Many armies use bulldozers in their engineering units, but in the Israeli Army these machines are of great importance.
These days, the huge bulldozers of the Israeli Combat Engineering Corps are being seen in Gaza as part of the Israeli offensive against Hamas terrorists. We can see them accompanying the Merkava MkIV tanks and the Namer infantry fighting vehicles (ICV).
These bulldozers are based on the American civil model Caterpillar D9, a model initially launched on the market in the 1950s and which has been renewed with successive versions since then. Known as "Doobi" (teddy bear, in Hebrew) in the Israeli Army, these specialized vehicles are armored by the Israeli company IMI for use in a combat environment.
The Doobis of the Israeli Army are used for the classic tasks of the bulldozers of any other army, such as removing earth, opening ditches, demolition work, raising barriers and creating trenches so that tanks can shoot in defilade.
Additionally, the Israeli Combat Engineering Corps has developed extensive experience with Doobis in other uses, such as mine and improvised explosive device (IED) nullification and also assisting in the recovery of heavy armored vehicles. >. It must be taken into account that Israeli tanks and ICVs are known for their heavy weight, due to the importance that Israel places on protecting its crews.
In addition, the Israeli Combat Engineering Corps has developed extensive experience with Doobis in other uses, such as the nullification of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and also assisting in the recovery of heavy armored vehicles (keep in mind that Israeli tanks and ICVs are known for their heavy weight, due to the importance that Israel places on protecting its crews).
The D9 bulldozers have been in service in the Israeli Army for many years, in different versions. The first went into action in the Sinai War in 1956 and have been present in subsequent wars and military operations in which the Israeli Army has taken part.
These machines are of special importance for the Armored Corps of the Israeli Army, since in tank offensives they serve to open safe routes. Its enormous shovels serve the function of large armored shields, in addition to helping to remove all types of traps and obstacles.
Among the different Doobi models used by the Israeli Army, we must highlight the D9N Raam HaShachar, its first unmanned and remotely controlled bulldozer. These bulldozers have been active for many years but continue to be in service, sometimes in reserve.
The most recent version of the D9 in service with the Israeli Combat Engineering Corps is the D9T Panda, with more armor and weighing 71.6 tons. It was introduced in 2018 and can also be managed remotely, reducing the risk of casualties in tasks as dangerous as removing booby traps. These machines are now of great importance in destroying Hamas' infrastructure, especially the tunnel network of that terrorist organization.
Photos: Israel Defense Forces.
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