Life_In_Black

The Merkava, Israel's Chieftain?

489 posts in this topic

The more I look into the Merkava, the more it seems that its armor is quite bad compared to contemporary Soviet and Western MBTs, all for a vehicle that weighs more than even the Chieftain does. My personal tinfoil hat theory is that the armor actually being garbage is the main reason information on the vehicle is still classified. It doesn't help when even the relatively new Namer APC which is built on the Merkava IV chassis, uses welded interlocking plates like the Germans did during WWII. Anyway, thoughts on the Merkava? Is there any definitive data out there on armor thickness that could shed some light on this, or is the Merkava only really suited for defensive hull down work where the extreme slope of the upper plate negates its downsides? And is it just me, or does the turret look like a giant shot trap waiting to happen?

LostCosmonaut likes this

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This was discussed at length on TN, with the consensus being that the hull armor of the merkava probably isn't anything special, but that the turret armor is insanely thick and always has been.  There were a number of pictures of the engine being serviced and/or replaced, and since the engine is in the front you got a fairly good look at a cross section of the glacis.  There were also a number of diagrams of the turret, which is far more impressive.

 

When the merkava I was designed, Western armor technology was lagging behind Soviet armor technology badly.  The T-64 was being mass produced, and the West mistakenly believed it had steel armor for quite some time before some spies managed to get a good look at one.  Making an MBT within reasonable weight limits frontally resistant to 100mm threats, let alone 115 or 125, was extremely difficult.

 

So, the merk I was designed with a narrow turret with extremely good sloping (you know, for all the good that does against APFSDS), lots of spaced armor, and lots of internal bulkheads to limit the amount of damage that a penetration could cause.

 

Merk IV appears to have perfectly credible turret armor; possibly even excellent turret armor.  Diagrams showing the actual size of the turret, as opposed to the add-on modules, shows that the thickness of the armor modules is insane, and their coverage is exceptional.  A few pictures of battle-damaged merk IVs that have leaked out show that the armor modules have some sort of multi-layer construction.  My bet is on NERA.  Because fucking everyone uses NERA.  Subtle differences in the shape of the modules from tank to tank show that at least some lots have been progressively upgraded as well.  

 

Shot traps aren't really an issue.  Anything puny enough to actually ricochet off the reverse slope of the turret modules (remember; they're multi-layered so the outermost layer is quite thin) won't penetrate the glacis.

LoooSeR likes this

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Yeah, I saw some of those threads over on TN. Looking at these sets of photos, I'm not convinced the Mk. 1 turret had that much spaced armor. True, later marks appear to have lots of NERA around the turret and the turret appears much bigger than on the earlier marks, but the Mk. 1 looks like anything that doesn't hit the turret front or upper glascis is going to go right through.

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Somewhere I found a diagram of the Mk1 turret which purported to show the spaced armor layout.  A lot of the front of the turret, according to this diagram, consisted of hollow boxes.

 

Haven't found the Mk1 diagram just yet, but here's the Mk IV:

 

x_47c4e7f0.jpg

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Also, for the record, chieftain probably has a much better armored glacis than a merk I.

 

Chieftain isn't shockingly nude of armor by the standards of the time, it's just not the unstoppable sledgehammer that it was widely reported to be.  It was a little better than an M60, depending exactly on what is being shot at it.

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Also, for the record, chieftain probably has a much better armored glacis than a merk I.

 

Chieftain isn't shockingly nude of armor by the standards of the time, it's just not the unstoppable sledgehammer that it was widely reported to be.  It was a little better than an M60, depending exactly on what is being shot at it.

 

Basically "anything in the realm of the 115mm" passes the M60/Chieftain test.

 

And of course, 115mm is roughly equivalent to 4.5"

 

Proving once and for all that .45 is the ideal size for stopping power.

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     Somebody tried to say something bad about Jewish God and Savior - the Merkava! Life in Black, prepare for Baal Teshuva!

 

     Anyway, Merkava 1 turret would be hard to pen for Soviet APFSDS until late 1980s. Reason is simple - Soviet APFSDS were pretty bad at high angles (we are talking about export version of Soviet ammunition), they tend to simply ricochet (yes, NII "Stali" in one of their articles about ERA noted that IIRC 30 mm steel palte at angles near 70 degrees would be enough to stop pre-"Mango" shells). Although after combat in Lebanon in 1982 Merkava 1 turret was found to be not so well protected, as it was expected. AFAIK turret was protected by sloped 76mm steel plate and another 76 mm plate after it (so it had spaced armor effect too). Pre-ERA T-64s had generally not much better armor, especially if we take into account weakspots in the middle of the turret and UFP. 

