Israeli tank Merkava Mk.4 — not a guarantee of success
Two stories that most perfect instrument in itself is no guarantee of victory in battle. At a meeting with tactically and mentally stable opponent it will be successfully destroyed.
Both actions have occurred in the same day — August 12, but only the difference in the 60 years. In both cases, new tanks, which were at the time of tank masterpieces were old or more bits at a theoretical level unequal instrument.
First story is dated August 12, 1944. Actions took place in Poland in the area of Sandomierz bridgehead near the village Stashuv Fri. As a result, Russian coming summer 1944 fascist army suffered a series of heavy defeats. Troops first Ukrainian Front reached the Vistula and seized a bridgehead on the west bank of the river. Nazis to eliminate the bridgehead began to pull troops from Germany and Hungary, and was calculated by massive strikes on converging fronts dismember and kill Russian troops. August 10, 1944 the Germans finished concentration own troops in the area west of Khmilnyk. The composition of their groups were 3rd and 16th Panzer, 20th Motorized Division and the 501st battalion of heavy tanks.
The German command was meant to strike through Khmelnik on cancer and Stashuv butt between 13th and 5th Guards armies to seize crossings on the river Czarna and reach the Vistula near Baranów. «Secret weapon», which is the main focus, the Germans considered Own 501st battalion of heavy tanks, filled with new tanks T-VIB — «King Tiger».
The battalion had an exciting destiny. Formed in May 1942 in Erfurt, based on the new T-VIN «Tiger», in November 1942, he was sent to North Africa. There, despite the successful actions against American and British tanks in the desert, after six months, in May 1943, in North Tunisia battalion was almost completely destroyed. After reshaping and re battalion in France, received 45 new «Tigers», went to the Eastern Front under Vitebsk. But in the beginning of the Russian offensive operation «Bagration» was again defeated. In the third time a tank battalion was recreated based on the latest for those long T-VIB «King Tiger». With all this new tanks were equipped only two companies of 3, because the middle of 1944 their creation only gathered momentum in July was released 45 tanks in August — 83 tank.
«Royal Tiger» was very complex and labor-intensive to manufacture and maintain the machine. Weighed 69.8 tons, crew consisted of 5 people. Tank height — 375 cm, thickness of the hull armor — 150 mm, side and feed — 80 mm, forehead Tower — 180 mm, maximum speed — 38 km / h, the progress in store — 170 km on the highway, cross-country — 120 km. Radios provide communication at a distance of up to 9.4 km. The tank was 88-mm anti-tank gun, which had a barrel length of more than 6 m (6298 mm), and two machine guns MG42. Ammunition consisted of 84 shots for the gun and 4800 rounds of machine guns. Initial velocity armor-piercing projectile — 1000 m / s. As an auxiliary tank was equipped with weapons close combat unit — 26 mm caliber mortar in ammunition which included smoke, shrapnel and high-incendiary bombs.
Penetration 88 mm gun «King Tiger» at a distance of 1000 m was 165 mm at an angle of 30 degrees. When firing range 2,286 m armor was 127 mm. And from a distance of 457 m tank could penetrate an armor width 182 mm, even at 60 degrees. Of more fundamental advantage of «King Tiger» and the rate of fire was about seven or eight rounds per minute, three times the rate of fire languid Russian JS-2 (two or three shots per minute).
As was established later, a 85-mm armor-piercing projectiles Russian tank T-34-85 front hull «King Tiger» did not break and did not make any design, even damage from a distance of 300 m tests showed that the fire in the board and steel tower monster armor-piercing projectiles was effective only in 85-mm Russian and American 76mm guns from a distance of less than 800 m Russian gun ZIS-3 and F-34 (76 mm) did not «take» in the tank «forehead» and «side . » From all this it can be seen how strong and harsh machine had to face our tankers.
Were exciting and other technical innovations implemented in the new tank. Namely, in the «Royal Tiger» had monocular telescopic sight with a variable increase. Swivel sight provides freedom of movement of the impartial, coupled with the installation of the twin cannon and machine gun across the spectrum of the vertical angle of fire. Rotating turret carried by a hydraulic pivoting mechanism. The tank was equipped with a unique automatic sprinkler system. Starting from 51th on the tank car began to install the newest tower of the «Henschel» in which in the fighting compartment under the seat gunner installed an air compressor to blow the gun barrel after each shot. Airflow blew powder gases from the bolt and prevents their entry into the crew compartment. These innovation at all Russian tanks will appear only after the war.
Avoiding Allied air bombings, the battalion «royal tigers» August 9, 1944 arrived at the railway station Konetspol. During the 50-kilometer march battalion suffered the first loss in the art — the third part of the machines 3 x 10-s left on the road because of the broken box.
