Isreali military tech vs. Al-Qassam’s ‘Rajum’

Challenging military dominance

(Photos: Twitter/X)
GAZA — During the last week of November and the first week of December, Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas announced on their Telegram channel, that its homemade 114mm short-range “Rajum” missile systems which were used to target approximately ten specific areas in the occupied territories. Most of these areas were military bases surrounding the Gaza Strip, such as the "Ra'im" military base, the "Third Eye" site, "Nirim," "Amitai," "Kissufim," and others.اضافة اعلان

Simultaneously, stones were also used to target Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) concentrations in areas east of Deir al-Balah and northwest of Gaza City. Notably, this system was previously employed in preparation for Operation "Al-Aqsa Flood" to cover the crossing of resistance fighters into the occupied territories.

This underscores two key impressions, Jo24 reported: the resistance can effectively diversify the use of its artillery for various missions, and it possesses a considerable number of these systems, capable of striking areas around the entire Gaza border, not just the north.

What is "Rajum"?
While Al-Qassam Brigades did not disclose extensive information about "Rajum." What is known is that it is a 114 mm short-range rocket artillery system. The caliber of the shell typically indicates the diameter of the shell itself and serves as a measure of the inner diameter of the artillery piece's tube. This diameter provides information about the mass of the warhead carried by the projectile, ranging between two to three kilograms, with some variation.
From its external appearance, the Rajum system seems to be a multiple rocket launcher—a type of unguided rocket artillery primarily designed to offer direct fire support to ground forces and to destroy various sources of enemy fire and positions.

The system comprises three separate rows, each with five tubes, sharing structural similarities with a well-known Chinese system—the "Type 63" multiple rocket launcher with 12 tubes and a diameter of 107 mm. This Chinese model, originating from the early 1960s, remains famous globally and serves as a basis for the Rajum, with modifications to enhance firing rate and projectile diameter.

While the Type 63 is no longer active in Chinese infantry units, it is still utilized by specialized formations, emphasizing the significance of this technology. Its light, maneuverable, and easy-to-control nature makes it suitable for mountain infantry units and special forces engaged in battles with short ranges, especially in challenging terrains. This is a characteristic that sets Rajum apart in the context of Gaza.

Through a closer examination of the targeted sites, it becomes evident that the Rajum system reaches multiple ranges with its fire, extending up to approximately 8 or 9 kilometers. Its ease of movement allows specialized artillery teams to position themselves in specific areas, launch a batch of missiles, and then relocate to another area, creating a continuous cycle. Although the rocket barrages are fired at a relatively slow rate, as seen in Qassam's video (approximately one rocket every two to four seconds), the intensity of the barrage is amplified by a large number of these systems.

One advantage of this type of multiple rocket launcher is its versatile use mechanisms. It can be employed directly on the ground, featuring two wheels for mobility (as in the case of Rajum), or mounted on an armored vehicle or a relatively equipped transport vehicle. Consequently, it remains in use in several countries, including Iran (using a version similar to the Chinese Type 63, named "Fajr-1"), Egypt (with the developed "RL812/TL" model), Turkey, Albania, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Technical superiority does not equate to military dominance
While IOF has more accurate and powerful missile launchers, such as the "M270" missile launcher and the "LAR-160" system, technical superiority does not necessarily equate to military dominance in asymmetric wars. In such conflicts, where forces with varying equipment strengths confront each other, the technically weaker party often employs tactics to maximize its tools' effectiveness while minimizing the enemy's tools. This dynamic helps balance forces in specific battles.

For instance, urban warfare compels occupation soldiers to abandon their armor and search homes, providing an opportunity for the more familiar resistance to strike forcefully through direct clashes, sniping, or explosive devices. This was observed during the initial days of December.

This is where the Al-Qassam Brigade artillery forces come into play, divided into two primary components: mortar forces and forces operating rocket launcher systems. Both serve as effective artillery weapons for short-range targets that conventional artillery may struggle to reach.
This capability proves particularly useful in the case of a ground invasion, where distances between the attacker (occupation) and the defender (resistance) are short. Additionally, in the Gaza enclave, the intensified fire represents substantial pressure, complementing the missile barrages directed at other areas within the occupied territories.

The lightweight and swift mobility of Rajum, a characteristic shared with other multiple rocket launchers, becomes a significant strength for the resistance. The unfamiliarity of the enemy with Gaza's terrain leads to sudden and diverse attacks from various areas. In asymmetric wars, where a less-equipped resistance confronts a regular army with a significant technological advantage, hit-and-run strategies help equalize forces in specific battles.

Israeli target falls
An essential point in this context is that decisive victory is not the primary objective in these battles. Instead, the goal is to prolong the conflict, influencing the political decisions in Tel Aviv, the United States, and other influential capitals. This becomes especially crucial with the introduction of additional elements into the battle, such as the issue of prisoners.

In a research paper titled "Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars," published in World Politics in 1975, Andrew Mack, an assistant professor at the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University, emphasizes the role of "determination" as a crucial factor in asymmetric wars. Determination refers to the relative interest of the fighting forces and plays a significant role in explaining success or failure in such conflicts. The bottom line is that the side with greater resolve prevails, regardless of the difference in material power resources.

Mack notes a paradox: as the relative power gap widens between the two parties (resistance and occupation), the stronger party tends to be less determined and resolute. Conversely, the weaker parties, despite technical and numerical disadvantages, exhibit higher determination and resolve. This is because the battle holds paramount importance for them. In essence, major armies may lose small wars due to tense political situations compelling them to withdraw without achieving a decisive military victory.

This model aligns with the ongoing war in Gaza. Examining the previously declared Israeli goals—to annihilate Hamas, free prisoners, and control Gaza—it becomes evident that not all objectives have been achieved. The occupation is currently adjusting its goals within Gaza to navigate the challenges encountered during the ground invasion.

Moreover, the Israeli interior is experiencing heightened political turbulence, with global demonstrations condemning unprecedented aggression against innocents. The beginning of unrest in the strong political bond between the West and Israel indicates a shift in favor of the resistance. Despite possessing relatively small weapons, the unyielding determination of the resistance becomes a crucial factor.