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LEGEND of General Talik
For this story we have to begin way back in the early 1960's. On November 1, 1964 to be exact there was a number of senior personnel
changes in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by the then IDF Commander General Yitzak Rabin by appointing Brig Gen David Elazar as
OC or Operational Commander, for the entire Northern Frontier facing Lebanon as well as Syria and the Golan Heights. And to replace
Gen Elazar was Colonel Israel Tal.

That position was Operational Commander of the Israel Tank Corps. Earlier in January the first Arab summit was held in Cairo and it
was then decided that all 'waters' would be denied the Zionist state (Arabs would not even mention Israel by name back then) and oil
money was provided to acquire heavy construction machinery and huge amounts of Russian weapons and ammunition for this purpose.
Syria was the designated battle front and executer of the Jordan River Diversion Plan. The nine Arab states of the summit could not have
pick a worse location, or a casus-belli (cause for war) and a less propitious moment to try and rally world opinion. Israel had over the
previous decade enlisted the USA Russia & even the U.N. in supporting a massive water carrier project to bring the waters of the Israeli
lake (The biblical Sea of Galilee) to the parched arid desert waste lands of the Negev South thus benefiting: Druze, Arabs, Palestinians,
Nomadic tribes as well as a hundred thousand Israeli farmers. After ten years of construction and three weeks after operations began we
have 'the Incident.' On the second day of his command (Nov 2nd) Gen Elazar had a meeting of his staff to assess the military situation of
a now large diversion project being under way on the bluff over looking the valley below and all of Elazar's military positions,
artillery and
tanks across the entire ridge line to kill any Israeli farmers tilling their land below and tending their flocks or setting up huge irrigation rigs
in the vast fields below. The exact area was Tel Dan in Israel and Nuheilleh Syrian Army out post. On November 3rd there was a big
military exchange of fire, farm equipment destroyed and even settlers were injured. Col Tal was summoned & he immediately interviewed
all of HIS participants... the on scene armor commander Lt/Col Benny Omri, all his his tank commanders and tank gunners. Question One;
how many enemy tanks were taken out? None Sir. How many shells were fired? 89 sir.  Storming out of the meeting seemingly as soon as
it had begun, Tal shouted out over his shoulder "There'll be a commission of inquiry and heads will roll" The armor command just got a
taste of what lie in wait from a Two Day Old Commander. Few of the more than 100,000 clashes which took place on Israel's borders
from 1948 all the way through the June 1967 war proved to be of such momentous importance as the Tel Dan incident and is now taught
in all army war colleges around the world to this very day.

It can now be said that as a result of the experience at Tel Dan, Israel Tank Corps would never be the same again. It also would lead to a
new breed of tanks... The War Chariots.   


Tal's commission met, fault was found & heads did roll. Two weeks later Col Tal met with Gen Elazar. A plan was formed based on known
military intelligence, Israeli patrols were sent out every day around 2:50 pm & Syria would respond around 3 pm. 1 salient point, if the patrol
would just set out one hour later around 4 pm, then the setting sun would be directly in the eyes of the Syrian fortress defenders.  A direct
strike by the IAF was not an option since their bunkers were over five feet thick. Tal got his best gunner, SSgt Cohen. They both practiced
Long Range marksmanship away in the desert to the South for the two weeks. Tal told Elazar to tell Gen Rabin they had an answer. They
would use Israeli tank marksmanship and remove the threat without causing a general war from breaking out. Rabin took the call outside the
office of the Israeli Prime Minister's office. The PM came back and asked 'what assurances could Elazar give this would work?' Elazar then
handed the phone to Col Tal and asked the question again 'what guarantees can you give this plan of yours will work?' Col Tal, without so
much as missing a single beat said... "the guarantee is that I will be the one firing the gun!"

The following day General Rabin told Elazar and Tal they were free to act. Both knew they were taking a personal career risk. Tal & Elazar
set the date for the 17th, only several days from then. On the scheduled morning the commanders involved identified eight pieces of military
hardware. A natural ravine divided the eight pieces into two groups of four. Tal picked the four on the left and SSgt Cohen got the four on
the right. The rest is History...

