The newly created Advanced Training Battalion of the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) Artillery Corps has conducted its first battalion-wide training exercise, to help prepare its soldiers for potential battlefield scenarios.
During the drill, which was conducted last week, the Battalion's soldiers practiced providing artillery support against an onslaught of enemy commando forces, aimed to enhance their preparedness for similar unexpected incidents.
Field Artillery Academy Commander Colonel Itzik Shahar said the drill demonstrated the Battalion's job in case of emergency, primary artillery support, simultaneously providing the soldiers with their first battalion-training experience, while still in the training stages.
"This is an exercise on an unprecedented scale in this sector," said Shahar.
The Advanced Training battalion was established in November 2011, as part of the expansion plans of the Artillery Corps, enabling additional forces to provide artillery support against the enemy forces in the operational front.
Shahar said: "We were able to create the battalion though reorganisation within the Corps, and without using more funds.
"Our combat soldiers are given operational assignments in new artillery batteries, and the training batteries are manned by alternating soldiers who gain skills and experience they can later use in the field. Thus we reach a new level of operational readiness.
"This allows for more cooperation with the infantry forces as well. Our purpose is to provide the best artillery assistance possible and today we are able to do that."
The Israeli Artillery Corps also received approval for setting up the IDF's first short-range rocket battalion in 2013, for launching rockets into populated areas, a mission that was previously only executed by the Israel Air Force (IAF).
Military sources were reported by Haaretz as saying that rockets with a range of 30km to 40km will be initially fired by the battalion while subsequently moving to long-range rockets over the years.
Image: IDF's Advanced Battalion's soldiers exercise to increase preparedness for unexpected incidents. Photo: courtesy of Israeli Defense Forces.