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Iarmor

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  1. M48/M60 and T-54/55/62 popped their turrets much more often than Shot Cal. Unlike the others, the Shot Cal had no main gun rounds stored above turret ring. In addition, the original British turret control system was electric, as opposed to the Cadillac Gage hydraulic system on the M48 (A2 and onwards) and M60, which made the Shot Cal Alef (1970) much less flammable. OTOH, the Cadillac Gage system had much superior performance, so the IDF installed it nonetheless on Shot Cal Bet (1975/6). As a result, in the 1982 war the burn injury rates among IDF Centurion crews and among M48/M60 crews were similar, as opposed to the significant difference observed in 1973. M60A1 M48A3 M48A2C
  2. Ths SU-100 picture in the video at 11:10 was taken near Suez city during the 1973 war. The vehicle is painted with the 3-tone (sand yellow, brown, black) camouflage scheme, the standard scheme of Egyptian army AFVs in 1973. The picture at 10:50 looks genuine from 1956, with an all-yellow paint scheme and a crescent marking. British army Centurions, French army M47s and AMX-13s followed the paratroopers in Port Said: The first and last Israeli combat paratroop drop also took place in the 1956 conflict, at the eastern end of the Mitla Mountain Pass. In later conflicts the planned paratroop drops always got aborted, for being megalomanic or for other reasons. One example is the planned drop of the reserve 55th paratroop brigade at Sharm Ash-Sheikh in 1967, which became unnecessary when 4 AMX-13s and one jeep were landed there from the sea and found that the defenders had already abandoned the place. However, the paratroopers didn't remain frustrated for long, as they were assigned with a much more prestigious mission.
  3. Not regarding a particular field test in specific conditions, but rather general impression following years of service. Some saw their own tank's tracks being replaced during their service. Others got a brand-new M60A1 RISE instead of a 15-year-old worn-out M60. Of course the IDF did execute many mobility tests for the different types of tanks in service, in many different locations. Generally, the T-54/55/62 prevailed over the western designs. The M48 and M60 with rubber tracks were faster than the Centurion in the Sinai desert, but in rocky terrain the Centurion was far better. For this reason many M60s had their T97/142 tracks replaced with Merkava tracks, starting in the mid-80s. My understanding is that the T142's major advantage over the T97 (which is considerably lighter, BTW) was endurance, not performance.
  4. I've heard veterans claim that the M48/M60 were actually faster (in desert terrain) with their old T97 tracks than the later M60 versions with T142 tracks. Does anyone have similar experience? The M48A3 looks quite fast in the desert, see 1:00 for example:
  5. Sorry, I haven't read them so I can't compare. The sample pages of the Desert Eagle Magach 3 book look great and cover many subjects - the Six Day War (M48A2C), the Attritrition War in Sinai, the Yom Kippur War in Sinai and the crossing into Egypt, tanks with ERA, tanks at the junkyard before melting, interior (gunner and driver positions) pictures, etc. The Desert Eagle Publishing series is mostly about modern vehicles. They are largely based on pictures taken during field training in the last years by Michael Mass, one of the publishers, who also happens to be the Latrun Armor Museum curator. The old Magach 3 and 6A pictures are the exceptions.
  6. There is a whole series of these books by Dr. Robert Manasherob of SabIngaMartin Publications: http://www.sabingamartin.com/index.html Two more about Centurions (earlier versions and later versions) and others about Merkavas, M48s, T-54/55/62s, etc. The books are meant for modellers but are also very interesting for armor enthusiastics.
  7. Thank you for the enlightening answer. Does anyone know how did that original, non-ballistic reticle looked like? AFAIK the Israeli Centurions, along with the 105 mm guns they received in the mid-60s, they got a GPS identical to that of the M48: It was nicknamed "NATO Cross" in the IDF. Modified versions were introduced along the years (such as this one). The range drum was kept fully utilized until the Centurions were installed with a LRF, starting in the mid-80s. In its last version, the range drum had ballistic range columns for L-28, L-52, smoke, HESH, HEAT, Flechette, and coax mg.
