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Ro'em L-33 / M-50

The Soltam L-33 "Ro'em" met the Israeli need for an indigenous Self-Propelled Artillery system. The "L-33" designation stems from to the main gun's 155mm "L/33" caliber, but it is also known under the nickname Ro'em, which is Hebrew for thunder maker. The L-33 155 mm Self-Propelled Gun/Howitzer was developed by Soltam and consists of a rebuilt Sherman M4A3E8 chassis fitted with a Cummins diesel engine, all welded fully enclosed fixed armored superstructure and a Soltam 155 mm M-68 gun/howitzer.

Design work began in the late 1960s and took the existing chassis of the American World War II-era M4 Sherman Medium Tank and added a new, fixed hull superstructure with a Cummins diesel engine. The result was a serviceable 10-ton vehicle mounting a powerful 155mm howitzer. The L-33 has a crew of eight men and a loaded weight of 41500 kg.

The L-33 featured a Soltam Systems-developed 155mm M68 field gun with the weapon modified to fit in to the L-33 vehicle scheme. The mounting hardware allowed for traversal of +30 degrees two either side from centerline as well as +52 to -4 degrees elevation. Lacking a turret, the entire vehicle was turned to face target areas outside the travere reach of the weapon proper. The gun was capable of reaching out to 12.4 miles unassisted and projectiles and charges are handled separately with 60 x 155mm projectiles are carried aboard (16 "ready-to-fire"). The gun had the ability to fire standard NATO munitions including High-Explosive (HE), anti-personnel, illumination, and smoke rounds as needed.

During travel, the barrel was clamped against the vehicle by way of a brace found along the glacis plate when in travel mode. Rectangular doors along the sides of the boxy superstructure gave the gunnery crew entry and exit into the main fighting cabin. The driver was positioned at front-left of the hull. Roof hatches provided further access to the outside as well as direct management of the included 7.62mm air defense / anti-infantry machine gun fitted at front-right. 1,000 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition were typically carried for the roof machine gun.

The vehicle power pack was a Cummins VTA-903 V8 diesel-fueled engine of 460 horsepower at 2,600rpm. This provided the L-33 with a road speed of 36kmh and range out to 260km. Dimensions included a length of 6.5 meters with width of 3.27 meters and height of 2.46 meters.

It entered service in 1973 and first saw action in the same year during the Yom Kippur War and additional service in the 1982 Lebanon War. It is estimated that some 200 vehicles were produced in all though they are no longer in active service with the Israeli military.

The M-50/155 Howizter is another conversion of the M-4 Sherman.

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