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Friday, May 04, 2018

A restructuring seems in order

This is an informative article on the unique structure of the IDF, which explains both the apparent indiscipline of the IDF with regards to the Gaza protests as well as the underperformance of the IDF in the 2006 war with Hezbollah.
There are no career ground force sergeants except as technicians. Unless the system has changed very recently, the IDF ground forces typically do not have career NCOs in the LINE of the combat arms. This is a structural tradition that derives originally from the Russian tsar’s army and which came to Palestine through Russian and Polish Zionist immigrants. This tradition of organization passed through the Hagenah into the IDF. The IDF “line” conscripts what amount to yearly classes of recruits and selects from them more promising soldiers who are given NCO level command responsibilities as; infantry leaders, tank commanders, artillery gun captains, etc. The IDF does have career NCOs but they are typically found in jobs of a more technical nature rather than junior combat command at the squad or platoon (section) level.

As a result, junior officers (company grade) are required to perform duties that in more traditionally organized armies would be performed by sergeants. Leading a small combat or reconnaissance patrol would be an example. As a result, a non-reserve infantry or tank company in the field consists of people who are all about the same age (19-22) and commanded by a captain in his mid-20s. What is missing in this scene is the voice of grown up counsel provided by sergeants in their 30s and 40s telling these young people what it is that would be wise to do based on real experience and mature judgment. In contrast a 22 year old American platoon leader would have a mature platoon sergeant as his assistant and counselor.

As a result of this system of manning, the IDF’s ground force is more unpredictable and volatile at the tactical (company) level than might be the case otherwise. The national government has a hard time knowing whether or not specific policies will be followed in the field.
To put this problem into perspective, if you've seen Band of Brothers, then you have some idea of the importance of the role that sergeants play in an infantry company. It was the sergeants' revolt that led to Easy Company being led into battle by Dick Winters instead of Herbert Sobel, and it was Sgt. Carwood Lipton (played by Donnie Wahlberg) who was credited by Winters's eventual replacement, Ronald Speirs, for holding Easy Company together.

If I were an IDF strategist, I would look very long and hard at figuring out how to get some seasoned veterans salting the smaller tactical units. The principle of having experienced veterans advising young officers has been a fundamental one of successful military organizations since Rome's battle-hardened centurions were advising young patrician tribunes embarking upon the cursum honorum.

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80 Comments:

Blogger Jack Ward May 04, 2018 4:17 PM  

I had always thought of the IDF as pretty good in the combat arms. This was an eye opener. Maybe their foes really weren't all that competent themselves. Now, the Israeli air force probably meets the billing and, maybe, the tank corps? Not sure there, though. Vox's opinion is dead on. You need those experienced NCO's. You really need them when it all goes to hell in a handbasket as combat often does. Lets hope the people IDF fights don't get their act together any time soon.

Blogger Moritz Krämer May 04, 2018 4:17 PM  

Exactly how not smart are the jews? "Let's keep at least one guy who knows what the fuck he's doing among the draftees" shouldn't be missed by an entire army, especially not one that's so often in combat.

Anonymous Anonymous May 04, 2018 4:22 PM  

" This is a structural tradition that derives originally from the Russian tsar’s army"..... Vox, or other historical minded folks comment on this part of the statement.

God bless.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer May 04, 2018 4:56 PM  

The principle of having experienced veterans advising young officers has been a fundamental one of successful military organizations since Rome's battle-hardened centurions were advising young patrician tribunes embarking upon the cursum honorum.

As an army vet, I'm flabbergasted. I didn't know that any army had ever existed that didn't have experienced NCOs. That's right up there with the US destroying unit cohesion during the Vietnam era by having soldiers rotate out of a unit in Vietnam after one year.

Blogger NO GOOGLES May 04, 2018 5:01 PM  

Well, it's easy to look competent when you're fighting modern Arab militaries. Given that one of the major "regime security" measures that almost all Arab dictators have learned is to never allow different branches of the military to train together or otherwise form any kind of interservice bonds. Always set your underlings in a state of competition to keep them from forming an alliance to overthrow you, etc.

Fortunately for the Israelis, this means that they have had the luxury of facing enemies with little to no cohesion, morale, or any forces with training in combined arms tactics.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer May 04, 2018 5:04 PM  

The original purpose of a standing army in the US (which was abandoned after WWII) was to have a small coterie of trained, experienced professionals who, when needed, could train inductees as the US geared up to go to war, and then lead them in combat. The idea of experienced senior NCOs mentoring newly minted 2nd Lieutenants was integral to this model. And it still is. Successful young officers rely on the advice of their NCOs. Senior NCOs can make life very, very hard for young idiots.

What is the difference between a 2nd LT and a PFC? The PFC has been promoted twice.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer May 04, 2018 5:09 PM  

Fortunately for the Israelis, this means that they have had the luxury of facing enemies with little to no cohesion, morale, or any forces with training in combined arms tactics.

I knew some SF guys who trained some soldiers in Africa (which isn't the Middle East, but I figure that you might get similar issues) and they couldn't even get them to stay quite while on an ambush. They'd get bored after an 1/2 an hour or so and start shooting the breeze. On. An. Ambush.

Blogger Jew613 May 04, 2018 5:15 PM  

The lack of a long term NCOs are a problem. The biggest problem with the 2006 fight with Hezbollah was twofold, giving lawyers enormous say over what was legal, and the political class at the time was frightened and confused by victory so winning wasn't the Olmert government's goal. Bibi is slightly better though only slightly.

