Sunday, September 12, 2010

Farewell To General Tal

One of Israel's military heroes has passed on to his last parade.

Major General (Aluf) Israel 'Talik' Tal(Z"L) died peacefully this week in Rehovot, Israel at the age of 86 and received a military funeral today. He was one of the chief architects of Israel's tank forces and the father of Israel's Merkava battle tank, one of the most advanced weapons of its kind in the world.

'Talik' fought in Israel's War of Independence in 1948, helping to break the Arab siege of Jerusalem.He commanded a brigade in the Sinai during the 1956 war.

Prior to the Six Day War in 1964,Tal took over command of Israel's tank forces and totally revamped Israel's armored doctrine. He stressed the characteristics of high mobility, innovation and lightning quick offensive.He also was instrumental in training Israeli tank crews to hit targets at long range, a tactic that proved decisive in the desert during the Six Day War.

He was once asked which of the existing tanks was the best on the battlefield. Tal replied that the tank with the best crew is the one that will prevail.

As a prelude to his later work,he also saw to it that the tools of trade were improved.

Israel's tank forces at that time were made of primarily of WWII surplus Shermans mixed in with a few newer British Centurions and French AMX-13 light tanks . On paper, those tanks were far inferior in armor and firepower to the then state-of-the-art Soviet T-54 and T-62 tanks the USSR was providing to the Egyptians and Syrians. But Tal saw to it that the Shermans and Centurions were modified, with better electronics, heavier guns, increased protection and even treads modified to operate better in the desert.

After the Six Day War,General Tal left the army, but was later tapped by Israel in 1970 to lead a team to look at Israel's requirements and the data gathered from previous wars with the idea of designing and manufacturing an Israeli-made tank. Tal's research led to the development and building of Israel's Merkava tank.

In 1973, Tal re-entered the Israeli Army as deputy chief of staff and commander of Southern Command when the Yom Kippur War broke out. He left the army to return to private life for the second time in 1974, although he returned in 1978 to head an IDF reorganization plan, which created a new ground forces central command.

Along with numerous awards from the State of Israel General Tal was honored in the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor's "Wall of Greatest Armor Commanders" along with his fellow Israeli Moshe Peled, American generals George S. Patton and Creighton Abrams and German field-marshal Erwin Rommel.

He was one of the generation of the founders of Israel and of the IDF, and his monument is the nation he spent his life defending.

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B.Poster said...

General Tal will be sorely missed. Ameirca used to have generals like this man, however, with our current crop of generals frankly I found them wanting. In America, I'm not even sure someone like this man would even be able to rise to the rank of general.

Hopefully Israel is still making them like this man. Israel is our main line of defense against Islamic terrorism. Now and n the future, we are going to need men like this man was.

Anonymous said...

A true hero of Zion.