  8. Several sources I've read refer to a range drum that is used by the Centurion gunner to input the range before firing. Its use sounds quite similar to what was implemented in SB for the T-55A and T-62, just with a separate range drum rather than markings on the GPS itself. The Sho't Cal model in SB is, however, different, as the gunner changes the aimpoint according to the aiming reticle on the GPS. What Centurion variant is the SB model based on (if it's OK to tell)?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. https://fas.org/man/dod-101/army/unit/toe/index.html
  16. MTU engine? Same as Leopard 1? There are no air cleaner boxes on the fenders, unlike the M48A3 with its AVDS-1790.
  17. Did the upgraded West German M48A2C retain the original gasoline engine?
  18. 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:
  19. Iarmor

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    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.
  20. 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.
  21. Iarmor

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    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.
  22. Ceasefire lines, October 24th: Israeli army: TF Sela (mistakenly named Nammer on the map) holds the frontline at the At-Tina Plain - Sabkhat Al-Mallaha area in the northern canal sector in Sinai (including Budapest stronghold), facing Port Fuad and Port Said. Its HQ is at Baluza. TF Nammer holds the frontline between Al-Qantara area and Objective Hamadiya in Sinai, including Maror and Havragah second-line posts and the eastern dune of Objective Hamutal (Kathib Ayfan). 143rd armored division is spread over two continents, facing both north and west. It holds the frontline at the southern half of Objective Missouri in Sinai, north of the Chinese Farm, and at the northern half of the area occupied in Africa, south of Ismailia and north of Jabal Umm Kathib. It is responsible for the Israeli bridge area, around Matzmed stronghold - Deversoir. 162nd armored division holds the western bank of the southern canal sector between Fanara and Suez, besieging Suez and the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai from the west. 252nd armored division holds the frontline in Africa west of the 162nd armored division, between Jabal Umm Kathib and Ras Mahagara (including the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road and Jabal Ataqa). 440th armored division holds the frontline in the southern canal sector in Sinai, between the Bitter Lakes and Uyun Musa (including Mitzvah and Notzah second-line posts and the Egrofit observation post of Ras Misalla), besieging the Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai from the east. Southern Command HQ is at Jabal Umm Khashiba. Total: 570 MBTs, 17 artillery battalions + 6 batteries. Egyptian and allied Arab armies: Northern sector: 135th infantry brigade holds the frontline in Sinai at the Port Fuad area and south of it. 2nd field army: 18th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai around Al-Qantara. 2nd infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai east of Al-Firdan Bridge. It controls an Artillery Road segment east of Ash-Shajara (ex-IDF Nozel second-line post). 16th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai SE of Ismailia, facing both east and south. It holds Abu Waqfa (the western dune of Objective Hamutal), Kathib Al-Khayl and Kathib Abu Tarabush (the last two form Objective Makhshir together) and controls the nearby Artillery Road segment. 10th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 3rd mechanized infantry division) is east of As-Salakhiya airbase, west of the canal. 23rd mechanized infantry division (with just its 118th mechanized infantry brigade), 150th paratroop brigade and 131st commando regiment hold the frontline in Africa at the Ismailia - Abu Suwayr airbase area, along the Freshwater Canal. 3rd mechanized infantry division, 116th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 23rd mechanized infantry division) and 35th independent armored brigade (mistakenly marked as 33rd) hold the frontline in Africa at the Aida Plains - Ridan Al-Hama area. 3rd field army: 7th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai between the Little Bitter Lake and Ash-Shalufa. It controls an Artillery Road segment at Objective Merukaz. 130th marine and 25th independent armored brigade remnants hold the ex-IDF Botzer stronghold, facing the Israeli-held Kibrit Peninsula. 19th infantry division holds the frontline in Sinai south of Ash-Shalufa, north of Uyun Musa. It controls an Artillery Road segment at Qarrat Al-Murra (Objective Polygon). 2nd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division) holds the frontline in Africa around Objective Bologna. 6th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 4th armored division) holds the frontline in Africa around Objective Tango, on Asor road and the Cairo - Suez railway. 