Blogger Lovekraft May 04, 2018 5:16 PM  

The upcoming World Cup is going to show some impressive tactics by the Russian street 'hooligans'.

Blogger From the Piedmont May 04, 2018 5:17 PM  

When I worked at a company in the late 90s and early 2000s, there were a LOT of Israeli engineers employed there, and what surprised me was to see that any number of their cars had "hammer and sickle" stickers on them. These guys had in fact originally come from the Soviet Union, and apparently never left it.

The Soviets had a similar unit structure, and it always puzzled me as to why. When I read about how they thought the line soldier was expendable, I understood. I can imagine those with military experience who left the Soviet Union for Israel took a lot of it with them.

I cannot imagine an army without skilled NCOs. My NCOs were the best, and as a graduate of OCS at Fort Benning, I had enough experience to respect their knowledge and advice. The highest complements I have ever received were from two different NCOs who had been in Vietnam, and both were paid at different times with different units. They both told me they would follow me into battle. These men were good and helped me build strong platoons using well trained junior NCOs, and regardless of whatever else I may have been given since then, these two statements are the treasures for me.

Blogger Latigo3 May 04, 2018 5:34 PM  

Yeah, all 2nd that I met always had an air of unsureness around them. The 1st Lieutenants were better, and they were calmer. You began to see maturity in the Captains. The E-6's and above typically had an air of, "we have done this before, let's do it again" around them. I couldn't imagine being in the type of structure that the IDF has.

Anonymous Anonymous May 04, 2018 5:34 PM  

My Uncle's first tour in Vietnam, he was a 19 year old 2nd Lieutenant. He wrote home, noting that most of his platoon was around his age, except for the Platoon Sergeant, who was a 27 year old Master Sergeant.

Writing of his Platoon Sergeant He said, "Thank God, we have an adult in the unit".

--ZhukovG

Blogger M. Bibliophile May 04, 2018 5:39 PM  

@3

rockcreekmillandheritagefarm wrote:" This is a structural tradition that derives originally from the Russian tsar’s army"..... Vox, or other historical minded folks comment on this part of the statement.

I'll take a stab. If I miss something, I'm sure someone will correct me.

NCO's, especially a dedicated NCO corps with both experience and authority are somewhat particular to the West, and even then it's not universal. What you'll often find as an alternative is a situation where most of the grunts are conscripts, privates, or both. NCO's have very little authority in these cases, and that authority is subject to the whims of whatever officer is directly above them in the chain of command. An American platoon leader who told his platoon sergeant to hump it can suffer severely, both from the active and passive retribution of the NCO as well as from his own commander who can (and will) back a senior NCO over a junior officer. Otherwise, you get units where all leadership roles have to be filled by commissioned officers and NCO's are relegated to herding troops. The Israeli system seems to be a little better than this because they promote their bright conscripts quickly, but they waste it by not retaining any of that talent except in technical branches.

The British were really the first to build a strong, modern NCO corps and we followed suit. The Prussians and French at least didn't ignore their NCOs, and the Spanish were renowned for treating anyone not an officer as dirt. Tsarist Russia was much more in the Spanish vein, and long after most of the other militaries had reformed after seeing the success of the British sergeant during their victories against Napoleon.

Frankly, I'm more than a little shocked that the Israelis still followed this antiquated and frankly foolish tradition. At the very least it makes your organization top heavy because you now need three officers to do the work of one, and it strips out all of your experienced men. It's all well and good to put the bright ones up fast, but as Vox has pointed out, there is simply no substitute for experience in the field.

Blogger Jeff Wood May 04, 2018 5:39 PM  

This helps explain a British defence correspondent's comment a few decades ago, that the IDF land forces were third rate, but they were fighting fifth-raters, so no problem.

As I remember, he did comment favourably on the Israeli Air Force, and their intelligence services.

Blogger S. Thermite May 04, 2018 5:42 PM  

Reminds me of some Combatives videos by a former IDF commando in which he explained how compared to American SpecOps units they only have a short, relatively brutal timeframe to select and train conspripts as elite operators before their service is up and they cycle back to the civilian sector. By contrast I think the average Green Beret or SEAL is 28 or 30 years old, often with a Bachelors or Masters degree and supporting a wife and kids with his career.

Blogger Simon May 04, 2018 5:58 PM  

Makes no difference how useless the IDF are. The US has loads of troops they can send out to die for Israel.

Blogger Nathan May 04, 2018 6:10 PM  

The concept of NCOs, or just professionilizing the enlisted ranks in general, is not as widespread as it is obvious. Both the Jordanians and South Korea have no real NCO component to speak of.

Blogger pyrrhus May 04, 2018 6:12 PM  

"Lets hope the people IDF fights don't get their act together any time soon."

Why?

Blogger John Elvidge May 04, 2018 6:13 PM  

The importance of senior career NCO's was re-leared by the US Army after Vietnam. The performance of small units before '69 and after was realized after the the 'ladder climbers' installed in the '60's for their 'political reliablity' were gone. In WW2, there was a much greater range of ages drfated and in service that wasn't going to be replcated by the draft. Ths use and abuse of initial enlistment soldiers in Iraq was quite stunning. By 2009, over 25% of active army memebers hadn't been to either OIF or OEF. Mostly mid-career officers and middle enlisted in non-cmbat arms MOS's. Mattis said specifically not long ago, you either deploy and do what were paying you for or Bye Bye. Trans? Need hormones daily? Bye Bye!!! Bye Bye!!! I watched dozens of 'single mom's' in late '90 being told either you do something with your kids and deploy or Bye Bye!!! The tears were epic, but but I can't.... it's not fair. The female Colonel was blunt, if you can't do your job than we don't need you. Bye Bye!

