ARV & Wreckers...
...ARV & Wreckers in IDF Service - Part 1, from Desert Eagle Publishing
Title: ARV & Wreckers
Author: Michael Mass and Adam O'Brien
Publisher: Desert Eagle Publishing
I happily admit that I am a fan of this 'IDF Armor Series' of books from Desert Eagle Publishing. Author Michael Mass has been involved with IDF armour for many years, and his photos which appear in these books are simply superb. He is a modeller himself, and that is very clear I think from his selection of photos featured in the books. The series has reached number 27, and takes 'ARV & Wreckers' for the subject, and also labels it as Part 1, so I for one can't wait to see what we will get in Part 2.
The 82-page soft-cover book does open with just a couple of pages of black and white photos illustrating the equipment from the early days of the IDF, and these feature the Sherman based M32 ARV and the Centurion ARV Mk 2. These are followed by an Israeli development, the Sherman 'Gordon' Type C. Apparently only 13 were built but one is still in service at the Central Tank Depot. Some old and some new pictures of this in use, and I was taken by a turret stand seen in use as the 'Gordon' lifts a Sherman tank turret. The stand waiting for it was made use of old VVSS suspension units, a hint a not wasting anything that can still be useful. The detail photos of this ARV make it an enticing modelling project. Next comes the M758, an American built ARV that proved too light for tanks but which was used by artillery units. Moving on further, the next ARV is the Puma Ram, an impressive looking ARV but only the one prototype built back in 2000.
Next up we get to the IDF use of the US M88A1 ARV, where some of the fittings were re-arranged around the hull for IDF use. Then they added slat armour protect, plus a much taller observation tower in place of the commander's cupola. Having seen the basic M88A1 when I was at Fort Benning in the USA, it is a large vehicle. Seeing one with all the extra slat armour and the tall observation tower, also with slat armour protection, is simply huge. It would be quite a daunting modelling project I suspect, but how impressive it would be. I am honest enough to say I am not brave enough to try though. A set of 10-pages of amazing photos provide all the detail. Down in size slightly for the next one, the Merkava ARV GP, which is an Echelon A recovery vehicle for armoured units, the Full Scale Development example was built using a Merkava Mk 4 hull. This is followed with the heavier Rekem Aqhzaka (early), which is based around a widened Merkava 3 hull and with a heavier crane fitted on the right hand side of the hull. This one also includes interior photos, and the crew space looks quite large compared to some other ARVs. That leaves the final section, which features the Namer Aqhzaka (late), where the crane is this time mounted on the left hand side of the hull. Again, some super photos, including the steep test ramps at the Central Tank Depot where it was tested for mobility.
I remain fascinated by Israeli armour development, which is based on service experience, and how they make the most of equipment they have on hand. As an armour enthusiast, not only a modeller, I would love to see these impressive machines at first hand, but that isn't likely to happen, so I am pleased to be able to see them through the pages of these fine Desert Eagle books.
Thanks to Desert Eagle and the UK Importer, The Aviation and Military Book Centre for my copy.