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The myth of Israeli merkava tanks

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posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 05:13 PM
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I've been hearing for years that the Israeli Merkava tanks are the most armored and protected tanks in the world and this has been drilled into a lot of people as well giving them a kind of un-warranted myth that they are on the level of being invincible.

This myth has been broken in Lebanon the Hezbollah has been tearing Israeli tanks with Anti-tank mines and Anti-tank missiles and not disabling them but actually destroying them to the point where the crew inside has been killed.

Even in Iraq the British Challenger2 and M1A2 have survived for years while Israel has lost more tank crew in 7 days then British and Americans tank crews that have been lost in the last 3 years combined.

This brings it down to 2 conclusions :

1.The tank only seemed invincible because all they faced where poorly armed Palestinians who where badly trained and poorly armed. So the tank was not battle tested but was only ever tested and used against inferior Palestinian fighters. Israeli tanks are hype.

or

2. The tank is very strong and tough just as Israel claims but the Iranian weapons supplied are even tougher and can easily destroy the tanks. Now think about this the Merkava for years is said to have been better armored then the M1A2. Imagine what will happen to American and British forces in Iraq if Iran ever decides to start using there tens of thousands of Anti-tank missiles against American and British armored vehicles. They could easily destroy American/allied armed forces.

Now i will just paste 2 reports about Iranian weapons being used on Israelis in Lebanon by hezbollah :



Genkin led a convoy of tanks into the south Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras early Monday to evacuate infantrymen hit by a Hezbollah ambush. Suddenly, Genkin was under fire himself. He heard a huge explosion, whipped his head around and saw an enormous plume of smoke emerging from the last tank in the convoy. He scrambled, poked his head into the smoldering tank and found his friend, Lt. Lotan Slevin, lifeless inside.
"I started screaming 'He's dead! He's dead!" Genkin recalled.

full report





and



St.-Sgt. Kobi Smilg, 20, of Rehovot died after his tank rode over a large explosive device. A battalion commander was also wounded in the attack.
A few hours later, another tank was hit - this time by an anti-tank missile - killing an officer.
www.jpost.com.../JPArticle/ShowFull


Israel has been reported to have lost something like 10+ armored vehicles such as Jeeps, APC and tanks.




posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 05:50 PM
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No one has ever claimed the merkava is immune to anti-tank mines. in fact, the palestinians have been successful at destroying several over the past six years that way. The anti-tank missle report, though, i don't know. I'd have to look into it a little more.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 06:53 PM
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I hate to be Mr. Cold Water, but the US has lost many M1A2 main battle tanks in Iraq. All but only a few have been destroyed by IED's buried in the roads in pre-existing blast craters that were filled in.
All main battle tanks including the Israeli merkava have VERY thin armor on the top and bottom of the chassis. How thin? How's 1/2" grab you? ( M1A1). As for the Merkava that was lost in early July, that too was an improvised mine. As for the other Merkava losses I would chalk most of them up to the Israeli armor crews habit of riding with hatches open in order to man the 3 co-axials. A roof-top RPG-7 shot at the right angle would easily penetrate their armor. That's why they man the guns and take their chances. Tanks are always the top of the food chain, but the idea that ANY tank is immune to all systems is foolish.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by RPG_bait
I hate to be Mr. Cold Water, but the US has lost many M1A2 main battle tanks in Iraq. All but only a few have been destroyed by IED's buried in the roads in pre-existing blast craters that were filled in.
All main battle tanks including the Israeli merkava have VERY thin armor on the top and bottom of the chassis. How thin? How's 1/2" grab you? ( M1A1). As for the Merkava that was lost in early July, that too was an improvised mine. As for the other Merkava losses I would chalk most of them up to the Israeli armor crews habit of riding with hatches open in order to man the 3 co-axials. A roof-top RPG-7 shot at the right angle would easily penetrate their armor. That's why they man the guns and take their chances. Tanks are always the top of the food chain, but the idea that ANY tank is immune to all systems is foolish.
Well a significant number of tanks we're lost to enemy fire. In a close up fight where two T 72's shot APFSDS and HEAT rounds at close range couldn't even penetrate the frontal armor of the tank and they have taken numerous RPG hits and it simply looks like paint was ripped off. However there was an instance where an RPG went through the back armor.The small area between the track and the turret is a little known vulnerable part for a tank.In firendly fire the weapons to kill an Abrams was a Hellfire(no suprise considering ballistic trajectory and powerful HEAT warheads0 And other APFSDS shots from other Abrams. M1's have also survived 100lb IEDS as well.it'sa combat proven tank and although some have been lost it's survivability is legendary. Although you are right about tanks ahving thin upper armor. I know the merkava's armor should be thicker at the top than an Abrams but the armor is defientely of a lower class and vulnerable nonetheless.



