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Armor/AFV: IDF [Israeli Defense Forces]
Armor and AFVs of the IDF army from 1947-today.
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Merkava Basket Contents
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 08:00 AM UTC
All,

I think I may have asked this question before, but can't find it and don't recall any answers. I'm going to be finishing my Merkava Mark 4M Trophy tank sometime soon, and the turret basket will be open (not covered with a tarp). Unlike many photos of M1A1/A2 tanks, where turret stowage is pretty clearly observable, the contents of the Merkava tank turret baskets, and in particular, the Mark 4M basket, is not easily discerned. I'm thinking that the baskets are not typically filled with a huge amount of stuff, unlike American M1s. I am building a Vulcan Brigade tank, if it makes any difference. Does anyone have any insight as to what the basket should contain? Clearly, it is not terribly full, and certainly not overflowing. Anyone have any ideas about what I can put in my tanks' basket, and would the 'stuff' be Israeli equipment (duh!) and how would it differ from American equipment, and if so, is there anywhere to get the appropriate items? Sorry to be (probably) repetitious in my requests, but I REALLY want this particular tank to be as accurate as possible, because I was lucky enough to make the Vulcan insignia so nice (if I do say so myself)
errains
#045
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 08:30 AM UTC
Hey Curt,

I always considered vehicle stowage as an area to exercise artistic licence. Just put in as much or as little as you like. Also consider adding items that give a little pop of color that normally is not seen, such as an orange water cooler.

Also do an image search on the interwebs, which I'm sure you have done. But look at all Merkavas and not just Mk4s to get some ideas.

Good Luck!!
panzerbob01
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 12:19 PM UTC
Same as Eric said.

There are pics showing covered baskets - and I assume that these are "full" beneath the covers. Otherwise, I'm thinking water coolers (blue, orange...) maybe sleeping bags, water cans, boxes of rations (or maybe of water or soda bottles... seen these on IDF tanks in photos).

The basket is there for the likely reason - for crew to put stuff in that they don't carry inside. Probably some license applies here. I doubt anyone would put a loose round or a firearm in it, but most other items are perhaps legit, IMO.

I'm "working" the same question on my Merk 2b build, and it's looming for a soon-to-start Magach 7C build...

Cheers! Bob
Armorsmith
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 12:28 PM UTC
From what I understand Israeli stowage is standardized even to the point of where individual items go. Can't remember where I came across that info so I may be totally off base. The Israelis are also pretty strict about having the stowage covered and rarely if ever do you see items stowed on the rear deck or the sides of the turret. I'm sure some of the IDF guys will chime in to either confirm or refute what I have said.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 06:11 PM UTC

Quoted Text

From what I understand Israeli stowage is standardized even to the point of where individual items go. Can't remember where I came across that info so I may be totally off base.



You're not, that's correct info. Mind you, the bulk of IDF's fighting force in times of war has always been the reserve army. Tanks to be manned by reservists are being stored in full combat ready condition. The idea is no matter which tank you hop into, you'll find everything you need to keep it operational at the same place. The turret-basket however is more used to store personal equipment rather than combat-readiness related stuff (apart from the camo net and a couple of water canisters). A bunch of specific, training related stuff (ammo for the MGs, an occasional unstable 120mm round until a few years ago; now there's a single canister next to the loader's hatch for that purpose) might also be thrown into the basket before or during the training.


Quoted Text

The Israelis are also pretty strict about having the stowage covered and rarely if ever do you see items stowed on the rear deck or the sides of the turret.



Again, correct info. In combat-ready (i.e. fully equipped) tanks both the turret- and the hull-baskets should be covered all times to provide protection from the elements and to make sure nothing flies out of them when driving on harsh terrain. It's OK to model a tank with open, folded away cover revealing the contents of the basket, but a full basket without a cover altogether is not so realistic.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 07:24 PM UTC
Taking a look on the Google, it seems that the "story" about Merkava baskets, loading, and covering may be (perhaps not surprising to those who have "been there and done that" in one military or another in the various circumstances of war, peace, watchfulness and prep, peace-keeping, etc.) more complex and varied...

