of the Negev Brigade to occupy Iraq Al-Manshiya while the rest of the battalion (the armored infantry and the vehicles) remained behind as a reserve. At the foot of Hill 119 the attacking forces split up:
- - four H-39 tanks along with infantry from 7th Bn turned west and advanced to outpost 123 in order to block Egyptian reinforcements from the village of al-Faluja.
- - four H-39 tanks with infantry from 7th Bn. attack the school building in the village of Iraq al-Manshiyya.
- - two Cromwell tanks along with infantry from 7th bn. attempt to storm Tel Irani.
Against the combined efforts of the 7th and 82nd Bn. the Egyptian Army used their 25-pound guns, PIAT rockets, mortars and machine guns. The fire from these weapons brought the assault by the two battalions to a halt in the area between the school and Tel Irani. Most of the tanks were stuck or had been hit by PIAT exposing the 7th Bn. infantry to Egyptian fire. Communication problems between the infantry and the tanks as well as a delay in committing the reserve force led to the failure of the attack. At 10:30 AM the order to withdraw was given but since most of the force was pinned down in areas controlled by Tel Irani, their extraction was not complete until the evening.
After the withdrawal was complete it was clear the four tanks of the 82nd Bn. (about 40% of all IDF tanks) had suffered damage. As a result the decision was made to take the rest of the battalion (a company of armored vehicles, a company of half-tracks and the support company) and add them to the Negev Brigade and together with the 89th Bn. they occupied Beer Sheva on the afternoon of 21 October.
On 27 October a week after the conclusion of Operation Yoav, the 82nd Bn took part in the occupation of the village and police station of Beit Jubrin.
At the end of December 1948 the battalion was transferred into the Negev Brigade and participated in Operation Horev to remove the Egyptian Army from the Negev. On 26 December they attacked using the armored company (company A) and the half-track company (company C) against the western line of outposts near Auja al-Hafir but the attack failed. The next day, 27 December, the attacks resumed with company C together with half-track company of the 89th Bn, assaulting the Auja a-Hafir and Tel Nitzana outposes and by 12:30 PM this led to the surrender of the Egyptian forces in the area.
On 28-29 December the battalion to move west deep into the Sinai to take control of Um Katef and Abu Agila. Then it continued on toward Bir Hafan until it reach the outskirts of El Arish where it halted and returned to Israel in response to international pressure on Israel.
At the end of April 1949 following the disbanding of the 8th Brigade, the 82nd bn was transferred to the Negev Brigade. A short time later after the Negev Brigade was disbanded, the battalion was transferred to the 7th Brigade where it can still be found today.
The 88th Battalion and the Armored Corps School
The brigade spent the period of the Second Truce being reorganized and rebuilt as an armored brigade: the 82nd bn had a company of armored vehicles and a company of armored infantry added to it while the 89th bn added a jeep company. During this period a third battalion was created at Tel Litvinsky - the 88th bn. which was the brigade mortar unit. It was composed of three companies of 3-inch mortars, commanded by Netanel Hitron and composed of former ETZEL members, new immigrants from North Africa and Holocaust survivors. The poet Natan Alterman, 37 at the time, also requested to be placed in this unit.
Beginning from the start of August 1948 the brigade became involved in the establishment of the Armored Corps School with the encouragement of the brigade commander Yitzhak Sadeh and his deputy Shaul Yaffe. The Armored Corps School began operating at Lod Ariport which is where the 82nd bn was deployed. Later that month Dov Cesis replaced Moshe Dayan as the 89th bn commander as the latter was apppointed commander of the Jerusalem district.
The Brigade's Operations During the War of Independence3>
The first major operation that the brigade took an active part in was Operation Dani, which was the plan to open the road to Jerusalem. During the operation the 8th Brigade operated alongside of other brigades under the overall command of Yigal Allon. During the preparations for the operation, the battalions of the 8th Brigade were combined with infantry battalions to create combined-arms forces of both armor and infantry.
The operation was carried out between 10 to 18 July 1948 as part of a series of ten-day battles at the end of the First Truce. As part of the operation 8th Brigade took Lod Airport and the villages to the east of Petah Tikva (Beit Nabala, Deir Tarif, Kula, Wihhelma and Rinatia). In addition, the 89th Bn. managed to block the Jordanian amor east of Deir Tarif. The following day, 11 July, accompanied by Marmon-Harrington armored cars (IDF codename: terrible tiger/namer ha'nurai נמר הנוראי) the battalion burst into the city of Lod forcing its surrender as it fell to the Yiftach Brigade.
