This section is organized by types and not by nationality for the obvious reason. The IDF occupies a unique position in contemporary military history in that is a force that used and uses captured equipment to an extent hitherto unknown - to all those Wehrmacht experts who now fall from their chair: it's true. The Wehrmacht made quite wide use of some captured equipment, but not nearly as extensive as the IDF which integrated much captured material into their regular equipment. Artillery is a very good example here, with the IDF not only using captured rocket launchers and 122mm guns but also producing specialized ammunition for these weapons.
As many of these vehicles were modified in various ways, they offer possibilities for striking modeling projects. And as the number of plastic kits of Russian equipment on the market on the market is steadily growing, the modeler has a wide range of options...
The IDF captured a huge variety of tanks, but only a part of these were actually used. Although only those that were used will find mention in this section, I think one tank should not be left unmentioned, although it was not used by the IDF - the British Mk VI. Already conceptionally and technically outclassed in 1940 some of them were employed by the Egyptians in 1948. And at least one was captured in running order. There is a picture with that tank on a Diamond T tank transporter that cries out for a diorama. And with JB Models' little gem of a kit of the Mk VI available now I will definitely do this one day...
The very first tank Haganah could lay his hands on was a derelict Sherman. This tank was destined to be destroyed by British paratroopers by pushing it over a steep ridge - as was already done with other vehicles in order to render them unserviceable - shortly before the evacuation of the mandate. Haganah members established contact with the British troopers charged with the destruction of the tank and clandestinely acquired. As this operation saw the Sherman transferred from a British tank transporter to a makeshift Haganah one, it would be an ideal diorama project; however, I have neither any idea on the exact nature of the British transporter nor ever seen a picture of the Haganah one. Anyhow, this tank was then repaired with bits and pieces scrounged from dumps and scrap heaps, and after a short time again put to use. That this was a rather limited one was mainly due to the Haganah being unable to find an acceptable gun...
All other notes concerning the Sherman in IDF use can be found here in the MBT section.
Another clandestine operation brought the Haganah/IDF two Cromwell tanks, one armed with a 75mm gun (a Cromwell VII, if I remember correctly), the other one with a six-pounder (should be a Cromwell IV). They were driven by two British tankers from the 3rd Hussars straight through the gates of the Ordnance depot at Jaffa airport, which again is a nice opportunity for a diorama. No doubt these two tanks were the most potent weapon in the hands of the Haganah/IDF at the outset of the War of Independence. While the six-pounder tank seems to have been lost rather early during the war, the 75mm tank was still employed in 1949 on the Egyptian front.
Now I think some history is necessary here. After IDF High Command was established, new units were formed, among them the first regular armoured outfit - 8th Armoured Brigade. It could pride itself with the possession of one tank battalion, the 82nd, the other one (89th commando) being equipped with jeeps, halftracks and trucks. The 82nd battalion itself consisted of two tank companies, the official designation of which I was unable to find out. The first one, inofficially called the 'Russian' due to the nationality of the volunteer crews, had on it's strength the ten Hotchkiss tanks (information on those can be found in the MBT section), whereas the other one, called the 'British' company, consisted of the two Cromwells and the Sherman mentioned above. Now, if you can find suitable photographic reference, it is therefore possible to build one complete IDF tank company fairly easily.
Now let's look at the kits on the market. Revell recently came up with a Cromwell kit in 1/72, which reportedly is very good (I haven't yet found the time to build one). As far as the other tanks are concerned, the situation is not that bright.
Esci - who else - are said to have once had in their range a TI-67, although I have some doubts on that. They also had a T-62 and a T-62M, but these are really hard to find now.
Airfix had once a JS-III in their range; however, the turret of this vehicle had a wrong shape and it's a collectors item now anyway. Roden very recently came up with a JS-III, but I was not able to get one yet.
Moreover there are persistent rumours that PST or Eastern Express will eventually bring a decent T-54 on the market, the latest news I got were that PST is starting production now - whatever that means...
During the War of Independence ACs were the most important armoured vehicles in use. Apart from the various homemade conversions during the latter part of the war captured vehicles were used to an increasing intent.
One of the finest armoured vehicles produced during WWII, it was still standard equipment of British armoured formations at the end of the war. A few were stolen from British depots, one of them used very early during the War of Independence, although I have still to find photographic reference for it.
Probably the best armoured car in WWII, comprising excellent speed, cross-country capabilities and quite a punch for such a small vehicle (NOTE: no argument will be entered with crazy SdKfz-234-maniacs!). RAF as well as RAC units were equipped with it, and one of the first captured vehicles was a Daimler stolen from a Depot in Jerusalem. It surely was a highly priced possession among Israeli troopers, being already in use during the first skirmishes immediately after the Declaration of Independence.
