Trucks disguised as log haulers
During the war, the Russian troops were repeatedly faced with the fact that Ukrainian artillery can target supply vehicles with embarrassing accuracy. The artillery equipment given to Ukraine by Western states, the massively armed civilian drones, and the various anti-tank missiles all easily destroy the weakly or not at all armored carrying working clay, ammunition or food trucks.
In at least one case, the Russians used a tricky solution to mitigate losses:
they stuck a fuel truck full of stickers that give the impression that only a civilian log truck is driving on the road.
Russians started to disguise their military fuel (as possibly other) trucks as logging trucks https://t.co/vSueqx0YTy
— Euromaidan (Press) January 5, 2023
Up close, the ruse is of course quite striking, a Ukrainian soldier equipped with an anti-tank missile hiding on the side of the road would probably not be fooled by the sticker, but it is worth considering that these trucks suffer their losses mainly as a result of drone attacks and artillery fire. however, unmanned aircraft controlling the artillery would likely have difficulty detecting the ruse from high altitudes.
In the earlier months of the war, Ukrainian forces suffered heavy losses thanks to the actions of Russian Lancet suicide drones. Newer models of cheap, small-sized robot airplanes can even penetrate the armor of a more armored self-propelled gun, but they have a serious drawback: they can navigate only visually.
: Successful destruction of a Ukrainian Osa SAM system by a Russian Lancet loitering ammunition in Oblast….or not, as the target was actually a decoy. #Ukraine
— (Ukraine) January 15, 2023
This deficiency the Ukrainian troops was recognized quite early and in response they began to pack the crates found en masse on the front lines into tank shelters dug into the ground and assemble them in such a way that they resembled a self-propelled gun that was about to be fired from a high altitude. For the sake of effect, a “tube” was even attached to the “weapon”, and based on the footage, it seems that the Lancet’s operating personnel were fooled.
Modeling on the battlefield
The Ukrainians don’t just try to fool the Russian artillery and drones with hastily thrown together crates. In the early stages of the war, the top weapon received from Washington, made wooden models of the M142 HIMARS rocket launcher, after the launch of which, the Russian command proudly announced that another HIMARS had fallen victim to their troops, not paying attention to the fact that the number of such announcements exceeded the number of weapons actually used by the Ukrainians after a while.
A company in the Czech Republic came up with an even more ingenious solution than the wooden models: they started producing inflatable replicas of HIMARS’ big brother, the M270 MARS missile serial launcher, which are also sold in Ukraine.
Czech TV : Czech production of inflatable decoys HIMARS, which are delivered to Ukraine (English subtitles added) @ReporteriCT
— Tarmo () February 22, 2023
The successful deployment of various wooden mock-ups and inflatable replicas proves that a significant number of Russian medium-range weapons still measure the target based on what they “see”. For a weapon working with thermal imaging or measuring radio signals, these wooden and rubber “mock-ups” would remain invisible, compared to real weapons.
Anti-radar missile on Ukrainian MIGs
In the summer of 2022, military experts monitoring the war noticed a strange phenomenon: Russian weapons that were located behind the front, well outside the range of the HIMARS missiles, were destroyed one after another. The weapons had one thing in common: they all measured their targets with radars.
A weapon capable of causing such damage was soon identified: the American AGM-88 HARM missiles were specially developed to destroy radar stations and anti-aircraft missiles used by air defense, however, there was a serious problem with the theory: a HARM is not compatible with Soviet-made MIG-29 fighter-bombers.
As it turned out later, this little nudge didn’t bother the Ukrainian Air Force too much, as they poked the launch rails under the wings of the MIGs until they were able to escape the missiles used by NATO.
ВСУ began to use American anti-radar missiles AGM-88 HARM. Remains of this rocket were found at the positions of ВС РФ. The maximum range of the gun is 150 kilometers, the minimum is 25. pic.twitter.com/KAUdZvRvcF
— Митяй (@sgorlovki) August 7, 2022
The Ukrainian pilots then made the most of the AGM-88’s use ‘fire and forget’ system, the essence of which, in short, is that the pilot does not need to measure any target, he simply fires the missile in the direction where enemy air defense is stationed, and the weapon automatically “finds” the target within its 50-kilometer range.
The real stars of the war: civilian drones
Although the Ukrainian troops have acquired countless excellent weapons since the outbreak of the war, the most widely used flying devices have been simple drones designed for the civilian market.
The Ukrainian troops use the small devices on the one hand for reconnaissance and fire control: the pilot flies the unarmed drone over enemy positions and communicates the coordinates of the target to the artillery (which can even be measured based on the drone’s own GPS signals). Through the camera, the pilot can see if some “adjustment” is needed by the artillery, which he also relays to them.
Watch until end. Ukrainian drone operators are pros. #Ukraine
— Tendar (@Tendar) March 5, 2023
Civilian drones equipped with various grenades can also be used to attack entrenched Russian troops. Infantry can be put in an uncomfortable position with simple shrapnel grenades, and lightly armored vehicles with anti-tank grenades.A common tactic of Ukrainian soldiers is to drop a grenade into the escape hatch of Russian tanks and other armored vehicles left behind. which ignites the armored vehicle’s ammunition supply, destroying the vehicle.
