Merkava Siman 3D: Merkava MK 3D in IDF Service Part 2 by Michael Mass and Adam O'Brien, Desert Eagle Publishing, 2012.
April 27, 2017
This is book No.5 in the IDF Armor Series and another very good photographic study of the Merkava tank, this time the Merkava Mk 3D (Dalet, the fourth letter in the Hebrew alphabet). The Mk 3D is an improved version of the Mk 3 with additional armor added to the turret that changed the shape of the Mk 3 turret making it wider and contoured in such a way that after a quick glance you might mistake it for a Mk 4. The 155th Barak Lightning Armor Brigade was one of the first units to receive the Mk 3 so we see many pictures of this unit in the book. One thing that you will notice immediately is that the Barak Brigade has their own interpretation of where to place the tactical combat markings: the brigade marking is on the front right and rear left while the tank and platoon are on the front left and rear right reversing the practice used by other units. The Barak Brigade uses a star for their battalion fender marking. They also have a tradition of sometimes displaying the names of the companies on their tanks. In the Osprey Merkava book there is a drawing of a Merkava Mk 3 dated 1990 with the name Mahatz on the side armor skirts and the back of the rear turret bustle. The Spinning V and the barrel stripes are both still standard.
The book follows the basic structure of the other volumes in the series beginning with a brief history of the Merkava tanks followed by chapters on Merkava Siman 3D in Action, The Man and the Machine, In Detail, Tactical Signs - No One Alike, and Modeling the Merkava Siman 3D. It is a paperback book with over 200 full color pictures, I counted about 205 but I could have missed some, and 80 pages including the front and back covers. The covers both have color photos so I included them in the page count. The In Detail section covers a lot of ground including the battering ram, detailed pictures of the side armor skirts, fittings, the two rear baskets, the rear fender boxes, suspension, some good pictures of the rear bustle, some of the LIC fittings and also the powerpak.
Michael Mass, one of the authors, also serves as a curator at the Yad La-Shiryon Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun.
Some of the English needs work but that does not detract from the value of the book because the pictures tell the story. It will serve as an excellent photographic reference and source of ideas for IDF Merkava modelers and I do not hesitate to recommend it.