Defense Update - News Analysis by David Eshel

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Merkava Mk4 Tanks Endure AT missile Attacks

Updated Aug. 8. 2006:

During operations against Hezbollah in South Lebanon, IDF Merkava Mk 4 tanks endured several attacks by anti-tank guided missiles, RPGs, IEDs and heavy belly charges. Merkava crews suffered several casualties, and tanks were damaged. Overall, the new tanks demonstrated supperior protection and endurance, compared to earlier models. Some of the damaged tanks have already been put back to service, following repairs at the IDF depot. This series of photos shows an event near the Israeli vilage of Metula, just across the border, where a section of Merkava tanks, supported by infantry troops moved to asist recovery operations of a Puma armored engineer vehicle carrying a Carpet counter-mine system, which overturned from the narrow mountainous road into a ravine. During these operations, Hezbollah tank-hunter team launched several anti-tank missiles at the Merkava tanks, hitting and damaging one of the tanks while the other lost a track over the steep roadside. Eventually, all tanks were recovered safely, included three wounded soldiers from the AIFV.

Four types of Merkava tanks are in action here, including Merkava Mk4, the Merkava Mk 2D (with the distinctive sloped turret), the starndard Mk2, and Merkava Mk3Baz. According to press reports, three brigades, the 7th armored brigade, 188th Armored brigade and the 401 armored brigade are taking part in the operation, supporting elements from three elite infantry brigades, including Golani, paratroops (35 para. bde.) and Nahal (900 inf. bde.) A fourth reservist infantry brigade has recently joined the battle.

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