Magach (מגח)

accessed 10 MAY 2018

Magach is the nickname given in the IDF to the American Patton (M60 / M48) main battle tank, that served in the armored corps from the 1960s until its departure from service, transfer to reserve duty in the early 2000s and final withdrawal from reserve duty in 2014. The Magach tank was upgraded during its service by the military industry, to enable it to successfully deal with more modern tanks.

A misunderstanding of the Hebrew term "magach" has led to the mistaken belief that this is actually an acronym - MAGACH. [1]



In the 1960s, the Israeli Armored Corps was still based on the outdated Sherman tank, while the Arab armies had begun to arm themselves with the latest T-54 tanks manufactured by the Soviet Union. The IDF searched for a suitable answer and found it in two tanks: the first was the M48 Patton, which the United States initially refused to sell to Israel, claiming it would violate the armaments balance in the Middle East. This changed in response to Soviet arms deals with the Arabs, as the Americans decided to allow the purchase of the tanks, with Israel purchasing the tanks from Germany so that the United States would not be directly involved in the deal. Officers went to Germany to study the operation of the tank, and when they returned to Israel they established the 79th Battalion (part of the 7th Brigade), which was the first battalion of Pattons in the IDF. [2] At the time the delegation was sent to Germany it was kept secret because of the attitude in Israel toward Germany in the period following the Holocaust, and as relations between Israel and the United States began to improve the second training delegation was sent to the Fort Knox School.

Several dozen people came to Israel from Germany before heavy Arab pressure was exerted on the Germans and they were forced to stop the deal. The Americans decided to ignore the pressure and by 1965 they had supplied Israel with about 100 additional tanks. Before the Six-Day War, there were about 150 used tanks in the service of the IDF, which served under the name of Magach.

During the Six Day War, the tanks served in the original American configuration (specifications?), mainly on the Egyptian front. According to another version, 15 improved tanks were delivered to the IDF.[3] During the war, dozens of M48 tanks from Jordan were captured, reinforcing the IDF's large fleet. In addition to the Jordanian tanks, hundreds of other Magachs were purchased from the United States. Even before the war, there was talk of upgrading the tanks, and with the increase in their numbers and the strengthening of the Armored Corps in the IDF after the war, the first improvements were made.

Origin of the Name Magach

Until the 1960s, the IDF tanks were called by the same names used by the various armies that used them, tank names such as the Sherman, Cromwell and AMX-13. In 1958, negotiations began for the purchase of Centurion tanks from Britain, and as a result of the need to preserve the secrecy of the deal, at least in its early stages, it was decided to give the tank a Hebrew name - "sh'ot", meaning whip. This practice took root, and soon all the tanks and armored vehicles used by the IDF then and in the future were given Hebrew names. Thus, the Chieftain tank[4] received the nickname Abir, the M-113 was dubbed Bardelas/"Cheetah," [5] and the German Leopard [6] was nicknamed Barak/Lightning.

The American "Patton" tank was given the nickname "Magach" from the root N.G.CH, after an ancient war tool known as the "battering ram" used to breach gates and walls. The modern incarnation of magach is a whip (NB: hatar ??) חוטר (a kind of Ram Rod) used to strike the shell into the chamber with field guns and naval cannons before loading the explosive charge. [7]

The problem was that in contrast to the simple names of the other tanks, the term "magach" was discovered in a way that was not sufficiently clear. Attempts to explain the meaning of the name led to the mistaken perception that it was actually an acronym - MAGACH, and the versions of their interpretation were many.

Other Nicknames

Soldiers of some of the brigades (401, 600, 14 and 500) gave it the nickname "chips" in the 1990s, but here too the opinions are divided: in the army it was thought that the name "chips" A "pot" in the tank crew (in the early versions without bazooka plates-side skirts) sits close to the engine and fuel tank - with relatively low visibility, which may lead to "frying" during injury. Another opinion is that the name derives from a hydraulic system that brought hot oil through pipes in the turret and was cracked and splashed on the crew members who were "frying."

But the source of the nickname is apparently a distortion of the word "Gypsies" from English Gypsies, since the tanks, when they entered the service, looked modern and decorated with operational simulations, and contained many antennas, which created the connotation of gypsy chariot. Another version of the name says that the tank's turret basket looks like a frying pan.

