Did you know that Shermans last fought Panzer IVs long after World War II?

The M4 Sherman was the single most iconic American tank of World War II. The Panzer IV was the German military’s trusty workhorse. Make a quick guess: when did the two tanks last meet each other on the field of battle?

A Panzer IV in the Syrian army (Photo: wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com)

A Panzer IV in the Syrian army (Photo: wwiiafterwwii.wordpress.com)

If you guessed “sometime in 1945,” you’re wrong. The Syrian army bought roughly 100 Panzer IVs from France, Czechoslovakia and Spain in the 1950s. The French and Czechoslovak Panzers were all either captured at the end of World War II, or were assembled from the parts of multiple wrecks; the Spanish ones were originally bought by Spanish dictator Franco and never saw combat. (Syria also bought other old German equipment, including a number of StuG assault guns and six Jagdpanzer IV tank destroyers.) Meanwhile, Israel maintained a number of old, World War II vehicles in its army, mainly of British and American design. One iconic Israeli weapon was the so-called Super Sherman, officially the M-50 and M-51 Shermans.

An Israeli M-50 +Super Sherman” (Photo: Bukvoed / Wikipedia)

An Israeli M-50 "Super Sherman” (Photo: Bukvoed / Wikipedia)

The two old enemies met for one last time during the Six Day War in June 1967, when Syrian forces clashed with the Israeli Defense Force on the Golan Heights. 25 Syrian Panzer IVs were fully operational during the battle, and another 10 partially operational. At least one Panzer IV was documented to have been knocked out by a Sherman on the last day of the war. And thus, the last fight ever between a Sherman and a Panzer IV took place 22 years after the end of World War II.  

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Soldiers of the 463rd Combat Engineers near the German border observe Christmas in 1944; note K-ration cans as ornaments  (Photo: U.S. Army Signal Corps)
Surprise your loved ones with an unforgettable trip to historic places where American soldiers fought for our freedom. Get a 15% discount on our select tours by paying only the registration fee by December 26, 2022 and transferring the rest of the list price until January 31, 2023. Note that this offer applies only in case of new bookings, and it cannot be combined with other special promotions. The offer excludes those three tours in 2024 which include the 80th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy.
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