The main idea of this section is to take a closer look at the various types of missiles that were or are in use with the IDF - after all, these can make for interesting dioramas. Originally I had planned to include these in the artillery section, but that would make the latter too unwieldy; thus, while leaving rockets (by which I mean unguided projectiles) in the artillery section, I'll deal with missiles here separately. This section will ultimately comprise three parts, a first one on anti-aircraft missiles, the second on anti-tank ones and a third one on ballistic missiles. As modelling the missiles itself is fairly easy, building transport, launching and directing equipment will also be addressed.
A very brief introduction might be useful. The development of guided anti-aircraft missiles began in earnest during WWII. Especially the German Luftwaffe, which soon realized that the AA gun was near the end of its capabilities, tried to get missiles operational as soon as possible. Various types were developed, but only a few saw operational service, and these only in small numbers.
As, however, there were some very advanced designs among these missiles, Americans and Russians alike based their own developments after the war on the German missiles. Thus for example the 'Rheintochter' ('daughter-of-the-Rhine', a two-stage missile of about 5 m length, built by Rheinmetall-Borsig) was the immediate forerunner of the American 'Ajax' missile.
The most advanced of all German designs was the 'Wasserfall' (meaning 'waterfall'), which you can see on the left. It was a single-stage missile of around 8 m length which was developed parallel to the V 2 ballistic missile, with which it shared many components. It didn't see full operational service in WWII, only some 50 missiles of various configurations were used in test firings.
The very first Soviet anti-aircraft missiles, the R 101 and R 102, were mere copies of the German 'Wasserfall'. Built and tested between 1949 and 1950 they were used in a first ring of missile batteries around Moscow, if only for a very short period.
'Wasserfall' on launching pad
Further developments still traced their origins back to the 'Wasserfall'. Both the American 'Nike' as well as the Russian 'Berkut' (SAM-1 'Guild'/'Gaffer') were more or less directly based on it. It was only in the late 1950s and early 1960s that missile development in America and Russia did eventually ventured on paths of its own, respectively.
Among the first missiles used by the IDF were SAM-2s, which were captured in 1967. Apparently two batteries were formed from captured equipment and deployed around some cities. The SAM-2 was a direct descendant from the above-mentioned one-staged SAM-1; indeed, the first versions were little more than SAM-1s with an additional booster. It first went into service late in 1957 and was widely exported from the early 1960s onward.
In the sketch above (I know I'm not very good at it...) we have a SAM-1 (Berkut) on top and a SAM-2 (actually a Desna, cf. below). Note that the missiles are quite similar. Although the SAM-1 is longer (the sketches should be roughly to scale), it is a single-stage weapon. The additional stage of the SAM-2 is marked red. The most significant difference between the two missiles is the arrangement of the fins.
At this point it's necessary to note that the NATO designation system was and is a little bit defective, at least as far as these early missiles are concerned. In fact, there were three different two-stage missiles, which, as they were more or less lookalikes, were all called 'Guideline'; these are the following:
W-750B 'Dwina' - As mentioned above it was introduced in1957. It had a length of 10.6 m and a diameter of 0.5 m. It could engage targets between 3000 and 22000 m and had a maximum range of 30 km.
W-750WK 'Desna' - The 'Desna' entered service in 1959. With 10.8 m it was slightly longer than the 'Dwina'. The minimum height was lowered to 500 m, maximum range enlarged to 39 km. The 'Desna' was the first anti-aircraft missile exported in quantities.
W-750M 'Wolchow' - The 'Wolchow' was introduced in 1961, and several subvariants existed, the last one entering service only in 1968. The missile was similar to the 'Desna', but the minimum height was lowered in subsequent version to 300 m and then to 100 m. One version of the 'Wolchow' had a nuclear warhead and was with 11.2 m slightly longer than the other versions. Of course, the nuclear-tipped version was never exported!
As it became apparent that the NATO designation system was insufficient, further distinction was made possible by simply adding 'mod 0', 'mod 1' and so forth. This, however, does not reflect the real development, as it leaves out the SAM-1, which was closer to the early Guidelines than the later SAM-2s.
In Warsaw Pact forces all the aforementioned missiles were regarded as being 'semi-mobile', which meant that although the missile had to be fired from a stationary launcher (or pad in case of the Berkut), this latter piece of equipment had to be mobile in some way or other. For the Guidelines a single-rail launcher was developed, that could be towed by any standard prime mover. Once in place, the axles had to be removed and the launcher firmly emplaced. The missile itself was carried on a single-axle trailer towed by a ZIL-157-based tractor unit. The trailer and the launcher unit were constructed in such a way, that the missile could be put on the launching rail without the need of a crane.
Apart from this tractor-trailer combination and the towed launcher, for which you needed an additional truck, in a missile battery, of course, additional vehicles were needed, like fuel and generator vehicles, command vehicles, radar equipment and others. As you can imagine, lots and lots of soft vehicles, i.e. soft targets to hide.
It is therefore probably not too surprising that Guidelines were almost always employed in permanent or semi-permanent positions. A typical emplacement would consist of six launchers with 12 missiles in total (6 reloads), sited around a centrally placed command unit with radio control equipment and some sort of early warning radar.
There was once a marvellous Airfix kit of a 'Guideline' (actually probably a 'Desna'), which apart from the missile also included a ZIL-157 tractor unit, transport trailer and launcher. Unfortunately it is long gone, and due to an infamous factory fire the moulds are lost, which means it will never come back. Even half-built kits are nowadays much sought after, and complete kits are often sold for 75 $ or even more.
Fortunately scratchbuilding missile and trailer is not too difficult - after all, the missile is just a large tube with fins and the trailes is little more than two beams with an axle. At the moment I am trying to build up a tractor-trailer combination, and when it's finished, I will put the necessary plans in the depot section. The tractor unit is even easier, as it can be based e.g. on one of the Omega-K ZIL-157 models.
The main problem with IDF Guidelines is the control unit, as I do not have any information on that. It is possible, that the original trailers were used, but as the missiles were apparently deployed in fixed sites, it is also possible that the control units were transferred into some sort of hardened installation. Nonetheless, just a launcher and a missile already look quite impressive even in 1/76 - and there are lots of diorama possibilities; just think of a IDF Centurion overrunning a Egyptian SAM position...
[soon to come]...
[soon to come]...
still under construction!!