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Israel Defense Forces:
Armored Corps


IDF: Table of Contents | History & Overview | Wars & Operations


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The Israel Defense Forces' Armored Corps (חֵיל שִׁרְיוֹן) is one of the most storied forces in the IDF, having fought and played a decisive role in every one of Israel's major conflagrations.

The armored corps is made up of three active divisions, comprising a total of four brigades.

The 36th Armor Division, also known as the Ga'ash Formation, is the largest armored division. It is stationed on the Golan Heights under the IDF's Northern Command.

Within the 36th Division is the 7th Armor Brigade, also known as the Sa'ar (storm) Formation, which was the first armored brigade of the IDF and has participated in all of Israel's wars. The brigade’s fighting during the Suez War resulted in a breakthrough in how the army approached the character of armor warfare. The 188th Barak (lightning) Formation is also subordinate to the 36th Division. The Barak Brigade has participated in all of Israel's wars since the 1967 Six-Day War. During the Yom Kippur War, the brigade was the first line of defense in the first days of the war at the Southern Golan, and saw almost all of its officers killed in action. It was the last armor brigade to use the Centurion tank, converting to Merkava-3 tanks in 1992.

The 162nd Armor Division, also known as the Utzvat HaBarzel Formation, is subordinate to Central Command. The 401st Armor Brigade, also known as the Ikvot HaBarzel ("Tracks of Iron") Formation, is subordinate to the 162nd Division. It was created in 1968 in order to control the Suez Canal line. During the Yom Kippur War, it faced the first line of attack in the canal and suffered heavy losses. During the First Lebanon War, it fought in the Southern force and one of its battalions participated in the Sultan Yaakov battle. During 2004-2005, the brigade’s Magach tanks were replaced by Merkava-4tanks.

The 366th Armor Division, also known as the Amud ha-Esh ("Pillar of Fire") Formation, is subordinate to Southern Command. It includes the 460th Armor Brigade, which is also known as the Bnei Or ("Sons of Light") Formation, and is the training brigade of the Armored Corps. It maintains two bases:  Shizafon, the school for armored corps' commanders, and Magen-Sayarim, where basic and advanced training is undertaken.


Sources: Israel Defense Forces; Wikipedia

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