 

    Merkava 1 would face something like 3BM10 steel penetrators and only later 3BM17, which means that this tank could have high chances to survive direct hit. Don't forget that turret frontal projection of Merkava 1 was only 1 m2. Try to hit that while on the move and while Merkava 1 is in hulldown postition.

 

    Generally speaking Merk1 was a not bad vehicle overall for conditions in and around Israel, which is success for Israeli designers (Merk1 was first true Jewish armor, apart from engine, transmission, gun and coaxial MG, lol), and against almost all opponents of Israel Merk1 was a very serious tank to deal with. Later versions of Merkava are different story, especially Merkava 3 Bet Baz dor Dalet and Merkava 4 Baz M.

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     Somebody tried to say something bad about Jewish God and Savior - the Merkava! Life in Black, prepare for Baal Teshuva!

 

 

I say bad things about the Merkava alll the time, where's my divine reward?

 

I even urinated on Life_in_Black to claim him as my territory aswell for stepping in my domain.

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I say bad things about the Merkava alll the time, where's my divine reward?

 

I even urinated on Life_in_Black to claim him as my territory aswell for stepping in my domain.

Expect black Merkava near your home... 3 ..2 ...1... God dammit, today is Saturday. 

xthetenth likes this

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Looser brings up a good point.  Very long rod APFSDS like M829A4 penetrates sloped armor better on a LOS basis than flat armor, while APDS penetrates sloped armor worse than flat armor on a LOS basis (which is why you'd bother using sloped armor in the first place).

 

The early Soviet APFSDS were steel, so not great density, rather slow by modern standards, and quite stubby, so their behavior seems to have been in-between.  They didn't suffer from slope as much as APDS did, but they weren't brilliant against it either.

 

Also, they weren't terribly accurate for some reason.  For long-range anti-tank shooting the Soviets favored HEAT rounds over APFSDS.  Given also that T-62 lacked a proper rangefinder, just having a small, narrow turret would be a pretty good defense.

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Not to be that type of sperg lord but, isn't the latest US penetrator called the M829E4 and not A4? or am I missing out on some new penertrator design?

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Not to be that type of sperg lord but, isn't the latest US penetrator called the M829E4 and not A4? or am I missing out on some new penertrator design?

I think he was speaking about E4. Russia is also developing new APFSDS rounds for T-14, which are almost 1 meter long. 

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I should just make a spectrum of modern mbts or something that doesn't matter because I and basically no one else knows the specs of all of them.

 

Wait, let me do that right now.

 

Divine god tier. (bow down)

 

M1A2 Abrams

 

Good, I guess.

 

Leopard 2A6/2A7

T-90AM

 

Underrated or Too much unknown

 

Type 99A2

T-84 Oplot-M

T-80UM

AMX Leclerc

 

Overrated/tank that hasn't been updated or maintained since they were built

 

Type 10

Type 90

Challenger 2

 

LolBad

 

Arjun

Merkava

K2 Black Panther

 

Sad mockery of our lord and savior the Abrams

 

K1A1

 

Italian

 

C1 Ariete

 

Get out level 3

 

PL-01

 

Annoying wannabe tank hipster

 

Osorio

 

Some other shit.

 

Everything else... I guess.

 

 

.....Yeah, time to put that in image form.

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Is it still an E4 and not an A4?  I did not know.

 

Does anyone know what the ammo storage looks like on the Leclerc?  The autoloader design would appear amenable to isolation and blow-out panels.  But then, the Leclerc is weird.  It doesn't even have a fume extractor!

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Merkava bad? Where is Turkish SUPERIOR Altay if we have mock-up Polish plasma tank? T-84 is not in "bad"? 

 

big_372479.jpg

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Is it still an E4 and not an A4?  I did not know.

 

Does anyone know what the ammo storage looks like on the Leclerc?  The autoloader design would appear amenable to isolation and blow-out panels.  But then, the Leclerc is weird.  It doesn't even have a fume extractor!

 

Erm, I was asking you if it was designated A4 now or not.

 

.....I shall return!

 

 

Merkava bad? Where is Turkish SUPERIOR Altay if we have mock-up Polish plasma tank? T-84 is not in "bad"? 

 

big_372479.jpg

 

Eh, I don't know a whole fuckton about the T-84 so put it in the "unknown" category.

 

And the Altay isn't in service yet so I didn't really bother since it's not talked about, on the other hand, Polish fanboys and nationalists are already hyping the PL-01 as "THE BEST THING EVER DESIGNED IN HUMAN HISTORY!" so, much like the Arjun, I kind of enjoy mocking it.

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Is it still an E4 and not an A4?  I did not know.

