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Iarmor

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  1. Deserted Israeli vehicles near Al-Qantara, after the 1973 war: https://reuters.screenocean.com/record/207795 These Centurions and M48A3s belonged to the 198th and 9th armored battalions respectively. They were destroyed on October 6th-7th, while trying to prevent the Egyptian 18th infantry division troops from crossing the Suez Canal. Close-up on a 105 mm APDS round is at 0:42.
  2. Another reunion: Yair Littwitz wrote a book about his 1973 war experience as a reserve M60A1 platoon leader in the 87th armored reconnaissance battalion (and as a company CO in the 79th armored battalion, to which he joined after the 87th was written off in the Chinese Farm). He named the book after his tank's registration number, 817831. The M60A1-equipped formations, the reserve 600th armored brigade and 87th armored reconnaissance battalion, suffered heavy losses during the war. There were also many cases of officers having to swap their lightly-damaged or broken-down tank with a subordinate's tank, in order to keep leading their formation. 817831 was one of the few M60A1s (alongwith 817701, which later became the Sabra prototype) that kept running along the whole war without replacing any crewmember and without suffering disabling damage. It was the only tank to do so in the 87th battalion. After the book came out, Littwitz joined a group of veterans in a quest for their old wartime tanks. A visit to a huge IDF tank scrapyard had brought up some emotional findings for others, but 817831 was not there. However, a while later, 817831 was found at a remote IDF base in southern Israel, stored in a pretty good shape (as opposed to the ones at the scrapyard). For some reason, the tank was then selected to be exhibited in the Latrun Armor Museum, in its 1973 configuration. Works took place to remove the upgrades which were added along the years and even a M19 cupola was obtained in order to get the original looks back (by 1973 most M48s were already fitted with the Israeli cupola, but all M60s still had the original one). Notable imperfections remain, though: T142 tracks instead of T97, larger turret basket, mixture of M60 aluminum (with ribs) and M48 steel (without ribs) road wheels. BTW 1: Littwitz also served as a platoon leader during the 1967 war, in the only M48A3 company in the IDF at that time. Combining AVDS-1790 engines and M68 main guns, these were the most advanced tanks in the fleet and were responsible (alongside a M48A2C company) for the annihilation of an Egyptian IS-3 heavy tank battalion at the Rafah Gap (which the main passage between Israel and the Sinai Peninsula). BTW 2: Latrun has several more exhibits with unique individual history: the first tank that crossed the Suez Canal (M48A3 no. 818577), Avigdor Kahalani's Centurion (no. 815152) from the Valley of Tears and the latest addition, the first tank (Sherman) that reached the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. The Sherman arrived about a month ago from a UK private collector, after it was sold to Uganda during the 1970s. In a shocking coincidence, the TC passed away at the same day his old tank came back to Israel.
  3. From Google Books, about the Egyptian theater in the Yom Kippur war: The Egyptian Strategy for the Yom Kippur war: An Analysis by Dani Asher Soldier in the Sinai: A General's account of the Yom Kippur War by Major General Emanuel Sakal (IDF 52nd armored battalion CO during the war) At the Decisive Point in the Sinai: Generalship in the Yom Kippur War by General Jacob Even (IDF 143rd armored division XO during the war) and Colonel Simcha B. Maoz
  4. When the Magach 7 was accepted into service, in the winter of 1989/1990, there were many complaints about its mobility in the Lebanese mud with all that extra armor, especially when attached with a mine roller. The Merkava's 900 hp engine was then quickly adopted instead of the original 750 hp. It helped, but the Magach 7 was still less agile than the lighter armored (ERA) Magach 6 versions. Looks like they did a much better job with the Sabra.
  5. Why m.1974? The Tiran was never fielded with a LRF. There was a proposed modernization project in the 80s, with several prototypes built, but it was canceled since the IDF prefered to concentrate on the Merkava development and on Magach and Shot upgrades. For the Tiran 4 and 5 (T-54 and T-55 respectively), the current T-55A model would have been sufficient with slight changes, such as the GPS introduced into the Tirans for the 105 mm gun: Ballistic range columns, from left to right: coaxial mg (Browning 0.3), anti personnel (flechette), HESH, APDS (L-28), HEAT.
  6. 90 mm ammo didn't do well against Egyptian IS-3s and T-54/55s during the 1967 war. The IDF had good reasons to expedite the M48 upgrade process (engine + main gun). During the 1973 war the upgunned M48A3 was the most common tank among the Israeli forces in the Egyptian front (about 400 vehicles), and it did very well against the T-54/55. The T-55 did had the night vision advantage though. As for T-62s, the Israeli M48s didn't have many chances to engage them in 1973, since the Egyptian army had only two T-62 brigades and the course of the war lead the T-62s to face mostly Centurions and Shermans. However, the M48 did get its fair share of battles with the T-62 during the 1982 war. After all active IDF armor formations were already busy with the PLO and with smaller Syrian forces, the reserve 90th armored division was tasked with assaulting the main Syrian armored formation in Lebanon, the 1st armored division in the Beqaa Valley. The M48 (like almost all IDF tanks) still had no night vision, but the 105 mm was better than ever with the new APFSDS. The added ERA was very helpful against Saggers and RPGs, but the post-penetration survivability remained as bad as it was in earlier conflicts.
  7. https://fas.org/man/dod-101/army/unit/toe/index.html
  8. MTU engine? Same as Leopard 1? There are no air cleaner boxes on the fenders, unlike the M48A3 with its AVDS-1790.
  9. Did the upgraded West German M48A2C retain the original gasoline engine?
  10. Not much extra armor for the turret? Turret armor can be useful sometimes Magach was the Hebrew name for the M48 and M60 series in Israeli service, since the first Israeli acquisition of M48 tanks in 1964-5, regardless of any upgrades or modifications. The Israeli army has never fielded a Magach with 120 mm gun, although it did demand that the 120 mm gun developed by IMI would fit onto the M60. This demand delayed the 120 mm gun fielding, with the Merkava Mk. 3, to 1990, while the Syrian and Iraqi armies combined already had over 2,000 T-72s. Sabra was IMI's name for the Turkish army M60A3 TTS upgrade project. BTW, the Sabra prototype was an old M60A1 that IMI have received from IDF storage. When inspecting the tank they got, one of the IMI project officials found some familiar damage-repair weldings. A quick glance at the tank's ID number, 817701, confirmed that it was his own tank during the 1973 war, when he served in Sinai as a young reserve platoon leader with the 410th armored battalion, 600th armored brigade. After the upgrade work on the prototype was finished, the '3' tactical marking was applied to the tank as it was during the war:
  11. Iarmor

