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  • Merkava

    What's your opinion on the Israeli Merkava tanks? Are they the tanks of the future, maybe approaching best tanks in the world? Or are they overblown, over-equipped failures?

  • #2
    I spent three years in them. They're awesome. Not only that, I've been inside a USMC M1 Abrams, and it looked dreadfully old-tech compared to the inside of the Merkava 4, especially in the gunner's and loader's compartments. I wasn't able to get into the driver's compartment, and the TC's compartment in both looked relatively the same.

    The Marines that I met with said Abrams (during Fleet Week NYC, maybe 3 or 4 years ago) all had combat experience in Iraq, and one of them had been to Israel to learn a bit about how we do desert tank warfare. They all said that they thought the Merkava 4 was an awesome tank, and would probably give an Abrams a run for it's money.

    That being said, I don't know how it would stand up against an M1A2. Studies performed from after the Lebanon War in 2006 showed that if any tank aside from the Merkava 4 were being used, the amount of casualties and fatalities from ATGM strikes would have increased at least 200%, if not more. I personally saw a tank get hit in the engine block, dead on, 12:00. It cut a fuel line and the tank burned for almost 12 hours. All four crew members got out okay. When the fire burned out, they went back to the tank and pulled out all their personal gear. The tank was towed back to Israel, a new engine and fuel line were put in, and the tank is still in service today.

    Of course, a large part of this is pride in my unit, the 401st Armored Brigade, in my tank, and in Israeli know-how and ingenuity in general. If you ask some of the other tankies here, they'll sell their beast for all it's worth. I'm sure Zraver has some nice stuff to say about US Armor, and Tankie and Dave Lukins can say things about British Armor and the 1 RTR.

    In the end, a large part of this is conjecture because the tanks have not been pitted against each other. If you ask about a Merkava 1 Vs a T-34 or a T-54/T-55, that's a valid question since they fought against each other in Lebanon in 1982. It's also problematic because the Merkava 4's main combat experience was against ATGM's, not against MBT's, which is it's main mission. In an all out pitched battle, Armored Division vs Armored Division, you would probably get different results than in an urban warfare setting.

    Finally, most things that many people will say about the tanks are pure guesswork. Many of the details, such as armor composition, armor thickness, total weight, etc... are extremely classified
    Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

    Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

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    • #3
      Our local newspaper here (!!!) actually had a small article about Israel Tal and his Merkava design work last week, since he died last month.

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      • #4
        Israel Tal was indeed a great Armor general, and without him the Merkava would not exist
        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

        Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bigross86 View Post
          I spent three years in them. They're awesome. Not only that, I've been inside a USMC M1 Abrams, and it looked dreadfully old-tech compared to the inside of the Merkava 4, especially in the gunner's and loader's compartments. I wasn't able to get into the driver's compartment, and the TC's compartment in both looked relatively the same.

          The Marines that I met with said Abrams (during Fleet Week NYC, maybe 3 or 4 years ago) all had combat experience in Iraq, and one of them had been to Israel to learn a bit about how we do desert tank warfare. They all said that they thought the Merkava 4 was an awesome tank, and would probably give an Abrams a run for it's money.

          That being said, I don't know how it would stand up against an M1A2. Studies performed from after the Lebanon War in 2006 showed that if any tank aside from the Merkava 4 were being used, the amount of casualties and fatalities from ATGM strikes would have increased at least 200%, if not more. I personally saw a tank get hit in the engine block, dead on, 12:00. It cut a fuel line and the tank burned for almost 12 hours. All four crew members got out okay. When the fire burned out, they went back to the tank and pulled out all their personal gear. The tank was towed back to Israel, a new engine and fuel line were put in, and the tank is still in service today.

          Of course, a large part of this is pride in my unit, the 401st Armored Brigade, in my tank, and in Israeli know-how and ingenuity in general. If you ask some of the other tankies here, they'll sell their beast for all it's worth. I'm sure Zraver has some nice stuff to say about US Armor, and Tankie and Dave Lukins can say things about British Armor and the 1 RTR.

          In the end, a large part of this is conjecture because the tanks have not been pitted against each other. If you ask about a Merkava 1 Vs a T-34 or a T-54/T-55, that's a valid question since they fought against each other in Lebanon in 1982. It's also problematic because the Merkava 4's main combat experience was against ATGM's, not against MBT's, which is it's main mission. In an all out pitched battle, Armored Division vs Armored Division, you would probably get different results than in an urban warfare setting.

          Finally, most things that many people will say about the tanks are pure guesswork. Many of the details, such as armor composition, armor thickness, total weight, etc... are extremely classified
          Not to nit pick here but if she burnt for 12 hours she would be in a sad state. Wouldn't all the wiring, plumbing etc have melted? Plus chassis lubes, seals etc would be kaput. Dont think the steel would appreciate the heat to much either. A simple engine change and fuel line replacement would only be the start of a very long list of required repairs.

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          • #6
            I wasn't on the repair team, so I wouldn't really know. I know that a week after she was dragged back, she was ready to rock again. The maintenance depot doesn't work on the weekend, so figure 4, maybe 5 days till she was back in shape.
            Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

            Abusing Yellow is meant to be a labor of love, not something you sell to the highest bidder.

            Comment

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