What else don’t we know about?
July 17, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
Yesterday I learned about an Israeli weapon that has been used in battle for thirty years. The IDF concealed its existence so well that I had no clue that this thing was around. On July 14, 2015, the Israeli Defense Forces revealed that they had this weapon. Why now? Well, it’s because they want the world to ask the same question I did: What else don’t we know about?
What we’re seeing from the Israelis is a threat posture.
This is a good thing. It might make everybody think twice about this nightmarish Iran nuclear deal.
People ask me, “Why would the Israelis show their hand?”
Because they don’t want a war. They’re hoping that revealing their truly unbelievable capabilities will stave off a regional conflict. And we have to be honest: The IDF could tell all their secrets to Major General Qasem Soleimani, the legendary head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Quds Force is the Iranian unit responsible for extraterritorial and clandestine operations. Soleimani could go back to Iran with information on every weapon and tactic the IDF had. And then the Israelis would pound the tar out of Iran anyway. The IDF is at least two generations ahead of the Iranian military. I’m going to show you in a moment.
Often I forget that not everybody is me. In fact, nobody else is me. I express myself in a way that can come across as…militantly oblivious? Sometimes I give the impression that I’m not taking into account cost, suffering, difficulty, risk, and so on. The reason that I seem that I’m not aware of the things I just mentioned is that when I’m faced with a binary decision, my emphasis is on getting the job done. The other factors—cost, suffering, difficulty, risk—are givens. If I see no real choice, the arduousness of the task isn’t something I concentrate on. But I’m aware that people die in war. I study war, so of course I know that when a unit suffers thirty-nine casualties, or when eighty-two civilians are killed, each is a person.
I happen to believe that war with Iran is now virtually inevitable. Israel will easily win the war. But when I say that, I don’t mean it’ll be a walk in the park. The Israelis will easily win because they have the best armed forces in the world. Iran is a dictatorship. The classic weakness of dictatorships is that they fear revolution. Dictatorships generally train their military forces only well enough to keep the populace under control. Nazi Germany was an exception, but the ethnic homogeneity of the country created a sense of cohesion lacking in most other dictatorships.
The former USSR didn’t give their multi-ethnic soldiers maps. In the Peoples’ Republic of China, most of the troops who slaughtered the protestors in Tiananmen Square on June 3 to 5, 1989, were peasants who’d never been to Beijing and spoke different dialects. Dictatorships such as that of Saddam Hussein often have a poorly equipped army that contains smaller “elite” units trusted with better weapons and training.
The Israelis don’t worry about coups, so they make sure that their armed forces are massively skilled fighters. Although Israel will easily defeat Hezbollah and Iran, the Israelis don’t want a war. This is why they’re revealing shockingly advanced capabilities and weapons.
One such weapon is the “Wild” tank destroyer. The Israelis formally revealed its existence on July 14, 2015.
It’s not actually a tank, even though it looks like one. The main gun is a dummy. This vehicle is armed with twelve Tamuz antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), which are fired from a launcher inside the turret. The dummy gun is meant to disguise this very specialized vehicle so that it won’t be noticed and targeted.
Here’s the missile launcher in the firing position, raised up and out of the turret.
Tamuz missiles are so effective that they were top secret for years, declassified only in 2011. Prior to that, it was illegal to talk about them. Here’s a video of a Tamuz in action against a Hamas rocket-launcher squad.
They guided that missile pretty much right down the guy’s throat.
The Tamuz missiles are loaded through a door in the back of the “Wild” turret.
Although the “Wild” has been used in combat for thirty years, only three photos of it had ever gotten past the Israeli censors. One image was published during the 2006 Lebanon War, and two others taken in 2013 showed vehicles operating in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border.
During the 2006 Lebanon war, the IDF fired over 600 Tamuz missiles. Many of them were launched from “Wild” tank destroyers. And yet military scholars all over the world had no idea that this vehicle existed until July 14, 2015. Four days ago.
I’ve studied the IDF for over forty years. I knew that the Tamuz was fired from an M113 armored personnel carrier (APC).
But I’d never heard even a whisper of the “Wild.” Nothing.
That’s how well the Israelis keep their secrets. The “Wild” is a big deal, because it’s a massively destructive weapon that was hidden in plain sight. Not only that, it was used for thirty years without anyone knowing about it. Think of all the photographers and videographers who’ve passed through the area from 1985 to 2015. What about all the enemy intelligence agencies? Nobody ever knew that this vehicle existed.
When I say that Israel will easily defeat Hezbollah and Iran, it doesn’t mean that those two forces don’t have capabilities. Their intelligence is top notch. Unfortunately for them, they fight for dictators who turn their gazes inward, playacting for the masses, putting on phony displays and intimidating anybody who might not want to be ruled with an iron fist anymore.
So Israel will win. I read a few years ago in the British military publication Jane’s Defence Weekly that the world knows only about 75 percent of Israeli military capabilities.
I’d revise that number downward to about 40 percent. We—everyone who studies the military—were completely unaware of something this big and important.
The vehicle in that image was erroneously identified by Agence France Presse as a Merkava main battle tank (MBT). It’s actually a “Wild.”
Imagine what the “experts” have gotten wrong. My guess? Just about everything.
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