Operation Death to the Invader
Recognizing the need to reinforce the Givati Brigade in its fight against the Egyptian Army on the southern front and a desire to break through to the besieged Negev before the Seond Truce took effect, the 89th bn moved south. The operation took place on the night of 17-18 July 1948 as the 89th seized the village of Cretia. At the end of the operation the 89th was returned to its parent unit.
Following the depleted state of IDF forces at the end of Operation Death to Invaders, the Egyptians conducted a counter-attack on IDF infantry forces in the area of the village of Karya. The counter-attack was successful and Egyptian forces took control of a number of the key points in the region which resulted in the road to the Negev once again being blocked. So the IDF decided on another operation to recapture the villages of Iraq al-Manshiyeh and al-Faluja, south of Kiryat Atiya into order to reopen the road to the Negev. The operation was carried out on the night of 27-28 July 1948 by the Givati and Yiftach Brigades and supported by the 82nd bn but failed to achieve its objectives.
The IDF's fear that the Negev might fall to the Egyptian Army provided the impetus for Operation Yoav the started in mid-October. Between 15 and 22 October the Givati Brigade and the Negev Brigade to which were added the Yiftach Brigade and the 8th Brigade were the units that took part in the operation. The initial infantry attack by the Negev Brigade supported by tanks from the 82nd bn failed to take Iraq al-Manshiya, but on 21 October Beersheba fell to them and opened a path to the besieged Negev. By the end of Operation Yoav, IDF forces had taken ctonrol of large sections of the Negev, conquering the outposts of Hulikat and Beit Jibrin, leaving the Egyptian 4th Brigade under the command of the Sudanese Col Sayed Taha surrounded in a small area around the villages of Faluja, Iraq al-Manshiya and Iraq Suwaidan, an area that was called the Faluja Pocket.
Against the backdrop of Operation Yoav it is worth telling more about a famous soldier fighting in the ranks of the 88th Battalion, the famous writer Natan Alterman. Yitzhak Sadeh had recruited Alterman during a visit to Cafe Kassit in Tel Aviv not long after the end of Operation Dani when he told Alterman that it was hard to understand how such a well-known nationalist writer chose not to participate in the battle to conquer the land. Alterman took part in the failed attack on Iraq al-Manshiya serving as a sergeant, however, the large number of casualties suffered by the 88th convinced Sadeh to reconsider and release him from any further military service.
The Conquest of Beit Jibrin
On 25 October 1948 during a recon patrol in the area of the Arab village of Beit Jibrin, the unit received fire coming from the police station. The next day, 26 October, a battalion from the Givati Brigade assaulted the Beit Jibrin police station. The battalion's mission was to break into the building, search and clear the lower floor and then blow up the entire structure. However, after entering the build and before the search of the lower floor was complete the sappers detonated their explosives, leading to a number of casualties. As a result the action was halted.
On 27 October units of the 8th Brigade attacked the police station from Kibbutz Gal-On and were able to take control of the entire area of the village. Later that day the brigade successfully repelled a counterattack by an armored Jordanian force.
Following the capture of Beit Jibrin, the 8th Braigade took advantage of the success and sent the 89th bn to take control of the villages of Qubaybeh (today Lachish), Dweima (Amatzia), and Dir a-Hanas. The operation completed the encirclement of the Egyptian brigade in the Faluja Pocket.
On 9 November 1948 at 2:00 pm an artillery bombardment began, after seven failed attempts to capture the Iraq Suwaidan Police Station by the Givati and Negev Brigades, Yitzhak Sadeh ordered that the Station be attacked again as well as the valiages of Iraq Suwaidan and Beit Afa. He directed the 88th bn to use its mortars and cannons. The bombardment was accurate and efficient, succeeding in hitting several Egyptian emplacements on the roof of the citadel.
About 15:50 after the initial artillery barrage, the armored forces began advancing toward the police building. The 82nd bn together with troops from Campany A of 89th bn and armed with bangalore torpedoes managed to break through the barbed wire and reach the walls of the compound. The company was under the command of Jacob Grank (The Blond Bear) who detonated their explosives and breached the western wall of the police station. The breach led to the immediate surrender of the Egyptian force that manned the building.