posted on Jul, 27 2006 @ 09:08 PM
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After reading both articles, I think the author is using the word "tank" in the most general sense possible - any armored vehicle with a gun on top. No specific type of tank is ever mentioned, but the officer in question talks about their mission being to evacuate infantrymen and then later talks about moving a half dozen wounded into his vehicle. I know the Merkava has a door on the back and can carry 2 or 3 infantryman in addition to the crew, but I just don't see them fitting six wounded in the back. It all makes me wonder if it was actually some type of APC that was hit instead of a Merkava.

[edit on 27-7-2006 by crusader97]



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 02:00 AM
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Most likely it was an Azcharit or a Puma APC both are based on heavily modified MBT chassis and should be relatively hard to kill.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 06:05 AM
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Originally posted by crusader97
After reading both articles, I think the author is using the word "tank" in the most general sense possible - any armored vehicle with a gun on top. No specific type of tank is ever mentioned, but the officer in question talks about their mission being to evacuate infantrymen and then later talks about moving a half dozen wounded into his vehicle. I know the Merkava has a door on the back and can carry 2 or 3 infantryman in addition to the crew, but I just don't see them fitting six wounded in the back. It all makes me wonder if it was actually some type of APC that was hit instead of a Merkava.

[edit on 27-7-2006 by crusader97]


A Merkava can carry 8 troops plus commander, loader, gunner and driver.



www.army-technology.com...

The tank is capable of carrying eight infantry soldiers, a Command Group or three litter patients (stretcher casualties) in addition to the tank crew of commander, loader, gunner and driver. The tank is capable of firing on the move at moving targets and has demonstrated high hit probability in firing against attack helicopters using conventional anti-tank munitions.


Trust me when the reporter is talking about a tank he actually is talking about the Merkava tanks.


Why would Israel even bother to send lightly armoured IFV or medium armoured IFV's into Lebanon when they could send "heavy" armoured Merkava tanks with 8 troops inside them into lebanon?

So the description of "tank" given by the report matches perfectly with the description of the merkava tank.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 06:12 AM
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Originally posted by RPG_bait
I hate to be Mr. Cold Water, but the US has lost many M1A2 main battle tanks in Iraq. All but only a few have been destroyed by IED's buried in the roads in pre-existing blast craters that were filled in.


Yes but how many crew members where killed?

Thats the difference. Even though America and the British have lost tanks they have lost very few tank crew in 3 years.


Originally posted by RPG_bait
All main battle tanks including the Israeli merkava have VERY thin armor on the top and bottom of the chassis.


Merkava is double skinned above the main armour to give it extra protection. It was designed to take mines and missiles.



A new feature of the tank is that the fitted modular special armour covers the turret.[/] The tank is protected against a range of threats, including air launched precision guided missiles and advanced and top attack anti-tank weapons. Automatic fire detection and suppression has been installed. The underside of the hull has been fitted with additional armour protection against mines. The driver and crew compartments are equipped with heating and cooling air conditioning and a Shalon Chemical Industries combined individual and overpressure protection systems against contamination by NBC warfare.
www.army-technology.com...



Originally posted by RPG_bait
How thin? How's 1/2" grab you? ( M1A1). As for the Merkava that was lost in early July, that too was an improvised mine.


The merkava tanks have much more then 1/2 inch armour considering they are also skinned with composite armour on top of another layer of armour.


Originally posted by RPG_bait
As for the other Merkava losses I would chalk most of them up to the Israeli armor crews habit of riding with hatches open in order to man the 3 co-axials. A roof-top RPG-7 shot at the right angle would easily penetrate their armor. That's why they man the guns and take their chances. Tanks are always the top of the food chain, but the idea that ANY tank is immune to all systems is foolish.


Why would Israelis ride around in tanks with the hatch open when they are in full scale war being hit with rockets, missiles,sniper fire and mines. I could understand if they do this in palestine where the palestinians are poorly armed and trainned but never in lebanon. They have lost tansk on different days don;t you think they would have realised not to do that again on the other days yet they still lost tanks.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by iqonx

Originally posted by RPG_bait
I hate to be Mr. Cold Water, but the US has lost many M1A2 main battle tanks in Iraq. All but only a few have been destroyed by IED's buried in the roads in pre-existing blast craters that were filled in.


