Edit: comments disabled after some very nasty outbursts. Gonna go through the filth later to see if there is anything ban-worthy. I am very disappointed in some commenters.
a very, very long time ago (like mid 2012 or so), there was a discussion about the possible Israeli medium branch in World of Tanks. One of the ideas kicked around was to actually have a Merkava on tier 10. Now, I know what you thinking – that’s a ridiculous idea. Merkava would never fit, right? Well… yes and no.
Above, we can see the Merkava Mk.1 from the Latrun tank museum. It’s the first model of this famous Israeli vehicle, entering service in late 70′s. According to wikipedia, Merkava was developed from 1973, making it too new for World of Tanks (even if it could fit characteristic-wise). Or is it?
According to the book “Merkava – a History of Israel’s Main Battle Tank” by Marsh Gelbart, the development actually started in 1970, with the first prototype coming in 1974. This is a mock-up turret variant, dated 1970:
Before the Merkava Mk.1 prototype (too modern anyway, sorry), there were two vehicles, that served as so-called “proof of concept”. In both cases, it was not really a Merkava stage, it was a Merkava-shaped hull with an existing turret. And these came very early. Technically – that would make both of them actually viable as Leopard 1 or STB-1 contemporaries. The credits for finding them go to Vollketten (US forums).
One is the Merkava hull with the Centurion (Sho’t Kal) turret:
And here’s a walkaround video:
That’s right, the turret is in the rear, engine in the front. This vehicle really exists, it stands in Latrun to this day. Obviously, it was never meant as a serious combat vehicle, the turret was there basically as a weight. While the rear-turret variant is interesting, there was one more Merkava testbed, this time with an M48 Patton turret:
Well, that looks considerably… more functional. Prettier too IMHO.
There are obviously tons of issues with this thing. The entire Merkava program is classified for starters, it’s not like you can go and measure everything (at least I think you can’t). Noone knows how exactly thick the armor is, or even what propelled the testbeds, a lot of it would be a guesswork. Still, in this limited sense, it’s actually possible to include one of the testbeds in the game I guess… obviously, the Israeli branch would have other issues as well, but… I guess one branch is possible.