Raw Data collected on IDF

The Israeli Defense Forces

Israeli Armored Units

1936 Haganah (Defense) - the underground Jewish defense force that fought 
with the Arab communities.  The period 1936-1939 was one of intense communal
warfare marked by violent riots.  When WW2 started the Jews asked the British 
to train them to fight the German but they declined the offer not wanting to 
arm and train those they had fought with in the Mandate.  But many European 
Jews did volunteer to serve in the British armed forces.

In the Mandate the British did agree to train the three Pal'mach Strike 
companies of the Haganah to act as a guerilla force if the Germans should 
break into Egypt and then Palestine.  One platoon of Arabic speakers operated
in Vichy controlled Lebanon and Syria as commandos and intelligence officers, 
a German speaking unit operated behind enemy lines in the western desert and
also in German POW camps, while a Balkan platoon of native speakers were 
dropped into Europe to assist the OSS and SOE.  Yitzhak Sadeh was the 
Haganah commander of these Pal'mach units.  They trained and fought with the 
knowledge that they would be fighting the British when the war ended.
(Katz - Fire & Steel also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palmach and 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haganah.  The account by Katz does not match up
with that in the Wikipedia entries.  The British did field a brigade of Jews 
from Palestine that served in Italy which Katz mentions later in his narrative.  
The Jewish Brigade formed in 1944 so maybe what Katz means is that Britain did 
not support the idea of fielding a unit of Jews from Palestine early in the 
war but changed their minds later.)

1948 Arab-Israeli War and the Founding of Israel
  twelve infantry and armored brigades were created and formed the basis of the 
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).  The force had its roots in the organizations set 
up by Haganah and other Zionist organizations to pursue political and military 
operations in the British Mandate.

    1st Golani Inf Brig
    2nd Carmeli Inf Brig
    3rd Alexandroni Inf Brig
    4th Kiryati Inf Brig
    5th Givati Inf Brig
    6th Etzioni Inf Brig
    7th Armored Brig
    8th Armored Brig
    9th Oded Inf Brig 
    10th Harel Inf Brig
    11th Yiftach Inf Brig
    12th Negev Inf Brig

Maps of Arab Israeli Wars

1948 Arab-Israeli War
1956 Suez Crisis
1967 Six-Day War
1967-1970 War of Attrition
1973 Yom Kippur War
Lebanese Civil War - Operation Litani
1982-2000 Lebanon War
1987-1993 First Intifada
2000-2005 Second Intifida
Operation Defensive Shield
2006 Lebanon 
Gaza War
- 14-21 Nov 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense
- 8 July 26 Aug 2014 Operation Protective Edge

List of IDF Operations

Israeli tanks

Sherman M4
M50 Sherman
M51 Sherman
 Sh'ot Meteor
 Sh'ot Kal
 Magach 3
 Magach 4
 Magach 6
 Magach 7

T-54 - Tiran 4
T-55 - Tiran 5
T-62 - Tiran 6

Merkava 1
Merkava 2
Merkava 3
Merkava 4

Israeli Weapons.com

Merkava Program Office (MPO also called Manta'k)
Tank Encyclopedia


Merkava I began development in 1973 and entered service 1978 
300 built (osp p.10)

7th ARM brigade, col. kahalani, first unit to receive the Merkava mk1 
and stationed on the Golan along the Purple Line  (osprey p.21)

First units given Merkava Mk.I in April of 1979. (various)

Merkava Mk.I first displayed on Israel Independence Day, 2 May 1979.  
(For date of this holiday in 1979 see: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=1979&country=34 )

turret bustle added in 1981 (osp p.46)

first deployed in combat in Operation Peace for Galilee crossing into 
southern Lebanon on 6 June 1982. (Osprey pp.21-22)

211th arm brig col eli geva

following the Operation Peace for Galilee a decision was made to add a 
chain and ball assemply to the bottom of the turret bustle (osp p.34)
that was given the name se'arot Shulamit the hair of Shulamit.

Mk I Hybrid (Meshupar)
received updates after Mk II entered service replacing the Mk Is that were
rebuilt and then assigned to reserve units - new sideskirts, smoke grenade
launchers, next cmdrs turret hatch, rear baskets, laser detector

Merkava II entered service in April 1983
 - incremental improvements
 - entered production Aug 1983 continued until 1989  (osp pp.36-37)
 - 60 mm mortar added
 - se'arot shulamit
 - added mount points for mine plow/mine rollers
 - about 600 built

Mk IIB thermal optics and improved FCS

Mk IIC armor added to turret top

MK IID mod composite armor added to chassis and hull

Merkava III entered service in Dec 1989, construction ended in 2003
- over 800 built

first Mk III went to 188th Barak Brigade, "Receive" BN (Osprey p.44)

- enters service in 1990

Mk III BaZ (Barak zoher) - improved FCS, NBC protection


Mk IIID Dor-dalet - improved tracks, R-OWS (Rafael Overhead Weapons Station)

Low Intensity Conflict - remotely operated 12.7 mm turret; optics, exhaust 
ports and ventialtors protected by wire mesh; pole markers with LED tips and a
rear camera for better all-round visibility and night vision.


