The IS-3 heavy tank was one of the most outstanding military achievements of the Soviet Union at the end of the World War 2.
Thick armor, powerful 122mm artillery fire, it was more than capable of destroying any Nazi tanks. However, the war ended before the IS-3 could do anything. In the end, it only managed to frighten Americans and Britons during their public appearance at the parade in Berlin on September 7, 1945. But that was not enough for one to truly fear the IS-3’s power, it lacked a battle – proof of the IS family’s capabilities.
It was not until the mid-1960s that the IS-3 had the opportunity to go to war to prove its strength, although it was now considered obsolete compared to the new generation of tanks – the main battle tank T-54/55, T-62 or M48, M60 Patton. Accordingly, in the early 1950s, the Egyptian Army bought 100 upgraded IS-3 tanks from the Soviet Union.
The IS-3 version that Egypt received from the Soviet Union was identified as the IS-3M. It was fitted with additional fuel tanks on the rear and sides of the hull. The sides of the vehicle were also added a guard along the top edge of the track. Basically, the tank had no changes to firepower, armor, or even the firing control system.
The IS-3 was in the 7th Artillery Division formation at Rafah, and the 125th Tank Brigade of the 6th Motorized Division at Kuntilla, of the Egyptian Army. They fought simultaneously in the first hour of the 6-day war (from 5-10 June 1967) between the alliance of Arab states with Israel.
Despite its great advantages in armor and firepower, Africa’s harsh climate caused IS-3 heavy tanks to lose themselves. The IS-3’s engines were unsuitable for the hot climates that left many IS-3s lying in the desert. Instead of destroying or trying to make repairs, many of the Egyptian tank crew abandoned the vehicle and fled.
The IS-3’s new turret increased resistance to armor-piercing shells better than any previous design, equivalent to 250mm of RHA steel armor at the thickest point. IS-3 equipped with the 122mm D-25T gun, the rate of fire was about 2-3 rounds/minute, with a total of 28 rounds. The IS-3 was equipped with a 600-horsepower diesel engine, helping this 46-ton tank to travel at a speed of about 40km/h, a range of 185km without refueling.