IDF Armor Series
By Michael Mass & Adam O’Brien
Published by Desert Eagle Publishing
Copyright © 2015 by Michael Mass
Printed by HodRahov Printing Israel
84 pages including front and back cover
MSRP – $52.00 US (lower pricing can be can be found online)
Sitting atop a long lineage of IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) armor, the Merkava Siman 4 MBT (Main Battle Tank) is the apex of Israel’s ground defense against the ever present international threats she faces. Beginning in the late 1970’s, the Merkava began replacing the battle proven Centurion based Sho’t-Cal tanks. Born from the lessons learned in battle and utilizing developments made over many years with previous MBT’s, the Merkava moved quickly into a leading role with the IDF. Since the 1970’s, there have been four basic types of Merkava tanks built, Siman (Mk or Mark) 1, 2, 3 and 4, each having their own variants to correct and/or improve the design, protection and strength of the tank. Added to this list are the Merkava-based offshoot versions including SPG (Self Propelled Gun) and APC’s such as the Namer APC and the short lived Toma”t Sholef.
Continuing a comprehensive look at and around the Merkava Siman 4 MBT, Desert Eagle Publishing recently released their thirteenth book from the critically acclaimed and ever-growing IDF Armor Series of books; Merkava Siman 4/4 LIC/4M – Merkava Mk 4 In IDF Service – Part 2. This book is the second book from the series focused on the Merkava 4; an eight-four page pictorial review and walk around looking at the variants of the Merkava 4, the 4 LIC and 4M versions which has been presented in softback and in the standard A4 format laid out on heavy weight glossy stock paper.
Table of Contents
- Introduction – The Merkava Family
- In Combat
- In Action
- Man and Machine
- In Detail
- Nochri Kal
- Battering Ram
- Belly Armor
- On Trailer
- LIC Features
- Tactical Signs
As seen in all previous editions of Desert Eagle publications, this book is packed front to back with highly detailed color photographs; over 200 pictures and schematics to be more exact. The book starts off with a short history lesson of the Merkava Family in the Introduction, giving us a quick overview to all Merkava tanks including APC and SPG with Merkava based platforms.
Following the Introduction are three captivating chapters showing a photographic look at the Merkava 4 in its normal working environments. The first of these chapters is titled In Combat. Several different variants of the Merkava 4 are shown hard at work during the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. The incredibly up close and clear photos of these beasts in motion continues on through the In Action chapter showing the 4M “Trophy” and LIC version of the Merkava during training in the Negev Desert and Golan Heights region. There is an amazing array of detailed profile shots of these tanks fills this section of the book. Moving forward, the author gives us an amazing glimpse into the day to day operations of the soldiers in a recurring chapter in the Desert Eagle books called Man and Machine. There are several pages of high resolution color photographs showing the men and women of the IDF that keep the Merkava MBT’s moving. This allows us to see the crucial, yet sometimes overlooked, human element attached to these tanks. As with all of the pictures within this book, the photographs are supported nicely with detailed text explaining what we are seeing in the pictures.
Chapter 5 brings us to the meat and potatoes, so to speak, of this book with the In Detail chapter. This is the bulk of this publication and is a twenty-seven page photographic walk around exposé of the Merkava 4M and LIC variants. Just about every facet of the Merkava Siman 4 is covered in this section including stowage and equipment securements, a close inspection of the entire exterior to the turret, Trophy System, armaments and every minute detail in between. There is a complete photo spread, completely captioned, of the 120 mm smooth bore main gun and coaxial .50 cal M2 machine gun with an exploded view schematic of the M2 included. The side skirt armor as well as a side by side comparison of various external components to both the 4M and LIC versions. This chapter finishes out with a detailed look at the road wheels, sprockets and tracks used.
Moving on from the walk around section of the book, there is a four page look at the Nochri Kal; the newly designed mine rolling system for the Merkava MBT. In this section we see up close and detailed pictures of this battlefield attachment in a few of its operating positions. Segueing from the Nocri Kal chapter, the book leads right into a two page display of the Battering Ram. Beautifully photographed, this section shows the detailing of this attachment including a 2D schematic of the Ram and control mounting plate. This chapter is quickly followed by a complete look at what’s under the LIC version in the chapter titled Belly Armor. This section shows not only the design and installed plate but has a detailed exploded view diagram to the attachment points and mounting hardware of the armor.
Part of what it takes to deploy a tank the size of the Merkava to and from the front, involves transportation via flat-bed trailers. The On Trailer chapter shows the loading and securement of the tank to these trailers. This chapter is followed closely by the Towing chapter which gives us a look at the towing horn attachment and detailed stowing arrangement of the chains and cables used with the system.
The next chapter, LIC Features, shows us what changes are made to the Merkava 4M tank to create the LIC version. LIC stands for Low Intensity Conflict. The LIC designation means the Merkava tank has been fitted with special protection for asymmetrical urban warfare and use in counter insurgence. These protective measures include steel mesh for the panoramic sights, exhaust ports and lights as well as the belly armor, slat armor for the intakes and more. This section includes diagrams showing these LIC attachments in detail.
The final chapter in this book is a brief look at the marking of the Mekava 4M/LIC MBT’s with the Tactical Signs section. This chapter summarizes the various tactical signs used, what they mean and placement. This chapter shows some of the hand painted marking specific to the Armored Corps Insignia Standards of the IDF.
Desert Eagle Publishing has captivated me once again with their latest offering of Merkava Siman 4/4 LIC/4M – Merkava Mk 4 In IDF Service – Part 2. Michael Mass (author) and Adam O’Brien (editor) add to their IDF Armor Series with an in depth look at the Merkava 4 bringing the reader up close and personal with the 4M and LIC versions of this tank being used by the IDF today. Desert Eagle Publishing continues their unfailingly comprehensive research and photographic prowess making this book a definite must-have for fans of IDF armor as well as an essential reference for the scale modeler as a source to the intricate detailing of these modern beasts of the battlefield. This book is filled with over two hundred amazingly high resolution color photographs and diagrams that not only show the complete external structuring detail to these tanks but serves as an incredible resource for coloring and weathering of the Merkava 4; the backbone to the IDF’s Armored Corps.
Modelers Social Club and the MSC Review Connect would like to thank Desert Eagle Publishing for providing a copy of Siman 4/4 LIC/4M – Merkava Mk 4 In IDF Service – Part 2 for our review!