Air-to-ground missile… On a BMP?
The BMP-1 is not an artillery device, its task is to transport soldiers to the battlefield and provide fire support, but it seems the Ukrainian armed forces were not really bothered by this purpose when they welded two UB-32 rocket launch containers onto the vehicle.
While the BMP is a land vehicle, the UB-32 is usually mounted on helicopters and fighter-bombers, as it is an unguided air-to-ground missile system.
Did the Ukrainians install two UB-32 57mm rocket pods from a Mil Mi-8/17 or Mil Mi-24 helicopter (or Su-25 attack aircraft) on a BMP-1 chassis and are using it as a rocket launcher? pic.twitter.com/fUKwz0wDTt
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) December 8, 2022
The effectiveness of the horror born from the combination of the two weapons is questionable. Although Ukrainian forces have essentially put together a multiple rocket launcher, the UB-32’s targeting system is not compatible with ground vehicles in any way, so the device can essentially be used in one way: they turn it roughly in the direction where they suspect Russian troops and launch missiles that might hit something.
Toyota Hilux: ideal for offroad tours and war situations
A common joke about the flatbed SUVs of the Japanese factory is that If one – usually African or Middle Eastern – there is an armed conflict raging in the country, we will certainly find a large number of Toyota cars there, usually armed with weapons.
The situation is similar in Ukraine the Ukrainian armed forces, knowing the reputation of the Hilux, tried to create their own version, which, well… it worked out interestingly.
Similar to its more armored counterpart, the BMP-1 shown above, Toyota also received two unguided air-to-ground missile containers, so the method of use should probably be something similar.
Although it is not clear in the photo, the two containers can probably be rotated and their angle of inclination can also be adjusted, otherwise, they would only be suitable for one thing: digging a trench in a thirty-meter lane in front of the car.
Whatever it is…
The victims of the latest battlefield development of the Russian troops were some MT-LB armored personnel carriers, which received some extra weaponry as part of the inventory sweep, but the weapon type was not really hit here either.
Something protruding from the back of the otherwise pathologically underarmored and underarmed MT-LB is nothing more than a 25mm 2M-3 self-loading cannon, which happens to be a ship’s deck weapon.
The state of the Russian defense industry in one video. #Ukraine
— Tendar (@Tendar) March 5, 2023
Thanks to the turret protruding spectacularly from the plane of the vehicle, the Russian troops succeeded in depriving the MT-LB of the only device that could protect it from any weapon larger than the 7.62x39mm caliber: the good concealability resulting from the flat design.
In addition, it is also questionable what exactly I want to use the monster with significantly reduced mobility. The 2M-3 is not particularly effective against manpower, and while it can knock out lightly armored vehicles, pretty much any vehicle of similar caliber available to the Ukrainians can penetrate the MT-LB’s armor, which does not even exceed 10 millimeters on the nose of the vehicle.
Special anti-missile system of Belarus
Although, since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Minsk has insisted on the position that they would go to war only if they were attacked, ez didn’t stop the Belarusian tankmen from drilling and carving a little.
The photo shows a T-72, there is nothing surprising about it, since it is the most common tank in the battles in Ukraine. On the other hand, something protruding from the back of the vehicle is unorthodox, to put it mildly.
New tank high tech against heat seeking missiles: A little fire in a tin can… pic.twitter.com/rhqPW9hhbY
— C4H10FO2P (@markito0171) October 28, 2022
Belarusian tank builders are certainly aware that Ukraine has received large numbers of FJM-148 Javelin missiles from the West, as it may be known to them that the weapon finds its targets based on the heat it emits.
In the case of a T-72, this heat comes from the rear of the vehicle, from the engine compartment, and the crew of the vehicle probably thought that the small flame flickering at the end of the iron pipe, which was not very sophisticatedly mounted on the tank, would be enough to burn the nearly $200,000 cheats a rocket.
The reality, however, is that the heat from the T-72’s engine bay makes it so visible for a thermal camera the vehicle that such a candle is essentially invisible next to it, it attracts the most fireflies there.
A rolling bomb disguised as a truck
The absolute winner of our Sufnituning selection is a Russian truck driver who, with a special conversion of his vehicle most likely he could have won a Darwin Award.
Drivers of non-armored vehicles understandably want some extra protection on their trucks, but this is usually achieved by installing additional armor plates. THE the strange “bricks” shown in the photo are not used by chance.
— Illia (Ponomarenko) October 13, 2022
The bricks climbed onto the truck are so-called ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor – Explosive Reactive Armor) arrays, the essence of which is that the energy of the missile hitting the vehicle is neutralized with a “counter-explosion”.
The explosion of such additional armor naturally puts a lot of pressure on the vehicle’s hull, so it is not used not only on trucks, but also on otherwise armored MT-LBs and BMPs, because the ERA block intended to protect the crew would simply break through the vehicle’s armor.
The cover photo is an illustration of a home-made combat vehicle of the Islamic State in Iraq. Credit: Giles Clarke/Getty Images