Yes but how many crew members where killed?

Thats the difference. Even though America and the British have lost tanks they have lost very few tank crew in 3 years.


Originally posted by RPG_bait
All main battle tanks including the Israeli merkava have VERY thin armor on the top and bottom of the chassis.


Merkava is double skinned above the main armour to give it extra protection. It was designed to take mines and missiles.



A new feature of the tank is that the fitted modular special armour covers the turret.[/] The tank is protected against a range of threats, including air launched precision guided missiles and advanced and top attack anti-tank weapons. Automatic fire detection and suppression has been installed. The underside of the hull has been fitted with additional armour protection against mines. The driver and crew compartments are equipped with heating and cooling air conditioning and a Shalon Chemical Industries combined individual and overpressure protection systems against contamination by NBC warfare.
www.army-technology.com...





that quote doesn't say a single thing about bottom/mine protection. why even mention it?



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 09:20 AM
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I was under the impression only the top of the tank had extra armour, the underside wasn't as armoured as you may think.

As for weapons supplied by Iran- well I think i've just about lost all respect



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 09:32 AM
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Originally posted by Knights
I was under the impression only the top of the tank had extra armour, the underside wasn't as armoured as you may think.

As for weapons supplied by Iran- well I think i've just about lost all respect


that's true. to an extent. it's not so much the top that has extra armor, as the front.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 10:01 AM
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Trust me when the reporter is talking about a tank he actually is talking about the Merkava tanks.


I don't trust any reporters, as they usually are trying to "work an angle" instead of provide an accurate picture, and this one didn't seem to want to focus on anything other than the personnel losses. Although it is impressive that a Merkava can carry that many personnel, I still think the question of what type of vehicle was hit remains up in the air. There is simply no conclusive evidence. I did read that the IED that killed the NCO was estimated at 300 Kg. A charge that big would have taken out ANYTHING - so any generalization concerning the survivability of a tank is really pointless.



Why would Israel even bother to send lightly armoured IFV or medium armoured IFV's into Lebanon when they could send "heavy" armoured Merkava tanks with 8 troops inside them into lebanon?


Because you only have so many heavy tanks. The group was ambushed, so we know that they were receiving more fire than what they had expected. If they weren't expecting heavy fire, they probably weren't using heavy tanks.


So the description of "tank" given by the report matches perfectly with the description of the merkava tank.


It COULD have been a Merkava, or any other armored vehicle that can carry troops.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 10:11 AM
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Originally posted by crusader97

I don't trust any reporters, as they usually are trying to "work an angle" instead of provide an accurate picture, and this one didn't seem to want to focus on anything other than the personnel losses. Although it is impressive that a Merkava can carry that many personnel, I still think the question of what type of vehicle was hit remains up in the air. There is simply no conclusive evidence. I did read that the IED that killed the NCO was estimated at 300 Kg. A charge that big would have taken out ANYTHING - so any generalization concerning the survivability of a tank is really pointless.


It's not pointless becuase an Israel tank was also destoryed and the crew killed by a Anti-tank missile also while another tank was destoryed by a mine and many others have also been hit by anti-tank missiles and mines.



Originally posted by crusader97

Because you only have so many heavy tanks. The group was ambushed, so we know that they were receiving more fire than what they had expected. If they weren't expecting heavy fire, they probably weren't using heavy tanks.


Israel has hundreds of tanks.


Originally posted by crusader97
It COULD have been a Merkava, or any other armored vehicle that can carry
troops.


They where Merkava Tanks




As a consequence, Hizbollah has been allowed to develop what in effect amounts to a state within a state, with its own well-equipped private army - all of it funded by the Iranians. It was rockets provided by the Iranians that were used in the initial diversionary attack that preceded the kidnapping raid. And senior Israeli military officers are convinced the anti-tank weapon used to destroy their Merkava tank, with the loss of its four-man crew, originated from Iran, not Lebanon.

Report



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by random hero
that quote doesn't say a single thing about bottom/mine protection. why even mention it?


That was to just to point out that it also had bottom side protection as well as top side turret protection.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by iqonx

Originally posted by random hero
that quote doesn't say a single thing about bottom/mine protection. why even mention it?


That was to just to point out that it also had bottom side protection as well as top side turret protection.


I see that..... now. don't know how i missed that part the first time. still, tanks will always be susceptable to mine attacks. even with added armor, it's still the most vulnerable part of the tank.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by random hero
I see that..... now. don't know how i missed that part the first time. still, tanks will always be susceptable to mine attacks. even with added armor, it's still the most vulnerable part of the tank.