Blogger SidVic May 04, 2018 6:23 PM  

"apparent indiscipline of the IDF" - Where were they undisciplined? If this refers to the Gaza crowd shootings, then the followed pretty standard protocols. If one is faced with a riotous crowd, the leaders within the crowd are identified by experienced men. Snipers then shuffle them off their mortal coil and.... generally the crowd disperses.

Blogger Robert Pinkerton May 04, 2018 6:33 PM  

Parallel to topic, I have read snatches and patches on the Web saying that Ethan Krupp, the pajama boy, is an IDF reservist. Is this accurate?

Anonymous Anonymous May 04, 2018 6:34 PM  

Even Russia is building a professional NCO corps. They eventually intend for conscripts to make up less than half their active duty forces.

Where they are failing is at requiring their male troops to empathize with pregnant women and teaching them how to march in high heels.

--ZhukovG

Blogger Sean Carnegie May 04, 2018 6:35 PM  

Quick question: given that a great many of them would have come from the USSR and that Russian doctrine was one of not giving freedom to the lower ranks with regards to initiative and exploitation of combat situations, would that have any effect on the worth of an NCO? Meaning, if he's not really allowed to actually lead or mentor because doctrine, who really cares what kind of skills, experience and such he has?

Blogger Hammerli280 May 04, 2018 6:43 PM  

@1: The Israelis are second-rate by the standard of 1990-vintage American forces. I think it was General Dayan who said, "It helps to fight Arabs."

@3: The Russians have a VERY long tradition of using officer as pseudo-NCOs. It's a reflection of the use of conscripts...and in the case of the Russians, having a lot of young aristocrats who needed honorable employment.

The real Sunday Punch of the IDF is their Air Force. And even they are good but not great. The performance of American troops in the 1991 Gulf War came as a terrible shock. It was 'War of the Worlds'...and we were the Martians.

Blogger synp May 04, 2018 6:56 PM  

A couple of comments:

1. The IDF draws on two traditions: those of the Hagganah, which barely had any structure, and that of the British Army, from those who volunteered to serve in WWII. The land forces were mostly a continuation of the Hagganah; the air force, and military intelligence were mostly set up by veterans of the RAF and British army.

2. There's a reason why we don't have NCOs. We also don't have officers who are officers from the start. As the piece describes, the best soldiers (as much as that can be determined after under a year in service) are elevated to NCO, and within a few months, the better of them go to officer training. Those who were passed over for officer training are not going to stay behind and serve as "responsible adult" to those who were chosen.

3. Officers are only required to prolong their service by one year (from 3 to 4 years) . They usually get to officer's training after 18-20 months. Training itself is about 6 months, of which 3 is general "officer stuff" and 3 is specific to their particular job (tanks, artillery, infantry). By the time they're done, they have a little under 2 years to actually serve as officers. If they don't get more promotions, they're out after that. And that's how you get 25-year-old company commanders.

Blogger Michael Maier May 04, 2018 6:59 PM  

pyrrhus wrote:"Lets hope the people IDF fights don't get their act together any time soon."

Why?



How about "to keep the USA out of Israel's fight" ? That good enough for you?

I sure don't trust Trump to tell the hooknoses to piss off.

Anonymous Anonymous May 04, 2018 7:13 PM  

I had always thought of the IDF as pretty good in the combat arms. This was an eye opener. Maybe their foes really weren't all that competent

See what Tom Kratman says about Arabs & Kurds

Exactly how not smart are the jews? "Let's keep at least one guy who knows what the fuck he's doing among the draftees

Perhaps it's just jews being cheap, not wanting to pay more for security? Especially if they are in a gated community

I sure don't trust Trump to tell the hooknoses to piss off.

Gay jews hopping mad over TRUMP's religious freedom order

"Trump Just Handed a Weapon to Anti-LGBTQ Cretins of Every Stripe with New ‘Religious Freedom’ Executive Order"

http://www.towleroad.com/2018/05/trump-religious-freedom-2/

Blogger bw May 04, 2018 7:17 PM  

At least they love shooting Palestinian children - some Christian - through the knees for lifelong learning.

Blogger Jimmy May 04, 2018 7:36 PM  

Most Conscript Armies depend on conscript junior NCOs in combat arms. In part this is economics. Career NCOs tend to concentrate in technical fields (they have time to work on a career.) And combat line units have a lot of junior NCO billets, whereas career NCOs don't have a pyramidal rank demographic.

Israeli platoons seem of the same cohort, while the Soviet platoons had mixed cohorts. In mixed platoons, the senior quarter becomes informal leaders, this bypassing the NCO chain. Whereas in homogeneous platoons, a quarter of them are always brand new and low in readiness.

Even Singapore, of British tradition, depends on shake-and-bake junior NCOs as squad leaders.

