CGS:upgrading challenger and warrior.

is a frontal penetration not the end of things full stop?
On a conventional MBT, if penetrated, which is highly unlikely by a tank round. It almost certainly would be the end, not a lot to stop a sabot bouncing around inside. On older MBTs the turret ring or sides were the weak spot.
Modern Panzers have the turret ring recessed into the hull armour, so eliminating the weak spot. Reactive armour on the hull, side skirts and turret also enhances survivability.
 
Apologies if this is a stupid question ... What are the disadvantages of a Merkava style rear mounted turret and crew compartment on a MBT? I believe this gives greater crew protection and allows personnel to enter or leave the tanks more readily when under fire. Given that these are both good things for any army I assume there are disadvantages to this layout which have prevented other armies from adopting it.
My first question is:
"what are you taking out?"

Space in a tank is a very very very premium component. To have a large multi-purpose space at the rear means that to create that area, you need to remove something. In the Merkava its mostly ammo that is pulled.
 
My first question is:
"what are you taking out?"

Space in a tank is a very very very premium component. To have a large multi-purpose space at the rear means that to create that area, you need to remove something. In the Merkava its mostly ammo that is pulled.
It's space, but as you say, not oodles of it. You can remove the rear ammo "cartons" and use the free space to carry blokes, but that knocks down your ammo levels.
Iirc , The idea was to extract infantry in conjunction with other tanks. They give covering fire while you run forward with minimal ammo load, get the boys on board and eff off. You then drop them off where you can get bombed up and return to the fight. It's not so much as to take them forward. Could be wrong though.
 
It's space, but as you say, not oodles of it. You can remove the rear ammo "cartons" and use the free space to carry blokes, but that knocks down your ammo levels.
Iirc , The idea was to extract infantry in conjunction with other tanks. They give covering fire while you run forward with minimal ammo load, get the boys on board and eff off. You then drop them off where you can get bombed up and return to the fight. It's not so much as to take them forward. Could be wrong though.
In my (very uninformed and probably absolutely rubbish ) opinion its something that makes a lot of sense for the IDF but little or non to NATO / USSR*.

The IDF expects to face a predominantly well armed insurgent type opponent rather than a conventional opponent. In that context the main armament is less likely to be required and so having a credible MBT that can double as a heavy APC (even if light on dismounts) or Ambulance by removing the bilk of unneeded main rounds would make sense.

In the European context - facing a predominantly guerrilla army was unlikely ** - the expected opposition was combined arms formations ergo theres no practical benefit to ditching main gun rounds to make space when the big shooty bit is the very raison d'etre of C2/ Leopard /T72 etc



*As was at the Genesis of most current MBTs

**Stop laughing at the back
 
It's space, but as you say, not oodles of it. You can remove the rear ammo "cartons" and use the free space to carry blokes, but that knocks down your ammo levels.
Iirc , The idea was to extract infantry in conjunction with other tanks. They give covering fire while you run forward with minimal ammo load, get the boys on board and eff off. You then drop them off where you can get bombed up and return to the fight. It's not so much as to take them forward. Could be wrong though.
It was more that their experience in the defensive battles of 1967 and 1973 taught them a few key lessons:
  • Experienced tank crews are critical. Protect them.
  • Trying to casevac a crew through roof hatches, potentially under fire, is less than ideal
  • Trying to replen ammo through roof hatches is less than ideal, especially if you're in a hurry to get back to killing Syrian armour.
So, they came up with a design that allowed ammo in, and people out, through the rear of the vehicle.
 
@Gravelbelly - good points
Serial 1 is our concern as well, experienced tankies don't grow on trees, as are serials 2 & 3.
We still bomb up vIa the roof hatch and evac via the same, and the enemy for which we practiced had vast numbers - for which rapid reloading would have been a must.
Imho, the merk layout would offer us advantages should we design a Chally 4.
 

NemoIII

Old-Salt
Doesn't a front engine MTB have a high hull? Rear engine allows for very shallow angles over the front of the vehicle.
 
465001801000100408304no.jpg

Another reason.

...givvus your fmt600 private Green...
 
It's space, but as you say, not oodles of it. You can remove the rear ammo "cartons" and use the free space to carry blokes, but that knocks down your ammo levels.
Iirc , The idea was to extract infantry in conjunction with other tanks. They give covering fire while you run forward with minimal ammo load, get the boys on board and eff off. You then drop them off where you can get bombed up and return to the fight. It's not so much as to take them forward. Could be wrong though.
So lots of ammo sloshing about in the back and unprotected. Don't get me wrong though I can see the use of a multi-function space, and the added protection is always good.

