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CAPTURED EQUIPMENT

I wish to thank Antonio Morena for his kind assistance, and specialy for the exteremely rare PT-76 pictures.

Israel's poor financial state and the reluctance of many countries to supply her with arms created a continuing hardware shortage in the IDF. On the other hand, the success in the 1956 and, more notably, the 1967 wars created vast stocks of equipment captured from the Arab nations.

Under these circumstances, the IDF adopted many captured vehicles and arms into use.  The best known case is the Tiran MBT, but many other vehicles and weapons were used. The AK-47 rifle, for example, still is standard issue in some units. The RPG-7 is used throughout the infantry battalions and some reserve units still use the SA-7 SAM. It is worth mentioning that in many cases captured equipment of Soviet origins proved better than it's western counterparts...

APCs

Until the first M113 APC were sold to Israel (1970), the IDF's mechanized infantry relied on the WW2 M3 halftrack, which proved less than adequate for it's role (by the way, some of these venerable APCs are still in service today). It's small wonder, then, that the IDF gladly adopted captured APCs into service.

Two East-Block APC types saw service with the IDF: the BTR-152 (and it's variants) and the BTR-50.

The BTR-152 is a six wheeled open-top APC. It is roughly the Soviet counterpart to the M3 halftrack. These were used from 1957 onward, as armored personnel carriers and artillery tows. Few were fitted with the Israeli adapted twin 20mm AA turret and served in the self propelled  AA defence role.

More numerous in IDF service was the Egyptian produced 4X4 variant, named "Al-Walid". These were used as patrol cars by the Israeli Police border guard units and as light APCs by various IDF infantry units. Amongst these were the elite "Sayeret Charuv" and "Sayeret Matkal" commando units.

   

The BTR-50 is an amphibious tracked APC, capable of carrying 20 troops. These were used for the first time during "Operation Raviv" - an amphibious raid across the Suez canal in 1969. The IDF used the Czech variant, called OT-62 "Topaz". These were used extensively during the Yom Kippur War, mostly by reserve paratroop units.

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Tanks

Besides the T-54/55 MBTs, which were converted to Tiran standard, other captured tanks were used by the IDF.

A small number of PT-76 amphibious tanks were used by the IDF. Apparently these tanks were grouped in a single battalion and used during the early 1970's and the Yom Kippur War.

During the Six Days War (1967) several Jordanian M48 Patton tanks  fell into Israeli hands. As these were identical to the tanks already in IDF service, they were hastily pressed into use. As other early Patton variants, the Jordanian ones were later upgunned with a 105mm  gun.

Another tank used by the IDF was the JS-3 "Stalin" heavy tank. A few of these behemoth were placed on the dirt ramp above the Suez canal and used as stationary heavy gun post.

pt76_1.jpg (12618 bytes) js3.jpg (32239 bytes)

Artillery

Many captured artillery pieces of various kinds were adopted by the IDF. Since 1967, many mortars, howitzers, AA guns and MRL have been used. Because of that, the Israeli Military Industry has been manufacturing suitable ammunition since 1968 (and as a result gained many contracts with former clients of the USSR).

 

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