The occupation of the police station in Suweidan led to the retreat of the Egyptian Army from the villages of Iraq Suweidan and Beit Faja and reduced the size of the Faluja Pocket to just the area of al-Faluja and Iraq al-Manshiya. The occupation of the two villages by the units of the 8th Brigade also reduced the ongoing threat to the nearby Jewish communities, in particular to Kibbutz Nagba which had suffered for a long time from artillery shelling.
It was during these battles that Private Siman-Tov Ganah, a soldier from the 89th bn (NB: Sent to breach the barbed wire.) suffered severe wounds to both legs from an RPG that hit the IDF during a battle but he continued to fight on, rescuing and treating many of the wounded for which he was later awarded the Medal of Heroism.
At the end of Operation Yoav, the Egyptian command made plans to join forces with those trapped in the Faluja Pocket. To prevent this the IDF mounted a counter-attack the Egyptian forces that had settled in the Besor region. The operation was conducted between 5 and 7 December 1948, with the participation of the 89th bn and the 13th bn from the Golani Brigade, accompanied by artillery. At the start of the operation the 89th took control of a number of outposts in the area of Sheikh Nuran (today Kibbutz Magen), the village of Shu'ut (now south of Moshav Ein Ha-Besor), Tel Shruhan and Tel Gama, and managed to fight off the Egyptian assault (in the counter-attack the Egyptians lost 5 M22 Locust tanks). The next day a force from 89th bn under the command of Yaakov Granak, confronted the raminder of the Egyptian forces in the area leading to the retreat of the expeditionary force.
The desire to impose an armistice on the Egyptians together with the fear that the Negev would remain, at least in part, under the control of the Egyptian Army, led to the planning of another large-scale operation to remove the Egyptians from the eastern Negev (the outposts of Auja al-Hafir, Bir Asluj), from the northern Negev (the coastal strip between Rafah and Beit Hanun) and the eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula (Umm Katef, Abu Agila and Bir Lahafan). The operation ran from 22 December 1948 to 7 January 1949 and was under the command of Yigal Allon.
The 8th Brigade was tasked with the occupation of the outposts at Auja al-Hafir and to then advance toward Abu Agila. The 8th Brigade was therefore reinforced by 5th Inf bn or the Harel Brigade. Because of stormy weather, this attack was postponed until noon on 25 December and new routes had to be found. The brigade reached the Rehovot area of the Negev in the evening using an ancient Roman road in Nahal Lavan and moved toward the outposts of Auj al-Hafir. The advance took longer than expected due to road conditions. On the afternoon of 26 December the brigade finally arrived at it destination and led by 82nd and 89th bn, launched an attack on the outposts. The attack was replulsed by the Egyptian with heavy losses in both manpower and equipment by the 89th bn, among them the Company A commander Ya'akov Grenak.
The attack on the Auja al-Hafir outposts resumed on 27 December leading to the surrender of the Egyptian forces in the area at about 12:30.
On 28-29 December the brigade continued moving to the west deep into the Sinai to seize control of the installations at Um Katef and Abu Agila. After that the brigade continued to move toward Bir Hafan until it reached the outskirts of El Arish where it halted and then returned to Israel in response to international pressure put on the Israeli government.
Upon its return to Israel, the brigade was transferred to the Gvulot (NB: a kibbutz in the western Negev) area where it served as a reserve force for an attack on Rafah. On 6 January the unit captured a number of outposts in the area of Rafah but they soon returned to Egyptian control. The 8th was then ordered to retake the outposts but failed.
After Operation Horev
Following Operation Horav, the brigade began receiving additional M4A3 Sherman tanks. On 1 march 1949 the brigade had six Sherman tanks (only three of which had cannons), two Cromwell tanks, one M22 Locust tank and one H-39 Hotchkiss tank. The introduction of Sherman tanks proved difficult and was not completed until after the end of the War of Independence.
By the end of April 1949 the brigade was disbanded following the decision by David Ben-Gurion to reduce the size of the regular IDF forces. The 82nd bn was transferred to the Negev Brigade while the 88th and 89th bn were disbanded. Then a short time later, the Negev Brigade was disbanded and the 82nd bn was transferred to the 7th Brigade where it still is today.