Was it the Russians, when attacked by Chechen rebels or Afghans, many of their tanks had under-armour. If I recall correctly many mines had little effect on the tank armour so they stacked tank mines high and thus the tank was blown sky high?

It may not be necesserily correct- just struck a chord.



posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 11:39 AM
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www.youtube.com...

Here is a video where a tanker posted up his pics of his tank and the rest of his platoon of tanks being hit by IEDs and the damage it inflicted. No anti-tank hits so sadly we don't know how it withstand the Iranian made weapons. I have seen insurgents' videos where Abrams tanks being hit, then the video footage is cutoff like they don't want to show the aftermath of their attacks on American tanks. Now its not to say that the Abrams is invincible, far from it, however its to say that the Abrams tank is tough bastard. The Merkava is tough but not invincible. What kind of respect are you trying to give...a tank that can withstand a direct nuke hit?



posted on Jul, 29 2006 @ 01:13 PM
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Even in Iraq the British Challenger2 and M1A2 have survived for years while Israel has lost more tank crew in 7 days then British and Americans tank crews that have been lost in the last 3 years combined.



There are no Challenger2 tanks in Iraq they were returned to the UK or Germany after Saddam was deposed. The Warrior IFV is the largest vehicle we have in Iraq


bih

posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 11:39 PM
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no tank is superior in close urban combat.tanks are easily destroyed by a anti-tank missile or a anti-tank mine



posted on Aug, 1 2006 @ 08:24 AM
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Originally posted by bih
no tank is superior in close urban combat.tanks are easily destroyed by a anti-tank missile or a anti-tank mine


Not True!

If a tank is aggressively maneuvered _irrespective of expected not actual limitations of terrain_ it can readily gain tactical superiority. Especially when used as the hammer against an anvil of rooftop or reverse slope airlanded troops which create a killing ground into which any attempt at Hezbollah 'retreat' is rendered a sure trip to see Allah.

Specifically, you drive /across/ lots and THROUGH houses. Not down roads. And not in support of infantry like some freakin' WWII "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's into Aachen we go..." video. You take fire from a house, you level it. And the two next to it. From a long ways out and tangential to where the threat expects to 'see it coming'.

Some things you do need to do is prescout your lines of advance and have good pass through intelligence and security so that the threat doesn't /reenter/ areas nominally taken during what amounts to road marches to the combat objectives.

I am not a big fan of the heads-out school of tanking but if that's your thing, you also need cav shields and heavy saturation fires by mortars.

You also need a LOT of on-demand smoke and good commo jamming to prescreen known killsacs or proximal-to-vil-X danger areas. It never hurts to do most of your maneuver by night either as it truly helps the UAVs find MTIs and freshly dug mines and cables and remote detonator overwatch positions too.

Lastly, and it's sad to say it, but the Lebanese really need to be taught the basic lesson that if they let Hezbollah into their land _it's not their land_ anymore.

And the one way you can do this is to take off the kid gloves, stop saying 'how sorry you are' and move with a vengeance to expose friendly units and then, at the least little confrontation, _LEVEL_ the threat location on a general rather than case-by-case mission ordered statement of "Now we will kill you just because you're there..." exampled illustration.

In the closing days of WWII, the few among the rabid nazi defenders who DID continue a hopeless effort to defend what they no longer had a right to own were so extremely vicious in their tactics that we frequently tossed grenades in cellars and fired up entire apartment blocks just to avoid having to sort the sheep from the goats.

It's well past time for Lebanon to receive this exact kind of treatment.

If they don't dish it out. If they fail to make it clear to the Lebanese that there is ONLY one choice (stand up an be reckoned as RESPONSIBLE for what you claim), then the Israeli's will indeed lose.

Unfortunately, Americans, generally having no idea how to crush an insurrection, are entirely too willing to judge the Jews for doing it right well and proper. And in this, they add the weight of horror to the world in making sure the violence does nothing but continue. As the wolves of Hezbollah realize that they can get away with this, over and over again.

The only way this will change is if South Lebanon becomes a sterilized DMZ and the effectors of this policy of terror are put in a vice grip of sanctions and military isolation until, humiliated, they are forced to return the bodies of the dead Israeli soldiers. Without having gained a single iota of their criminally claimed lands. Or won the hearts and minds of a people that no longer exist to support them (Bin Jbail especially).


KPl.




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