Infantry Corps Special Forces Overview

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Overview


The IDF Infantry Corps is comprised of four infantry brigades - Golani, Givati, NAHAL and Tzanhanim. In the past, there was some differentiation between the brigades in quality, training and deployment. However, today they are largely equal.

The four brigades share similar structure, comprised of the following:

  • Three regular infantry battalions

  • Signal Company ("Plugat Heil Kesher - PALHICK", in Hebrew)

  • Reconnaissance Battalion ("Gdud Siour - GADSAR", in Hebrew)

The GADSAR is the infantry brigades' specialized outfit and is comprised of the following:

  • Reconnaissance Company ("Plugat Siur - PALSAR", in Hebrew)

  • Anti Tank Company ("Plugat Neged Tankim - PALNAT", in Hebrew)

  • Engineering Company ("Plugat Heil Handasa - PALHAN", in Hebrew)

Insignias from left to right - GADSAR Givati, GADSAR NAHAL and GADSAR Tzanhanim.

Insignias from left to right - PALSAR Golani, PALSAR Givati, PALSAR NAHAL and PALSAR Tzanhanim .

The PALSAR the infantry brigades' tip of the spear and are the best trained and equipped outfits in the brigades. These companies represents the classic model of an IDF SF unit - a reconnaissance unit with CT capabilities.

The infantry PALSAR are also among the most veteran SF units in the IDF with PALSAR Golani and PALSAR Tzanhanim celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

 

Roles


  • Pathfinders - during wartime the PALSAR will find a path viable for the brigade's movements

  • Intelligence gathering - mobilize by vehicles and occasionally by foot ahead of the main brigade force and report back to the brigade' headquarters about enemy movements

  • Direct action - conduct complex ambushes, raids and other direct actions such as taking out enemy strongholds located in key position

  • CBRN detection and identification

  • Engagement Unit in hostage rescue scenarios

  • Conduct SF operations in peacetime and wartime

 

Training


The PALSAR training period is 14 month long and is comprised of the following phases:

  • Four months basic infantry training

  • Two months of advanced infantry training

  • Three weeks course in the IDF Counter Terror School

  • Parachuting course in the IDF Parachuting School

  • One month intelligence gathering and reconnaissance course

  • The rest of the training regime is devoted to raids, navigations, open field combat and CQB.

 

Current Status


Until the early 2000's the four Infantry PALSAR were effectively considered as tier 2 SF units and benefited from the associated high media profile, budgets, relative independence and superior gear compared with regular infantry units. However, in the past decade, the infantry PALSAR saw a major shift from their previous status as all-purpose SF units to their intended role as reconnaissance-focused units. This change was driven by two key simultaneous developments:

  • The formation of the Infantry GADSAR in the early 2000's, during which the PALSAR, PALHAN and PALNAT in all infantry brigades merged into a single unit. Today, these three companies share similar deployment, training and gear, with small differences due to their specialized roles.

  • The emergence of newer SF units, such as Egoz, Maglan, Duvdevan and Rimon, and their continuous evolution, which culminated in the formation of the IDF Commando Brigade in 2015. Today, the Commando Brigade is effectively Tier 2 SF units, replacing the Infantry PALSAR. 

Infantry Corps Special Forces Guide