Magach (M48/M60) History

Israel needed tanks to defend her borders from the Arab states and the American M48 tank was the best choice based on reliability and available stock. Israel ordered 1950-era M48 tanks from stock piles in Germany as part of the reparations from the Holocaust of World War 2. These were M48A1 & M48A2C production models and, when media outlets found out about the transaction, the order was stopped and rerouted to originate from the United States instead. The replacement for older M48s in the European Theater was now the newer M60 Patton tank - a combat system capable of matching similar Soviet Bloc equipment.

Israel eventually upgraded their M48s to become the "Magach" series. The tanks arrived in Israel with 90mm guns and, at first, only small modifications were made. As a point of reference the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) was, and is not today, forth coming with specific changes and some data released was false so as not to allow enemies access to current data. In this case, the M48 coming from the USA also came with uncompromised data. By 1965, the Magach had been progressively upgraded by adding the British Centurion 105mm main gun and reactive armor blocks for improved protection.

In 1967, the Combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq attacked with 547,000 troops, 957 aircraft and 2,800 of the best tanks the Soviets could provide - namely T-54's, T-55's, T-85's (with 85mm guns) and some 22 SU-100 tank destroyers (these with 100mm guns). To counter the Arab world's upcoming attack, Israel would field 50,000 active service troops calling up a further 214,000 reservists. Additionally, she would field 300 aircraft, multiple naval elements and 800 tanks - including the Magach and World War 2-era M4 Shermans, both early and upgraded versions of the latter.

Israeli forces concentrated on the border with Egypt included six armored brigades, one infantry brigade, one mechanized infantry brigade, three Paratrooper brigades and 700 tanks giving a total of around 70,000 men. The Israeli plan was to surprise the Egyptian forces using a pre-emptive armored assault coinciding with the IAF striking at Egyptian airfields.

The casualties of the war, far from Israel's anticipated heavy estimates, were quite low with 338 soldiers lost on the Egyptian Front, 300 on the Jordanian Front and 141 on the Syrian Front. Egypt lost 80% of its military equipment with hundreds of tanks captured, 10,000 soldiers and 1,500 officers killed. Jordan suffered 6,000 to 7,000 personnel killed. Syria lost 2,500 dead and half of their tanks and almost all the artillery positioned in the Golan Heights were captured or destroyed. The major reasons that resulted in the Israeli Six Day War victory was the air campaign and superior tank tactics using flanking movements rather than head-on attacks utilized by the Arabs.

Magach (M48/M60) Specification

BASICS

Year:
1968
Crew:
4
Manufacturing:
Israeli Ordnance Corps Workshop - Israel
Production:
1,500 Units

ROLES

- Tank vs Tank

- Main Battle Tank (MBT)

- Frontline

STRUCTURAL

Length:

22. 80 ft (6. 95 m)

Width/Span:

13. 29 ft (4. 05 m)

Height:

11. 06 ft (3. 37 m)

Weight:

54 tons (48,987 kg; 107,998 lb)

POWER

1 x General Dynamics AVDS-1790-5A 12-cylinder air-cooled diesel-fueled engine developing 908 horsepower driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.

PERFORMANCE

Maximum Speed:

34 mph (55 kph)

Maximum Range:

280 miles (450 km)

ARMAMENT

1 x 105mm M68 (L7) main gun in turret.

1 x 7. 62mm co-axial machine gun in turret.

2 x 7. 62mm machine guns at commander's and loader's cupola on turret roof.

1 x IMI CL-3030 smoke discharger on turret.

Ammunition:

65 x 105mm projectiles .

1,000 x 12. 7mm ammunition .

6,000 x 7. 62mm ammunition .

12 x Smoke Grenades.

VARIANTS

M48 Patton - American production main battle tank on which some Magach models are based on.

M60 Patton - American production main battle tank on which some Magach models are based on.

Magach 3 - Modernized version of the M48A1 and M48A2 tanks; fitted with 105mm L7 main gun; 750hp diesel Continental AVDS-1790-2A engines; Allison transmission; low-profile cupola.

Magach 5 - Based on the M48A5 model; Continental AVDS-1790-2D engines with new transmissions.

Magach 6 - Modernized versions of the M60, M60A1 and M60A3 tanks; low-profile cupola.

Magach 6A (6 Alef) - Based on M60A1; modernized.

Magach 6B (6 Bet) - Modernized M60A1 with AVDS-1790-2C.

Magach 6B Gal (6 Bet Gal) - Fitted with Gal fire control system; based on Magach 6B models.

Magach 6B Gal Batash (6 Bet Gal Batash) - Magach 6B Gal with passive armor (4th generation); 908 horsepower engines; redesigned turret.

Magach 6B Baz (6 Bet Baz) - Based on Magach 6B model; Baz fire control system.

Magach 6C (6 Gimel) - Modernized M60A3 models.

Magach 6R (6 Resh) - Modernized M60; AVDS-1790-2AG engines.

Magach 6R* (6 Resh*) - Modified for Nachal Oz fire control systems; based on Magach 6R model.

Magach 6M (6 Mem) - Magach 6R models with Nachal Oz fire control system.

Magach 7 - Base series identifier covering either M48 or M60 conversions; fitted with modular appliqué armor; AVDS-1790-5A engines; improved fire control system; Merkava-type tracks.

Magach 7A (7 Alef) - Flat mantlet

Magach 7B (7 Bet)

Magach 7C (7 Gimel) - Fitted with modular appliqué armor; redesigned mantlet.

Magach 7D - Improved armor protection for hull and turret.

Sabra - Turkish export model of latest Magach design though described as an "all new" design; fitted with 120mm smoothbore main gun as found on Merkava 3 series.

Nagmachon - Former Magach tanks (M48 Patton type) converted to armored personnel carriers.

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