This section takes a closer look at towed artillery. I will also include anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns as well as mortars in here, even if these might not be 'artillery' in the strictest sense of the word.

Artillery in the War of Independence

During the War of Independence, Israeli artillery assets were meagre, to say the least.

Mortars - from all walks of life...

The main artillery weapon at the disposal of Israeli weapons was the mortar. Apart from 2 inch and 3 inch weapons of British origins there were also some homemade pieces in use, some of them called 'Davidka'. I really wonder to whom they posed the greater danger - to the crew or their enemies...

The picture above shows one of these weapons.

This closeup shows the barrel. No recoil mechanism is visible, the 'gun' is probably either a mortar or a crude form of a muzzle loader. The red arrow points out what could be some sort of fuse mechanism.


Now, if you have visited this site before you might remember that originally something on "guns of french origin ... mainly known for having a most famous successor in French service - the 75mm gun model 1898" had its place here. This particular piece of information came from a source which I did not bother to verify. That turned out to be quite a mistake. Therefore here again the revised history of Israel's first Artillery pieces:

The first field artillery pieces, clandestinely acquired, arrived in Israel shortly after the declaration of independence. These guns soon became known as 'Napoleonchiks', the name suggesting they were already in use with Napoleon's armies - which of course was not the case. Apparently - indeed, if you look at the available pictures, MOST apparently (what a fool I was!!) - the only French about these guns is this name. In fact, the guns in mention are most probably former Italian 65mm mountain guns. The picture below shows one of these guns in action, the barrel at full recoil. Note the British steel helmet (late type).

By the way, four of these guns were all the IDF could muster at the beginning of the war. At the end, about a dozen of them were in use.

75mm model 1898

Apparently soon after the commencement of hostilities on the front with Syria the IDF was able to capture some French 75mm guns operated by the Syrians. Quite a few pictures show these guns in use with the IDF.

The picture above shows one of these guns (apparently it was taken at a ceremonial occasion). Note that the gun is still equipped with spoked wheels.

20mm AT gun

I don't have any conclusive evidence (i.e. pictures), but it seems probable that guns taken from unserviceable aircraft - as they were mounted on half-tracks, cf. here - were also used as AT guns on makeshift carriages.

During the latter part of the War of Independence the IDF could also make use of a variety of captured equipment. Although captured guns must obviously have been of Egyptian (i.e. British), Jordanian (i.e. British, too) as well as Syrian (i.e. French) origin, it seems that only British equipment was actually put to effect (for commonality reasons, I would guess). However, my references are still inconclusive on this point.

Definitely used during the closing stages of the war and afterwards were the 6pdr AT gun, the 25pdr howitzer and the Bofors 40mm AA gun, with the 2pdr being also probably used (the picture above shows an example of the latter after capture being examined by Israeli soldiers). I won't go into any detail on these guns, as they are definitely among the most widely known artillery pieces in the world.

Modelling options

Modelling artillery pieces from the War of Independence is surprisingly quite easy as there are some rather good kits from Airfix on the market. These scale out rather nicely to 1/76. Other artillery pieces can be scratchbuilt fairly easily, the carriage being in most cases the biggest problem.


Airfix' 25pdr is offered in a set comprising the gun and the 'Quad' gun tractor. Although the gun will profit from careful detailing (a new barrel being at the top of the list), overall dimensions are acceptable. I am not sure whether the IDF did ever use the Quad tractor. The Egyptians, however, did so, and in any case it can be used for a conversion to a homemade AC.


Airfix paired the 6pdr with a nice kit of a Bren Carrier. Again some detailing is needed for the gun. The gun shield is too thick and the barrel needs some attention, too. However, overall dimensions again are quite sound. This kit offers also a crew for the gun, although they are a bit, let's say, strange...

40mm Bofors

Another Airfix classic, their 40mm Bofors kit includes a tractor and a crew. The gun itself is very nice with not too much additional detail needed. The four man crew is also quite nice, for a change; I especially like the chap scanning the air with his binocular.

75mm model 1898

As I recently found out it is fairly easy to scratchbuild such a gun - perhaps not to rivet-counting standard, but it can look pretty nice. Taking an idea I got from the Miniaturezone website (see links page) I used spoked wheels from a British Artillery (Waterloo) set - the size is about right for 1/72, and although the spoke patterns differ, the wheels more or less look right. All the other parts can be scratchbuilt fairly easily, especially as the carriage is not of the split-tail type. Probably the most tricky part of it is the barrel. It should not look as if firing the gun was a spectacular way to commit suicide...

Above you can see a scratchbuilt 75mm, meant to depict a captured Syrian gun used during some rather wet autumn days in 1948 (hence the mud). Although the barrel is quite acceptable, I'm not happy with the gunshield. The recruiting officer is scrounging my spares box for a crew...


Well, you've seen the picture above - it should be no problem to gobble together a sketch from it. As for the carriage, I used wheels left over from some aircraft kit. Have a go!

As far as mortars of British origin are concerned, it should be very easy to scratchbuild a 2 inch mortar, whereas the 3 inch one can be built using parts of Revells excellent 81mm mortar provided in their US Infantry (Ardennes) set.

still under construction!!

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