16 Panzer Division, forming two battle groups on the basis of the 64th and 79th regiments of grenadiers, August 10 through Pinchuv made towards Khmelnik. August 11 met the vanguard of our 95th Guards Rifle Division in the area of highway Khmelnik-Szydlow. Detachment, consisting of Infantry Battalion 290 th Guards Rifle Regiment, reinforced battalion of artillery, had fierce resistance, forcing the enemy before time to turn in the order of battle. This delay immediately enjoyed the Russian command, throw on a plot of two fighter breakthrough anti-artillery regiments, which significantly increased the narrow defensive line of the 112th Division. Bridgehead at this time was an uneven, rests on the Vistula River semicircle.
Divisions our 6th Guards Tank Corps, operating in the area, became operational flip their units to the threatened area. As a result, the Germans resisted rearrangement 43 T-34 tanks, including nine T-34-76 53rd Guards Tank Brigade, nine T-34-76 and 10 tanks T-34-85 52-th Guards Tank Brigade, 11 tanks T-34-76 and four T-34-85 51th Guards Tank Brigade. There also were 12 Staszów languid tanks IS 71st languid Tank Regiment.
At the forefront of the German units were hitting the 53rd Guards Tank Brigade. Problem for the brigade command was the inability to dig shelters for equipment because of loose soil. But commanders took note that the terrain is difficult for enemy tanks. In past battles for Szydlow oglenduv and in the same criteria «Panther» stalled. Russian troops then managed to inflict severe damage. Proceeding from this command tank brigade came to the conclusion that the Germans second time will not repeat the mistakes and sandy fields do not go and try to get around on the roads of brigade position on the flanks.
Front of the second tank battalion Major Korobov terrain perfectly visible. On the right flank stretched wide and profound bearing on which of oglenduv Stashuv in the rear of our troops passed the road. Dragged on the road on the support could not attract the attention of the Nazis. To cover up this road at the exit of the beam on the slopes of the nameless heights in the ambush were delivered two T-34 tanks of the third tank battalion. Some of the tanks camouflaged on the outskirts of the beam in a mop of grass on the field. All close to the exit of the beam was «Thirty» junior lieutenant Oskina. He was ordered without a command not to open fire.
The largest tank fashistckoy Germany «Royal Tiger» succumbed to the skill of the Russian soldiers.
On the night of August 13 in Szydlow area was captured by the sergeant major of 501 separate battalion of heavy tanks. During the interrogation he revealed that before the Russian troops is 501st battalion, consisting of 3-mouth and supply companies, comprising 40 tanks, 20 of which — «Panther» and 20 — T-IVN. With all this feldwebel deliberately hid the presence of advanced tanks in the division «Royal Tiger».
At night August 12 were heard rising from the depths of the tank rumble German positions. Before dawn commander of the 53rd Guards Tank Brigade returned from headquarters to its own tank that served as Supervisory Fri and are in combat formations of the first tank battalion. In the morning due to heavy fog with NP brigade could not see anything, the silence interrupted increasing roar of tank engines. The air swept Junkers, soaring to Stashuv, earned the German artillery. But German intelligence failed to uncover brigade combat orders, and the enemy’s shells burst far behind positions.
Beams emerged from the first, slowly creeping, Straseni size tank. He crawled on the rise in spurts, skidding in the sand. Brigade Commander ordered not to hurry — peel with 400 meters. Beams emerged from the second and third cars. While came third tank first ambush had already passed. Second Lieutenant Oskin, whose tank was masked in Haycock, opened fire. Brigade Commander clearly beheld through binoculars as the right-hand sides of the enemy tanks had dark holes. First tank flushed third tank turned front to Oskin, but was hit in the caterpillar and braked, he was killed by. Brigade Commander ordered all open fire. I turned just three 10-ka trunks. Howitzer battalions covered support plunging fire. There are S-87 and Messershmity, but they immediately stormed and drove our fighters.
By the finale a day or 53rd Guards Tank Brigade took up defensive positions 300 meters east of the village oglenduv in readiness for an attack on Szydlow. Two tanks with a company of the third battalion of submachine stormed the village, which is eight o’clock am absolutely unable to clear the enemy. Taken in the middle of the village trophies were German miracle tanks. Here is where it became clear that the team had to fight with the new German tanks (foggy in the morning there was no time to sort out, and the first flaming tanks cursed «Panther»). In just three days of fighting, from 11 to 13 August in the district town Stashuv troops of the 6th Tank Corps, was captured and destroyed 13 new «royal tigers.» In addition, 11 were destroyed T and T-IV-V «Panther».
Success was impressive, a division of the 6th Guards Tank Corps had not lost any 1st own tank. The crew of the second lieutenant Oskina burned three «Royal Tiger» and one knocked out. Sam Alexander Petrovich was awarded the title Hero of Russian Union gun commander Abubakir Mirhaydarov — the Order of Lenin, the other crew members bestowed medals.
Fight in Wadi Saluki
After 62 years old, August 12, 2006, at the time the new Israeli tank ‘Merkava MK4 «was a bit old Russian LAW» Baby «and the RPG-7.
