Friday, August 06, 2010

Armored Corps Memorial Museum at Latrun, Israel (Yad LaShiryon)

After the riots in 1936-1939 in the land of Israel, the British govt (which ruled the area) decided to build police stations in the form of fortresses capable of self-defense.  The Latrun station was built in 1940 in a rural area on the road to Jerusalem.  The British evacuated the Latrun station on May 14, 1948 and on May 18, the Jordanian Legion took control.  Five times the Israeli army attacked Latrun but failed to take control.  The area was finally captured in the 1967 war and a more direct road to Jerusalem was built.  In the past two years, more entries have been made to try to reduce the traffic congetions.

The Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum is Israel's official site for the 4965 (so far) soldiers of the armored units who fell serving the country of Israel.  It is also one of the most diverse tank museums in the world.  It was dedicated in December of 1982.

We paid for our tickets at the gift shop and then waited for the English speaking soldier guide.

Entry after the gift shop up the stairs to the main area
Our Guide

Sign to the left of the stairs

Memorial Site: 
A Wall of Names, erected outside, displays the names of all the fallen soldiers from the Armored Corps, beginning with the War of Independence (1948) and up to this very day.

Wall of Names
Since I lived in Israel during the Yom Kippur War and the women and children were evacuated under fire after sunset on the first day, the Yom Kippur section of the wall was particularly significant for me.
Title--Yom Kippur and Shalom Galil names of fallen
All Armored corps falling from 1973 to 1982
  12 members of Kibbutz Merom Golan, where I lived from 1972 to 1974,  volunteered for service in the Yom Kippur War.  4 died in service.  One, Avraham Leinshtein, was a paratrooper, so shoul be named at the paratrooper memorial at Tel Nof, near Gedera.  The other 3 should be on the wall at this memorial.  I found one, Menahem Odem.  It is hard to believe that  almost 37 years has passed since their deaths.

Menachem Odem--line 3
The main building built in 1940, a mandate era Tegart fortress, houses an archive of the fallen, a library, and a synagogue.

British-built fortress
Entry to fortress--notice bullet-pocked wall
There are 3 parts to the memorial inside this building.

The first, called the Gate of Heroism, shows cycles through black-and-what photos of the 4900+ armored division soldiers who have died since the War of Independence.  They are listed without ranks, just with name, age, and date of death as all are equal in death.  It is a dark room, similar to the feeling inside of a take.   
A few who died

Along the path one can see quotations from ancient Jewish sources regarding the eternity of the human spirit and the essence of existence. 

The second is a computer screen that shows pictures and details of those who died on the date on the Jewish calendar that one visits., with more   This program was especially set up for the families of those who died. 

Yosef, died age 21
Elihu, died age 23

Zev Farkash, Died Aug. 12, 1979

The tower of the fortress has been converted into a "Tower of Tears" by Israeli artist Danny Karavan.

Walls of Tanks, with bullet holes, resuted
  The walls have been make from walls of damaged tanks, and the walls seem to trick tears of sorrow for the fallen men.

  Visitors can look at the wall and see their reflections with tears falling. 
Walls crying tears
The walls also have bullet holes from tanks.  The walls have rusted (not planned but sanctioned) as tanks also rust. The tears gather below the floor in a "new spring of life."

"Spring" under floor
There is also a big amphetheater where official programs take place:

Outdoor tank museum
The newest Israeli-produced tank is called the Mercava 3, from the word "chariot" as like a chariot, it has its engine (horse) in front.
Mercava 3 Prototype
Howard on Mercava 3
Notice back door
Close up
Ten French-made Hotchkiss H-39 tanks were purchased during the War of Independence and servced as reinforcement for the Israel Defense Forces.  These tanks were incorporated into the Russian-speaking Slavic  company of the 82nd batallion that took part in the capture of Lod airport.

Hotchkiss H-39 Tanks
Two Cromwell tanks were "stolen" by IDF combatants from a British camp before they left Palestine.  They were used by English-speaking immigrants during the War for Independence.

Cromwell Tank

Cromwell Tank in actual use
The 15-ton AMX light tank was first made in 1949 by the French. It was revolutionary as the engine was in front with the driver sitting next to it.  This was the first modern tank bought by the IDF in 1956.  It took part in the Sinai Campaign, including fighting in Mitla Pass and also in the Six-Day War in 1967.
AMX Light Tank in Actual Use

AMX Light Tank

The M51 Sherman Tank was developed by the French and Israelis together and was based on a Sherman tank and mounted a 105mm long gun.  It also had a diesel engine, wide track, and suspension. In was in the Six Day War (in the famous battle in the Dotan Valley) and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

M51 Sherman Tank
Centurion Tanks were purchased in the 1960s from the British. They had 20pdr guns and a "Meteor" gasoline engine.

