Maglan clinches first place in commando examination
IDF's elite units compete in exhausting 3-day military examination, testing their combat abilities in a range of fields, including swift transitions from fighting Hamas in the south to facing Hezbollah in the north; assessments also included, inter alia, conducting operations in the dark, liquidating key targets through a sniper's lense and differentiating between combatants and innocents: 'The role of sniper requires calmness and relaxation.'
The military assessment comes one-and-a-half years after its establishment.
After the prestigious Egoz unit took first place twice in a row, this time a company from the revered Maglan unit achieved the highest scores while another Maglan company clinched second place.
Sgt. A. of the Duvdevan unit was awarded the honor of best sniper in the brigade.
The Oz ground commando unit was established following the decision of IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot to combine the four special units of the ground forces—Egoz of the Golani Brigade, Givati’s Rimon and the Maglan and Duvdevan—two elite subunits of the Paratroopers' Brigade.
Duvdevan soldiers completed the examination in third place, managing to push Egoz fighters for the first time out of the first three.
Rimon soldiers, operating mainly in the Egyptian border area, were absent from the examination due to heavy operational activity at the time preventing them from participating.
The examination was conducted in training areas designed to simulate various military scenarios throughout the country, including a rapid transition from fighting in the Gaza Strip against Hamas to a scenario of fighting in the north against Hezbollah.
The exercises included both built-up and open battle spheres, with an emphasis focused on individual combat techniques as well as fighting as a unit. Despite the competition between the units, which were considered "rivalries," prior to the establishment of the brigade, officers from all the units were assigned to the simulated battlefields and were responsible for the education of the fighters who were examined.
For example, Duvdevan officers specializing in combat in a built-up area focused on training fighters from other units, while the commanders of the Maglan unit augmented the brigade's knowledge in the field of target raids.
During the latest test, the examiner placed emphasis on one of the main challenges which fighters are likely to face during the next round of violence, whether against Hamas or Hezbollah in the south or north respectively—combat at night.
Given the military evaluations that military operations will take place predominantly during the night, the fighters trained under the cover of darkness, with attention placed on the destruction of high-quality targets, such as weapons facilities or warheads, while utilizing as little ammunition as possible.
"The role of sniper requires calmness and relaxation"Another key point on which the soldiers were tested was what has been dubbed the "first bullet test"—a swift and accurate hit by the unit snipers.
"Within 10 seconds I shot the first bullet at the target of a figure 800 meters away, and I hit it," boasted Sgt. A. of the Duvdevan unit, who was crowned the brigade's best sniper after five of his six bullets hit targets dotted over ranges of 400-800 meters.
A. began his service in the elite naval commando unit, Shayetet 13, and from there moved to the Central Command's undercover unit.
The main measure by which snipers are tested is not merely their accuracy, but also the speed of their response and ability to identify targets. Moreover, the extent of damage inflicted by the first bullet fired from the chamber is also assessed.
The sniper test was divided into two categories: a theoretical examination based on target range estimates while calculating the conditions which could affect a bullet's trajectory such as wind direction, and the practical tests in the shooting range itself.
All the fighters used the sniper rifles of the commando units, the SR-25, which, while resembling the M-16, is longer and weighs 5.5 kg, including a 10-fold day-scope that is 6 times larger than that usually mounted on an M-16.
"The sniper's role requires, first and foremost, calmness and relaxation," said A., who is routinely called upon to take out targets responsible for instigating disturbances.
"Since it is difficult to hit the target from a distance of 800 meters, a spotter is with me in the squad who identifies the target and corrects the shooting if necessary.”
The division that is formed while movingThe Land Commando Brigade, which was officially established at the end of 2015 and became the sub branch of its counterparts in the other corps, (the air force’s Shaldag and the Shayetet 13 Naval Commando unit), has not yet faced a significant test of its military capabilities, such as war or extensive operations.
In recent weeks, the brigade has also absorbed the first ‘medical fighters’—a new combat position approved after many years of trials.
The medical fighters fight as part of the commandos and now participate in training exercises, for the first time, in massive raids consisting of hundreds of fighters on enemy targets alongside secret and small commando operations.
In contrast to the more classic commando units, which are used for launching special operations based on precise intelligence and only after lengthy preparations, these fighters also train to be able to improvise on the battlefield, literally while on the move, while distinguishing between terrorists marked for elimination or arrest and innocent civilians.