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Old 10-29-2006, 07:08 PM
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Snir Snir is offline
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Default Shayetet 13

Shayetet 13, also known as S-13, is the IDFs naval commando unit , i think compareable to the Navy Seals, and considered to be one of the top 3 special units in the IDF along with Sayeret Matkal, and Sayeret Shaldag, and is one of the oldest Units and most vetran in the Israeli army, formed in 1949 based upon the naval brigade of the Jewish resistance group known as the "Hagana" (defence) to the British regime in what was once known as Palestine.


During the 6-day war the unit was found the unit under trained. Several of the units' missions during the war failed, the most noticeable one was in May 6 1967, when six operators were captured and taken as POW during a covert mission. S'13 POWs were released more than six months later in January 1968.

In 1969 the unit was sent into Egyptian water, one of the most daring missions ever performed undersea, as three operators were killed and 10 more were badly injured during the Green Island Raid. In the 1970's the unit had undergone rebuilding with more focus placed on sea-to-land incursions and on effective training. More issues rose with other IDF SF units, which at the time suggested that that S'13 should only provide the transportation to the target and assistance in crossing water obstacles, while leaving the surface warfare to the other IDF SF units.

Another problem was that in the 1970's the unit's training guideline was that S'13 operators should master all types of warfare. So all operators learned both advance diving and boats usage, causing a lack of specialization. In addition, all of S'13 training at the time was done internally within the unit, which later led to communications issues with other IDF units.

In 1979 the unit was appointed a new CO, Ami Ayalon. After assuming command, Ayalon led a major reorganization in the unit's structure and training regime, which led to an increase in the training commonality between S'13 and other IDF SF units. Once the reorganization was completed, S'13 was larger, better trained and more combat ready than ever before.

this unit, along with Naval commando raids and underwater operations, is an anti terror unit which was used intensly through the 80's in Lebanon and demonstrated an excellent track record of dozens of successful operations each year, without casualties. Typical missions at the time were interdiction of terrorists' vessels, blowing up enemy headquarters and key facilities, conducting ambushes and planting explosives in terrorists routes.

In recent years, S'13 was heavily involved in the LIC in the Territories. Its operators conducted maritime missions such as interception of terrorists ships carrying weapons and explosives as well as numerous highly complex CT missions. Due to S'13 increased land warfare deployment, the unit now place more emphasis on land based CT and CQB.

Known failures:
On September 8, 1997 the unit suffered a serious blow during a raid in Lebanon, when it was caught in a Hezbollah ambush and 11 of its soldiers were killed, including the unit commander.

In recent years, it was discovered that S-13 veterans had high occurrence of cancer, probably due to training in the polluted Kishon River & Haifa Bay. A commission for investigating the matter didn't find statistical evidences that the diving in the Kishon caused the cancer. However, Minister of Defence Shaul Mofaz decided to compensate the divers' families in spite of the commission findings.

Trainning requierments:

S-13 training regime lasts a total of 20 months and is considered by many to be the most grueling training regime in the world,{see Guiness Book of records} primarily due to the land aspect of training. The unit also conducts extensive cross training with other foreign naval commando units, primarily the U.S. Navy SEALs.

The unit's training phase consists of:

Six months basic and advanced infantry training with one of the IDF infantry brigades.
Three weeks course at the IDF Parachuting School.
Preparing Phase - lasts three months and consists of advanced infantry and weapons training, basic elements of maritime warfare, operation of small ships, long swims, forced marches and land demolition.
Combat diving course - lasts four weeks during which the soldiers learn the basic elements of combat diving such as how to cope with cold, diving in dark and clouded water and how to survive high risk underwater situations (e.g. pressure, depth).
Combat diving course - lasts four weeks during which the soldiers learn the basic elements of combat diving such as how to cope with cold, diving in dark and clouded water and how to survive high risk underwater situations (e.g. pressure, depth).
Dedicated Phase - lasts almost a year during which the soldiers learn advance diving techniques with closed circuit diving systems, underwater demolitions and weapons and sea-to-land incursions (via diving, ships, submarines and parachuting into sea). Also included in this phase is a three weeks course in IDF Counter Terror Warfare School. The soldiers then learned how to perform maritime CT operations on ships, oil platforms and near coast buildings. During this phase the soldiers are also divided between the unit's three specialized companies based on their capabilities and personal interest, and train on their future specialty.

S'13 is divided into three specialized companies:

Raids - handles sea-to-land incursions, assassinations, maritime hostage rescue and CT.
Underwater - handles all underwater missions such as hydrographic reconnaissance (underwater survey of possible landing locations), securing beaches prior to landing, underwater demolition against enemy ships and harbors and maritime intelligence gathering.
  • Above Water - specializes in the operation of S'13 fast attack boats and in cooperation with the Israeli Navy ships and submarines. The Above Water company primary mission is to bring the other two companies safely and accurately to their targets.
All three companies work closely with each other in joint missions and support each other operations.

List of famous S-13 operations:

June 1967: 7 Israeli frogmen in Alexandria harbor sank an Egyptian minesweeper and were captured.
Between the 1967 and 1973 wars, Squadron 13 performed about 80 missions.
21 July 1969, Operation Bulmus 6: Ze'ev Almog with 20 frogmen attacked Green Island at the south end of the Suez Canal, where Egypt had garrisoned artillery. All artillery was destroyed. Many surviving Egyptian garrison men were killed by their own side's shore artillery which fired too late.
1973: Operation Spring of Youth "Aviv Neurim".
1973: (Yom Kippur War): Finding and destroying several Egyptian torpedo boats with limpet mines, clearing the way for an Israeli armored force landing in Egypt the next day. Squadron 13 used sea sleds and spent nearly 20 hours in the water.
2002: Capturing the Santorini arms smuggling ship.
2002: Capturing the Karin A arms smuggling ship.
2002: Capturing the Abu-Yusuf arms smuggling ship
2006: A nighttime raid on Tyre targeting the Hezbollah cell responsible for a rocket attack on Hadera earlier that day ( During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Shayetet 13 participated in the August 4 2006 attack on Tyre, Lebanon, killing multiple Hezbollah personel on the second floor of a residential building. Flotilla 13 suffered ten wounded during the operation and helicopter extraction, and the operation was considered a success. The same city block was revisited two days later for a mop-up operation)

Youtube clip actually showing the commando operation from an UAV point of view ()

Information taken from: (

And for the ending.. some pictures (credit to

Shayetet 13 operator armed with mini-uzi during maritime trainning.

S'13' former CO Shaoul Ziv (right) during joint trainning exercise with the US navy SEALs (left) Puerto Rico 1973.

Up next.. Sayeret Matkal.

George Patton:"Live for something rather than die for nothing."
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