Armored Corps Special Forces Overview

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Each of the IDF regular (non reserve) armor brigades has its own SF unit:

  • PALSAR 7 - part of the 7th Armored Brigade.

  • PALSAR 401 - part of the 401th Armored Brigade.

  • PALSAR 188 (reserve unit) - part of the 188th Armored Brigade.

Insignias: left - PALSAR 7, right - PALSAR 401

The three units' have missions and training are similar, but are independent outfits, in both training and deployment.

The units mobilize by vehicles and occasionally by foot ahead of the main armored force and have the following roles:

  • Pathfinders - during wartime the units will find viable paths for armor movement. Occasionally, the units will also clear the chosen path by removing anti tank mines and demolishing man made or natural obstacles. If unavoidable, the units may engage small enemy forces, but will typically attempt to find an alternative path to maintain the element of surprise. Once a designated path has been selected, the units will patrol along it, destroying enemy anti armor teams. If necessary, the units will also take out key enemy strongholds located in tactical positions along the path.

  • Intelligence gathering - reporting back to the armor brigades' headquarters about enemy movements ahead.

  • Security and protection - for the armored brigades' mobile headquarters against enemy infantry attacks.

The need for the units was well proven in the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In the bitter tank-to-tank engagements that took place in both wars, PALSAR 7 sustained heavy casualties but fulfilled its objectives remarkably well.

The units are classic reconnaissance units and most of their training regime is dedicated to this specialty. However, due to the current clashes in the Territories, the units now place additional focus on CQB.

The units training period consists of the following phases:

  • Four month of basic infantry training.

  • Two months of advanced infantry training.

  • Five months specialized training including navigation, off road driving, mine clearing techniques and basic anti-tank tactics. The training also consists of demolition since as the soldiers may need to tackle obstacles blocking the paths. Also covered in this phase are.

  • Two months of NCO reconnaissance course.

  • Two months NCO SF course.

Armored Corps Special Forces Guide