At the conclusion of the Second World War, the biggest consumer of the M3 half-track was Israeli. The high level of surplus vehicles still in Europe at the conclusion of hostilities meant a plentiful supply were available. Once acquired, these vehicles were among the first armoured vehicle available to Israeli forces during the fighting in 1948 (the first Arab-Israeli war).
At the conclusion of the 1948 conflict, Israeli continue to acquire M3 half-tracks from European sources and directly from the United States and by 1955 a concerted effort was made to standardise the acquired half-tracks in an attempt to equip two new armoured brigades. Amongst the modifications was the addition of a ball-mounted machine-gun in the driver’s compartment.
In addition to an armoured personal carrier, the M3 half-track was a successful platform for various types of support weapons including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and mortar carriers. Designated the M3 D and armed with a M65 120mm mortar, the M3 D combined mobility and armour protection with the ability to deliver accurate bombardments quickly and efficiently to hot spots on the battlefield.
The M51 Isherman was developed in direct response to the ever growing number of IS-3 and SU-100 in the arsenals of the Arab nations. It was the French that first came to the aid of the Israelis in the form of the CN-105-F1 gun. However, the high muzzle velocity created a recoil length that was far too great fit inside the Sherman turret in its standard configuration.
The Israeli solution was simple; reduce the barrel length by 1.5 meters to lower the muzzle velocity and add a muzzle brake to further reduce the amount of recoil. The modified version of the gun was designated the D1504 L/44 and was mounted inside the modified turret of a M4A1 (76)W HVSS (Horizontal Volute Suspension System) Sherman.
Powered by a Cummins 460hp diesel engine, the M51 also included modifications to steering, transmission and exhaust systems. Ammunition stowage was also adapted for the D1504 gun which was mounted in newly designed gun mantlet. Other design features included 95mm smoke dischargers fitted to the side of the turret and a new turret bustle. These modifications pushed the overall weight from the original 39 tons to 46 tons; this gave the M51 a top speed of 45kmph and an operation range of 270 kilometres.
While the first M51s were rolled out in 1962, it wasn’t until 1967 that it was first used operationally during the border skirmishes with Syrian just prior to the Six-Day war. The M51 remained in Israeli service during the forthcoming War of Attrition and into the Yom Kippur War in 1973 where it was capable of vanquishing more modern designs such as the Soviet built T-62 that were being fielded by the Syrian and Egyptian forces.
Unlike the Western nations, the Soviet Union continued with heavy tank development long after WWII. First seen by Western nations at the 1945 Victory Parade in Berlin, the IS-3 was an evolutionary development of the Iosif Stalin series of heavy tanks used extensively during World War Two.
The IS-3 heavy tank made excellent use of sloped armour on the hull and had a hemispherical turret which would be seen on nearly all post-war Soviet tanks. Armed with the outstanding D-25T 122mm gun, the IS-3 was, however, relatively slow and suffered from reliability issues, especially in the hot desert. Egypt acquired roughly 100 of these tanks, assigning them to support the T-34/85 tanks in the infantry divisions and back up the T-55 tanks in the mechanised and armoured divisions.
Includes three 122mm howitzer or 152mm howitzer plastic sprues and crew, one AK-47 Observer team, one two-hole small base, three six-hole large bases, three resin sandbag strips and two base plug sprues.
With nearly 20,000 guns produced from 1939 to the mid 1950’s, the M-30 122mm howitzer saw extensive service in World War II and many post-war conflicts as well, particularly in the Middle East. While its range is relatively short, its high caliber and good rate of fire allow saturation of targets. Egypt and Syria acquired many examples of this type, and several hundred remain in service today.
The Soviet Union re-introduced corps level artillery in 1942, with the D-1 152mm gun as a more mobile heavy artillery piece. Though the range is a relatively short 12km, a trained crew
can fire four 40kg high explosive rounds per minute, providing a devastating bombardment. It was widely exported in the post-war years, with many being acquired by Egypt and Syria and used in
the 1967 and 1973 wars.
Includes two 155mm howitzers, one FN FAL Observer team, one small two-hole base, two six-hole large bases and one base plug sprue
In the 1960s, Israel bought the French Model 50 155mm gun as its standard heavy artillery piece, mounting some on self-propelled chassis and keeping some as towed mounts. Once the United States started supplying weapons after the Six Day War, these were supplemented with M114 155mm howitzers.
Despite its new name, the howitzer is the same as the old M1 155mm howitzer that American troops used in WWII. The remainder of the Jordanian artillery was equipped with old British Ordnance Quick Firing 25 pdr guns. Despite its age, the gun still performed its job well, delivering a high volume of fire to silence targets and break up enemy attacks.
Designed by Evan Allen
Painted by Aaron Te Hira-Mathie
Includes four 57mm guns with crew, four six-hole large plastic bases, four resin sandbag stripes and two large bases and two plastic base insert sprues.
The Syrians and Egyptians used ex-Soviet WWII ZIS-2 anti-tank guns. While largely obsolete by the standards of armoured warfare in the 1960’s, they are useful against lighter AFVs and APCs, especially when fired from a concealed dug-in defensive position.
In an effort to minimise future conflicts in the Middle East, the major powers set up an arms embargo after the 1948 war. However, when the Suez Crisis came to a head, France hastily equipped their new ally, Israel, with up-gunned Sherman tanks and brand-new AMX-13 light tanks.
The AMX also known as the AMX-13 mounts a gun as powerful as that of the Panther tank; they achieved this feat with a radical oscillating-turret design. The gun was fixed to the top half of the turret allowing a twelve-round autoloader to feed directly into the rear of the gun. The whole top half of the turret rocked back and forward on the bottom half elevating and depressing the whole weapon system.
While this removed a crew member and made the turret extremely small, it did have drawbacks. The autoloader was slower than a human loader, and once the twelve ready rounds were used, the tank had to retire out of range while the crew spent 15 minutes or more out of the tank reloading it. Combined with its light protection, this led to the AMX being relegated to reconnaissance roles in the 1967 war.
The weapon was aimed with the aid of a .50 cal spotting rifle fixed to the top of the barrel. When fired, the trajectory of the round from the spotting rifle was nearly identical to that of the 106mm round. When the spotting round impacted a potential target it gave off a small puff of smoke; allowing the crew to make the any required adjustments before properly engaging the target.
Designed by Evan Allan
Painted by Aaron Te Hira-Mathie
Includes two 100mm Anti-tank Guns, two six-hole large bases, two resin sandbag strips and one base plug sprue.
Egypt and Syria’s heavy anti-tank gun was the Soviet 100mm gun. This large caliber gun was sold to Soviet Ally states in the post-war years. Egypt used many of these in defensive fortifications during the 1967 war, whilst Syria continued to used them in 1973. In World War II it was capable of knocking out the heaviest German tanks, in the post-war years it was still able to knock out all but the latest designs.
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