IDF soldiers during a training exercise in the Golan Heights, Nov. 10, 2020. (Flash90/Michael Giladi) (Flash90/Michael Giladi)
ISRAELI ARMY training

The INSS notes that the first-ever, month-long military exercise in Israel is similar to the massive U.S. Army ‘Louisiana Maneuvers’ that prepared for D-Day.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

The IDF is planning to hold a massive month-long military exercise, the first of its kind in Israel, which will simulate war in multiple arenas and multiple levels, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said on Sunday.

The exercise will test for the first time IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi’s ambitious operational concept for victory. INSS researcher Gal Perl Finkel – himself a veteran of the IDF paratroop corps – noted that the test has similarities to the “Louisiana Maneuvers” the U.S. Army carried out in 1941 to test new military doctrines for use against the Nazis.

The great American generals of World War II were all involved: Eisenhower, Patton, Marshal, Bradley and Clark.

“Many of the lessons from these maneuvers became operational concepts of the US armed forces after the United States entered the war in December 1941,” Finkel noted, with the generals taking those lessons to the battlefields of Europe.

The four-week IDF exercise will include regular army and reserve forces on an especially large scale, designed to evaluate the army’s forces during the course of a long, consecutive, challenging, and life-like exercise in order to enhance its readiness and fitness for war.

Kochavi’s concept includes three main efforts in the use of force, all of which are to be practiced during the “war month” – a multi-dimensional maneuver simulating enemy territory and powerful attacks with firepower and cyber strikes, designed so that offensive achievements are not offset by enemy advances in Israeli territory.

Finkel says the exercise will include an integrated multi-front campaign in the north against Hezbollah in Lebanon and in the south against Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, as well as testing all of the necessary capabilities: the transition from peacetime to emergency, inter-organizational coordination, management of the home front and civilian assistance, use of firepower, maneuver in a built-up area, and approach to a civilian population in enemy territory.

“One key challenge for the IDF is conducting a large-scale maneuver at the front and deep in enemy territory,” Finkel said, noting that the “war month” delivers “a warning message about enhancing readiness for an upcoming war.”

To make sure Hezbollah and their Iranian masters get the message, the IDF is sending the 98th Paratroopers Division to carry out maneuvers in Cyprus.

“The exercise also has a deterrent element – displaying the ability to transport a combat division quickly behind enemy lines in an air assault. Cyprus is topographically similar to the Lebanese mountains, and training in foreign territory with features similar to those of areas beyond Israel’s borders in which Israel’s forces are likely to fight is of great value,” Finkel noted.

The challenge for the IDF, says Finkel, is to take the lessons from the “war month” exercise and integrate them into the changes learned since the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, “so that victory is achieved in the next campaign in a shorter period.”

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