The picture above shows a captured Daimler, most probably late in 1949. Note the rather clean appearance of the vehicle and the triangular marking, the meaning of which I don't know.
This armoured car was the mainstay of the Arab Legion's armoured formations. It compared unfavourably with the Daimler, even though it had the same armament. Several seem to have found their way into Israeli hands, some of them being employed on the Egyptian front.
On the picture of a Marmon-Herrington above - taken in 1949 during operations on the Egyptian front - note especially the MG 34 in an AA mount and the overall appearance, which is rather worn.
The Palestinian Police Force was mainly equipped with these ACs of Canadian origin. The IDF captured at least six of them, equipping some of them with machine-gun turrets and others with 20mm guns taken from unservicable aircraft.
Mainly two versions of this armoured car were employed with British forces, Egyptian forces and the Arab Legion after WWII - the Mk II (with a 15mm Besa MG as main armament) and the Mk IV (mounting a 37mm gun). The IDF also operated at least two captured Humber ACs on the Egyptian front, one of which most probably was a Mk II. Whether these were stolen from the British or captured during the war I don't know.
The picture above shows an Egyptian Humber immediately after capture, being examined by IDF soldiers. Note the Egyptian roundels and the 37mm gun, making this obviously a Mk IV.
Building ACs is somewhat better than building MBTs, with a number of decent kits on the market. There is no kit of the Otter, as far as I know, making scratchbuilding thus necessary. At least this should be easier than with the Hotchkiss tank, as the Otter has a quite angular appearance.
Although Hasegawa has to be thanked for providing the only Daimler Mk I in plastic in 1/72 or 1/76, the kit is not without a fair share of problems, of which more below. The kit scales roughly out to 1/72 and general fit is quite good. Overall detail is a little on the heavy side, especially smaller items like the smoke dischargers lack distinction. No equipment - pioneer tools, sand channels and the like - is provided with the kit. The main problems with the kit are:
1. Built as per instructions you end up with a mixture of Mk I and Mk II, as the kit has the gun mount of the Mk I but the spare wheel arrangement of the Mk II (at least I think so...). Can be easily corrected.
2. The upper plates of the octogonal centre part of the hull have neither correct dimensions nor correct angles. Rectifying this requires a maior scratchbuilding effort - or you just try to cover it up with personal equipment.
3. The turret is out of shape. The roof of the radio compartment is modelled as being level with the rest of the turret roof - which in reality it is not, there being a notable step between the two. It's necessary to rebuild the radio compartment.
A final note: Apparently there are Chinese copies of the Hasegawa kit on sale. Although they cost less than the 'original' kit - at least where I live -, their fit is far inferior, so steer clear of them if you can.
Above we have a captured Daimler used during 1948. The picture it was modelled after showed it was missing the aft mudguards; I don't actually know what happened with the front ones, but leaving all four of them off definitely looked the part.
Another view of it. Again, the lack of fenders is a prominent feature giving the vehicle a very distinctive look.
And here we have a vehicle still operated by its former owners. The markings actually belonged to some Marmon-Herrington Mk IVs. The crewman is an Airfix/Hasegawa composite.
This is probably one of Hasegawa's better offerings. Or so I thought, until I recently set out to build one. It was a rather disappointing experience, as the kit has several serious faults:
1. There is no suspension detail worth the description (which is only a minor matter), and overall detail on the wheels is poor. If you don't want to go to a competition, this doesn't need to be corrected.
2. The turret is something of a sick joke. It is completely out of shape either for a Mk II turret or a three-man Mk III or Mk IV turret. Turret hatches are devoid any detail, making it thus necessary to scratchbuild a new turret for the vehicle. As the turret shapes are a highly recognisable feature, this is absolutely necessary for an acceptable model.
3. The shapes and angles of the armoured body are mostly wrong, most obviously around the rear of the vehicle, which doesn't look like a Humber at all. In order to rectify that you have to virtually rebuild the armoured body - but then you can build the Humber totally from scratch! Again, as already mentioned above when dealing with Daimler, you might cover this up by loading the vehicle with personal equipment.
4. Wings and toolboxes have the wrong shapes, which seems to be due to te wrong shapes of the armoured body. Again, there's not a lot you can do about that.
In my eyes there can really only one conclusion be made: If you want a Humber, try to get the Matchbox kit or go scratchbuilding. The Hasegawa kit is definitely NOT worth the money (this of course is also valid for any Chinese copies of this kit)!
What a kit! Stunning detail made this one of the best AC kits available then. Although a Mk II it could be easily converted into a Mk IV that was used by the Egyptians and the Arab Legion. Just build a different turret, rearrange some stowage and there you are.
Above you can see a Matchbox Humber pretty much out of the box, painted to depict the one Mk II I mentioned above.
The only alteration I made was 'damaging' the right rear mudguard. Figures are a mixture of Preiser and Matchbox parts.