Merkava Mk III 25 years in service

Jerusalem Post

Merkava Mk IV entered 
- announced 2002 
the insignia are from the 7th AR BG, 188th AR BG, 401st AR BG
First public showing on Israeli Independence Day 2002


Entered service in 2004

First tank battalion to receive Merkava Mk 4
Jerusalem Post

- Oct 2014 75th BN, 7th AR BG equipped - 1 BN wings-replaces Mk II from 1980s
- 2015 77th BN, 7 AR BG
- 2016 88th BN, 7 AR BG
source:Israel News
Army Recognition

82nd BN 7th Arm Brig receives Merkava Mk IVm tanks
Jerusalem Post

Mk IVm Windbreaker - Trophy APS 
Trophy APS


IDF story

Army Tech
Army Tech
Defense Update
Defense Update

Merkava Mk IV order increased
Miltary Today
Jerusalem Post



Gimel 1 0     3rd BN   no spinning Vee
No spinning v

Defense Update

Tanks in the IDF


Israeli Weapons

se'arot shulamit - Shulamit's hair



IDF to replace M109
unit organization
Israel Military

        corps - gayis        
     division - ugda         אוגדה  mifaked ugda       מפקד
      brigade - chativa      חטיבה  mifaked ?? chativa מפקד

    battalion - gdud         גדוד         mifaked gdud       מפקד גדוד abbr migad  מג״ד   
     commando - sayeret      סיירת
     art batt - solil-l'ah   
      company - plugah       פלוגה  (mifaked plugah)    מפקד
      platoon - machlekah    מחלקת  (mifaked machlekah) מפקד
squad/section - kita         כיתה         (mashak kita)
    fire team - chulia       חוליה  (mashak chulia) מש״ק חוליה 




arm brigade
2-3 arm battn
  Arm battn
    3-4 tank Co
  1 Recon Co
  1 Comm Co
  1 Arm Eng Bn

Tank Co
 CO HQ - 2 tanks
 3 platoons of 3 or 4 tanks each

Yom Kippur OOB

Israel Military Blog
Chinese Farm OOB
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur Pt 2
Yom Kippur Order of Battle Discussion
Yom Kippur OB


Northern Command, General Hofi
36th Mechanised Ugda, General Eitan.

  188th "Barak" Armoured Brigade
    74th Tank Battalion, Lt. Col. Yari Notshi (33 Centurions)
    53rd Tank Battalion (32 Centurions)
    ? Mech Infantry Battalion.

  7th Armoured Brigade General Avigdor Ben-gal: 
    77th Tank Battalion, Col. Kahalaric (33 Centurions); 
    82nd Tank Battalion (33 Centurions); 
    75th Armoured Infantry Battalion; 
    Armoured School Tank Battalion (Centurion).

  1st "Golani" Infantry Brigade.
  31st Airborne Brigade.

  146th Armoured Ugda, General Peled.
    9th Armoured Brigade.
    19th Armoured Brigade (Super Sherman).
    20th Armoured Brigade.
    70th Armoured Brigade.

  240th Armoured Ugda, General Laner.
    679th Reserve Armoured Brigade, Col Uri Orr (Centurion).
    19th Armoured Brigade (ex 146th Ugda).
    20th Armoured Brigade (ex 146th Ugda).
    79th Armoured Brigade.
    17th Armoured Brigade, Col. Sarig.
    14th Infantry Brigade.

Southern Command, General Gonen

252nd Armoured Ugda, General Mendler/Magen.
  401st Armoured Brigade, Col. Dan Shomron, (M60?? maybe post-Yom Kippur) (created 1966 from elements of 14th Arm Brig)
  46th Arm BN
  195th Arm BN
  34th Inf BN
  52nd Inf BN
  Reserve Infantry Brigade.

