Saturday, October 16, 2010

Micro Warfare Prep

As a note on this post I am intentional vague on many topics here as I am not sure publishing exact special urban warfare tactics is a good idea. There are many tactics here which are known as the world’s best and other military's come to train on them here.

This week we began preparation to start training for Lochamie Zeira or in English micro warfare. For this we underwent what was our hardest week yet. We spent the week under the instruction of our krav maga and Terror madrichim or instructors. Terror instructors are the ones who teach us the tactics involved in micro warfare, as well as the special style of shooting, and the shooting stance that go along with it. This style of warfare is used in Urban environments and in close quarters. The idea behind it is at 10 meters a terrorist in motion will not stop with a single round to the chest so we learn how to quickly get into a steady and strong position, get on target without having to aim, and to fire 5 rounds all on target. This is not something one can learn in a day in fact we spent 4 days straight in the shooting ranges to learn how, and my team shot 17,000 rounds that’s about 1000 rounds each. To give you an idea on how much ammunition that is about 35 full magazines. The number of magazines each soldier is issued for war is only 6. (Don’t worry if I go to war I will have far more than that with me.)

To get to the end state of 5 rounds on target in high stress environment we started basic. One round at a time each round getting into the proper firing stance, brining the weapon up and “stabbing” the target (to get on target without having to aim, as that takes extra time) and shooting. The object here is a good stance, fast, and accurate. From this we move to two rounds at a time then three, then fur and five. Then we start to mix it up, we bring in the kneeling position as well. We then brining in how to switch magazines in the middle of shooting. (All shooting here is done with a tzolevet which is two magazines attached together.) Once we have all this down pat we start to add in shooting after sprints to simulate shooting while under pressure, and finally we do all this while wearing bullet proof vests.

Now what makes this week so hard is not just how much we shoot but the discipline. All week long it’s the same discipline I discussed in my previous post on Krav Maga ( “Adam did you just scratch yourself?” “Yes.” “Matzav Shtayim (up pushup position) everyone.” This was no fun as griping your rifle tightly for hours on end, days on end begins to eat away ones palms; push ups on gravel and thorns is similar to placing ones hands on fire. Also there is “nine, Shmuel were your ankles together?” “No” “One!” A common punishment is 10 perfect push-ups, as I explained previously, and if one guy does one push up wrong its back to one.

Now when the sunset and we packed up the shooting ranges we switched over to krav maga (I could not participate though because of my surgery) and Terror lessons. Terror lessons are started the same way a krav maga lesson, except we have 7 minutes to be standing ready. These lessons are dry practices of the shooting positions used in micro warfare, as well as changing positions, weapon jams, changing magazines, charging after a fleeing target, and moving from a run to s steady shooting position. We have also began to practice clearing corners and openings.

Now all this preparation will be put to work next week as we start micro warfare training in an urban warfare training center. We will start with drills on an individual level and move to fire team, then squad, and from there to team.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Krav Maga

I need to preface this post by saying there is some language used in this post which while may seem filthy it is simply the language and terms used in the army. I want to give over as real an experience as possible so I kept the words in.

Till now I have not really touched upon a central portion of our training, Krav Maga. What does it entail, what it means for our daily life in the army, and how it affects us. In short Krav Maga touches every second of every day we are in the army. Krav Maga is not a class we receive an hour and show up to, it is a class we are jumped for. Jumped means the instructor shows up and tells us “חמש דקות קרב מגא“ which in English is “5 minutes Krav Maga.” At this point every one breaks into a sprint and starts to scream this sentence over and over again. Because of this we always have our stuff ready, ready to be jumped, it can happen at 0400, or while you are all butt naked in the shower.

In these 5 minutes we have to o the following: Everyone has to be wearing an all black t-shirt, combat uniform pants, belt buckle off to the side, running shoes, no rubber bands (In the IDF instead of tucking ones pants into the boot we instead tuck them under rubber bands sitting right above the boots so in combat the pants can easily be pushed up to get a t a wound instead of having to tug them out of the boot.) We each also need both of our canteens filled with us. The team as a whole has to also bring an open stretcher, a medic’s vest and a helmet, and finally the water pack. All this has to be in the center of a chet – literally a Hebrew letter which is shaped with a flat top and two even legs, but here it simply refers to the shape of the letter. We, the soldiers in the team, make up the chet with our canteens between our feet, and must count the last 10 seconds of the time. At the end of the time we all must be dressed properly, with two full canteens between our feet, and in the fighting stance.

Now what happens if we are not? Matzav Shtayim, The front leaning rest, also known as the upright push up position. From there we have to pay on our “fuck.” Now to pay we first have to fix our “fuck” by getting everyone in the right uniform, and with all their equipment, at the right place. This is done by one by on each person in order in the chet getting up fixing himself and then returning to matzav shtayim in the chet. The longer this takes the harder it will be to pay for our “fuck” For if this were just matzav shtayim it would not be so bad but they make us perform a push up every 2 seconds, wearing us out faster. Once we are all ray we must perform 10 perfect push ups to the instructors cadence. Perfect means the chest touches the ground, the heels are touching the whole time and the body remains straight. Should one person screw up, once we start from the beginning. If we can not get to 10 we will keep going till the instructor decides to punish us in another way, be it sprint to the base gate hit and return, in 3 minutes, or half the team is carrying the other half the team over their shoulders and we o the same sprint but in 4 and a half minutes. This is just a small taste of the hazing tools at their use, there is no shortage trust me.
So we stood on time and ready, now what? We warm up an start our lesson. Our natural position for the lesson is known as “kir” which in English means wall. This means when we hear kir we all sprint to the designate area an begin to fight for a spot attempting to get as close to the left side as possible, but still remaining on the thin line of the kir. We fight like this till the instructor stops us an tells us to organize the wall an face him. After we warm up we go to the kir, and from there we get 3 minutes to have everyone on pads. The thing with the pads is they can never touch the ground when not on us. One of the worst hazing I ever experience was when we let a pad touch the ground. Once on pads we start with aggression drills. Everyone makes a circle and the guy in the mile must fight out, 8 guys lay on the ground and link arms the rest must pull them outside the box, and on and on. When we screw an perform a “fuck,” such as wiping sweat or moving perform we receive the command to move, its back to matzav shtayim. Now if we really annoy the instructor he will tell us to tense stomach muscles and close our eyes. Then as we do a push up every 2 seconds he hands out swift kicks to the stomach, nothing like coming up from a push up, just barely as you are exhausted to the bone, and boom a boot and all the air goes out. This all encompass only about the first 45 minutes of each lesson, and a lesson is usually 2 hours. This is relly only a taste but for the whole experience there is just not the words.

I know this post is a bit long but I hope I have seceded in passing along a bit of what Krav Maga is to us and what it means to us, and if by mistake you thought Krav Maga occurs only once in a while you are wrong. Every week we go through this, always waiting always ready.