Paratroopers Brigade Insignia
|Role||Air assault, Special reconnaissance|
|Part of||98th Paratroopers Division (IDF) (Reserve),
"Initiate, Lead, Make an Example and Win";
|Colors||Maroon beret, Red & White Flag|
|Mascot||Winged Snake (Shfifon)|
|Colonel Eliezer Toledano|
|Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan, Moshe Ya'alon|
The Paratroopers Brigade (Hebrew: חֲטִיבַת הַצַּנְחָנִים, Hativat HaTzanhanim), also known as the 35th Brigade, is a unit of paratroopers within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and forms a major part of the Infantry Corps. It has a history of carrying out special forces-style missions dating back to the 1950s.
Service in the Paratroopers is voluntary and requires passing an intense two day tryout. Each year the brigade receives five times more applicants than it can accept. The 7 1⁄2-month arduous training of the Paratroopers includes fitness training, harsh combat skills, specializing in a wide range of weapons, field craft, long marches with weight, weeks of survival training including navigation and camouflage, helicopter training, jump training, collaboration with other units, and urban warfare. All training reflects the role that the fighters will perform in operations and wartime.
Paratrooper Brigade soldiers wear red berets with the infantry pin, and wear red shoes. Distinct from all other soldiers of the IDF, Paratroopers wear a tunic and belt over the shirt.
The IDF has three reservist paratrooper brigades at any given time, consisting of personnel who served their mandatory service in the brigade, and who are mostly relatively recently released (aside from officers). These are most likely the most highly trained reservist brigades in the IDF.
The brigade was created at the mid 1950s when the commando Unit 101 was merged with the 890th Battalion (the IDF's Airborne Commando unit) in order to form an elite infantry brigade. The new unit was equipped with the IMI Uzi submachine gun as their primary weapon as it provided light and small automatic fire – essential properties for recon units and commandos.
The goals in creating the Paratroopers Brigade were:
- To have an elite leading force.
- To innovate and improve fighting skills within other units.
- To raise the next generation of military commanders and officers.
The first commander of the Paratroopers Brigade was Ariel Sharon.
The Paratroopers Brigade has had only one operational combat parachute drop, during the 1956 Sinai War. In the Six Day War (1967) the brigade took part in the capture of Jerusalem, along with the Jerusalem Brigade, Harel Brigade and armored support. The Paratroopers were the ones to capture the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, considered a historic moment and the highlight of the war by the Israeli public due to the sanctity of these places to the Jewish people.
In January 1970, during the War of Attrition, the brigade spearheaded Operation Rhodes, taking over the Egyptian island of Shadwan. Three Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid which saw the paratroops remain on the island for 36 hours before departing with 62 Egyptian POWs and a captured Decca radar set.
Structure and Insignia
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
The 35th (Paratrooper) Brigade consists of three regular battalions, each bearing the name of a venomous snake. The 101st, bearing the number of disbanded Unit 101, is the Brigade's first battalion. The 202nd is the Brigade's second battalion and was numbered to keep it in line with the 101st. The 890th, although the brigade's 3rd battalion, was in fact the IDF's first paratrooper battalion. A Sayeret (Recon/Special Forces Company) designated Sayeret Tzanhanim (Hebrew: סיירת צנחנים, Paratroopers Recon) is directly subordinate to the brigade headquarters.
Soldiers of the Paratroopers Brigade are distinguished by their red beret, paratrooper wings, reddish-brown leather boots and the paratroopers tunic (Yerkit), which is slightly different in an appearance from the regular infantry outfits.
(Paratrooper units are named after snakes.)
- 101st "Cobra" Airborne Battalion
- 202nd "Viper" Airborne Battalion
- 890th "Echis" Airborne Battalion
- "Flying Serpent" Reconnaissance Battalion
- "Eryx" Signal Company
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paratroopers Brigade.|
- Gawrych, George Walter (2000). The albatross of decisive victory: war and policy between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-0-313-31302-8.
- "Operation Rhodes - The Island of Shadwan" (in Hebrew). Paratrooper Brigade website. Retrieved April 23, 2011.