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Nagmashot

Heavy armored personnel carrier

Nagmashot

The Nagmasho't was the IDF's first heavy APC, and is based on a modified Sho't Kal tank hull

 
 
Country of origin Israel
Entered service 1984
Crew 2 men
Personnel 8 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 51 t
Length 7.55 m
Width 3.39 m
Height ~ 3 m
Armament
Machine guns 4 x 7.62-mm (4 000 rounds)
Mobility
Engine Continental AVDS-1790-2A diesel
Engine power 750 hp
Maximum road speed 48 km/h
Range 193 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.91 m
Trench 3.35 m
Fording 1.52 m

 

   The Nagmashot or Nagmasho't is the first modern heavy Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). It was converted from retired Sho't Kal (upgraded Centurion) main battle tank hulls, in response to the shortcomings of conventional APCs in combat. The name is a combination of the Hebrew term for an APC ("Nagma"), and the Hebrew word for "Whip" ("Sho't", which was the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) name for their upgraded Centurion tank, from which the Nagmasho't was converted).

   The concept that led to the creation of the Nagmasho't emerged from the fires of the 1982 Lebanon War, in which IDF M113 APCs unexpectedly encountered heavy RPG and ATGM fire, and suffered very heavy losses as a result. While the long-term solution to this dilemma was a comprehensive upgrade to the M113 (which soon resulted in what the US Army would designate the M113A3), the IDF also wanted an even more heavily-armored vehicle for assaulting heavily-defended strongpoints, and one which could also be developed quickly as an interim until the new M113 variant arrived.

   It was soon realized that such a vehicle could be quickly developed by simply converting the hulls of retired main battle tanks already in the IDF inventory, in a manner not unlike the "Kangaroo" APCs of World War 2 (which were converted from such tanks as the M4 Sherman). The resulting design would be the first Kangaroo-type APC developed since the 1940s. Also the IDF had a number of intact hulls of Sho't tanks without turrets in the armor graveyards. The development of the Nagmasho't was surprisingly brief, and the first operational examples were in service by 1984.

   Replacing the familiar Centurion turret is a pyramidal casemate with a rectangular roof. There are two circular hatches at the front of the casemate roof which are hinged in the rear, and two rectangular hatches at the aft which are hinged in front, allowing four soldiers to stand in the hatches to observe all four quarters around them. The sides of the casemate have a distinctive flanging, probably for structural reinforcement, or to allow additional add-on armor to be fitted. Weapon skate mounts are fitted in front of each hatch, allowing personnel in the vehicle cover all four quarters around them with fire as well, if required.

   The skate mounts accept a variety of weapons, but were usually fitted with MAG 7.62-mm general purpose machine guns, Mk.19 40-mm automatic grenade launchers and M2HB 12.7-mm heavy machine guns are sometimes fitted as well. At least 4 000 7.62mm rounds were stowed inside the vehicle.

   Up to 8 passengers were carried, who ride in the passenger compartment under the casemate. The driver's position is unchanged from the Centurion series, with the obvious exception of not having a turret basket to interfere with entry to the main compartment. The vehicle commander usually rides in front, where provisions are made for carrying radio equipment, but there is no specially designated position for the vehicle commander. Entry into and exit from the passenger compartment in operational conditions was only possible through the roof hatches; not only was this a slow and awkward process, but also quite dangerous in combat, as personnel on top of the vehicle were highly visible and exposed. However, the Centurion's belly hatch was retained, allowing the crew and passengers to exit safely from underneath the vehicle (or, should it roll-over, from "on top").

   The powerpack was the same system as the Sho't Kal, though its placement was rearranged, in order to make additional room for passengers and equipment. It consists of a Continental AVDS-1790-2A diesel V12 engine with 750 hp at 2400 rpm, and an Allison CD850-6 transmission, with 2 forward and 1 reverse speeds.

   The running gear was unchanged from the Sho't Kal. There are six roadwheels on each side, with a prominent gap between the 2nd and 3rd wheels. The idler is forward and the drive sprocket is aft. There are four return rollers, but these are usually covered by track skirts. Like all Centurion variants, the Nagmasho't rides atop a Horstmann suspension, rather than more familiar torsion bars.

   The armor of the Nagmasho't is essentially the same as that of the Sho't Kal hull, with the obvious exception of the casemate. The exact thickness of the casemate's armor has never been published, for security reasons, but it is presumably strong enough to defeat any small arms fire, shrapnel, and shell splinters. Spall liners are standard equipment on the Nagmasho't, and the track skirts provide additional side protection. The Nagmasho't may also be fitted with explosive reactive armor and additional belly armor for increased protection against mines, but both of these have rarely been seen in service. Also, as the Centurion series boast a V-shaped hull, the Nagmasho't has some residual protection from large-capacity landmines and IEDs as well. An automatic fire suppression system was fitted, but it is not likely that the Nagmasho't had an NBC protection system.

   Originally operated by the infantry branch of the IDF, the remaining Nagmasho't fleet was later diverted to the engineering branch, as the vehicle's lack of a rear door was considered a liability to mechanized infantry operations (soldiers entering or leaving the vehicle had to clamber on top of it, where they were skylined and vulnerable to sweeping fire and shrapnel). In the early 1990s most Nagmasho'ts were converted into the more heavily-protected Nagmachon and Nakpadon heavy APCs. At the same time Nagmashot's used by combat engineers were converted into PUMA minefield breaching vehicles. However few original examples of the Nagmasho't reportedly remain in service.

   Israel was the only operator of the Nagmasho't. This vehicle not been offered for export, and as it was succeeded in development by more powerful heavy APCs, and designed around armored warfare philosophies largely unique to the IDF, it is doubtful that many potential buyers would want it anyway.

   The most likely fate of the remaining examples of the Nagmasho't is conversion any of into its various evolutions, which are described briefly below, and in greater detail on their own separate pages.

 

Variants

 

   Nagmasho't: Original production model. Identifiable by its low, sparse, pyramidal casemate in the center of the roof.

   Nagmachon: Significantly improved Nagmasho't, with increased armored protection and an expanded casemate.

    Nakpadon: Radically improved Nagmasho't, with even further increased armor, a pillbox-like addition to the superstructure, a much more powerful 900 hp engine, and many other new additions. This heavy APC entered service with the IDF in the early 1990s.

   Nagmapop: Surveillance vehicle based on the Nagmachon. Identifiable by its large superstructure (similar to the one on the Nakpadon), and its towering collapsible antennae (when raised).

   PUMA: Minefield breaching vehicle based on the Nagmasho't. It entered service with the IDF in 1991 and replaced the Nagmashot. Often seen fitted in front with a mine plow, mine roller, or dozer blade, and sometimes fitted aft with a very large and boxy line charge launcher. Also identifiable by its broad casemate.

 

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