During the hours of waiting from early morning to Zero hour (4 pm) Tal positioned his tanks behind a small hill in back of Tel Dan village
unseen by the Syrians. They cleaned & they recalibrated their weapons all day in the shade. Finally the time arrived. General Elazar notified
Tal and the afternoon patrol and farmers with their tractors set out into the valley fields below the watching eyes of the enemy. The setting
sun now approached the eyes of the Syrians and Tal ordered the men & equipment right up to the border fence area & the Syrians opened
withering fire down on the farmers in the armor tractors and farm trucks. Colonel Tal & Sgt Cohen leapt into action and at full speed went
into a pre-positioned tank firing pad that Tal had planned out. Within Four minutes 9 tank rounds had fired & all eight targets were piles of
smoldering wrecks. Tal's four shots hit his four targets. Sgt Cohen fired his four rounds and hit his three targets. Tal took another shot at
the missed target and it was now gone. There was silence for the longest time. It gets worse. Tal then with the rest of his company of tanks
with Cohen in the lead slowly descended the valley, crossed the field and then went up to what use to be a no mans land rise and took aim
at all the millions of dollars of water diversion equipment. Hours later not a piece of machinery was left undamaged. It is still there to this
very day and is now available for tourist and sightseers alike to witness while on a tour inside Israel.

The Arabs called a hasty summit and decided to try it again miles away and out of Israel's sight and away from any tank reach. Tel Dan II
would now be a fitting follow up. The Arabs brought in foremost world authorities on water diversion projects and they concluded a new
location almost six miles away and views blocked by hill top ridges. The Arabs ordered in more troops, newer Soviet military hardware and
double the expense of the latest construction equipment as Syria now wanted this done quietly and very quickly. For the next two months
the stage was being set and Tal was told by military intel what was going on and where the new diversion site was being located. He asked
for new and more detailed maps. He viewed for several days through special binoculars and even toured in IAF helicopters the terrain. His
company and Sgt Cohen began intensive training, practice and class room mathematics courses. He approached industry and worked close
with IMI (Israel's military R&D designed after Sandia Labs in the USA).

For tanks this task was far from easy. In this instance the main problem would be distance, not so much for reach but accuracy. At the
time no tank was considered accurate beyond 1500 meters. Then new ammunition from IMI came in and the whole team set for the armor
testing range Tzelim in order to extract the radically enhanced performance from tank guns matched to the new experimental ammunition.
Usually the tanks back then used HE (high explosive) shells but more accurate at longer distance was the new IMI armor piercing (AP) that
could reach 5, 6 or 7 thousand meters (miles!) and even beyond visual range. A special pair of huge 60 pound 120X powerful binoculars
was flown in from Switzerland to spot the target for the tank gunner. Later El Op would produce a 15 pound version until the first ballistic
FCS (Fire Control Systems of the 1970's) could be developed. Tal & Cohen  had replaced their gunners with themselves & made them the
temporary TC (Tank Commander). Tal was wired up with 2 way radios. Once the co-ordinates were spotted & locked in then the stats
were relayed to all the tanks. There was 64 heavy duty construction targets and about two dozen artillery & tank targets. Military targets
were singled out first. In about 30 minutes, despite the military targets scrambling to get out of the line of fire as fast as they could, all were
taken out, then the tank company took the rest of the day to eliminate all the heavy equipment. Although there would be one more attempt
85 miles further away, the IAF destroyed that endeavor before it could even get started & shot down 14 Mig aircraft in the process that had
the dumb idea of stopping the IAF. End of Water Diversions in the Middle East. Begin a massive recruitment & training program in Israel to
rebuild the entire Armor Corps into a Tank Sharp Shooting Corps and the soon arrival of the Merkava series of MBT's including the BAZ
(Sharp-Shooting) versions that can now bring down UAV's and gunship helicopters...    
 Talik, your country Thanks You Bro.                  


Maj. General Tal's Merkava BAZ 360 APS Today (8/8/08)

El Tanque Merkava Siman Arba BAZ

Shalom L'hitra'ot  שלום להתראות

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