Tactical collective tasks are relatively straightforward, so conscript junior NCOs is less of a handicap. Maturity primarily matters in COIN, doctrine sophistication, administration, and fluid dynamic operations.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 04, 2018 7:45 PM  

How in hell do you pass knowledge, in this case of operational warfare, down to the students, otherwise?

Blogger NO GOOGLES May 04, 2018 7:48 PM  

Well having trained and experienced NCOs can be a security concern for regimes that are susceptible to coup. That idea is much more common in the West where that type of coup is much harder to pull off than in the rest of the world.

Particularly in the Arab world there is a huge divide between enlisted men and officers. Officers are almost always from well to do families and are very often appointed for political or tribal reasons rather than any kind of competence or ability. Further, Arab militaries strongly discourage individual officers showing initiative or giving wide latitude to the officer a task is delegated to.

When the US military works with Arab militaries the rule of thumb that they tell officers is that any task that would be assigned to an officer or NCO in the US military would be given to an officer that is two ranks higher in the Arab military. So something that would be given to a 2nd LT in the US military would be given to a Captain (at least, maybe higher) in an Arab military.

Another problem we had trying to train Arabs is that Arabs are extremely paranoid at a cultural/tribal level. There is no esprit de corps. When we would give an Arab officer information on how to use and maintain equipment, instead of that officer teaching their men the information and spreading it to those who needed it, he would jealously guard the information because if he was the only one who had the information it made him more important.

Even worse is the difference in treatment between enlisted and officers. In the West enlisted are treated fairly well even if they are not treated exactly the same as officers. In the Arab world enlisted are basically serfs and the officers are the nobility. Very little concern is given to the well-being or condition of the enlisted man, but officers are treated extremely well. Officers also distance themselves from their enlisted men because of class differences and this means that morale for enlisted men is generally very low.

Basically the modern Arab world has never really fielded an impressive and competent military that wasn't trained and led by non-Arabs (Sadat had some success by using Soviet and other foreign advisors for a short time, but such a system wasn't sustainable). Of course, most Arab militaries are still more competent than African militaries.

Blogger English Tom May 04, 2018 7:49 PM  

Jack, apparently the IDF has regressed somewhat. It's one thing shooting cripples in wheelchairs but against Hezbollah some of the IDF's elite units (The Golani Brigade) fled the battlefield. Regarding the role of NCO's It is absolutely a mainstay of the British army that non-coms are the beating heart of the military machine. Vox's exams from Rome and band of brothers make the case that this tradition is timeless.

Slightly OT. The growth of the Haredi community in Israel portends massive challenges to the IDF. The Haredi are basically Israel's welfareites (although probably better behaved than the US dindus). They won't serve in the IDF at all. Well apparently 40% of children in kindergarten in Israel are Haredi. This number will continue to grow. The IDF has a looming recruitment crisis heading its way.

Blogger Bodichi May 04, 2018 7:57 PM  

Thread win.

Blogger English Tom May 04, 2018 8:04 PM  

Israel initiated the Talpiot Programme to counter this. Talpiot graduates stay in the IDF for 10 years. Whilst there they serve with many different elements of the IDF so they can better integrate the differing elements of combined forces. See Brendon O'Connell on YouTube and there is a book called: Israel's edge which is about Talpiot and available on Amazon.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother May 04, 2018 8:04 PM  

Shut up faggots

Blogger English Tom May 04, 2018 8:05 PM  

I believe Britain has some to spare also for that very noble cause!

Blogger English Tom May 04, 2018 8:08 PM  

I've heard marching in high heels is an acquired skill.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 04, 2018 8:16 PM  

Describing armies of internal occupation basically, the Whigs were right.

Blogger Dexter May 04, 2018 8:22 PM  

They are 5 and 0 against the ragheads, Syria is in chaos, I doubt the IDF thinks they have a huge problem that needs fixing.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother May 04, 2018 8:34 PM  

That's amazing. I never imagined there is no actual NCO corps in the IDF.

Blogger SirHamster May 04, 2018 9:22 PM  

Dexter wrote:They are 5 and 0 against the ragheads, Syria is in chaos, I doubt the IDF thinks they have a huge problem that needs fixing.

This is how you get Black Swans.

"It works, who cares?!"

Until it doesn't.

Blogger Johnny May 04, 2018 9:38 PM  

Occupy Syria? Because of the small population size, I doubt Israel could occupy a country of any size. They have to win and pull out. And if Israel has a problem with their military, I would suspect the culture shift from so many years ago more than the command structure.

Blogger Hunsdon May 04, 2018 9:48 PM  

Hammerli:

Thanks, man, I thought no one would reference Moshe Dayan (which kind of blew my mind).

Blogger Avalanche May 04, 2018 9:57 PM  

@12 "Writing of his Platoon Sergeant He said, "Thank God, we have an adult in the unit"."

When I reported to my first station as bright shiny ensign, I had a 28-yr-service Master Chief as my 'right hand' at the training center. After about a month, he was still taking 2-hour lunches, and I pulled him aside and politely told him that this was inappropriate, and I wanted him to keep it to one hour. He was FURIOUS! (He didn't SAY anything, but boy, was it ever clear! The slamming of books and boxes in his office later was a sure signal.)

So I went home that day SURE I had just destroyed ANY chance of surviving and making a Navy career! I had pissed off a VERY senior Chief, and now my 'death-of-success' was guaranteed.

