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Sep 8, 2010

Major-General Israel Tal - R.I.P

Merkava tank developer Major-General Israel Tal, Dies

The Armored Corps seventh commander who headed the development of the Merkava tank, died at the age of 86.

WIKI:- Major-General Tal was the creator of the Israeli armour doctrine which led to the Israeli successes in the Sinai in the Six Day War. Well after the Suez Crisis, Tal organized the armour into the leading element of the Israeli Defense Forces, characterized by high mobility and relentless assault. Starting in 1964, General Tal took over the Israeli armor corps and re-trained all Israeli gunners to hit targets beyond 1.5km.[2] In open terrain, such long distance gunnery proved vital to survival of Israeli armor corps for subsequent wars. Its mobility is considered comparable to the German Blitzkrieg and many hold it to be an evolution of that tactic. Tal's transformation and success in 1967 led the IDF to expand the role of armour. This resulted however, in reduced attention to other less glamorous, but essential aspects of the army, such as the Infantry. Following the 1973 surprise attack, this excessive focus on fast striking offensive armour left the IDF temporarily without adequate defensive capability. Only in latter stages of the war did the armour break out and show its potential; General Avraham Adan's armour penetrated the Egyptian lines, crossed the Suez Canal and, despite a cease-fire being agreed, Israel enveloped the Egyptian 3rd Army near Suez.

While the IDF has become a more balanced force since 1973, Tal's development of armour doctrine has been very important to the IDF and has influenced armoured doctrines in other parts of the world.

Tal and his Egyptian counter-part sat in the sand to negotiate the terms of the cease fire on the Sinai.

Tal won the Israel Defense Prize in 1961 and again in 1973, and coined the Hebrew phrase

"The man in the tank shall win."


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