Ukraine

How Ukrainian forces are weaponising civilian vehicles like scenes from Mad Max

Ukrainian forces have shown off a rocket launcher installed on the back of a pick-up truck which they claim came from a shot-down Russian helicopter.

In a Twitter post that appears to thank the Russians for their rocket launcher, saying it was "now in good hands", the rocket launcher is pictured after being installed on the back of a Mitsubishi L200.

The resourceful use of civilian equipment to host technical weapons is just one example of the ingenious ways Ukrainian forces are turning to everyday domestic items and repurposing them for military use.

The Technical

In scenes reminiscent of the weaponised steampunk vehicles of the Mad Max series of films, starring Mel Gibson and later Tom Hardy, Ukrainian forces have turned a variety of civilian cars and trucks into military combat vehicles, armed with everything from guns to rocket launchers.

The warfare in Ukraine has been dominated by the amount of machinery that has been brought to it, with an artillery slug fest in Ukraine's eastern regions where hundreds of Russian tanks battle Ukraine's resistance.

Ukraine has received medium-range rocket systems from the US, and is set to receive multiple-launch rocket systems from the UK to add to the range of weapons, vehicles, technology and armour to help Ukrainians fight the Russian invasion already sent by Britain.

A cheaper, smaller piece of equipment, however, has become a star of the Ukrainian forces: the modest 'technical'.

Usually, in the form of pick-up trucks, these vehicles are fitted out with armour and guns and have become a common sight in the war in Ukraine. 

What technicals lack in armour and artillery power, they make up for in speed, manoeuvrability and ease of repair.

Compared to a T-72 tank, a Toyota pick-up is far cheaper and has an overload of spare parts on offer. 

There are plenty of cars for Ukraine to convert to these fighting vehicles.

Reportedly the most desired cars are Mitsubishi L200s, the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux, the latter a car known for its durability.

The cars are given some form of armour and a weapon, ranging from a Javelin anti-tank rocket to a machine gun, is put on the back.

A vast collection of weapons have been appearing on the Ukrainian-fielded technicals – there has been evidence of drones, multi-rocket launch systems and machine-guns salvaged from destroyed Russian vehicles.

Videos and images from the war have shown these trucks moving fast on the battlefield and firing their weapons onto Russian positions.

The technicals in Ukraine are providing quick and mobile firepower to the country's defence forces.

In the initial phase of the war, Ukrainians were able to inflict massive damage and casualties on Russian troops in part due to these small arms tactics and urban warfare that eventually repelled the Russian push to Kyiv.

Over the last few months, the fighting has shifted to a heavy artillery war in the eastern Donbas and Luhansk regions, with Ukraine being bolstered by new Western weapons.

The technical, however, is still in the field, proving that invention and creative mechanics can still be effective.

Cover image: Ukraine MOD.