Many months later, when we became friendly ("friendlish"), he said that he had gone, that same day, to the Commanding Officer and said that 'I'd work out fine; if I was willing to take on a Master Chief over long lunches... well, I'd end up a good officer!'

So, I'd been sweating over (and mourning) my "lost career" and it turned out I'd done the right thing! I'd passed the test! (Whew!} That's what senior NCOs are FOR. Making junior officers into something useful!

(On the other hand, I got out after six+ years of active duty, still in love with the Navy but 100% convinced that women do NOT belong in the military: it's bad for them, and it's bad for the military!

When I took over the tug division in a shipyard, I had 60 sailors, 28 of them women, 16 of them pregnant: And only two of those married!

Because they were preggo, they could not be used on the tugs, so 1.) the GUYS had to pick up the slack and 2.) I had to stash the preggos around like so much cordwood! Two in the tool room, two on the front desk, one loaned up the duty office, one playing secretary to a civilian mgr, and so on... And the worst part in my eyes: because these useless girls were filling up shore billets, Navy MEN were stuck at sea for more tours. Instead of getting to spend a year ashore with their families (and, truly, pretty light duty!), the male sailors were turned around and shipped back out.

If I had it my way: (and if we couldn't chuck women out of the military entirely, except for medical posts) ANY female getting preggo is out before she even births the kid! But, I'd prefer no women -- it damages the women, it damages the men, and it damages the service(s)!

(And oh, I was gonna serve thirty years... starting my sophomore year in h.s., the military was where I wanted to be, and then I went... and it turned out ... (in my view anyway) the damage to the service and to the country was not worth the pleasure to me.)

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother May 04, 2018 10:06 PM  

Avalanche, you were an ensign? Did you ever go to Fleet Week in NYC or San Francisco?

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:21 PM  

@1

"I had always thought of the IDF as pretty good in the combat arms."

As Tom Kratman said, EVERYBODY is good compared to Arab armies. He said the best thing about the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to show that the IDF isn't "man for man the most effective army on the planet" as is often claimed. OIF showed what happens to an Arab army when a 1st-rate western army hits it -- it literally dissolves, like a pile of granulated salt when boiling water is poured on it -- something which the IDF has never managed to do even once, despite half a dozen opportunities.

Defeat the Arabs? Yes, but anybody can do that.

Utterly destroy an Arab army so badly that the victors have to help them rebuild a new from scratch? The IDF will never have the ability to do that.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:27 PM  

@3

'" This is a structural tradition that derives originally from the Russian tsar’s army"..... Vox, or other historical minded folks comment on this part of the statement.'

Russians?
Hell, all the way back to the Romans

Although it is a little more obvious in the Russian Army..

The word for 'Sergeant' in Russian is "Starshina."
The word for 'Old' in Russian is "Stariy"
and in Russian -iy is just an ending denoting an adjective. (In the same way that -ly denotes adverbs in English).

So, in the Russian Army, sergeant is literally "One guy"

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:29 PM  

"What is the difference between a 2nd LT and a PFC?
The PFC has been promoted twice."

What's the most dangerous man in the army?

.
.
.
.

A 2nd lieutenant with a map and a compass.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:32 PM  

@9

"The upcoming World Cup is going to show some impressive tactics by the Russian street 'hooligans'."

I hope so. Maybe it will inspire the Western European hooligans to start cleaning up the streets of the human debris their rulers are importing from Africa and Arabia.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:34 PM  

@10


"When I worked at a company in the late 90s and early 2000s, there were a LOT of Israeli engineers employed there, and what surprised me was to see that any number of their cars had "hammer and sickle" stickers on them. These guys had in fact originally come from the Soviet Union, and apparently never left it."

Sovok mentality -- An expatriate of the Soviet Union who wishes he was living back under Communist tyranny. EVERYBODY hates them, especially their former countrymen.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:38 PM  

@12

"My Uncle's first tour in Vietnam, he was a 19 year old 2nd Lieutenant. He wrote home, noting that most of his platoon was around his age, except for the Platoon Sergeant, who was a 27 year old Master Sergeant.

Writing of his Platoon Sergeant He said, "Thank God, we have an adult in the unit".

---

There was a joke, which, well, doesn't quite fit any more due to recent developments, but it went like this:

Q: What's the difference between the Boy Scounts and the Army


A: (No, not artillery....
try again......)


The Boy Scouts have adult leadership.

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:45 PM  

@19

" Mattis said specifically not long ago, you either deploy and do what were paying you for or Bye Bye. Trans? Need hormones daily? Bye Bye!!! Bye Bye!!! I watched dozens of 'single mom's' in late '90 being told either you do something with your kids and deploy or Bye Bye!!! The tears were epic, but but I can't.... it's not fair. The female Colonel was blunt, if you can't do your job than we don't need you. Bye Bye!

I remember the word coming down in the National Guard.. "If you can't deploy, not only do we not need you, we don't want you. Your entire purpose in this unit is to deploy. If you can't, then you will not be re-enlisted."

Blogger Dirk Manly May 04, 2018 10:58 PM  

@32

"Slightly OT. The growth of the Haredi community in Israel portends massive challenges to the IDF. The Haredi are basically Israel's welfareites (although probably better behaved than the US dindus). They won't serve in the IDF at all. Well apparently 40% of children in kindergarten in Israel are Haredi. This number will continue to grow. The IDF has a looming recruitment crisis heading its way."


In most countries, refusing to serve when conscripted is a felony.