The other thing about the Merk is it's f'king Massive!


Compare the height of the hull roof:


Now either the IDF is employing nowt but midgets, Or its a bit of a chunky tank, mainly to fit over the engine block. Equally, consider who your engine is going to drive your tracks. We've had that discussion on here before.

Edit:
Even better picture showing the size of this bathtub:

To quote a mate "At last! something bigger than Ajax!"
 
Last edited:
So lots of ammo sloshing about in the back and unprotected. Don't get me wrong though I can see the use of a multi-function space, and the added protection is always good.

The other thing about the Merk is it's f'king Massive!


Compare the height of the hull roof:


Now either the IDF is employing nowt but midgets, Or its a bit of a chunky tank, mainly to fit over the engine block. Equally, consider who your engine is going to drive your tracks. We've had that discussion on here before.

Edit:
Even better picture showing the size of this bathtub:

To quote a mate "At last! something bigger than Ajax!"
Stone me it's almost as big as a Tortoise Tank. Certainly bigger than a Conqueror....
 
Stone me it's almost as big as a Tortoise Tank. Certainly bigger than a Conqueror....
Yup, its not a small puppy. That's in part due to the front slope having to get over the power pack I suspect. Both Challys, and Chieftain, have had a step up behind the turret, to get the hull roof over their power packs. The turret provides a chunk of the protection for it. The Merkava has to slap the protection straight in. So we have more area to armour and thus less protection for a given weight. Now with just ~65 tons to play with, I bet she's a rather Squishy tank when compared to the Chally.
 
When someone comes up with a different solution than everyone else, very often it's because they think they have a different problem than everyone else.

I suspect that the unique design of the Merkava is a reflection of how Israel views their strategic situation. They would see the tank as primarily intended to help defend the borders of a relatively small country, including operating short distances into surrounding countries, with a secondary role of helping to police the Palestinian Territories. Their air force would be the long distance striking arm, and the Americans would take care of any wars further away that need to be fought on Israel's behalf.

They did at one time occupy the Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal, but that was decades ago and the demographic, technological, and economic balance over the long term is not in their favour for repeating that sort of thing in the modern era.

So, they need a tank that is good at sitting in prepared defensive positions for long periods of time, including being able to change or rest crews without exposing them too much. They don't need to operate far from well equipped maintenance support, so the more difficult access to the engine is less of a disadvantage.

Not many countries are in a similar situation, which may go some ways to explaining why the Merkava has seen no foreign sales and nobody has seemed inclined to come out with anything similar.

If the UK were to design a new tank today starting from a blank sheet of paper and taking into account what the UK intends to do with it, I suspect that it would look a lot more similar to the proposed upgraded Challenger 2 than it would to a Merkava.

The Merkava reportedly performed rather poorly in Lebanon. That apparently was put down to poorly trained crews who weren't familiar with their tanks as they had spent most of their time doing things other than training how to actually make effective use of them. This shows that technology is not a substitute for training and experience.
 
The ammunition in the Merk is stored in protective sleeves btw. (No idea why it posts images twice?)
1437947319-merkava-mk-iv-17-rounds-on-each-sides.jpg
img094del-web.jpg
1437947319-merkava-mk-iv-17-rounds-on-each-sides.jpg
img094del-web.jpg
 
I've asked around about the Merk armour and...


That's a lot of overhead protection for FIBUA.
The current speculation is that the weight, which is cited all over the net is higher than 65 tons. Even so, the hull relies on components (EG, engine, transmission and fuel) as shot absorption. Granted we use fuel to aid in protection, and its a good idea (once saw a plan for a 20 ton AFV where they'd managed to get 26" RHAe using fuel tanks). But even so I think we have some armour in the way? There really can't be that much on the hull of a Merk?

In answer to my last question:
 
The video of the engine coming out, the white driver's armoured pod is visible.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So lots of ammo sloshing about in the back and unprotected. Don't get me wrong though I can see the use of a multi-function space, and the added protection is always good.

The other thing about the Merk is it's f'king Massive!


Compare the height of the hull roof:


Now either the IDF is employing nowt but midgets, Or its a bit of a chunky tank, mainly to fit over the engine block. Equally, consider who your engine is going to drive your tracks. We've had that discussion on here before.

Edit:
Even better picture showing the size of this bathtub:

To quote a mate "At last! something bigger than Ajax!"
The damn things nearly 10ft tall, going by rough estimates
 

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