3rd armored brigade (of the 4th armored division) and an Algerian armored brigade (unmarked on the map) hold the frontline in Africa around Objective Zanzibar (SE of Jabal Uwaybid), on the Cairo - Suez road. 113th mechanized infantry brigade (of the 6th mechanized infantry division) remnants are south of the Cairo - Suez road, north of Jabal Abu Turyfiya. Total: 1000 MBTs (510 east and 470 west of the canal, including the Red Sea theater), 160 artillery batteries east and 50 batteries west of the canal. Both the 7th and 19th infantry divisions, as well as the force in Botzer, are encircled by the IDF. More and more of the encircled Egyptian troops try to swim across the canal from east to west, evading Egyptian gunfire, in order to become POWs and get some water. They claim that in one division the allowed water consumption is one canteen cork per day, while in the other it is a whole canteen per day. As of October 28th, Israel allows UN convoys (green) to supply the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army forces in Sinai. MBT fleet diagram - Suez Canal theater: Sinai (upper diagram): October 6th: IDF 290. October 10th: IDF 650, Egypt 700-750. October 14th: IDF 700, Egypt 1000 (in the morning, down to 800 by the evening). October 18th: IDF 280, Egypt 500-550. October 22th: IDF 270, Egypt 500. October 24th: IDF 180, Egypt 500. Egypt (lower diagram): October 6th: Egypt 1200 (additional 450 are in the second operational echelon. Total fleet is 2200). October 10th: Egypt 450. October 14th: Egypt 200. October 18th: IDF 280, Egypt 350 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo). October 22th: IDF 360, Egypt 300 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo). October 24th: IDF 390, Egypt 260 (200-300 additional MBTs are at the outskirts of Cairo, including 100 Algerian and 100 Libyan). Expeditionary forces from several Arab countries are deployed to Egypt in order to support the war effort. Most of the ground elements have reached the Suez Canal theater only in the last days of the war and afterwards. They include a Libyan armored brigade (T-55s, M109s), an Algerian armored brigade (T-55s), a Moroccan infantry brigade, a Sudanese infantry brigade and a Tunisian infantry battalion. The sole exception is the Kuwaiti Al-Yarmouk infantry battalion, which was deployed to the Suez Canal theater (around Fanara) before the war. Other than the Kuwaiti battalion, which saw combat since October 20th, 3 Libyan M109s were found deserted near the Chinese Farm on October 23rd and the Algerian brigade went into battle on October 24th. The Moroccan brigade participates only in post-ceasefire skirmishes. The Egyptian army is busy with reestablishing its armored and mechanized infantry divisions, using the hundreds of tanks supplied by the Soviets and other allies. After a series of intense arguments, the Egyptian president Anwar As-Sadat secretly dismisses the Egyptian Chief of General Staff Sa'ad Ad-Din Ash-Shazli sometime between October 19th (as As-Sadat claims) and December 13th (as Ash-Shazli claims), replacing him with Muhammad Abd Al-Ghani Al-Gammasi. The clashes between As-Sadat and Ash-Shazli started when the president ordered the October 14th offensive, which was strongly opposed by the Egyptian generals, and intensified as the Egyptians watched their 3rd field army being encircled by the IDF. On the Israeli side, the 179th armored brigade leaves Egypt and returns to the Golan Heights a few days after the ceasefire. More significant deployment changes take place in November: The 146th armored division leaves the Golan Heights and deploys to the Chinese Farm - Objective Hamutal area in Sinai. Under its command are the 205th (Shot Meteor) and 274th armored brigades and the 424th infantry reconnaissance battalion. The 162nd armored division redeploys back to Sinai, this time to the southern canal sector, alongside the 440th armored division. They prepare to wipe out the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army forces if the order comes. The 143rd armored division is assembled into Africa as the 600th armored brigade crosses the Suez Canal, after handing over its positions in the Chinese Farm area to the 205th armored brigade of the 146th armored division. The 143rd division is also attached with the 288th armored reconnaissance battalion (Shot Cal) of the 146th division, as well as with the 16th infantry brigade, which had spent the war along the Jordanian border (except for its 68th infantry battalion, which had lost two companies at the Bar-Lev Line strongholds in the beginning of the war). The 252nd armored division takes over the 162nd armored division positions on the western bank of the southern canal sector, so it is now solely responsible for the southern half of the area occupied