The Haredi have a looming felony crisis heading it's way.

Blogger The Stygian May 05, 2018 12:14 AM  

Personal opinion. The professional non-commissioned cadre make the US army special. I was certainly heading to West Point when I attended US infantry training at FT Benning. The difference in leadership between the NCO's and officers was staggering. Then 4 weeks in we met some douche West Point seniors. It changed my whole career path.

Blogger Thucydides May 05, 2018 12:26 AM  

I'm actually surprised this isn't more well known or understood. Many European Armies have similar systems where NCO's are essentially technical specialists like radio operators, indeed this is sometimes described as the "Continental System". The British Commonwealth and the United States are the major exceptions with long service NCO's as the backbone of the military force, serving to preserve institutional knowledge, provide training, discipline and leadership by example for the junior soldiers and officers (as well as providing technical backstops for more senior officers when they need it).

And changing the "culture" of a military force is exceedingly difficult. Canada went through an ill conceived "unification" back in the 1960's (where everyone regardless of branch or even arm of service was to be ranked and treated identically), the experiment petered out in the late 1980's and the branches of service are separate again. The military essentially shrugged off the social engineering of proto-SJWs over a period of decades.

What this suggests is even while we can see the need for an NCO corps in the IDF, they may have enormous difficulty in implementing such a thing, based on historical norms like how they recruit their cadres and the dispersal of trained members back into the civilian population at the end of enlistment. The dispersal back to the civilian environment, greater opportunities and so on might make it extremely difficult for the IDF to retain the sorts of highly motivated people who make good NCO's.

How they solve this problem (or even if they choose to) is of course, entirely up to them.

Blogger Arthur Isaac May 05, 2018 12:49 AM  

"Seems"

Blogger bob kek mando - ( your mom always did like me best ) May 05, 2018 1:33 AM  

"are somewhat particular to the West, and even then it's not universal."


as a fer instance, Russians have long been considered to be "of the East" culturally, even though Russia proper is in Europe.

this figures in Rudyard Kipling's "Kim".



20. SidVic May 04, 2018 6:23 PM
If one is faced with a riotous crowd


find a different lie. there's video.

not only was there no "rioting" going on, there wasn't even a crowd.

or, there wasn't a crowd until AFTER the Israelis shot the kid. then a hundred people showed up to carry him away.

and for SOME reason, the Israelis didn't shoot anybody AFTER there was a crowd there. so we know that "crowds" aren't the "problem".

Blogger Dire Badger May 05, 2018 2:54 AM  

Finally, 17 years without a single shore rotation explained!

Frankly, women do not belong in the navy. Not even in a support role. And the ones that got pregnant just before or during deployment should have spent a few quality years in Leavenworth before getting a BCD!

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion May 05, 2018 4:33 AM  

While shooting the breeze with a US SF sergent described manouvers with arab infantry/armor units. Later, he ran into an IDF SF friend and told him about it. After a good laugh, his IDF buddy said:
"Well, mow you know our secret. We aren't super-soldiers, we've just been fighting arabs!"

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion May 05, 2018 4:36 AM  

Competent NCO's are always in short supply. Ask (Colonel) Tom Kratman.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion May 05, 2018 4:41 AM  

Bibi was SF. Pretty sure he was in on thr Entebbe raid.

Blogger synp May 05, 2018 4:55 AM  

Dirk Manly wrote:@32

"Slightly OT. The growth of the Haredi community in Israel portends massive challenges to the IDF. The Haredi are basically Israel's welfareites (although probably better behaved than the US dindus). They won't serve in the IDF at all. Well apparently 40% of children in kindergarten in Israel are Haredi. This number will continue to grow. The IDF has a looming recruitment crisis heading its way."

In most countries, refusing to serve when conscripted is a felony.

The Haredi have a looming felony crisis heading it's way.


They have around 15-20 seats in parliament. No government can pass the budget or get itself confirmed without them. They keep passing a law that exempts them from service, and the supreme court keeps striking that law down because they're discriminatory for no purpose.

Bottom line is, they're not serving and the IDF doesn't really want them.

Blogger synp May 05, 2018 5:06 AM  

The other part of this is that when recruits gets discharged, the normal thing is for their NCOs and junior officers (up to company commander) to be discharged with them.

Here's how it works: a cohort of soldiers goes through basic training. That takes about 6-8 months. At the end, they form new companies. They get some 1 year older soldiers as their new NCOs and 2 year older soldiers fresh out of officer training as platoon leaders and 5 year older soldiers as company commander.

2.5 years later, they're out. The few NCOs and officers who wish to keep going will leave the company at that point, and go to their next assignment. The majority will be discharged together and become a reservist company.

A few reservist companies are joined to be a reservist battalion, headed by a reservist colonel. This is very important. It's not that there are regular officers waiting to command the reservists. They're all reservists including the battalion commander. When they're called up (for war, training or regular border patrol) everyone, from the 24-year-old grunt to the 45-year-old battalion commander leaves their jobs or studies to serve, and none of them are regulars.

And that is why we can't have too many career NCOs - they're needed in the reserves.

This doesn't work that way in the air force. The air force doesn't have reservist units - the regular units have reservists that they can call up individually when needed. I think it works better that way, but then I would - I used to be air force.

