Palestinian Armor

Still in 1982 with a magnificient picture coming from a photo album of French Marine veterans who served in Lebanon back in those days:

A derelict PLO M-50 Sherman found by French Marine troops in 1982 while exploring the ruins of Beirut Stadium. This tank is one of the two M-50 Shermans photographically certified to be used by the Palestinians to this date. Both Shermans have been discovered in Beirut Stadium, this one and another one in a worst shape.


A frontal view of the second disabled PLO M-50 Sherman (US DoD).

Neptune Thunder 2011

More on the Joint Lebanese-UNIFIL Artillery exercise, this time with a report from the French Ministère de la Defense.

“On January 7, 2011, the artillery support units of the UNIFIL QRF (quick reaction force) were deployed south of Naqoura for Neptune Thunder Fire exercise at sea .

The 5th Brigade of the Lebanese Armed Forces were involved in this exercise of artillery fire. Spanish, Indians, Portuguese and Korean soldiers also used the meeting to make shots at sea with their own weapons.

The four 155 mm guns AUF1 have made their last shot at sea in Lebanon. Soon enough, these guns will be replaced by the Caesar 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery System, more modern and better adapted to the Lebanese landscape.

In the morning, all units of the QRF and the French battalion and its VBCI were also able to train with their weapons (12.7mm, 20mm and 25mm).

Mistral missiles and radar-aircraft units of the of very short range detachment (VSHORAD) were also deployed during the entire sequence of shots, for aerial surveillance exercise and detect any intrusion air in the firing zone.”

Lebanese Army 5th Brigade 155mm M-50 Howitzer and French UNIFIL AMX AuF1 preparing to fire.

Lebanese Army 5th Brigade 155mm M-50 Howitzer and French UNIFIL AMX AuF1 aiming and Firing. The AuF1 soon to be replaced by the CAESAR is retired mainly because of its high maintenance cost. According to a report from the Assemblée Nationale's Finance Committee, the rubber track pads mounted on vehicles deployed in Lebanon (AuF1, Leclerc and AMX-10P) was such that they had to be changed every three weeks. Also, their replacement will both make some savings and avoid damaging the roads in southern Lebanon.

French UNIFIL vehicles during the exercise: a Peugeot P4, a VBCI VCI and a VBCI VPC.

Source: Ministère de la Défense

MNF Mules

Since we are into MNF this week, here’s a couple more photos of French trucks during Operation DIODON 1982-1983:


A French Regiment d'Infanterie de Marine MNF GMC CCKW-353 in Beirut suburbs, 1982.


A French MNF Saviem/Renault SM8 truck in Jeanne d'Arc street, Hamra sector, Beirut 1983.


Eyewitness Report

An interesting article to read is the excellent eyewitness report found on Pierre Bayle’ s blog about key dates in the modern history of Lebanon. The author’s personal journal covers a period of time between the 14th of September 1982 till the 11th of October of the same year. The journalist exposes the facts which happened those days as well as his personal experience. The text is supported by a very nice number of photos taken within this period. Some of them are the following:

A remnant of the Battle of Beirut, a toyota Land Cruiser BJ43 armed with an SPG-9 belonging to a Lebanese Leftist militia

IDF Magachs in Ain El Maraysseh sector next to the Hotels.

IDF Merkava Is in front of the PLO offices in Beirut.

Another view of the same vehicles

An IDF M579 and Bardehlas in front of Cadmos Hotel, Ain El Maraysseh sector

Another IDF Bardehlas

An IDF Bardehlas next to the Lebanese Ministry of tourism, Hamra sector.

IDF vehicles in Beirut Seaport, note the rarely seen M725 Ambulance. A Pikoud and an M151A2 can be seen on this picture.

An M113 of the Italian Battaglione San Marco of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.

An Italian Bergeleopard 1 of the MNF

French VABs of the UNIFIL/MNF in Beirut.

When an Italian Fiat AR76 Campagnola meets a French Hotchkiss M201 in Beirut.

An US Marines M274 Mule of the MNF

A US Marines LVTP-7A1 of the MNF

A Lebanese ISF Harley Davidson FLH next to French MNF troops.

Lebanese Army M113 next to the old Moscow Narodny Bank building, Hamra sector.

Other views of the same Lebanese Army convoy. Vehicles are M35s, Dodge D600 and M113s


A Lebanese Army M113 of the same convoy

Lebanese Army M113 of a Defense Brigade in the Ring sector.

A Lebanese Army Dodge D600 truck

the URL of Pierre Bayle’s blog is :

Other pages of his blog covers the Iran-Iraq war in 1980 as well as the First Gulf war in 1991 with magnificent photos as well.

