The origins of the Ordnance Corps lie in the ordnance
unit of the pre-state military Haganah,
that was established in 1941 and labored to obtain, provide and service
weapons and ammunition in underground conditions. During the War
of Independence, the ordnance unit had to deal with an arsenal of
weapons and ammunition that had been hastily assembled. It also had
to contend with problems of wear and tear, due to inappropriate use,
neglect and the shortcomings of maintenance. In January of 1948, the
Ordnance Service" was founded, as part of the professional staff
of the General Staff. In adjusting after the establishment of the IDF,
the logistics services were divided among three corps:
- The Supply and Transportation Corps
- The Technical Corps
- The Equipment and Ordnance Corps
Two years later, the Equipment and Ordnance Corps was
disbanded. Responsibility for equipment was passed on to the Supply
Corps, while responsibility for procurement, storage, supply, and testing
equipment was now assigned to the Technical Corps, which in 1953, became
known as the "Ordnance Corps".
The Ordnance Corps was reorganized in the years preceding
the 1956 Sinai Campaign,
when it was decided to incorporate the Armored Corps and maintenance
systems into the Ordnance Corps. This important decision reflected the
high degree of integration of the Corps in the field of armor, and proved
to be beneficial during the Sinai Campaign. Among the achievements of
the Corps was its support of the unit that captured Sharam e-Sheikh
at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula.
On the eve of the Six-Day
War, the main effort of the Ordnance Corps was focused on restoring
armored vehicles and weapons to operational competence. During the war
itself Ordnance Corps units were attached to IDF fighting units in all
stages of the combat. This allowed for the expeditious repair of many
malfunctions. But it also exacted a high cost in human life.
After the war, the redeployment of IDF forces along
the borders, required the Corps to increase its manpower. Therefore,
from the Six-Day War and until the early seventies, the Ordnance Corps
doubled its manpower.
During the 1973
Yom Kippur War, Ordnance personnel managed to double the number
of weapons that were fit for use by the fighting forces. The corps made
a substantial contribution to improving the balance of power on every
front. After the war, the corps undertook an operation to restore of
weapons. This was the largest operation of its kind in the history of
The greatest achievement of the Ordnance Corps, occurred
on the opening day of Operation
Peace of the Galilee (later known as the Lebanon War). Thousands
of tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled guns, vehicles
and weapons systems at a high operational level, were transferred to
the battlefield rapidly and smoothly from emergency storage areas. This
capability derived from the "dry storage" method, which was
developed by the IDF, as one of lessons of the Yom Kippur War. The "dry
storage " method isolates combat materiel from the climatic environment.
Effective Israeli-manufactured dryers and plastic covers that construct
an internal storage space that shields the weapons from the outside
environment and preserves them in a clean state at low humidity. Materiel
stored by this method are serviced periodically. The advantage of the
dry-storage method is the ability to store large quantities of supplies,
keeping them ready for immediate utilization, which requires a minimal
level of upkeep. The Peace for Galilee Operation also marks the Merkava
tank's baptism under fire. This tank, which took part in the fighting
of Operation Peace of the Galilee demonstrated superb fire power and
surveillance. The Ordnance Corps was responsible for the engineering,
logistics, coordination, quality control and upkeep of the Merkava MBT.
Advancements in the field of fire power, mobility and crew protection
developed on the basis of lessons learned during the battles which the
IDF fought and are the most highly developed MBT in the world.
The mission of the Ordnance Corps
- To maintain IDF fighting units
- To research and to develop weapons and materiel at every level
- To plan maintenance systems in accordance with war plans
The Ordnance Corps is the professional authority for all IDF ground
forces. The Ordnance Corps has two main principles:
- To develop combat materiel: R&D, repair and improvement of
quality materiel for ground forces.
- To build up a maintenance capacity. The Ordnance Corps deals with
building the maintenance units of the IDF, promotes and benefits from
the technological and scientific development of the IDF.
The Corps to a large extent represents the "behind the scenes"
powerhouse of the army. Its motto is - "Join the Future Today".
Despite the fact that the Ordnance Corps is not a combat army, 23 of
its soldiers were awarded the Medal of Valor in Israel's wars for their
bravery, and courage under fire. They serve as an example to all IDF