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This is a very welcome addition to the New Vanguard list. Although coverage of each vehicle is fairly brief, not surprising in only 48 pages and given Israeli security restrictions of the availability of information, what you get is jam-packed with facts. A short introduction sets the scene, with modern weapons showing the vulnerability of older personnel carriers and the Israeli tank fleet aging so that a successor had to be found.
Then comes the chapter on infantry and engineer carriers. First is the M113 and the various appliqué armour packs developed for it. Then comes the search for a “heavy” carrier, resulting in the Achzarit infantry assault carrier, Puma Combat Engineer Vehicle, Nagachon and Nagmashot, all conversions of older main battle tanks. Each gets a detailed section to itself describing the conversion layout, protection, firepower and mobility, what is known of its service record, and any known variants. Sterling stuff!
The second chapter deals with the current MBTs, both the upgraded Magach types and the Merkava. The sub-headings here are as for the carriers, and sufficiently detailed to clear up this reviewer’s confusion about the differences between Magach 7A, B, and C as well as clarifying the Merkava upgrades from 2 to 2 Dor Dalet, 3 to 3 Baz and 3 Baz Dor Dalet, and describing the new Merkava 4. There’s plenty here to think about, especially if you believed that Baz designated the revised turret armour.
Osprey has changed the traditional New Vanguard layout for this book. Instead of having all black and white photographs and a colour plate section in the middle of the book, most photographs are in colour and the plates relating to each vehicle can be found within the appropriate text section. The only exception is the Achzarit cutaway plate, which is in the usual position on the centre pages. This new layout is a vast improvement, and even if colour photographs aren’t available for all future subjects I hope that future books will follow it as far as possible.
Very highly recommended to everyone with an interest in modern Israeli armour.