The Brigade's Tanks During the War of Independence
Cromwell, H-39, R-35, M4A3
The 8th Brigade Between 1949 and 1967
After the brigade was disbanded in Paril 1949, it was reformed as a reserve infantry brigade. The brigade base was moved from Tel Litvinsky to Jaffa and together with the Kiryati Brigade belonged to the Tel Aviv District. These two infantry brigades were to main force of the 8th Command which served as a reserve for the IDF General Staff until 1953. At the beginning of 1953 the 8th Command was disbanded and the 8th Brigade was transferred to the Southern Command.
The brigade was now commanded by Col Joseph Geva and did not participate in the Sinai Campaign, acting as the Southern Command reserve, but 121st bn of the brigade did participate in the conquest of Sharm el-Sheikh when it was placed under the command of the 9th Brigade.
In 1964 the 8th Brigade became a mechanized brigade and was attached to the Armored Corps. As part of the conversion, the 129th Sherman M50 tank battalion of the 520th Brigade was transferred into the brigade along with two armored infantry battalions.
The Six-Day War
On the eve of the Six-Day War the brigade had three battalions under the command of Col Albert Mandler:
- 129th BN - 30 M50 and M51 Sherman tanks commanded by Lt Col Aryeh (Biro) Dayan.
- 89th BN - armored infantry
- 121st BN - armored infantry commanded by Aryeh Keren
The Course of the Six-Day War
Progress in the Central Sinai
In the period preceeding the conflist, the 8th Brigade, led by Col Albert Mandler, was opposite the border from Kuntilla to the north of Eilat to act as a diversion to attract the attention of the Egyptian army on the Sinai front. The deception saw the concentration of many Egyptian armored formations against the 8th Brigade thus enabling the IDF to penetrate more easily the northern part of the peninsula, especially at Um Katef.
On the night of 5-6 June, the brigade's 129th BN crossed the border into Sinai and advanced toward the positions of the Egyptian 6th Infantry Division commanded by Sa'ad a-Shazli. In the armor engagement that developed, most of the Egyptian tanks were destroyed while only two of the 129th BN tanks were hit. After the battle the 129th BN returned to the other side of the Green Line.
On 7 June, two days after the start of the awr, the chief of staff Maj Gen Yitzhak Rabin, ordered the brigade transferred to Northern Command. Most of the brigade was transferred north but a small force remained in the Sinai (the 89th BN and two tank companies of the 129th BN) under the command of Deputy Commander Mordechai (Motke) Ben Porat, which on 8 June continued to advance through Nahal (NB:?? or Nahalal) and the Mitla Pass to reach the Suez Canal where it was joined by the 38th Division led by Ariel Sharon.
The Valley in the Northern Golan Heights
Prior to 9 June, the brigade was in the Hula Valley area facing off against Syrian positions in the norther Golan Heights. The brigade, led by Col Albert Mandler, had only half of its strength available with the remainder staying behind in the Sinai. So the 8th Brigade was reinforced with the addition of the 377th BN of the 37th Brigade which included two tank companies an armored infantry company under the command of Lt Col Amnon Hinski. Mandler appointed his Chief of Staff, Maj Amnon Reshef, as his acting Deputy Commander. The task assigned to the brigade was to penetrate the Syrian positions north of the village of Szold - Givat Ha'em, and the seizure of the outposts of Gore el-Askar, Na'amush, and Za'ora reaching the road leading to Mas'ade (NB: Mas'ade is a Druse city, זעורה) (Route 99). At 9:00 on the morning of 9 June, the makbet pyal/"war hammer follow" מקבת פעל order (order to move toward the Syrian positions) was sent out to start the operation. At 11:30 the brigade crossed the border into Syria and began their ascent. But then the brigade column (129th tank BN led by Lt Col Aryeh Biro, acting brigade commander, 377th tank BN, and 121st armored infantry BN led by Arie Keren) began moving the heavy artillery bombardment of the Syrian 11th Brigade began, hitting a number of half-tracks and killing Maj Musha Haviv, the deputy commander of 121st BN.
