Ukrainians Using ‘Mad Max’-Style ‘Technicals’ Against Russia

A Russian Tank Damaged by Ukrainian Forces. Photo by Mvs.gov.ua

Heavily armed pick-up trucks as weapons of war became a thing during conflicts in Somalia, and Libya and Chad in the 1980s and 1990s. The latter conflict was known as the ‘Toyota War’ because of their widespread use by both sides.

 And now they are being used to great effect by Ukrainians against Russia.

As I wrote about here, ‘technicals’ are “open-backed civilian pickup trucks or other four-wheel drive SUVs mounting a machine gun, anti-aircraft gun, rotary cannon, anti-tank weapon, anti-tank gun or missile mortar, multiple rocket launcher, recoilless rifle, or other support weapon.”

“And Toyota trucks seem to be the platform of choice for warlords, armed militias, paramilitaries and even police forces worldwide.”

But why Toyota? Chris, who owns the Instagram page ‘Toyotas of War,’ says: “ask any veteran of the last 50 years and they’ll tell you these Japanese automobiles are vehicles of war.”

He adds, it’s about “Reliability and availability,” and “They work — and when they don’t, parts are widely available.”

But in Ukraine, Fords and Mitsubishis are also popular gun-toting vehicles.

Task and Purpose writes:

Business Insider reported this past week on an international team – led by a Ukrainian esports analyst of all things – bringing in cars from around Europe and retrofitting them with weapons and armor. The most desired cars are Mitsubishi L200s, the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux, the latter a car infamous for its durability. The cars are given armor and a weapon, ranging from a Javelin anti-tank rocket to a machine gun, is put on the back.

And the technicals being fielded by Ukrainians also feature a truly wild array of weapons. Seriously. 

There are drones, multi-rocket launch systems, machine guns salvaged from destroyed Russian vehicles and more. Videos and images from the war have shown these trucks moving fast on the battlefield and firing their weapons onto Russian positions. On Thursday, The War Zone reported on Ukrainians putting a remote controlled weapons system on the back of a Soviet-era Volga. The gun itself is vintage Soviet weaponry, the control system is modern.  

Early in the war, Ukrainians inflicted massive damage and casualties on Russian forces due to small arms tactics and urban warfare that eventually repelled the Russian push to Kyiv.

While the fighting in Ukraine has shifted to a heavy artillery war in the eastern Donbas and Luhansk regions over the past two months, the ‘technicals’ are still providing quick and mobile firepower to the country’s defense forces. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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