the Super Sherman, were modified versions of the American M4 Sherman tank that served with the Israel Defense Forces from the mid-1950s to early 1980s. The M-51 was also referred to as the Isherman (i.e. Israeli Sherman).
About this creation
In 1953, an Israeli delegation visited France to examine the new AMX 13 light tank. The tank was armed with the high-velocity 75 mm gun. While the gun was satisfactory, the armor of the French tank was considered too light. Eventually, Israel did purchase the AMX 13, however in a parallel development it was decided to graft the powerful French gun onto the available, familiar and better-armored hull of the American M4 Sherman, the standard tank of the IDF armored units in the early 1950s
Main photo and bottom photo by Bernard Zee
The project started in 1954, and in 1955 a prototype turret was sent from France to Israel. In March 1956 Israeli Ordnance Corps facilities started to convert tanks, using guns received from France. The gun was known in Israel as the M-50 and as a result the upgunned Sherman was designated Sherman M-50.
Both the M-50 saw combat in the Six-Day War that left the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Sinai peninsula in Israeli hands, often fighting Soviet World War II-era armor like the T-34-85. Both were also employed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War alongside and against much more modern tanks. The use of such seemingly obsolete tanks was necessary given the desperate nature of the fighting.
In combat against the Arab armies, the M-51 proved itself capable of fighting newer, heavier tanks like the Soviet-built T-54/55/T-62. The M-51's 105 mm gun could penetrate these adversaries using HEAT ammunition. The M-51 served well during its time, and is regarded as an excellent example of how an obsolete tank (the Sherman) can be upgraded beyond the limits of its original capabilities
Below is one of the many M50 Super Shermans that reside at the museum where I work.