|Nickname||Talik, Mr. Armour|
|Service/branch||Israel Defense Forces|
|Years of service||1948-1974|
|Rank||Aluf (Major General)|
|Commands held||Bahad 1-IDF Officers School (1954-1956), 7th Armor Brigade (1959-1960), Commander of the Armor Forces (Gaysot Hashiryon), 84th Armored Division, Deputy Chief of the General Staff|
|Battles/wars||War of Independence, Sinai War, Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War|
The Eliyahu Golomb Israel Security Award
Tal begun his military service with the British Army's Jewish Brigade, serving in Italy during the Second World War. He later served as a junior officer during the Israeli War of Independence, was a brigade commander during the 1956 Sinai War, an armored-division commander in Sinai Peninsula during the Six Day War, and commander of the southern front during the final stages of the Yom Kipur War.
The Israeli government decided in 1970 that it needed an independent tank-building capability due to uncertainty of overseas sales for political reasons. General Israel Tal led a development team which took into consideration Israel's battlefield characteristics and lessons learned from previous wars, and began the development and building of Israel's Merkava tank.
In 2002, he was chosen "Knight of Quality Government" by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel in the "Military and security" category.
Israel Tal's picture appears in the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor's "Wall of Greatest Armor Commanders" along with compatriot Moshe Peled, Americans George S. Patton and Creighton Abrams and German field-marshal Erwin Rommel.
Gen. Tal is the creator of the Israeli armour doctrine which led to the Israeli successes in the Sinai in the Six Day War. Well after the Suez Crisis, Tal organized the armour into the leading element of the Israeli Defense Forces, characterized by high mobility and relentless assault. Starting in 1964, General Tal took over the Israeli armor corps and re-trained all Israeli gunners to hit targets beyond 1.5km. In open terrain, such long distance gunnery proved vital to survival of Israeli armor corps for subsequent wars. Its mobility is considered comparable to the German Blitzkrieg and many hold it to be an evolution of that tactic. Tal's transformation and success in 1967 led the IDF to expand the role of armour. This resulted however, in reduced attention to other less glamorous, but essential aspects of the army, such as the Infantry. Following the 1973 surprise attack, this excessive focus on fast striking offensive armour left the IDF temporarily without adequate defensive capability. Only in latter stages of the war did the armour break out and show its potential; General Avraham Adan's armour penetrated the Egyptian lines, crossed the Suez Canal and, despite a cease-fire being agreed, Israel enveloped the Egyptian 3rd Army near Suez.
While the IDF has become a more balanced force since 1973, Tal's development of armour doctrine has been very important to the IDF and has influenced armoured doctrines in other parts of the world.