The ubiquitous M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) originated in the United States. The M113 entered service in the series in 1960 and acquired a "stripe" during the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975), which the Viet Cong called it "Green Dragon". Israel and its Israel Defense Forces (IDF) became one of the most prolific operators of the vehicle, which was heavily adopted and officially known as "Bardehlas" ("Cheetah") - better known as "Nagmash (APC)" .
Starting with a basic combat model, the IDF developed the M113 into an improved local variant, which - with the "Toga" armor scheme applied - became the "Zelda". The basic form and function of the M113 remained largely unchanged, although the armor protection - required for urban combat encountered by IDF units - was greatly improved by the addition of perforated steel plates mounted on the outer frame. This improves crew and system protection on both sides of the hull superstructure and bow - two of the most critical fairings in armored combat. All other aspects of the standard M113 used by the IDF are retained, including 2+11-seat operator and use for medium or heavy weapons (usually 2 x 7.62mm machine guns or 1 x 12 7mm machine guns).
In addition to a few roof hatches, a power rear door provides quick access for passengers to get on and off.
The 6-cylinder Detroit Diesel 6V-53T diesel engine produces 212 hp and propels the vehicle at speeds of up to 38 mph with a range of up to 300 miles. The track system is completely suspended under the fuselage and consists of five twin-tire wheels in a track wheel arrangement, with the drive sprocket mounted at the front and the track idler at the rear.
A command tank version was also derived from the vehicle, with additional radio equipment and an auxiliary power unit (APU) incorporated into the design. The model is called "Nagmash Pikud" ("Command APC").
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the typical composition of an IDF Armoured Reconnaissance Company consisted of 12 Zelda and 6 Sho't (British Centurion) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) supported by 100 Infantry.
- Infantry Support
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- Troop Transport
17.22 ft (5.25 m)
10.17 ft (3.1 m)
14 tons (12,500 kg; 27,558 lb)
298 miles (480 km)
1 x 12.7mm Browning Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) mounted on the roof bracket or 2 x 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) mounted in the roof position.
500 x 12.7mm ammo
1,200 x 7.62mm ammo
Zelda I - The name of the base series; the APC combat form is upgraded from the original Bardehlas (M113).
Nagmash Pikud - Added command tank variant with extra radios.
Zelda II - Bardehlas with Blazer Armor Pack.