- In 1983 Chile bought Sherman M-50 and M-51 tanks from Israel but since some of these M-50 had very worn Guns and had to be replaced, Israel offered to install the new 60 mm IMI HVMS (Hyper Velocity Medium Support) cannons that in the future were also installed on the Chilean M24 Chaffee and the prototype of the Mowag Cardoen Piraña. These new cannons were ideal to be able to fight the Peruvian T-55 since at that time Chile did not really have a tank with a cannon capable of facing the armor of the Peruvian tanks, also at that time Chile had an embargo by the United States so it was difficult for it to get better weapons, in this way Israel was one of the few countries willing to help Chile by selling them weapons and thus solving a little the difference in military power between Chile and its neighbors.
Different variants of the Sherman
Regarding which chassis was used in the Chilean M-50 HVMS, they were actually of different types, these being M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3 and M4A4, since if we analyze different photos we can observe some differences in the chassis between the M-50 HVMS, mainly on the front, basically it was a mixture of chassis but they all shared the same turret and gun, which is the most important thing and what gave it the continuity to call them all M-50 HVMS.
The New Gun
The cannon weighed 700 kg and as its name indicates, it was capable of firing APFSDS-T ammunition at high speed with a muzzle velocity of 1,620 m/s that could penetrate 120mm of armor angled at 60 degrees from a distance of 2,000 meters, which gave the new M-50 HVMS a great anti-tank capacity. There was also supposedly a test where this gun managed to penetrate the side armor of two T-62 side by side at 2000 m, which would be ideal since at that time Chile had to deal with the T-55 of its neighbor Peru in the face of a possible conflict, this being the reason why this gun was installed in most Chilean tanks. It could also use high explosive ammunition that was used more for the destruction of bunkers and other objectives. This new cannon had 2 firing modes, the automatic one that allowed firing 100 rounds per minute and the manual one. Chile opted for the manual one but with a modification manufactured by Madeco, a large local Chilean steel and hydraulic company. This modification made in Chile it consisted of a simple vertical breech block system that allowed for a rate of fire of 12 shots per minute, that is, 5 seconds of reloading which was not bad at all. Another Chilean modification was the installation of a new turret electrical system powered by an auxiliary engine installed in the engine bay. Its vent was located on the exterior left side, between the original exhaust for the turret traverse motor and the spare road wheels.
M-50 HVMS barrel breech
New turret electrical system
Ammunition used by the HVMS 60 mm gun
T-62 penetrated laterally with HVMS 60 mm cannon
The other chilean update, the new engine
The engine update came to solve the problem of the old Cummins V-8 460 hp diesel engines that were already very worn out, for this Chile decided to replace them with the new and more powerful 535 hp V-8 Detroit Diesel 8V-71T engine. As the new engine had some differences with the previous one, it was necessary to make some modifications to the rear part of the tank where the engine was located, for this a hole was cut in the upper rear part of the tank so that the new exhaust outlet could come out, which would now be above the engine platform and would come out on the right side of the tank hull, which changed the appearance of the tank, in addition a protective cover was welded on the engine.
Details of the new engine cover and exhaust outlet of the new engine
The secret Chilean update, new periscopes
It is unknown to most people that, in addition to the previously mentioned improvements, they had an additional little-known improvement, which was the implementation in some of these tanks of new Passive IR (Infra-Red) periscope, similar to those used in the M113 of personnel carriers that replaced the periscopes of the driver and the bow machine gunner, this was done on the shermans that had enough space for this, those with cast hulls and those with welded hulls with a large hatch, for this the technicians Chileans cut the front of the hood and extended that area forward just behind the applied armor plates. The driver received a new rotating periscope while the forward machine gunner did not. The new sights were provided by Elbit and Elop. They also received a ballistic computer.
Details of the modified areas and the new rotating periscope
The Thermal Sight
In addition, in some of the tanks, the commander’s periscope was replaced by a thermal sight, which would give these Shermans a great technological leap. The gunner’s periscope was also replaced with a better one on some tanks.
Improved gunner’s periscope
The end of the service
Finally, the conflict between Chile and Peru Fortunately it didn’t happen and these tanks along with the M-51 and M24 HVMS continued in service for several more years, after which Chile acquired AMX-30B and Leopard 1V that replaced the old Shermans and Chaffees, so they were withdrawn from service between 1999 and 2003, becoming one of the last Shermans in service in the world and one of the most up-to-date. Today a few survive as guardians and in Chilean museums.
M-50 HVMS at the tank museum, iquique
- 5 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver, bow-gunner)
- Primary: 60 mm IMI HVMS (Hyper Velocity Medium Support) Gun, 12 shots per minute
- Secondary: Coaxial .30 Cal (7.62mm) machine gun, .30 Cal (7.62mm) machine gun on top
- Length: 6.15 m
- Width: 2.42 m
- Height: 2.24 m
- Weight: 35 Tons (32 tonnes) Total weight, battle ready
- Engine: 535 hp V-8 Detroit Diesel 8V-71T
- Maximum speed: Aprx. 40-45 km/h
- Suspensions: Horizontal Volute Springs Suspensions (HVSS)
- Hull nose and turret 70, sides 40, bottom 15, rooftop 15 mm
- Hull nose and turret 70, sides 40, bottom 15, rooftop 15 mm
- M-60 Sherman (M-50 with 60mm HVMS Gun) - Tank Encyclopedia
- The Sherman in the Chilean Army Written by Tom Gannon
- M4 Sherman – Serie Terrestre #2 by Juan Carlos Cicalesi & Hugo Bianucci.
- Jane's Armoured Fighting Vehicle Retrofit Systems 1993 94 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive