Is the Merkava 1b /hybrid an actual thing or just a museum piece? The only pictures I can find of it are those donated to various museums, I can’t actually find a picture of one in the wild, so to speak?
Check your PMs.
Technically speaking yes. If I’m not wrong it was referred to as ‘improved’ Merkava Mk.1. It was basically an upgrade to the Mk.2 standard minus the turret armor.
The term ‘hybrid’ is Takom’s. No idea where they got it from.
The hybrid term predates Takom from at least the early 2000s although no idea who started it.
Merkava Siman 1 will bring up a few results from the Desert Eagle Books.
AFAIK the ‘hybrid’ version is actually called Merkava Mk.1 Meshupar (improved).
The 60mm mortar was still mounted externally on the Meshupar. On the Mk.2 it was mounted internally. The side skirts had a different mounting on the Mk.2. I think the transmission was also different.
The only real picture I’ve found, although it’s still hard to tell if this is Israeli or from the Czech museum.
Even Israeli weapons.com show a Merkava 2 as a merkava 1on their site.
This isn’t an actual IDF vehicle for sure.
Here’s the caption from Wikipedia
“Israeli Merkava Mk.IB tank during 7th ‘Tank Day’ in Military Technical Museum Lešany.”
AFAIK the IDF don’t put plates specifying the tank name on their operational tanks …
I was looking at the Mk1 page that has photos that are easier to tell
Got caught up in the excitement of finding a picture