143rd Armoured Ugda, General Ariel Sharon
  600th Armoured Brigade, Col. Baram (Col Tuvia Raviv).
    BGD HQ - 3 M60A1
    409th - 36 M60A1 
    407th - 36 M60A1
    410th - 36 M60A1

  87th Recon BN - 24 M60A1 - 36 M113 APCs
       3 companies @8 tanks 12 APCs
gdud ha'shion 87 גדוד הסיון 87

  14th Armoured Brigade (ex 252nd Ugda) Col Amnon Reshef
  14th Armoured Brigade, Col. Amnon Reshev.
  Haim Brigade  Col Haim Erez

421st Armoured Brigade (Includes at least some M48 Patton)
55th Airborne Brigade, Col. Matt
: 416th Battalion
; 564th Battalion
; 565th Battalion.

Armor Brigade
Infantry Brigade

162nd Armoured Ugda (Division), General Avraham Bren Adan.
  217th Armoured Brigade, Col. Natan 'Natke' Nir (Centurion).
  460th Armoured Brigade, Col. Gabi Amir, (Patton 47/48/60 & Centurion).
  (??) 460th Armoured Brigade (ex 252nd Ugda) Col Gabi Amir.
  500th Armoured Brigade, Col. Karem. (Magach )
    429 BN Romach
    2nd 430th Armor BN Se'ara Storm
    433 BN Gur
202nd Airborne Brigade
11th "Koach Gonen" Armoured Brigade, Col Yoel Gonen 
    (Ti-67, Recon companies in BTR50/OT62 & PT76).
Infantry Brigade

Additional Southern Command forces:

146th Composite Ugda (ex Syrian Front?)
  Infantry Brigade
  Mechanised Brigade

440th Composite Ugda
  Three Infantry Brigades.

Other Southern Command formations:
  35th Paratroop Brigade, Col Uzi Yairi (likely under command of Ugda Adan)
  247th Paratroop Brigade

formations using Tiran
274th Brigade - fought in Yom Kippur in Sinai

after Yom Kippur 
265th 320th  889th added

440th Arm Div - 265th 274th 889th    Southern Command
320th  - assigned to Northern Command
from page 19, "Centurion vs T-55 - Yom Kippur War 1973" by Simon Dunstan
published by Osprey, 2009 -  Duel 21

circa 2010

Active Duty

36th Armor Div Ga'ash "Rage"
 - 1st Inf Bg

 - 7th Armor Brigade Sa'ar "Storm"
   - 1 - 82nd Armor Battalion Ga'ash "Rage"
     - 1st Company Alon "Oak" 
       - 1 Platoon
         - Alef
         - Bet
         - Gimel
     - 2nd CO Barak "Lightning"
     - 3rd CO Golan "Golan"
   - 2 - 77th AR BN Oz "Courage"
     - 1st CO "Vulcan"
       - 3rd Platoon
         - Alef
         - Bet
         - Gimel
     - 2nd CO Zohar "Aurora"
     - 3rd CO Hermon
   - 3 - 75th AR BN Romach "Lance" 
     - 1st CO
     - 2nd CO 
     - 3rd CO Mahatz "Shock"

   - 603rd AR ENG BN Lahav "Blade"  
   - Sayeret 7 AR RECON CO
   - Palhik 7 353rd Commo CO Hanit "Spear" 

- 188th arm bg Barak "Lightning"
   - 1 - 53rd AR BN Sufa "Storm"
         - 1 CO Alon "Oak"
         - 2 CO 
         - 3 CO Golan
   - 2 - 74th AR BN Sa'ar "Tempest"
         - 1 CO "Venus"
         - 2 CO
         - 3 CO
   - 3 - 71st AR BN Reshef "Flash"
        - 1 CO
        - 2 CO Ze'evim "Wolves"
        - 3 CO
Mahatz "Shock"  (Osprey p.31 plate F, p.43 picture)

   - 605th AR ENG BN - Ha'Mahatz "Breakthrough"
   - Sayeret 188 AR RECON CO
   - ATGM CO

Gimel-20 brigade cmdr tank
Mk III Barak Div

- 609th Alexandroni Inf Brigade (R)
- 847th Merkavot Ha'Esh "Chariots of Fire" Arm Brig (R)
-282nd Golan Art Regt
  - 334th Art BN Ra'am "Thunder" MLRS
  - 405th Art BN Namer "Tiger" (M109A5)
  - 411th Art BN Keren "Horn" (M109A5)
  - Target Acquisition CO
- 389th Sion Signal BN

former reserve 210th Bashan Div - new unit TO/E fewer tanks, light mobile units

162nd Division Utzvat Ha'Barzel
  - 401st Armor Brigade Ikvot Ha'Barzel "Tracks of Iron"
    - 1 - 46th Armor Battalion Shalaqh "Sword"
      - 1st CO
      - 2nd CO Barkan "Thorn"
        - 1st platoon
        - 2nd
          - dalet
        - 3rd
      - 3rd CO Ha'Bachurim "The Boys"
    - 2 - 52nd Armor Battalion Ha'Bokeem "The Breachers"
      - CO Chad Ha'Chanit "Spearhead"
      - CO Za'am Batotachim "Angry Guns"
      - CO "Vampire"
    - 3 - 9th Armor Battalion Eshet "Hard Steel"
      - 1st CO Kfir "Young Lion" \/
      - 2nd CO Lahav "Blade" <
        - 1st platoon
          - alef
        - 2nd platoon
          - alef
          - bet
      - 3rd CO Magen "Shield"  /\
        - 1st platoon
        - 2nd platoon
          - bet
        - 3rd platoon