Magach Versions

Magach 3

The Magach 3 was actually an attempt to bring all the Magach tanks in the IDF to the level of the M48A3 and to install the excellent British L7 tank gun in them (also installed in the Shot tanks). The following changes were made:

800 Magach tanks served in the IDF during the Yom Kippur War together with original (unmodified) Magach/M60 Pattons and during the conflict the Magachs suffered severe losses like the rest of the armored corps due to fires (the result of hydraulic lines located in the turret and the original gasoline engines which exploded more easily than a diesel engine). Only after changing the engine to a diesel did the number of tank fires decrease significantly. Later ERA (explosive reactive armor) was installed on the Magach 3 that was designed to explode outward when hit by shaped-charge HEAT and high-explosive squash head (HESH) projectiles protecting the tank and crew. This type of armor was unique to Israeli tanks until a Magach 6 was captured in the First Lebanon War enabling the construction of such armor for a T-55 tank which still operates in Syria and other countries.[9]

Magach 5

In addition to the old Magachs that were upgraded to Magach 3s with 105mm cannons, some 150 M48A5 tanks were acquired that were similar in weapons and capabilities to the Magach 3.

Magach 6, Magach 6B 6M and Magach 6B GAL

Israel purchased two versions of the M60 tank: a small turret simlar to that of the M48A2, and a larger, longer turret shaped for better protection (the M60 and M60A1 respectively), with the M60 carrying 60 rounds of ammunition and the M60A1 carrying 63 rounds. They both mounted the M68 105mm (the sherir L7) cannon. While one group of tanks was in regular service a second group was in the reserves and there improvements were made. After several years of regular service these tanks were then assigned to reserves while the improved version went back to regular service. The result was that many tankers were able to serve on the same tank in both their regular service and then again in their first years of reserve service.

Magach 6: M60 tanks the IDF purchased in 1968 and then later after the Yom Kippur War to replace the heavy losses suffered during the conflict, the name refers to the tanks in their original American configuation.

Magach 6B: M60A1 tanks that in the 1970s were upgraded with ERA (explosive reactive armor) and the replacement of the original commander's cupola with the Israeli low-profile urdan cupola.

The next line is something I really dread when I rely on Google for translation: total incoherence. Sometimes it helps to break a sentence down into smaller phrases but nothing could help here. My feeling is that this is the first time some of these terms have appeared in Google translate.

Magach 6C:M60A3 tanks, with an original KK system, thermal Adm. And a windwheel with the addition of fortification of Baltans. The 6G purchase was relatively limited to the purchase of the other two models.

(TRANS NOTE: The M60A3 featured enhancements that included smoke dischargers, a new laser rangefinder that both the commander and the gunner could access along with a ballistic computer, crosswind sensor, a thermal shroud to prevent barrel droop and a turret stabilization system. The XM1 was in development at this time also featured many of these sme improvements so it is very tempting to see them as related. The M60A3 also used T142 tracks with octagonal rubber blocks.)

Magach 6M: The M60 tanks were improved. The tank was fortified with balloons.(???) In addition the cannon was fitted with a thermal sleeve to improve accuracy, the NIS system was replaced by the Nahal Oz system, ("Improved Oranit") whose uniqueness was the TAHA (semi-automatic fire patches) and included a meteorological column, a tracking system (for moving purposes) and a turret slope gauge. The optical rangefinder was replaced with a laser rangefinder and some of the tools were installed by the Israel Aerospace Industries. The system was upgraded later to the learning system. The tank had a stabilization system. In addition, an immediate smoke system was added to the mask and a Spectronics fire-fighting turret system was installed. In 1986, the larva(?) was changed (to the caterpillar(?) of the Merkava Siman 1) and the engine was upgraded from a 750 hp engine to a 900 hp engine. The BAC system was also shared by Shot D (the last IDF version of the Centurion) and the Merkava 2B.

Magach 6B Gal: Improved M60A1 tanks. In the 1990s the fire control system in the 401st Brigade was upgraded to a system called "Gal" (the prototype system for the "BAZ" system, which was later used on the Merkava Siman 3 vehicle) and changes were made to the turret of the Magach 6B Gal-BATASH. These tanks had added armor plates, known as "shielding Lebanon", to the hull (thuba?) and turret.

Magach 6B BAZ: The version of the 6B with the who?? upgraded BAZ system which was only used in reserve units.