Blogger The Surly Beaver May 05, 2018 7:04 AM  

@46

"As Tom Kratman said, EVERYBODY is good compared to Arab armies. He said the best thing about the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to show that the IDF isn't "man for man the most effective army on the planet" as is often claimed. OIF showed what happens to an Arab army when a 1st-rate western army hits it -- it literally dissolves, like a pile of granulated salt when boiling water is poured on it -- something which the IDF has never managed to do even once, despite half a dozen opportunities."

Your comparison doesn't stand up. In both Gulf wars, the US and its allies enjoyed numerical superiority over the Iraqi army at the beginning of the operation as well as significant qualitative superiority. In contrast, in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 Israeli forces were outnumbered and their equipment wasn't significantly better than that operated by their adversaries. They didn't enjoy a leisurely timetable of deployment either.

A better comparison would be the performance of American troops against the Chicoms in Korea.

Blogger snod snodwon May 05, 2018 7:56 AM  

That was Yonatan Netanyahu, who died in that raid to Ugandan sniper fire. Benjamin is not a soldier.

Blogger szopen May 05, 2018 8:45 AM  

synp wrote:A couple of comments:

1. The IDF draws on two traditions: those of the Hagganah, which barely had any structure, and that of the British Army


Here I keep reading, probably exxagerated, claims about how Polish army trained Israelis (because army of Anders was not pursuing deserters when they were in Isreal, before the war Polish government trained Jewish fighters and supposedly in Israel also they were training Jewish fighters). How true is that?

Blogger Bubba May 05, 2018 8:45 AM  

@53:

"The growth of the Haredi community in Israel portends massive challenges to the IDF. The Haredi are basically Israel's welfareites (although probably better behaved than the US dindus). They won't serve in the IDF at all. Well apparently 40% of children in kindergarten in Israel are Haredi. This number will continue to grow. The IDF has a looming recruitment crisis heading its way."

Not just the IDF. The culture war between the ultra-orthodox and modern Jews (Google: Haskala) has been going on for over 200 years. The ultras in Israel still carry on their traditional struggle between the rabbi-ruled Jewish klal and the Evil Tsar with one difference: instead of fighting the Tsar and his minions for autonomy and control of their own communities, they now fight their fellow modernized, Westernized Jews.

Over hundreds and hundreds of years, Jewish culture evolved into tight, self-contained, self-ruled communities. They cannot, will not give up that culture, even in Israel.

What a pity they cannot evolve into something more like the Amish or the Mennonites: less scheming, crooked and oppositional, but still traditional, modest and fecund.

Then again, if 40% of American schoolchildren were pacifistic Amish/Mennonite I doubt America would treat them so gently.

Blogger Jew613 May 05, 2018 9:27 AM  

bob kek mando - ( your mom always did like me best ) wrote:"are somewhat particular to the West, and even then it's not universal."

as a fer instance, Russians have long been considered to be "of the East" culturally, even though Russia proper is in Europe.

this figures in Rudyard Kipling's "Kim".

20. SidVic May 04, 2018 6:23 PM

If one is faced with a riotous crowd



find a different lie. there's video.

not only was there no "rioting" going on, there wasn't even a crowd.

or, there wasn't a crowd until AFTER the Israelis shot the kid. then a hundred people showed up to carry him away.

and for SOME reason, the Israelis didn't shoot anybody AFTER there was a crowd there. so we know that "crowds" aren't the "problem".


Its called pallywood for a reason, the Arabs arent good at much, but they are great at lying. This isnt the first time the Arabs with their supporters in the Western press have faked news. Have you not noticed videos from Syria showing supposed atrocities where the victim mysteriously dies multiple times? There were crowds of Arabs throwing molotov cocktails, stones and fire kites. Defending our border is the right thing to do.

Dirk Manly wrote:@32

"Slightly OT. The growth of the Haredi community in Israel portends massive challenges to the IDF. The Haredi are basically Israel's welfareites (although probably better behaved than the US dindus). They won't serve in the IDF at all. Well apparently 40% of children in kindergarten in Israel are Haredi. This number will continue to grow. The IDF has a looming recruitment crisis heading its way."

In most countries, refusing to serve when conscripted is a felony.

The Haredi have a looming felony crisis heading it's way.


The whole Haredim dont serve is basically Chiloni propaganda, and somewhat out of date propaganda at that. Now its the religious are taking over the army oh no! The truth is Haredim do serve at a lower then average rate but their participation has been increasing for years. There are already excellent all Charedi units in the Infantry, Air Force & Intelligence. This should continue and the problem will solve itself. The biggest threat to Haredi integration is the feminists demanding a bigger role for women in the IDF which the religious oppose.

Anonymous Anonymous May 05, 2018 10:06 AM  

This one time at band camp we were training some hajjis on conducting anti armor defense. They were baffled about over head cover on fighting positions because it doesn't rain in their neck of the woods.

They also didn't get the jokes about steel rain.

Hajjis have a low animal cunning but most lack anything similar to intelligence. The smart ones are rare and valued to the point their chain of command will not put them at risk..... unless the smart hajjis is a threat to his superior

Blogger roundeye May 05, 2018 10:30 AM  

IDF has better equipment especially in the air. But in 1979 it was American F 15 pilots v Russians over Lebanon. Since then Isreal has developed native talent.

Blogger Ken Prescott May 05, 2018 12:48 PM  

When you're fighting Arabs, the IDF is Cthulhu Himself In All His Glory (Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn).