The 129th BN occupied positions at Gur al-Askar and Na'amush but as a result of the artillery fire on the brigade column there was a navigation mistake that led the battalion to the village of Sir al-Dhib which was filled with anti-tank squads. Aryeh Biru, the commander, at this point thought that he was headed in the right direction and that the village ahead was Za'ora. It was only when he did not see the artillery fire he had requested for Za'ora that he began to understand his mistake. In spite of this, he decided to continue on in the direction of Kela. During the ensuing firefight in the village, Aryeh Biru's tank took several hits injuring his jaw and so he retreated. Maj Rafi Mokady, who took over command of the battalion, tried to change the direction of the advance and headed north but his tank was also hit and Mokday killed. At this point the commander of company Z (ז), Lt Nati Golan Asher, despite injuries to his face, back and arm, took command and managed to lead the battalion to take the village. After the capture of Sir al-Dhib, the battalion continued to move toward the village of Kela. At this point, commander Mandler arrived at Sir al-Dhib and recognized the direction error. Despite this, Mandler decided that the 129th BN would continue to move in the direction of Kela (NB: aka Sela Alon or Kela Golan) while the rest of the brigade would turn towards Za'ora. The remaining 14 tanks of the 129th BN continued to slowly advance toward Kela under heavy artillery fire and then at the checkpoint were hit by anti-tank missiles. Three more tanks were hit and four more damaged. At 16:45 the seven remaining tanks arrived at the village and continued fighting but then encountered an anti-tank ambush and Syrian armored forces advancing from the direction of Kfar Wasset. Despite the odds, the 129th BN took the village with more tanks taking damage until only two tanks in the battalion remained capable of fighting. (NB: a normal battalion had 32 tanks - most damamged tanks could be repaired and returned to service quickly) In the battles the battalion suffered 13 dead and 33 wounded.
At the same time the brigade commander (NB: Mandler) continued with the other two battalions to more to the north along the oil pipeline and encountered little resistance. The forces occupied the areas of Za'ora and the village of Jabab el-Meis as planned. At about 18:45 the commander with the 377th BN joined the remnants of the 129th in Kala.
On the night of 9-10 June, the brigade reinforced with additional tanks and two Golani infantry battalions, began to move towards Kuneitra with the dawn. The brigade took control of the villages of Wasset and El Mansoura, arriving on the outskirts of Kuneitra at 14:30. They found the city abandoned and occupied it without resistance by 15:30. After that the brigade continued to move until it reached the El-Akhmedia junction about 2 km northeast of Kuneitra.
After the war Lt Nati Golan and Sgt Shaul Vardi were both awarded citations for their fighting that was later changed to the Medal of Heroism.  Maj Rafi Mokady was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The 8th Brigade from 1967 to 1973
At the end of the Six-Day War, the brigade created a new home base at Sde Teiman and in 1968 was renamed the 875th Brigade. As part of this reorganization the brigade was also transferred to the 143rd Division of Southern Command and took an active role in maintaining the Bar-Lev line during the War of Attrition.
On 9 September 1969, Operation Raviv was carried out - an armored raid over 50km on the west coast of the Gulf of Suez. 8th Brigade commander Col Uri Bar-On was given command of the operation. Bar-On appointed to lead the raiding force Lt Col Baruch Harel ("Pinko"), who was 8th Brigade deputy commander and waiting for appointment as 14th Brigade commander. This operation, the first of its kind for the IDF, was an armored force of Tiran 5 tanks and BTR-50 APCs, put under command of the brigade, a naval landing force, Unit 707 and Shayetet 13, and with the aid of both the Air Force and artillery it exceeded all expections.
In July 1973 the brigade was transferred to Camp Flugot. (NB: ???)
The Yom Kipur war
On the eve of the Yom Kipur War the brigade had three battalions and a reconnaissance company commanded by Col Aryeh Biru:
- 129th BN - a battalion of M50 and M51 Sherman tanks under the command of Maj Ilan Levanon. During the war, Ilan Levanon was transferred to command of the Maoz Buczer area and Lt Col Yehuda Dekel was given temporary command until he returned.
- 89th BN - a battalion of the Armored Corps under the command of Lt Col Yitzhak Shoshani. During the war, the unit captured Tawaz Mitzvah.
- 121st BN - a battalion of infantry led by Lt Col Moshe Bankover.
