During the Warm Winter operation in the Gaza Strip, the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War were implemented and soldiers showed tremendous bravery, Givati officers said in a conversation on Tuesday. The military men spoke about complex fighting that accentuated the bravery of their soldiers.
At the beginning of the battles, a platoon commander identified a Hamas gunman that threw a grenade and injured some of the troops under his command. The officer approached the militant, managed to dodge a grenade that he threw at him and then threw his own grenade through the window where he was lying in wait and killed him.
Officers in the brigade spoke about a combination of complex and sophisticated urban warfare and fighting principles such as commitment to the mission and pushing for contact with the enemy that stood out among the soldiers and commanders. They said soldiers implemented a considerable amount of the lessons learned in the Second Lebanon War.
One of the stories that stuck out was of a machine gunner who was moderately wounded after receiving a bullet wound to the hand. Despite his injury, he refused to be evacuated and continued to advance with his company even though he was no longer able to serve as a machine gunner. He was only evacuated after the first phases of the fighting were completed.
With regards to the performance of Hamas gunmen in the clashes, the officers said that the militants fought fiercely during the initial stages of the operation.
However, after the IDF burst through their formations, many of them retreated and only fired at Givati troops and tanks from the 74th battalion from afar.
Before the incursion into Gaza (Photo: Amir Cohen)
In one of the battles, a Givati company commander was injured and began hemorrhaging dangerously large amounts of blood. According to the officers, an armored personnel carrier (APC) set out to evacuate the wounded comrade and, despite running over a number of explosive devices on the way, the driver located the commander and he was swiftly brought to a hospital in stable condition. The commanders described the action as a joint maneuver between infantry and tank forces and the Air Force.
The officers said the two soldiers that were killed, Staff Sergeants Doron Asulin and Eran Dan Gur, were killed in the initial stages of fighting after a Hamas cell surprised the two men in houses and alleyways in the Strip.
Officers side-by-side with soldiers
Givati Brigade Commander, Colonel Ilan Malka, was with his troops the entire missions and actively participated in the fighting. The regiment commanders also took part in the operation fighting side-by-side with their soldiers.
The commanders said they made every effort to avoid hitting "non-combatant civilians" and that these guidelines were given before they even set out.
The commanders added however, that there observed several incidents in which Hamas militants sent children to collect weapons from militants killed and injured in action.
During the fighting, Givati force collected weapons, Qassam launchers, and arrested 70-80 Palestinians.
In total, Givati suffered two dead and eight injured in the Warm Winter operation. Six of those wounded are still hospitalized. Most of those lightly injured in the activities contributed to fight with their units.