The Belgians would probably give the Israelis a world-class thrashing.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 05, 2018 1:23 PM  

The Surly Beaver wrote:A better comparison would be the performance of American troops against the Chicoms in Korea.
You're seriously going to claim the Red Army or even the Nork army is equivalent to the Iraqi army?

Blogger The Surly Beaver May 05, 2018 2:07 PM  

@72

The Chinese and North Koreans were better than Arabs but still poorly trained compared to the United Nations forces. But they had good quality equipment and superiority of numbers and they nearly drove the Americans and other UN troops off the peninsula.

That scenario is much closer to the Israeli experience in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 than Gulf Wars 1 and 2. Suggesting that American and other western armies are far superior than the IDF just because they've the luxury of killing T55s with A10 Warthogs and M1 Abrams instead of A-4 Skyhawks and M48 Pattons is dumb.

Blogger Brett baker May 05, 2018 2:19 PM  

Amish and Mennonites can be pretty crooked and scheming.

Blogger Brett baker May 05, 2018 2:21 PM  

Amish and Mennonites can be pretty crooked and scheming.

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 5:44 PM  

@45 "Avalanche, you were an ensign? Did you ever go to Fleet Week in NYC or San Francisco?"

Well, I started as an engsign, I got out as a LT.

No, never went to either. Got to visit a destroyer than came to Long Island (but an hour out from NYC) on one Fourth of July weekend. Got to see the 'Tall Ships" come into Philly one year; one had to moor down at the Navy yard, cause .... the Chileans? Bolivians? (someone down there had a tall ship back in the 80's) some SAmer. group was all het up about some political thing down there and were threatening the crew if they came into town.

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 5:46 PM  

@52 "Your entire purpose in this unit is to deploy. If you can't, then you will not be re-enlisted."

OH! This makes me SO happy! I just hope they're actually doing it.

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 6:03 PM  

@58 "Finally, 17 years without a single shore rotation explained!

Frankly, women do not belong in the navy. Not even in a support role. And the ones that got pregnant just before or during deployment should have spent a few quality years in Leavenworth before getting a BCD!"

Shall I make you feel ever worse, Badger? I started my 'career' writing curriculum at a Navy firefighting school. This was shortly after they began expanding women's "opportunities" (in fact, I was offered the chance to apply for one of the SIX first billets for women officers on seagoing ships. (Old joke when I got in: yes of course women can serve on Navy ships -- they can serve on hospital ships... Just one problem -- there ARE no hospital ships!)

Because the school was shorthanded -- and wouldn't be getting replacements, and I had already built some loyalty, I turned down the opportunity -- for which I ended up quite glad. But, in my job, I needed to know how the courses went, so I took the firefighting class.

You know (but others might not) that the solid brass fitting on the end of a firehose is 20-some pounds -- and if you let go of it by mistake, the thing turns into a snapping, biting, flailing dragon -- and can literally break a leg or crush a skull. And some lucky sailor has to jump on the hose and hump his way out till he can pin the head -- preferably without getting hit by it first! (Not) funny that it was NEVER a girl who did that...

I was strong enough and fit enough (this was decades ago {sigh}) (and not scared; it was fun) and so I was able to hold the thing when it was my turn (I also was able to disassemble and reassemble a P250 pump! I LOVED the Navy!) but some of the idiot little girls (and they were little-- I don't know what the height requirement was for "girl sailors" -- but clearly it was insufficient!) would flip the bale (turn it on) and then freak and drop it and run away. (OH! fer cryin' out loud!)

So, 17 years at sea AND you were relying for your very LIFE on affirmative action incompetents to fight shipboard fires! (I'd apologize to you, but even *I* fell for the "you can be a sailor just like the boys!")

(I once had a long friendly argument with a drunk LCDR at the officer's club: He kept saying I needed to be a good WOMAN officer... and I kept insisting back that I didn't WANT to be a woman officer, I wanted to be a NAVY officer. I hadn't figured out yet that part of the actual real definition of 'Navy Officer' is, should be, and must be: MALE!)

Blogger Avalanche May 05, 2018 6:05 PM  

Oh and Badger?
"spent a few quality years in Leavenworth before getting a BCD!"

Hell no! We've already spent too damned much money on them, -- OUT they go! Let their feminist friends pay for their birthing and after! Throw 'em an 'other than honorable' and "here's the gate, girlie!"

Blogger Shimshon May 06, 2018 1:25 AM  

I'm with Jew613. I live in a very large, all-charedi city. There are increasing numbers of uniforms showing up among the young adult male population. Including, so far, two of my sons, in combat units.

The way they described the units and command matches with this article's. My wife and I have marveled at the youth of the commanders. Now I understand. I have no military background, but it does seem a suboptimal structure.

Some non-charedi draftees do resent the two year active duty (they do an additional eight months).

It's a myth today that charedim are violently against the draft. The vast majority of the Litvish-Yeshivish world have followed a stated policy in discussing the draft with the government that any charedi male of draft age be exempt from the draft for duration of his genuine interest in learning. They get that accommodation is needed. And are okay with registering with the government for said exemptions. There are growing numbers of young men who do not harbor an interest in lifelong learning and draft. A small group of usurpers (the so-called Jerusalem Faction) sowed division and discord by pushing a zero tolerance policy of interaction with the state, including burning exemption forms and draft notices, backed up by violence. A sickening spectacle.

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