Centurion Tank

The Patton M43A3 was commissioned by the IDF armored corps during the mid-19602. They took part in the fighting in the Six Day War in 1967 i the "Steel Formation" in battles in the northern Sinai and Refidim, and even reached the Suez Canal.  Later on in the armored service, the tanks were upgraded by the IDF's Ordinance Corps.
Patton Tank
Centurion Tank in action in the 1960s

The T-55 "Tiran 5" tank, make in the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, were captured by the IDF armored troops during the Six Day War and the '73 Yom Kippur War from the Syrian and Egyptian armies.  They were taken without a scratch and commissioned in the IDF after modification that included replacement of gun, ammo, machine guns, communication system, and other equipment. 

T-55, Tiran 5 Tank

Armored 290 Rocket Launcher
In order to allow the IDL large firing strength, the Israeli military industry in cooperation with the artillery division developed the .290 mm rocket ground to ground launcher.  It is based on the Serman chassis and was mainly used in the Southern Lebanon conflict in 1982.

A special section has a lot of tanks that were captured in wars.

Some of the tanks captured in wars--Howard in the background
The IDF captured a number of Panzer tanks from the Syrian army on the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War.  These tanks were made in Nazi Germany.  The sign below is in the format off all the signs at the museum, telling the horse power, number of maximum occupants, etc.

German-made Panzer tank
About 5,000 Sturmgeschutz Tank Destroyers were made by the Nazis and used against the Soviets in World War II, knocking out about 20,000 Soviet vehicles on the Eastern European front.  Like the Panzer, these tanks were also transferred by the Soviets to the Syrians for use.  They were later captured by the Israelis in the 6-Day War.
Sturmgeschutz III Tank Destroyer
Two British-made Charioteer tanks were captured from terrorist forces in Southern Lebanon in 1978 during Operation Litani. 
Charioteer Tank??
The British light tanks date back to 1925 when several light models were developed for 2 to 3 crew members.  Thousands were built by British industry and some were even used by the Egyptian army during Israel's Independence War.  The model below was halted near a chicken coop at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai in 1948.
Vickers Light Tank

The Stuart light tanks were the last generation of light tanks between the machine-gun carriers of the 1930s and the neavier tanks of WW2. These light tanks took a large part of the fighting against Germany, Italy, and Japan.  Over 19,000 tanks of various sub-models were built in the US between 1941 adn 1944.  The exhibited "Stuart" is one of the early models and has a British insignia.

Stuart light tank

The Renault tank is a light service tank designed in France in 1935. The Syrian inherited them when the French left Lebanon in 1946.  In May, 1948, the Syrian army attacked the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee with the help of this tank.    On the 21st of May, Israelis captured two of these tanks.  One is on display at Kibbutz Degania where it was stopped by members of the kibbutz.

The jeep was built by the US in WWII as an all-around 4-wheel drive vehicle.  In Israel it became a scout and raiding combat vehicle.  It was armed with guns and had platoon leaders equipped with radios. To protect the crew from mines, sandbags were placed on the floor of jeeps, so the jeep's springs  needed to be reinforced due to the added weight.  When a jeep did run over such mines, the jeep was usually destroyed but the crew just shaken up.

Jeeps in use by Palmach Negev Brigade

You can see a list of the tanks (including Israeli, American, French, Soviet, British and German made ones at:



Kenny Noe said...


Thank you for your blog. I enjoyed reading about your travels. Especially the Armored Corps Memorial Museum. I hope to travel to Israel one day too.

I enjoy table top gaming and recreating historical battles in miniature. I am writing a data booklet to use in one of the games. The game is printed by a company called Old Dominion GameWorks. Their site is

I am writing to ask your permission to use one of your pictures in the booklet. It's actually a picture of a picture. The one of the Cromwell. There really aren't too many of these and would really jazz up the booklet.

I would of course cite your blog as source and credit the picture to you.

Please let me know if I may use the picture.

Thank you for consideration and time.


Kenny Noe

john smith said...

oe had been there several years earlier and I thought I was prepared for some of the incredible places we’d visit. דילים לחול