Again this set, you might wonder. No, it's not an obsession - but the Chevvy is an ideal basis for a conversion into a Wagner-Ford armoured car (yes, yes, I know, it will only be a lookalike).
Another excellent set, comprising a superbly detailed Daimler Dingo and a heavy six-wheeled truck with Montgomery's personal caravan (actually one captured from the Italians in the first place). Detail on the Dingo was excellent and the truck offered great conversion potential.
I have mixed feelings about these kits. Although it scales out nicely to 1/72, it has somewhat soft detail - in all the kit still has the looks of a short-run kit. On top of that it is quite expensive, at least where I live (some ACE kits approaching the price of resin kits...).
As various opposing forces in the War of Independence were mechanized to a certain extent quite a lot of APCs was captured. These were mainly Bren and Lloyd carriers of British origin. Most seem to have been captured from the Egyptian expeditionary forces, as some pictures show vehicles in use by IDF forces still with Egyptian markings on them.
As the Arab armies reequipped with Soviet equipment, this in turn found its way into Israeli arsenals, especially after the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.
The BTR 152 was the first Soviet attempt at producing a genuine APC. However, as it was little more than a truck (ZIL 151, to be precise) fitted with an armoured body, it lacked the cross-country mobility of eg the M 3 halftrack. It entered service in the early 1950s in several versions and was widely exported. Only a few seem to have been utilized by the IDF as APCs, while some were equipped with a 20mm twin AA mount and used in a SPAA role, quite similar to the modified M-16 SPAAs.
BTR 152 20mm SPAA
BTR 152 APC
The pictures above show on the left side the AA conversion, note 20mm guns on turret very similar to 0.5 quad MG turret on M 16. On the right side the APC version, note that it is equipped with what appear to be Browning MGs.
The BTR-50 and it's Czech version, the OT 62, was a tracked APC sharing the same chassis with the PT 76 amphibious tank. Designed to carry 20 soldiers, it was fully amphibious and a quite versatile vehicle. Due to it's limited protection it was rather vulnerable. Quite a number was captured during the Six Day War. It saw extensive use during the Yom Kippur War.
Above is one of the OT-62s during the Yom Kippur War. Note especially the two covers for the water propulsion system.
The "Al-Walid" is a 4x4 wheeled APC of Egyptian origin. Conceptionally it is quite similar to the BTR 152, consisting of an armoured body on a truck chassis. Again quite a number was captured during the Six Day War.
As the picture above shows, they were used as light APCs by commando units and as border patrol vehicles.
Modelling APCs is about as easy (or difficult, if you like) as building ACs.
A very good kit. It has fairly good detail, construction is a breeze and you get a nice 6pdr with it - though the figures are somewhat, well, let's say strange. All is roughly 1/76, but that shouldn't stand in the way of mating the 6pdr with Airfix' M3 Halftrack, if that's the only Halftrack kit you can get.
The Bren Carrier above was only slightly modified (I added a rear mirror and some crew compartment detail) and is now awaiting its crew.
Another good kit. Interior detail is rather sparse and oversimplified, but would have to be modified anyway. Although 1/72 is on the box, some reviewers said the kit is closer to 1/76. I'm not so sure about that, but anyway...
To my knowledge Omega K offers three versions, an open-topped one, another one with an armoured top and a command vehicle with a raised superstructure. Only the open-topped variant seem to have been used by the IDF, but that is essentially provided in every kit.
Well, the model above was meant to represent a captured BTR 152 used during the 1973 war; in fact, I even had a picture of such a vehicle with 'Viva Golda' scribbled on it. I'm not too happy with the result, however; I definitely should have left out the pinthle-mounted .303 AA machine gun.
Again, I definitely have to take out this darned MG... By the way, note the pioneer tool (saw) that is molded onto the side of the crew compartment - should have replaced that one, too.
No plastic kit of the Walid is known to me. Scratchbuilding should be not too difficult, however, as it's all about a four-wheeled vehicle with a flat-sided body. If you can get the wheels right, everything else should be no problem.
Far mor difficult is the BTR 50. There was once a ASU 85 (a assault gun based on the same chassis) kit by an Ukrainian manufacturer (I think it was ACE), which was a good source for the suspension parts. This kit, however, seems to be long gone now.
Although to my knowledge the IDF did never use captured SPGs (like SU-100s and JSU-152s), the following pictures were just too good to spare:
Now this would make an interesting project! These evidently show an ex-Afrika Korps Bison, already in its Wehrmacht days a rarity.You would need parts from eg two Matchbox Pz II or Wespe kits, a scratchbuilt 150mm SIG 33 and some guesswork on the interior, but then you have a Egyptian Bison (or however they called that beast).
Another picture of the same vehicle shows the rear; hear the new owners seem to have cut down what little protection there was for the crew.
still under construction!!