    We love photos

    Pictures taken in the Golan Heights shortly after the 1967 war: Tell Al-Azaziyat, previously considered the most intimidating Syrian frontline stronghold, has fallen into Israeli hands. It overlooks She'ar Yeshuv and Kibbutz Dafna in the Hula Valley of the Upper Galilee. The Mountains of Naphtali are seen further to the west. Panzer IV (probably at Tell Al-Azaziyat) T-54 M-46 130 mm guns. Before and during the war, these long range guns were used by the Syrians to shell targets as far as Safed. Some more pictures are here.
  12. M60A3 TTS with ERA Other than the ERA, commander's cupola, smoke grenade dischargers, 60 mm mortar and machine guns, the IDF M60A3 was identical to the one already modeled in SB.
  13. Iarmor

    We love photos

    Shortly after the June 1967 war, an Israeli ordnance officer has located some 30 Jordanian army Centurions left abandoned near the ancient Herodium fortress, while he was flown over Judea by an IAF light reconnaissance aircraft to seek war booty. When the IDF 681st ordnance workshop men arrived there, they found that the Jordanian crews had filled the fuel tanks with sand before they escaped. The Israeli ordnance men had to remove the fuel tanks, clean the fuel system and tanks and reinstall in field conditions for all 30 Centurions, before they could be driven uphill to Bethlehem. From Bethlehem the tanks were transported on flatbeds to the workshop, where they were refurbished and accepted into IDF service. Like all other 1967 war booty tanks (T-54/55s, M48s, PT-76s, IS-3s, M4s) accepted into service, the ex-Jordanian Centurions were numbered 109###, as opposed to the typical 81#### numbering common to most Israeli Centurions. The ex-Jordanian machines were always preferred by IDF Centurion crews, as they tended to be more reliable for some reason. Here are some of these captured Centurions, seen while waiting for the flatbeds at the Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity. Note the Hebrew graffiti on the tanks, which includes the number 681.
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