Rare service pin of the 9th Palmach "Mechanized Attack Battalion" ("Gdud Pshita Memuchan"), 1948-49. This force, known commonly as the "Attack Battalion" ("Gdud Pshita") is well known in the annals of Palmach military history and closely identfied with a mobile-commando force called the "Negev Beasts" (or "Negev Animals"; "Khayot HaNegev" in Hebrew).
The origins of the "Negev Beasts" derive from a Palmach reserve force from Haifa, composed of students, and other Palmach members from that region. This force was assigned to the 2nd Battalion (of the "Negev Brigade") of the Palmach as a reinforcement in Decmeber 1947, when Arab attacks on southern locations intensified. The force was then split into two platoons - the second of which, commanded by Simcha Shiloni, was sent to Kibbutz Mishmar HaNegev and given reinforcements from the Mobile Guard ("Mishmar HaNa") of the Jewish Settlement Police. This unit was assigned the protection of water lines and transport arteries in the western Negev up to Beersheva. Lightly armed initially and posessing 3 improvised armored vans, this mobile force formed the basis of the "Negev Animals", who drew their name from their unshaven, swarthy appearance. Their emblem was a camel.
In April 1948 the "Negev Beasts" conducted day and night operations to open transport arteries for Israeli forces and to sabotage the transport lines of the enemy. With the approching invasion of the Egyptian Army in May 1948, this force was augmented by an additional platoon (called "Beeri") and 4 deserters of the British Army, and the whole force became a company positioned against the Egyptian Army.
After a series of fierce engagements, in June 1948, the Negev Brigade drew from its rankstwo armoured jeep companies, a motorized infantry and a halftrack company and attached them to the "Negev Beasts" to form the 4th battalion of the Brigade, the 9th Mechanized Attack Battalion ("Gdud Pshita Memukhan"). The jeep companies became an "attack force" and the "Negev Beasts" absorbed 10 halftracks into its ranks along with the motorized infantry. The new battlion participated in major operations in that region until withdrawn for rest and refitting in August.
At this time the battalion absorbed the "French Commando", foreign Jewish volunteers and veterans of the Palmach sea force, the "PalYam". By this time the battalion reached a strength of 500, including 70 women. The battalion subsequently reentered the field of battle, received Chaim Bar-Lev (the future Chief of Staff) as its commander, participated in the major operations of that period, and by December had also penetrated into the Sinai Peninsula. In February-March 1949 the battalion undertook reconnaisance missions for the conquest of the Southern Negev, and participated in the capture of area soon to be called Eilat. Afterwards, and beyond the end of the War of Independence, the battalion served frontier guard duties. In September the battalion was assigned to the new 7th Armoured Brigade of the IDF and the "Negev Brigade" became a reserve force.
Beyond its connection to a unit with much battle glory, the pin is unique for its design which commemorates specifically the purpose of the unit and does not eschew any image associated with the Palmach (i.e. battalion number "9" or the image of a sword across two ears of wheat - the Palmach emblem) - as other Palmach unit emblems do. The sword and olive branch in the background are the symbol of the Palmach's parent armed force, the Hagana, and this symbol became in 1948-49 both part of the new IDF's emblem and the symbol of the IDF's officers training course. Size: 1.5cm x 3cm; weight: 2.35g.
מילות מפתח: מיליטריה מיליטאריה סיכות סיכה יחידות יחידה שירות חולצה חולצות דרגה דרגות תג תגיות צה"ל צה"לי צבא הגנה פלמ"ח