Anti-tank weapons inflicting heavy losses on Israeli army


Richard Moore


Here we have an example of the important principle of 'asymmetric warfare'. 
These Russian missiles, which can reliably destroy tanks, are much cheaper to 
produce, transport, and operate, than the tanks are. It seems Israel might have 
been caught off guard here, which is not surprising given their overwhelming 
military superiority, generally speaking. We saw the same thing in the 
CIA-initiated Soviet-Afghan War, when the CIA-created Mujahideen's shoulder-held
missiles (from the US) brought down Soviet helicopters on a wholesale basis.

This is analogous to the situation that will be faced by the Axis when they 
attack Iran and Syria. Certainly the US Air Force and the IDF can destroy both 
countries with (neutron?) nukes, and presumably preserve the oil fields at the 
same time, but the advanced missiles in the possession of Syria and Iran cannot 
all be stopped before launch. With 1% of the firepower, considerable havoc will 
be wreaked in Israeli cities, the Axis fleet, and -- most significant -- with 
oil shipping. (See for example: "Iranian warns Israel to fear missiles" -

The prognosis seems to be a global economic collapse, following the blockage of 
shipping the Gulf.


Original source URL:

Anti-tank weapons inflicting heavy losses on Israeli army
Published: Friday, 11 August, 2006, 01:26 PM Doha Time

JERUSALEM: Powerful anti-tank missiles manufactured by Russia and Iran are being
used with deadly effectiveness by Hezbollah against the Israeli army in southern
Lebanon, military sources say.

A large proportion of the 68 Israeli soldiers who have died in south Lebanon 
since the start of the offensive a month ago were killed by such missiles.

Top-selling daily Yediot Aharonot reported yesterday that out of 25 anti-tank 
missiles fired, about one-quarter of them pierced the armour of targeted tanks 
and caused heavy losses.

"The terrorists know where the weak spots are, and we are being badly hit," the 
newspaper quotes a senior official as saying.

The attacks are a blow to the pride of Israel¹s army. Merkava III and IV tanks 
are considered among the most powerful in the world and have a reputation for 
extremely resistant armour and protective systems.

Merkavas boast 1,200 horsepower and are equipped with state-of-the-art 
electronic systems that should make them some of the safest and most mobile 
tanks in the world.

But Israel¹s tanks, crucial for any ground operation in southern Lebanon, have 
proved vulnerable to the attacks of Hezbollah and ill-adapted to the hilly and 
heavily wooded terrain.

Israeli military officials have also admitted surprise at the level of 
resistance they are meeting from Hezbollah fighters, who are well-trained and 
have been firing at tanks from very close range.

The bulk of the Shia militia¹s anti-weapons are Russian-made models, although 
some were manufactured in Iran, said expert Yiftah Shapir from the Jaffee Center
for Strategic Studies.

"The most efficient missiles are the Metis-M and the Kornet manufactured by 
Russia and delivered to Syria in the nineties," he said.

"They are very lethal because they have been designed to penetrate active armour
on modern tanks such as those the Israelis were the first to introduce in the 
early eighties," Shapir said.

Hezbollah also has the latest Sagger missile, a Russian weapon manufactured in 
Iran, as well as the Russian Spigot, the expert.

These missiles have the ability to pierce armour as thick as 1m and have a range
of 1.5-5km.

"The Israeli army knew that Hezbollah had a large arsenal of missiles, but maybe
they didn¹t know they had the Metis-M and the Kornet," Shapir added.

Yediot Aharonot quoted a senior military official as saying the army¹s lack of 
preparedness for the threat of anti-tank missiles "is a bigger failure than that
which preceded the Yom Kippur War."

The Israeli army has dramatically underestimated Egypt¹s ground forces ahead of 
the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict.

"The problem isn¹t technical," said Shapir. "They will always end up finding the
answer to the new generation of missiles just like they did in the past."

"The most important thing is that the Israeli army finally understand that they 
are not up against a gang of terrorists but a real army." ­ AFP

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