MK4 — first tank, built with the introduction of digital technology. The tank was proudly state of Israel. Personal Israeli companies and municipal enterprises produced 72% of devices, and only 28% of imported devices. Sophisticated electron-optical systems were supplemented by ordinary sights and observation devices. For the tank commander was not necessary to visually monitor the enemy to know where he is. All the furnishings in real time are displayed on color monitors. Tank commander and gunner as necessary could lead surveillance through each other sights. MK4 was equipped with 4 cameras, allowing the driver-mechanic to monitor around the car. Images from the camera is transmitted to the screen of the driver in the daytime and at night.
Combat Information System MK4 tank platoon gave the best situational awareness of what is happening on the battlefield. Each crew member had information about the area, the location of his car and trucks neighbors, also the location of the enemy. Combat Information System allows you to record all data, including image. These data would then be copied to evaluate the performance of the crew and the commander or used for training.
Machine weight — 65 tons (according to unofficial data, the weight of the car close to 70 tons). Crew — four people. Height of the commander’s cupola — 2.8 m Maximum speed Chassis — 65 km / h, in store range — 500 km. Motor Power — 1500 hp
Tank were armed with 120-mm gun, rocket launcher to fire anti-tank LAHAT, two 7.62-mm machine guns, one 60mm mortar. Power plant management company, which also provides the issuance of driver disk imaging, and has been combined with modern automatic transmission, providing five forward speeds. The exhaust port was substantially more than at earliest models, and had a different construction. This was made to reduce thermal signature of the tank. In addition, an attempt was made to cast away the visible contour of exhaust gases away from the cloud of dust is thrown out from under the tank tracks. This was done due to the fact that most of the thermal imager can not find a thermal loop exhaust gases formed only one, and found to target only a wavelength of 8-14 microns. But behold the excellent thermal imagers circuit exhaust when they are mixed with dust or other particles.
The operation against the «Hezbollah» started in June 2006, when more than 400 tanks, the IDF invaded Lebanon with the objective terrain kill armed groups party of Allah, leading Israeli shelling areas. As a result, even if we judge by the statements of Israeli and Western media, the IDF, having an advantage in absolute aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks, vehicles RTR, EW, night vision devices, lost a huge amount of armor.
«Vampire» AGAINST «Merkava»
Land formation of the Israeli army were not ready to fight well trained and prepared for such a war opponent, the main difficulty for Israeli soldier has been associated with the strategy of action fighters «Hezbollah», in which lay the basis of unexpected blows massive means of destruction with the greatest range, and fire ambush . Traditional illustrations describe the strategy of «Hezbollah» was the battle at Wadi Saluki, which occurred recently virtually end the Israeli-Lebanese war. In this battle, the IDF suffered the greatest loss in the course of the coming of the 401st Brigade, curb tanks «Merkava Mk4», across the river towards the village Saluki Randuriya. Of the 24 participating in the coming 11 tanks were hit by anti-tank missiles. Israeli media immediately began to claim that they were amazed by the new Russian anti-tank «Cornet» and RPG-29 «Vampire».
In my opinion, a huge loss resulted from underestimating the IDF Israel Prof. training fighters «Hezbollah.» Publicized Israeli intelligence failed to uncover the enemy in time. As a result, came armed clash with IDF sverhtehnologichny highly trained troops.
Interfering in Lebanon, the IDF expected to fight with savages armed with Kalashnikovs and rushes to the attack, shouting «Allahu Akbar!» And met perfectly armed, trained, strong spirit, prepared army, aimed at protecting their own land. «Hezbollah», having the newest complexes EW, communications, aviation, artillery and tanks, armored fist Israel opposed the latest strategy to combat sverhtehnologichny army.
In forested mountainous terrain of Lebanon «Hezbollah» in advance prepared perfectly camouflaged and covered from all kinds of intelligence assets strongholds, minefields and bombs, firing bags sighted landmarks. Knowing advantage IDF EW and RTR, he refused to electronic communications by clicking on a wired connection. In addition, planted messengers signalers on bikes and large. Small mobile groups of men armed with obsolete ATGM and RPG, covered the entire area of Lebanon, where Israeli troops were expected from the Israeli border and up to the last point of the invasion.
In the highlands are not many roads to travel, because a huge number to arrange an ambush was not much difficulty. It must be emphasized decent outfit fighters «Hezbollah.» They abandoned in favor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle M-4 and M-16, while having all this huge amount of thermal sights and night. Highest commendable and their ability to use the masking tools, honed by numerous exercises. Equipment, fire fighters and tactical training to provide appropriate training and equipping the IDF soldier.
For example, according to some reports, during the second Lebanon war, the Israelis in separate tanks «Merkava» used the newest system of active protection Trophy, consisting of radar associated with 4 antennas placed on the front and rear parts of the platform and the sides and providing protection in the sector of 360 degrees, and 2-defeat devices flying up weapons stationed on each side of the platform.
Ability of this miracle of engineering thought spetsy «Hezbollah» countered more unusual strategy: Trophy incapacitates the concentrated fire of ordinary small guns and grenade launchers of old good, then even older «baby», which is the newest Leaky magic art IDF.
Created by Vasily Geranin