- Recon Co - commanded by Capt Itamar Ben-David.
Operations South of the Suez Canal
The outbreak of the Yom Kipur War caught the brigade at the end of training,
repair and maintenance at the Tze'elim Camp. Battalions were released from
reserve duty on Friday and were drafted into the war the next day. The brigade
was led by the deputy brigade commander, Lt Col Nehemia Dagon, on the morning of
6 October. A battalion formed part of a brigade that attempted to contain
Egyptians forces in the sector in front of their Third army along the route to
the Gidi Pass. On 7 October, the first troops of the brigade arrived at the Refidim Base
in the Sinai. While the 129th BN was transported, the rest of the brigade had
to drive there. When the brigade finally arrived in Sinai, it was transferred
to 252nd Division becoming part of the mission to contain the Egyptian army
which at that time had already crossed the Suez Canal and reached the edge of
the Gidi Pass: (NB: difficult to make any sense of the google trans. This is
the best that I could do. :) )
On 7 October, the first troops of the brigade arrived at the Refidim Base in the Sinai. While the 129th BN was transported, the rest of the brigade had to drive there. When the brigade finally arrived in Sinai, it was transferred to 252nd Division becoming part of the mission to contain the Egyptian army which at that time had already crossed the Suez Canal and reached the edge of the Gidi Pass: (NB: difficult to make any sense of the google trans. This is the best that I could do. :) )
The Battle of Wadi Mahbuk
The brigade participated in many battles against the Third Army south of the Suez Canal at the western edges of the Mitla and Gidi Passes. On 14 October, fought together with tanks and PLASAR from the 401st and 202nd Paratrooper BN that blocked the Egyptian Army's advance to the east.
After the crossing of the Suez Canal and the passage of Divisions 143, 162 and 252 to the west bank of the canal, the brigade remained to pin down the Third Army (at this stage the 121st BN had returned to the control of the brigade).
On the afternoon of 18 October during preparations to attack the Egyptian army, the brigade's command center was hit by an artillery shell. Both Aryeh Biro and an AGAM officer were wounded. (NB: AGAM is the General Staff Branch now called the Operations Branch AMATZ.) With the injuries to Biro the command of the brigade was transferred to Col Avraham Baram (commander of the 164th Brigade).(NB: Harel Brigade)
On 23 October, the brigade was transferred to the 440th Division with part of the 121st BN being sent to Ras Sudar. On 26 October command of the brigade was given to Col Aharon Gal (Stangel).
After the war the brigade returned to the 143rd Division and remained in the Sinai until the Separation of Forces agreement with Egypt. Upon the release, the brigade returned to its home base at the Flugot Camp.
87th Recon Battalion
The 87th is an armored reconnaissance battalion that was established in May 1973 and was part of the 143rd Division. The unit consisted of M60A1 tanks and mounted scouts in M113 APCs and light jeeps. The jeep company was based almost entirely on PLASAR 87 of the 8th Brigade in the Six-Day War (the number used by the battalion was also taken from the PLASAR unit).
During the Yom Kipur War the unit was under the command of Lt Col Bentzi Carmeli to prevent the Egyptian army from occupying the hilly areas of Hamadiyah and Kushuf which dominated the designated crossing area. During these battles commander Bantzi Carmeli was killed. Lt Col Yoav Brom (NB: the successor to Carmeli) fought valiantly in the battles of the Chinese Farm and was himself killed on 16 October 1973. During the war the battalion advanced to the shores of the Great Bitter Lake, discovering the "seam" between the two Egyptian armies in the Sinai. Later they took part is fending off the counterattack by the 21st Egyptian Armored Division. And at the time of the crossing of the Suez, the battalion was at the head of the 143rd Div and managed to break through the water barrier. Later it guarded the crossing site as the paratroopers crossed over to the western side of the Suez Canal.
After this is was sent to clear the Tirtur-Lexicon road junction next to Chinese Farm. At the end of the difficult battle in which the battalion suffered many casualties including the new battalion commander Yoav Brom, the remnants of the battalion were assigned to other combat units and continued to fight on the outskirts of Ismailia and the western side of the Suez Canal until the cease-fire took effect.