One impression I get is that both the apparent loads and some average "practices", as seen in pictures, have changed some over time, and may differ by mark...

I THINK that the most-current Mk IV may be more consistently covered and maybe more "standardized" in appearance, while previous marks more frequently appear quite individualistic in loads, state-of-organization, etc. "Messy" applies.

It's very rare to find good pics showing the turret basket in ways which enable one to see from the top what's what back there, but many of those of older marks I could find show baskets full of mixed stuff, and many only partially covered, if covered at all. And most covered turret baskets have only top covers - so one can see all sorts of stuff inside the baskets from the sides... And while perhaps many of the items are "standard" gear for the tank, the loads show a lot of variation in both content and apparent packing. Not surprising, to me.

See the attached link to a Google album of pics collected from web sites for discussion purposes only - They would seem to offer some "license and opportunity" far as junk and packing go. certainly I see some opportunities for my current Mk 2b build!



Right-click the little box, and select "open image in new tab" to view the album - "merks w loads". Enjoy!

Cheers! Bob

PS: I could hardly find any pictures showing any Merk with a complete-and-neat-and-tight full cover, such as is provided in one of those resin accessories. I suppose some could have this in storage or...
errains
#045
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Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 11:22 PM UTC
Good Info here....Thanks guys. That Google Album will be helpful.

ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 12:54 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Does anyone have any insight as to what the basket should contain?



Hi Curt,

There should be a mounting bracket for a 20L jerry-can attached to the inner-left part of the basket. The main 'occupant' of the turret basket is a large, double-sided (for greenish/sandish environment) camo net folded in a snail-like manner as seen on this M-51:



Since the Mk.4's turret basket is somewhat smaller than that on earlier Merkava variants, I would say this takes up more than half of the available space. The rest is pretty much used to store some of the personal, non-combat readiness related gear of the crew. There are also a few extra track-links attached to the rear turret-plate.


cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 07:26 AM UTC
Great info, guys! Thank you so much! The reason I'm looking for this info is, again, for the Merkava 4M Vulcan tank that is pictured in Michael Mass' book. There is no cover on the basket, and it certainly appears that this tank is being used in a training capacity, thus, probably does not have the standard 'load' in the basket that would be present for a war ready tank. However, the info here and the photos will surely help me put something together that should be at least reasonable.

Thank you again to all of you who responded.
Frenchy
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 08:18 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The main 'occupant' of the turret basket is a large, double-sided (for greenish/sandish environment) camo net folded in a snail-like manner





H.P.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 08:24 AM UTC
Nice find, H.P.! I was looking for something similar without success...

Frenchy
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 09:01 AM UTC
In fact I've came across this one a few days ago but I didn't know it showed the camo net (looked like a fire hose to me )

H.P.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 09:38 AM UTC
That, Sir, is a training-officer's DREAM! A text-book -by-the-regs set-up. VERY COOL and actually specifically informative about select equipment.

That is a rare, rare pic in the slough of great Merk images blowing around the Web! Most of the photographed, save for museum display tanks, are usually a lot messier and disheveled-looking than that specimen!

Just as a "PS": I focused in my search for "basket pix" to avoid all the set-piece, regulated "training range" images that I could so reasonably identify.

Rather, I was seeking insight into what Merks in the field, on border patrol, etc. - the "lived-in" tanks - might look like. It's these circumstances where crew start to shuffle stuff around, step back from exact line-toeing, and get as comfy as possible with their immediate lives.

We who are interested in the Merk as a modeling subject are extremely lucky - there's a stupendous amount of imagery of real tanks in museum, training, and in-the-field just waiting out there for us to dwell upon!

Too bad I don't have time, energy, money, or skill to build all of the possibles we've shared even here!

Cheers! Bob
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 12:25 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The main 'occupant' of the turret basket is a large, double-sided (for greenish/sandish environment) camo net folded in a snail-like manner





H.P.



Outstanding, Henri-Pierre! You couldn't ask for a better image for something that was clearly described, but not photographed, until now! I certainly have the 'thing' I need for the basket of my 4M. Yea!!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH!
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2019 - 06:24 PM UTC

Quoted Text

looked like a fire hose to me



'Oh bugger, the tank is on fire.'