Enlarge While virtually unknown compared to the by now famous Israeli Shermans that were operated for years after WWII, Israel also operated for a time the American M10 Gun Motor Carriage, known by the British as the Achilles. These tank destroyers were acquired as part of a plan to have organic Anti-Tank platoons attached to the infantry battalions, a concept which was abandoned sometime in the early 1960s after Israel Tal’s ideas for pure tank units were adopted. However, while the M10’s service in Israel was brief, it is no less interesting. The initial shipments of M10s were acquired much the same way as the Shermans, being bought from scrapyards and depots in Europe. In this case, the first batch of 21 were bought from the UK in 1951, with the first 6 of these arriving in January of 1952. The prognosis however, wasn’t good. The original 3″ guns were worn through and were missing their breech blocks, as well as all of the engines either needed extensive repairs or outright replacement. So these vehicles sat more or less untouched until 1953, when some 17-pdr cannons were acquired from the UK with the goal of rearming the M10s. This wasn’t without its own drawbacks however, as the first M10 trialed with the 17-pdr suffered a serious malfunction, although no further information is given as to what this malfunction might have been. In any case, that same year, 1953, Israel had decided to acquire its first real “modern” tank in the form of some AMX-13 light tanks from France. These tanks were armed with the fairly powerful 75mm CN-75 50 cannon, and Israel also acquired 20 or so of these cannons for rearming their existing M10s and eventually, their Shermans.

While the French 75mm CN-75 50 was semi-successful when mounted on the M10 and the so modified vehicle entered service with the IDF in 1955, some issues arose (again, no specifics are given), from this modification, which caused Israel to seek French assistance when it came to modifying their Shermans with this cannon. The French unsurprisingly first trialed the 75mm CN-75 50 in an M10 of their own, both due to the belief its open-topped turret would provide a better conversion, and because of Israel’s issues with their own M10s. This French M10 was still not ideal for Israel either, and so the French and Israelis went back and forth on what would eventually became the Sherman M-50. The story of the M10 doesn’t end there however. During the Suez Crisis in 1956, Israel captured a number of Egyptian Shermans, most of which were M4A4 hulls that had been converted to use the M4A2’s GM 6046 diesel engine. Since Israel had for several years already followed the French example of converting all of their Shermans over to the Continental R-975 radial engine, these captured M4A4/M4A2 hybrids were no exception, and the GM 6046 diesel engines from these hybrids were mounted in Israel’s M10s. It was probably around this time too that at least some of the M10s received smoke grenade launchers, much like those on the Sherman M-50, which can be seen on the M10 with the 17-pdr located at Yad Lashiryon. The 17-pdr armed M10 at Yad Lashiryon. Note the smoke grenade launchers on the sides of the
Link In any event, it’s unknown exactly how many M10s Israel ever had in service given the issues that plagued the M10, although some estimates seem to indicate as many as 100 had been acquired by 1960. Whether all of these entered service or not is impossible to determine. Making it harder is the fact that M10s equipped with the French 75mm CN-75 50 were not only labeled as M-50s, but were counted towards the number of total M-50s, further complicating matters. What is known is that all M10s, both the “M-50” 75mm CN-75 50 armed models as well as those armed with the 17-pdr, were withdrawn from service in 1966, having never seen combat in their roughly 15 year life with the IDF.

  • Israeli Sherman: Tracing the History of the Sherman Tank in Israeli Service by Thomas GannonLioness & Lion of the Line: Volume 1 by Dr. Robert Manasherob
  • Wild Broncos: The Development and the Changes of the IDF Armor, 1949-1956 by Amiad Brezner

A big thank to LiB. :)