in Africa. The 252nd is reinforced with the 204th mechanized infantry brigade (originally belonged to the 252nd, but spent the war under TF Nammer) and with the 279th armored reconnaissance battalion. TF Nammer is attached with the 670th mechanized infantry brigade of the 146th division. The 670th brigade gets back its 268th tank battalion (Sherman), which had spent the war near the Jordanian border while the 670th fought on the Golan. Ex-US army M60s (slick), supplied to Israel under Operation Nickel Grass, are pressed into service with some battalions of the 14th, 401st and 600th armored brigades, where they serve alongside battalions equipped with the surviving M48A3s (14th and 401st brigades) and M60A1s (600th brigade). The 9th, 257th, 407th armored and 87th reconnaissance battalions are reestablished, but the 87th is equipped with jeep-mounted TOW launchers instead of tanks. The first combat use of TOW missiles in the Egyptian theater took place on October 26th, when two missiles missed an Egyptian tank, two days after the first use in the Golan. Fresh war booty is also pressed into IDF service. Under TF Shaked, near Baluza, the 5th infantry brigade completes its transition into mechanized infantry (it had received halftracks before the war, but no tanks yet) when a newly-established T-55 tank battalion, the 453rd, is attached to it. Since it's much lighter, the T-55 deals the saline clay soil of the salt marshes in the northern sector somewhat better than the western designs. Under the 252nd armored division, near Ataqa, the 265th armored brigade is established with two new T-55 battalions and with the 225th armored battalion (originally from the 274th armored brigade), which crosses the canal to join its new brigade. Additional T-54/55/62s units are established under the Central Command, to face Jordanian M48s and Centurions in future conflicts. A 22-meter-wide solid-earth passage is established by the IDF 572nd heavy machinery battalion on December 1973, connecting Asia and Africa once again. Preparations are made to bridge the southern Suez Canal sector from west to east (towards the encircled Egyptian 3rd field army), as well as the Freshwater Canal from south to north (towards the western outskirts of Ismailia), but the orders never come. Israel Tal, the IDF deputy Chief of General Staff, officially replaces Gonen as the Southern Command CG on November 22nd. The embittered Gonen is assigned to command Merchav Shlomo (the southern Sinai region). Bar-Lev and Gavish return to their civilian life. Skirmishes occur until a disengagement agreement is signed on January 18th 1974, by the 101 km milestone of the Suez - Cairo road. The last Israeli force is withdrawn from Africa on March 1974, while most of the Egyptian troops are withdrawn from Sinai. Since they are equipped with Centurions, which are considered better suited for the Golan Heights terrain, the 146th armored division troops (now including the 164th armored brigade) are deployed again to the Golan for some more skirmishes with the Syrians, which continue until June 1974.
  23. Indirect tank fire was used by the IDF also in several later incidents: April 4th 1969: M48 semi-indirectly fires 90 mm HVAP rounds from the Pier Stronghold of the Bar-Lev Line, sinks the oil tanker Sadd Al-Furat near the Suez refineries, 5200 meters away. That specific tank platoon, of the 46th tank battalion, was trained for indirect fire at 15-20 kms ranges, and its tanks (ex-Jordanian M48s, 1967 war booty) were modified accordingly. That platoon was raided and destroyed by Egyptian commandos near the Pier Stronghold on July 10th 1969, and one of its tankers was taken alive back to Egypt as a POW. April 21st 1969: M48A3 semi-indirectly fires 105 mm rounds from near the Croatian Memorial Cemetery, destroys an Egyptian antenna beyond the Suez Canal. The antenna, located in a mango plantation behind a sand wall, was also used as an observation tower by an Egyptian (or Soviet?) FO. After the incident, the Israeli TC (of the 184th tank battalion), who fired with no special preparations (didn't even know the range), was promoted on the spot to lead a platoon by the 14th armored brigade CO, despite not being an officer, and was decorated by the Chief of General Staff Bar-Lev. 1970, towards the end of the War of Attrition: T-54/55s (1967 war booty) indirectly fire 100 mm HE-FRAG rounds from the Pier Stronghold at Egyptian SAM sites beyond the Suez Canal. T-54/55 crews trained for indirect fire at 15-20 kms ranges up until 1972, when the original main guns were replaced with 105 mm. 1973-1974, during and after the Yom Kippur War: Centurions semi-indirectly fire at Jordanian and Syrian AFVs near and on Tell Al-Hara, from positions around Umm Batna - Tell Maskhara. In one post-war incident, at least one BRDM-2 was destroyed.
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