    601st AR ENG BN Asaf
    Sayeret 401 Arm Recon CO 
    298th Comm CO Eyal

366th Arm Div Amud Ha'Esh "Pillar of Fire"
  - 460th arm bg Bnei Or "Sons of Light"
    - 1 - 195th Training Battalion (Merkava 2) Adam
      - 1st CO
      - 2nd CO
        - 1st
        - 2nd platoon
          - bet
      - 3rd CO Kineret "Sea of Galilee"

    - 2 - 198th Training Battalion (Merkava 3) Eezuz "Brave"
        - 1
    - 532nd Training Battalion (Merkava 4) Shelah
      - co
        - 3rd platoon

    - 2 - 196th Tank Cmdr Training Battalion Shahak
      1st CO
    - Tank Instr Training Battalion Magen "Shield"

Reserve Units

143rd Arm Div (R)
319th Arm Div (R)
609th Inf Bg (R)

List of IDF Brigades

10th arm bg "Harel" Mountain of God 
14th arm bg "Machatz" Bison
37th arm bg Ram
205th arm bg Iron Fist
211th arm bg "Yishai" Guardians of Jerusalem
263rd arm bg "Merkavot Ha-Esh" Chariots of Fire
600th arm bg Paths of Fire "Hetivey haEsh"  est 1971 M60 tanks
679th arm bg "Yiftah"
847th arm bg "Merkavot Haplada" מרכבות הפלדה Steel Chariots or Chariots of Steel

500th arm bg "Kfir" Young Lion
active from 1972 to 2003
500th Arm Bgd

18th Brigade then 45th Arm Brigade then 188th Arm Brigade

Combined Arms

South Lebanon Merkava
AlJazeera Pt 1
AlJazeera Pt 2

Merkava and Israeli Tank colors and markings




Color Measurement

initially accomplished using comparisons with color samples, an inherently 
inexact and subjective process 

Six Day War
Captured Vehicles

1956 Sinai War                   olive drab  UA-003         

1967 Six-day War                 Israeli sand grey UA-020  FS30372  
                                                   RGB: 171 155 132

1973 Yom Kippur War              Israeli sand grey UA-020  FS30372

1982 Lebanon                     Israeli sand grey UA-035  FS36134
                                                   RGB: 103 104 101  HEX:#676865

Israeli sand gray  1963-73  FS30372     182 166 144
Israeli sand gray  1982-??  FS36134     103 104 101
                                         77  81  76

for 1973 Yom Kippur War
Italieri 7720 acrylic       FS30475     198 169 136 #C6A988

Lifecolor UA-020   1963-73
Lifecolor UA-035   1982-

Vallejo 70-614  Israeli sand grey 1961-73
Vallejo 71-142  Israeli sand grey '82

MIG   067       Israeli sand grey 1961-73
MIG   066       Israeli sand grey 1982-??

From these three examples the colors for '82 Sinai Grey from MIG, Lifecolor and 
Vallejo appear to be similar:

Model Master 2138 enamel  133,121,081  Israeli armor sand grey  Model master 4814 acryl   125,114,069  Israeli armor

Armorama Discussion

Merkava MK IV Reviews

suspension springs painted black
radio antenna bases painted white
tatical markings
markings are found on vehicles from the beginning of the state of Israel
over time they evolved to provide more information and increase visibility

battalion - stripes on gun barrel, number on left front right rear
company - spinning V on vehicle side, lines on right front, left rear

platoon - number right front, left rear, sides and rear of bustle

the platoon cmdr just has the number and no tank letter

tank - letter right front, left rear, boths sides and rear of bustle 
alef (א), bet (ב) gimel (ג) and dalet (ד)