Magach 7A and Magach 7C

Improved M60A1 tanks. The 7A (a 6M without the ERA) incorporated a new passive armor (?) that replaced the reactive armor on the turret and the front of the tank with the addition of armored side skirts (bazooka plates - platut bazuka ). Version 7C had smoke grenade launchers added and the passive armor on the front of the turret was changed to be more angular. The Magach 7 fire control system is the NAHAL Oz. ( also

Operational Activity

They were the first-line tanks for the IDF from the time that they first entered service in the 1960s until the Merkava Siman 1 entered service in 1979. They served in four wars, two intifadas, and hundreds of incidents. In 2003 the 500th Brigade which operated Magach 7C tanks was deactived. In 2004 the 401st Brigade began the conversion from Magach 6B and Magach 6B Gal-BATASH to Merkava Siman 4 tanks. The Magach tanks completed their duties in the regular army in April of 2005 and after the conversion of the last Magach battalion they have since served only in the reserves.

In January of 2014 the Magach tanks were released from service to be sold as scrap to be melted down. [10] Later in the year the last units were dismantled and the IDF ended the their relationship with the Magach.

In April 2015 Brigadier General(R) Uri Agmon who served General Gershon Hacohen as a driver, as an artillery officer and instructor for the Armored Corps while in reserves, participated in a ceremony in recognition of the conclusion of the service of the tank. In addition, the IDF continues to operate AVLB and M-88 recovery tanks which are also based on the Patton tank.


The Pereh tank is in fact a Magach tank (M48 chassis) in which the cannon has been removed and a beehive installed carrying 12 missiles that rise from the turret and can be reloaded inside the vehicle. In place of the cannon, a tin dummy was installed in order to keep it secret and allow it to assimilate into the armored forces. This weapon is used as the main anti-tank weapon of the IDF, and its role is to significantly dilute the enemy's armor columns before they meet the Israeli armor.

The Pereh is the main launch platform of the Meitar unit for launching the Tamuz missiles. This missile is a third-generation advanced anti-tank missile with a range of more than 25 km and designed as a surprise weapon against the Syrian and Egyptian armor. [13] Therefore, the weapon was classified by 2011 (declared operational as early as the 1980s) . [14] The main, Pereh launch platform remains classified by 2015.

See Also

Sabra (tank) - a tank based on the experience gained in upgrading the Magach tanks.

External Links


  1. ^ Dr. Amiad Barzner, Magach Nagach, "Armored Corps", Armored Corps, December 30, 2008, p.23, on the Yad La Shiryon website.
  2. ^ Tal Ariel Amir, The People in the Tank: Back to the Secret Operation in Germany Just before the Six Day War, on the Ma'ariv website this week, April 22, 2015
  3. ^ The Armament Corps, 681 in the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition
  4. ^ In the 1960s, Britain agreed to supply Israel with the Chieftain tanks in exchange for Israel's participation in financing the development of the tank. Two Chieftain tanks were brought to Israel for experiments, and the IDF even helped improve the tank, but in 1969, following pressure from the Arab states, Britain withdrew from the agreement.
  5. ^ Although APCs are more commonly known as the unofficial "Zelda".
  6. ^ In 1963, the German government agreed to sell Israel Leopard tanks, but the development of the tank was delayed, and finally canceled due to the change of government in Germany.
  7. ^ These cannons use non-standard ammunition - that is, the shell and the propellent charge are loaded separately.
  8. ^ As a result of the oil used by the turret hydraulic system.
  9. ^ Col. (Res.) Shaul Nagar, February 17, 2011: Prof. Manfred Held, the key to reactive protection, passed away on the Armored Corps website
  10. ^ Yochai Ofer, Ironman: Veteran veterans separate from the pier tanks, nrg website, January 19, 2014
  11. ^ Yoav Zeitun, loose! The IDF parted from the tank that crossed the canal, Ynet website, April 24, 2014
  12. ^ Major General Gershon Hacohen, departing from the mythological cannon tank, Armored Corps site, July 15, 2014
  13. ^ Or Heller, The unexpected challenge of the Tammuz missile unit, IsraelDefense.
  14. ^ Daniella Bokor, after years of success: The Artillery Corps reveals the secret Tammuz missile, the site of the Israel Defense Forces. Yad la Shiryon