The BM-24-12 in the IDF

In the Soviet Army, the multiple rocket launcher (MRL) BM-24-12 succeeded the BM-31-12 in the late 1950s. It was seen for the first time during the Soviet 1953 parade, the launcher system was then originally mounted on the back end of a ZIL-151 6×6 truck. The system is  composed by 2 rows of 6 launcher rails located on a rotary framework. Each rocket, the 240 mm M-24 type, is loading manually. The original carrier, the ZIL-151 truck, is equipped with two stabilizing jacks deployed together on the soil before firing to hold the platform. The crew consists of 6 gunners: the windshield and doors windows are equpped with folding armor plates, lowered when firing. The fuel tanks are also protected from rocket’s exhaust by armor plates.

According to SIPRI, 30 BM-24-12 systems were delivered to the Egyptian army between 1964 and 1965, and were, during the 1967 war, the standard multiple rocket launcher of the Egyptian artillery, with the Czechoslovak 130 mm M51.

The Egyptian military parade in Cairo, in the 1960s, showing the Czech M51 (vz.51) 130 mm MRL mounted on the Praga V3S truck. This system was part of the Egyptian arsenal since 1954. Notice, on the door, the Egyptian artillery corps insigna. (Google Life picture)

After the Sinai fighting, the IDF captured a signifiant number of this MRLS. The Israelis found them quite useful to the point that the decision was made to incorporate them into the IDF artillery inventory.

An Egyptian BM-24-12 on ZIL-151 truck, abandonned somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula, during the Six Days War. Note the Egyptian army license plate on the mudguard.

Another example from 1967, captured by the Israeli army with its ammunitions. Notice the impressive 240 mm rocket loaded in the launcher rails.

20th Yom Ha'atzmaut in Jerusalem, May 1968 : freshly repainted for the occasion and with Israeli license plates, two recently captured Egyptian BM-24-12 on ZIL-151 are followed by two M51 on Praga V3S.(

A number of improvements were made by the Israelis on the basic vehicle:  The ZIL-151 truck carrier was replaced  and the BM-24-12 was mounted then on a ZIL-157 body, more rugged than its predecessor. Several additional devices are visible on the new chassis, as a tool holder mounted on the fuel tank, and two additional brackets for jerrycan mounted on the front mudguards. Three portable fire-extinguishers provide the immediate protection in case of fire. Others improvements were made to the original BM-24-12 system, like an israeli design firing mechanism. Standard IDF communications equipment are also fitted. At the same time, the Israeli military industry (I.M.I.) began developing and manufacturing its own rockets.

The Israeli BM-24-12 MRL was first showed to the public in 1971, when the IDF introduced their news acquisitions, like the M-113 APC and the M109 SPG. Some sources indicate that two independent battalions were equipped with the BM-24-12. But the existence of only one battalion is proved, the 270th, which begins the 1973 October war on the Syrian front, and was later moved into the Egyptian front. During the fighting, the battalion commander was killed in action. After that the ammunition ran out, the batteries returned on the northern front but didn’t see any action, the cease-fire with Syria having taken effect.

Alongside the new M109s SPG, the Israelis BM-24-12 was showed to the public in 1971. Here, gunners demonstrate the loading of 240 mm rockets.

25th Yom Ha'atzmaut in Jerusalem, May 1973 : the ZIL-157 body can clearly be seen, as well as the other the Israeli additional upgrades.

The batteries of the 270th battalion were also deployed during Operation Peace for Galilee, in 1982, where they participated in the siege of West Beirut. Another independant battalion was  established during this conflict, using the 122 mm BM-11 MRL, the north-korean copy of the Soviet BM-21, mounted on Japanese Izuzu truck. This battalion was dismantled after the Lebanese War.

The crews of a BM-24 battery makes the final adjustments before firing on the Golan front, October 1973.

Text by Mathieu Morant.

Photos provided by the Author.

Joint Live Artillery Exercise

“Within the framework of military cooperation between the Lebanese Army and the forces of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a live artillery shooting was held toward the sea off the coast of Naqoura. It was attended by a number of Lebanese Army officers and troops. The aim of this exercise is to ensure readiness of the Artillery units of both forces as well as the exchange of experiences and knowledge in this area.”

Lebanese Army Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50 battery in action.

Vehicles of the French UNIFIL. We can notice the following: VABs ATLAS, AMX AuF1 PVP, Peugeot P4 and GBC 180 truck

Photo Credits: Lebanese Army Website

Another view of the Lebanese Army 155mm M-50 Howitzer (Xinhua)

Beirut Seaport Visitors

The UNIFIL Maritime Task Force Deutsche Marine Minehunter M 1091 Kulmbach (Type 333 Kulmbach class) in Beirut Naval Base.

The UNIFIL Maritime Task Force Deutsche Marine Minesweeper M 1093 Auerbach / Oberpfalz (ENSDORF-class Type 352) next to the Lebanese shores.

The Lebanese Navy 42 Tabarja Patrol Boat participating in a joint exercise with the UNIFIL.

One of the 8 newly acquired Lebanese Navy Sea Force 11m Standard Navy Rigid Inflatable Boat (SN RIB/RHIB) equipped with a Raymarine Radar System.

Credits: Philippe Breu Photographer, more photos on his Flickr account featuring joint Lebanese German Navies training exercises.