Hebrew Char

אלון alon/"oak"
ברק barak/"lightning"
ברקן barkan/"thorn" 
חוד החנית chod ha'chanit
עשת eshet/steel
געש ga'ash/"storm" 
גרזן garzen/"axe"
גולן golan/
הבוקעים ha'bokeem/the breachers
חרמון hermon
כפיר kfir/young lion
כנרת kineret/Sea of Galilee  
להב lahav/blade 
לביא lavi/lion
מהצ mahatz
עֹז oz/"courage"
עֹז מגולן oz m'golan/courage of the Golan
סער sa'ar/"tempest"
שחק shachak/sky or heaven
שלח shelaqh/"weapon"
ומפיר vampire
ונוס venus
וולקן vulcan
זאבים ze'evim/"wolves"  
זהר zohar/radiance
חרב  harav/"sword"
דובי  doobi/"bear" or "teddy bear"

פס יאנוש pas Yanush/"Yanush stripe" 
חט״פ - חוליא טכנית פלוגתית CHATA"P/"Technical Company"
שערות שולמית se'arot shulamit/"Shulamit hairs"
מרכבה merkava/"chariot"

p'um - acronym for pikud u'mateh - command and staff college, also beit sefer le-pikud u-mateh.  
Establish in 1951 to educate IDF officers who had reached the rank of major and 
lieutenant colonel in the art of large unit operations and staff work. (Google search)

ma'hat - mefaked hativa - brigade cmdr
ma'tak - mefaked ???  - tank cmdr
tzava haganah le'yisrael - IDF


battalion - ID number on front left and right rear, also barrel stripes
company - horizontal bars on right front and left rear fenders, one for first, two for second, etc.  
Chevrons on front section of side armor skirts,  
\/   first
<    second
/\   third
>    fourth 
Z    fifth
platoon - number on right front and rear left fender also number on turret bustle banners 
tank number - hebrew letters right front and left rear
usual sequence on fenders is from left to right, tank then platoon then company
armored brigade - often omitted for OPSEC during operations

There is photographic evidence that some units (eg 188th Arm Brigade) do not follow these practices.  One photo of a 188th Brigade Merkava III shows the front fender signs reversed with battalion marking on right side and tank-platoon-company on the left.

unit insignia
IDF Armored Corps

IDF Armor Blog

Gunze Colors

Meng Merkava Mk.3D/BaZ

M60A1 Blazer Walkaround

IDF Armor 1/72 scale Models

Sherman M4A1(76)Trumpeter 07222

Magach 6        Italieri 7073

Merkava Mk I  - ESCI     8323
                Italieri 7005

Merkava Mk II   AMT/ERTL   8641
                AMT/ESCI   8338

Merkava Mk III  Revell     MkIII  03134
                HobbyBoss  MkIIID      82916 -> 82441
                           MkIIID(LIC) 82917 -> 82476
                Trumpeter  MkIII     07103
                           MkIII BAZ 07104 

Merkava Mk IV   HobbyBoss  MkIV   82915   -> 82429

ESCI Merkava Mk1

Trumpeter Merkava Mk3

ACE Merkava Mk3 Part 1
ACE Merkava Mk3 Part 2

HobbyBoss Merkava Mk3D Part 1

HobbyBoss Merkava Mk4 part 1

Conversion of M60 Blazer into Magach 6B
Brief History of IDF Armor and Tanks-by TankNutDave

M60 during Yom Kippur War
Identifies 600th Brigade as the unit that received the majority of US M60A1 tanks
(600th Brigade 407th,409th,410th BN, BN=36 tanks + 3 brigade HQ = 111 tanks TOE, 
the 600th was also equipped with M113 APVs. 87th Arm Recon BN also received M60A1s)
M60 = Magach 6 (?? round turret M60s)
M60A1 = Magach 6A
This is a very informative piece.
2.200+ MBTs
  1,000 Centurions (standard and upgraded Sh'ot) 
    800 upgraded M48/M60 - M48 is Magach 3, M60 is Magach 6
    150 M60A1 Magach 6A
    200 captured T-54/55 renamed Tiran 4/5
    300 Sherman M50/51

401st Armor Brigade Tracks of Iron
battn CoPlattankbarrelRFLFskirtLRRRCall ID
1 1 1 cmdr | 1 _ \/1 _1
1 1 1alef | alef 1 _\/
11 1 bet | bet 1 _\/
11 1gimel|gimel 1 _ \/
1 1 2 cmdr | 2 _ <2 _2
1 1 3 cmdr | 3 _ /\3 _3

Unit Tags

Mk I AVDS-1790-5AR 900 HPCD850-6A
Mk II AVDS-1790-5AR 900 HPRK304A
Mk IV MTU883 1500 HPRK325
NEEDS A PAGE: https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A1%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%AA_(%D7%99%D7%97%D7%99%D7%93%D7%94_%D7%A6%D7%91%D7%90%D7%99%D7%AA)