 

Does anyone know what the ammo storage looks like on the Leclerc?  The autoloader design would appear amenable to isolation and blow-out panels.  But then, the Leclerc is weird.  It doesn't even have a fume extractor!

 

T-14 will not have fume extractor too. 2A82M gun, mate.  ;)

 

Leclerk's autoloader photos is hard to find.

 

pic16.jpg

Hull ammorack is right after frontal armor near driver. 

 

original.jpg#20692488597

 

It is how that autoloader could look like, as it is conveyor type of loading device. Loading new shell and selecting new shell for next loading are separated operations, which helps to increase RoF to ~12 shots per minute.

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Speaking of MBTs and autoloaders, the Type-99A2 reportedly has improvements done to it's autoloader recently to up its rate of fire to 11 rpm.

 

autoloader master race.

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Why are they getting rid of the fume extractor on T-14?  This is also new to me!

Well, those are 'rumors', designers can change their mind. RAE 2015 is when we will see live fire show from T-14, AFAIK.

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after careful review, I have decided to put the Altay into category of

 

Kebab Tank

 

Where this shall be placed remains to be seen.

Sturgeon likes this

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Some information about tank crew casualties during 2006 Lebanon "Missiles war".

 

 

In total, 30 tankers were killed during Second Lebanon war (19 regular army soldiers and 11 reservists) in 13 tanks. In addition, on August 12,  reconnaissance company soldier of the 401st Armored Brigade Itai Steinberger died (ie, an infantryman, and not a tanker), but many sources indicate the number of dead soldiers of Armored Forces as 31. It should also be noted that some sources considered major Nimrod Hillel, who died 10.08.06, as tanker. Accordingly, they indicate the death toll as 32 tankers.

 
Summarizing the data for the 30 dead tankers:
 
Reasons of death:
25 tankers in 11 tanks were killed by ATGMs.
5 tankers in 2 tanks were killed by IEDs.
 
Note 1: www.pmo.gov.il site reported death of a tank driver from mortar mine at 13.08.06. However, on this day only one death of one tanker (Tsur Zarkhi) was confirmed, he was killed by ATGM.
Note 2: In the article, writen by Yitzhak Ben-Israel, referred to above in Note 1, it is said that the amount of deaths from ATGMs (missiles and RPGs) was 23 tankers. Thus, 7 killed by landmines. However, most likely "Merkava" Siman 2 (09.08.06) and "Merkava" Siman 3 (12.08.06) were hit only by an ATGM. "Landmine" version appeared, most likely because of a detonation of main gun ammunition in those tanks. Therefore, IEDs / roadside bombs killed not 7, but 5 tankers - 4 in "Merkava" SIman 2 (12.07.06) and 1 in the "Merkava" Siman 4 (24.07.06).
 
On the total deaths of tank crews:
4 tanks with entire crew killed in each (3 tanks were hit by ATGM and from 1 by a landmine);
2 tanks with 3 tankman killed in each (3/4 of vehicle crew);
1 tank with 2 tankman killed;
6 tanks with 1 tanker killed in each.
 
Fatalities, broken down by the types of tanks:
"Merkava" Siman 2 - 10 deaths in 3 tanks (4 + 2 + 4);
"Merkava" Siman 3 - 9 deaths in 4 tanks (3 + 1 + 4 + 1);
"Merkava" Siman 4 - 11 deaths in 6 tanks (1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 4).
 
Note: considering the cases of destroyed tanks with dead crew members it can be seen that the "Merkava" Siman 4 demonstrated the highest chances of survival of the crew members in case of ATGMs attacks. "Merkava" Siman 4 showed lowest level of casualties - 1.8 people per damaged/destroyed tank, while the "Merkava"  Siman 3 - 2.25, and the "Merkava" SIman 2 - 3.3.
 
Irrecoverable losses - 5 tanks:
1. July 12 - "Merkava" Siman 2, bomb, 4 dead;
2. 24 July - "Merkava" Siman 4 (battalion commander vehicle), bomb, 1 dead;
3. August 9 - "Merkava" Siman 2, ATGM (or bomb, and then ATGM), 4 dead, ammunition detoantion;
4. August 12th - "Merkava" Siman 3, ATGM, 4 dead, probably ammunition detoantion.
5. August 12th - "Merkava" Siman 4 ("Koah Banaya"), ATGM, 4 dead, ammunition detonation.

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tumblr_nlwucgou0l1tj31v2o1_1280.jpgMerkava 2 after some modifications, i guess.

 

16587285627_c2f0e5daf6_o.jpgI still don't understand where are laser sensors now. Their original mount is empty, although mount itself is still in place.

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