At night, in total quiet:
Hundreds of paratroopers jump into 'enemy territory'

Soldiers of 101st Battalion practice diving into enemy territory, proving ability as a significant surprise element in the next campaign.

Michael Oria, IDF website,

צילום: ISTOCK

More than six decades have passed since their last operational drop, but the Paratroopers are not resting on their laurels, and are maintaining their airworthiness at any given time.

Over the past few weeks, the “Red Brigade” has been in the midst of a long and challenging training session, during which the fighters practice the whole range of scenarios they might encounter in battle.

As part of the training, the 101st Battalion, which carried out one of the only two operational parachute jumps in the history of the IDF, will engage in a particularly challenging exercise in which hundreds of fighters will fall into the battlefield, where the parachutists will be required recover quickly from landing and attack enemy positions.

“This exercise marks a high point in the process of maintaining operational fitness in the world of parachuting,” Battalion Commander Mordy Weiss says. "It is true that the last drop by the IDF took place many years ago, but when looking at other armies in the world, including superpowers like the United States, this is an operational capability that they practice all the time, and even use on the modern battlefield. An army like the IDF is obligated to maintain this capability, with the understanding that one day it may be necessary to use it and prove it decisive. "

צילום: דובר צה"ל

Less than three months ago, a parachutist company flew to Poland to participate with many armies in a wide-scale exercise, in yet another step in improving the brigade's capabilities. Even during the course of that exercise, a night dive of thousands of fighters into hostile territory on the ground took place.

In addition, the brigade made sure to add a learning team to the exercise, which was designed to get impressions and learn from the fighting techniques of the various armies, and draw lessons from them for here. "We received tools to help improve the technique during the jump itself, and we also learned how to quickly gather the jumpers when they reached the ground, and how to move from parachuting to combat immediately to create a decisive and offensive strike against the enemy."

But from the conversation that arose with the fighters who participated in the exercise, it is clear that the learning between the armies was mutual. "We took a lot from the experience of the armies that took part in the training," says Lt. Col. Weiss. "On the other hand, they also learned from us, and we proved that the IDF is really not behind in the parachuting world."

"In the future, the ability to jump into enemy territory during battle is a significant expansion in the arsenal available to our fighters and the entire army during a campaign," adds Lt. Col. Weiss, "In addition, in recent years, our equipment, technology and combat doctrine have been renewed and upgraded. It is not possible to expand too much on the capabilities we have added, but you can be sure that the drop will be more secretive, more powerful and effective if it is required to be performed in real time. "

IDF spokesperson

Beyond maintaining parachuting ability, Weiss also emphasizes that the experience of being suspended between sky and earth, in total darkness, significantly strengthens soldiers’ character. "As commander of the brigade, I try to instill in my fighters the essence of the parachutist, which in my view is capable of coping with any operational challenge anywhere and in any conditions, even when the starting point of the battle is not always clear," he stresses.

"A paratrooper needs to be prepared to fight in 360 degrees - whether he reaches the enemy from the ground or whether he lands from the sky. The parachuting experience requires courage, coolness and a high level of professionalism - and these qualities enable us to fight and defeat the enemy in a face-to-face encounter." he said.

Lt. Col. Weiss emphasizes that the same character traits he demands from a soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade have indeed been expressed during the last few weeks, during which the forces have been deployed several times along the Gaza Strip due to the intensity in the area: "In the transition between the routine of training to the state of alertness we were required to have, I encountered anew the very high ability of the fighters, who knew how to translate the mental challenges they faced in training, directly into the operational arena to which we were called."

"In the end, we train and practice our abilities for these moments," he concludes. "The entire IDF, and the Paratroopers Brigade in particular, must be at the peak of preparedness for fighting at any time. It is only thanks to this that we will be able to arrive as quickly as possible to any region, to be vigilant and be prepared for any order - even if we are required to arrive from the sky."

IDF spokesperson Paratroopers

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