IDF Tank Corps Memorial "Yad L's hyrion" in Latrun
About Yad L'Shiryon- Memorial to fallen soldiers
Located in the Ayalon Valley the former British colonial police fort has been an item of import for over 60 years. Used to dominate both the Israeli and Arab populace during the Mandate period, it's location took on additional importance during Israel's War of Independence. During the war the road to Jerusalem which passed near latrun was often blocked by local arab forces. For the Israeli populace having only recently declared independence in the Jewish areas of the partition, the loss of Jerusalem would be unthinkable. Abdallah of Jordan saw the situation as a means of gaining territory and possibly Mediterranean access. He sent The Arab Legion to take up positions in both the Byzantine old city of Jerusalem as well as Latrun. This effectively blockaded Israeli West Jerusalem.
The new Israeli government knew the situation and attacked the police fort and surrounding areas on three occasions, once getting forces into the fort. Each time however the new Israeli army was pushed back with often grievous losses. The solution was to build a bypass road which is called the 'Burma Road' . This was really nothing more than an improvised, hastily constructed road that enabled supplies to reach western Jerusalem thus breaking the siege and securing Jerusalem as Israel's new capital. Although the fort itself was abandoned by the Legion after the siege had been broken it would remain in Jordanian hands until 1967 when it was liberated by forces of Uzi Narkess's central command.
In 1982 the cornerstone for what would be the memorial and museum was laid. With the help of both sitting and retired officers the museum at Latrun has grown into one of the predominant armour museums in the world. It houses not only examples of IDF vehicles and those captured in it's many wars but examples bought or traded for from around the world. Today the Latrun museum houses over 100 vehicles from pre-WW2 Hotchkiss to prototypes of the Merkava 1,2 and 3. There are an array of soft vehicles as well as examples of bridging and mine clearing apparatus. The museum houses not just the inanimate metal tanks but the histories of its units and individual soldiers. This is a place to stop not just for the armour vehicle enthusiast but for anyone interested in the history of the IDF ground forces. Not unlike Yad V'shem in Jerusalem the museum and monument shows the real cost of defending ones heritage and country....... It's lost future generations