After the cease-fire, the recon battalion was reformed using only APCs and light jeeps equipped with TOW anti-tank missiles. After the withdrawal of IDF forces from the west bank of the Suez Canal, the battalion was disbanded as the tankers were transferred to the 8th Brigade while the APCs and jeeps were sent to the 421st BN where they were used to form a PALSAR platoon for the brigade.
On 19 May 2005 the battalion received a certificate of appreciation from the head of Southern Command, Dan Harel, for its achievements during the Yom Kipur War.
The 8th Brigade After the Yom Kippur War
In 1974 the brigade was rebuilt as an armored brigade with three battalions of M48A3 Patton tanks. (NB: As a reserve brigade??) In the years following the Yom Kippur War the brigade took an active part in many operations along the lines of separation on Sinai border, and as infantry battalions along the Gaza Strip, the Arava valley, Eilat, the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights.
Prior to Operation Peace for Galilee, the brigade's tanks were upgraded to Magach 6B. During the conflict the brigade was activated but did not take an active part in the fighting.
The brigade took an active part during both of the Intifadas, particularly during Operation Defensive Shield, which was directed at a large number of terrorists in both Judea and Samarian and in the Gaza Strip.
In 2004 the brigade was disbanded as part of a reorganization of the IDF, but a year later in 2005 after requests of brigade veterans to then Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, it was merged with the 640th Brigade of Northern Command. (NB: There is no reference to 640th Brigade that I can find anywhere.) Following this merger the unit was converted to a Merkava tank brigade. (NB: ??)
During the span of its existence, the brigade's number was changes four times. The first was in 1968, the second in June 1982 during the Lebanon War, the third time in 1986, and the fourth time was in 1996 when the number 8 was restored in response to pressure exerted by the brigade's soldiers and veterans.
In July of 2014 during Operation Tzuk Eitan, operating under Order 8 for operational employment on the northern border were the engineering battalion and one of the brigade's tank battalions(Battalion 8525 under the command of Yariv Elani). The two battalions were called up to replace regular battalions on the northern border so that the latter could take an active role in the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The battalion's tanks were deployed along the Blue Line from Rosh Hanikra in the west, through Zarit Avivim, Ramim Ridge and Mount Dov in the east. As well as along the Purple Line in the Golan from Ram Ram to Tel Peres.
Today (2016) the 8th Brigade is an active reserve brigade under the command of Col Dudu Songo, and is part of the Northern Command.
|Yitzhak Sadeh||May 1948-Nov 1949||commanded brigade during War of Independence|
|Ben Zion Friedan (Ziv)|
|Zvi Gilat (Horowitz)||later commander of Southern Command|
|Joseph Geva||commanded brigade during Sinai Campaign, later GOC of Central Command|
|Moshe (Musa) Peled||1964-1965||later commander of Armored Corps|
|Albert Mandler||1965-1968||commanded during the Six-Day War, later commander of Sinai Formation|
|Uri Bar-On||later head of Northern Command HQ|
|Aryeh Biro||commanded during Yom Kippur War|
|Haim Sela||commanded after Aryeh Biru's injury|
|Yosef Yudovitch||commander during First Lebanon War|
|Saar Zur||2008-2010||later commanded Sinai Formation|
|Erez Lev-Ran||2010-2014||commanded during Operation Tzuk Eitan|
|Dudu Songo||2016-||current commander|
8th Brigade Monuments
- The central monument to the fallen of the 8th Brigade was established near the El Al junction at the eastern entrance to Ben-Gurion Airport because of the fact that it occupied the airport as part of Operation Danny, which was the first significant operation it took part in. The monument was designed by sculptor Yechiel Shemi and inaugurated on the eve of Israel's 24th Independence Day, April 17, 1972. The monument is made of hollow concrete and steel, and is 22 meters high. It is shaped like a shield and some of the steel parts that are integrated into it symbolize cannons. The names of 83 Brigade casualties since the War of Independence have been etched in concrete, as well as the sentence: "Now we shall be without a friend to connect a friend to a friend."
- A monument near Tel Nitzana detailing the brigade's operations in Operation Horev.
- A stone monument that was erected in the Armored Corps Park near the Armored Corps in Latrun.
- A monument commemorating the casualties of the tank battalion in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. The monument is placed on the anti-tank barrier between Kela and Sir al-Dhib in the Golan Heights.
- A memorial in Shoham in memory of those who fell in the battles in this area in Operation Danny.
The 8th Brigade is the armored brigade with the largest number of medals in the IDF, Private Siman-Tov Gana - in Operation 'Yoav' to occupy the Iraqi police Suwaidan . Sergeant Shaul Vardi - during the Six-Day War in the battle of the northern Golan Heights.  Lieutenant Nati Golan - as part of the Six-Day War in the battle of the northern Golan Heights.  In addition, the brigade is decorated with a medal of courage and a masterpiece: Lt. Col. Yoav Brom - during the Yom Kippur War in the Battle of the Chinese Farm (fell in this battle) . Major Rafi Mokady - in the framework of the Six-Day War in the battle of the breakthrough in the northern Golan Heights . In 2008, Battalion 89 of the Brigade received the Medal of Merit from the President of the State, Shimon Peres. The Battalion 89 was awarded the Medal of Merit again in 2014. In 2012, the Brigade won the third place in the Reserve Corps, and on August 5, 2013, the 121st Battalion of the Brigade received the Medal of Merit from the President of the State. In addition, during the course of 2013, the Brigade received a special assessment certificate from the Ground Forces Commander regarding training.
Evyatar Oren, The Eighth Pulse: From 1948 to 5770 - The Story of Brigade 8, in the Camp, March 11, 2011, pp. 38-42. Yitzhak Sadeh, This is how the fortress was captured, Publishing Systems, 1950.
The 8th Brigade at the Armored Corps site About the 8th Brigade Memorial at the Armored Corps site An article about the brigade's participation in the War of Independence on the Armored Corps site A description of the preparations and occupation of the Iraqi Suwaidan police station at the Armored Corps site Description of the occupation of the Auja al-Hafir outposts at the Armored Corps site The story of Lionel Drucker, commander of the first tank in the IDF, at the Armored Corps site This is how the IDF's first armored battalion was established, at the Armored Corps site The 8th anniversary of the 8th Brigade at Ben-Gurion Airport at the Armored Corps site Nadav Man, 8th Brigade: IDF's First Armored Brigade, Ynet, January 18, 2013 Israel Today, Colonel David Songo, the determination of the 8th Brigade led to victory in Ramat Golan 08.06.2017 Ma'ariv Avi Sofer 11/04/2017 The never ending battle: The Six Day War recruits return to the Golan Heights The album of photographs of the 8th Brigade when it was established in the 1948 War of Independence.
64 years since the establishment of the 8th Brigade at the Armored Corps site. From the memoirs of Shimon Lundner in the battles of Kafr 'Ana on the Armored Corps site. From the story of Lionel Drucker at the Armored Corps site. Pinhas and the Task, Purchase, Publishing Systems, 1966, pp. 139-146. Of the Cromwell remains in the family site Armored Corps. From anemones in October at the site of Davar Gat. Dan Laor, Alterman, pp. 361-362. Hani Ziv, Yoav Gelber, Benny Keshet, Ministry of Defense Press, 1998, p. 182. Yehuda Walach, Fighting Sites in the Land of Israel, Carta Publishing, Jerusalem, 2003, p. 226. From the history of Beit Guvrin on the site of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin (link is inactive, 8.05.2018) From how the fortress was captured - the occupation of the Iraq Suidan police during the War of Independence at the Armored Corps site. Yehuda Walach, ... Not on the Silver Tray, Carta Publishing, Jerusalem, 2000, p. Private sign good Ganah, the site of heroism. Sergeant Shaul Vardi, on the site of heroism. Lieutenant Netanel Golan Horowitz, on the site of heroism. Major Rafael Shmuel Mokady, on the Armored Corps website. Evyatar Oren, The Eighth Pulse: From 1948 to 5770 - Story of Brigade 8, in the camp, March 11, 2011, p. From Operation Reviv An armored IDF raid on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez on September 9, 1969, PID / Investigations and History Division, August 1970. Page 3. From the special ammunition unit of the 88th Battalion "Dov Lavan", 1969-1974, historical spotlight, July 2012, p. 11. From the Legacy 87 Legacy Site. "Tzuk Eitan" in the north at the Yad LaShiryon site. Lt. Col. Yoav Brom, on the site of heroism. Omri Efraim, the outstanding reservists: "It's in our DNA," Ynet website, August 5, 2013