How Russian snipers are being fooled by a fleet of aging farm pickup trucks from Britain
Trucks supplied by British farmers are being retrofitted in Ukraine to supply the military.
The crowdfunded initiative Car4Ukraine has received more than 100 vehicles from the UK.
The UK right-hand drive models confuse Russian snipers and have helped save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers.
Battered farm trucks that, up until now, most likely carried manure and building equipment across the British countryside are being converted into valuable weapons of war in Ukraine.
25-year-old esports analyst Ivan Oleksii is originally from Kherson, Ukraine. Still working in the gaming industry, he also works on the team behind Car4Ukraine, an organization launched in March that refits civilian pick-up trucks into military-grade fighting vehicles.
The trucks are purchased second-hand from around Europe and used by the Ukrainian military to fight Russians during Putin’s ongoing invasion. Oleksii and his team crowdfund all the money used to buy the trucks.
He told Insider Car4Ukraine has received approximately 100 vehicles from the UK. Oleksii said that most trucks had only been used for farm work before their transformation.
Russian snipers mistakenly aim at the passenger seat
British trucks come in many models and makes, but they all have one thing in common: the driver’s seat is on the right-hand side.
This slight difference to other trucks and vehicles on the frontline has saved the lives of many Ukrainian soldiers, Oleksii told Insider. According to Oleksii Russian snipers mistakenly aimed for the passenger seat, thinking they were shooting at the drivers.
Sometimes, Oleksii said, the drivers put dummies in the passenger seat to further cement the decoy.
The donation-reliant project also prizes British farming vehicles because they can be purchased cheaply.
“They come from a farm, that means they might have some scratches, they might smell bad, but that doesn’t matter. It means they will already cost less,” Oleksii told Insider.
Car4Ukraine sources second-hand 4-wheel drive diesel trucks with 2.0-liter engines from across Europe. The favored models include the Toyota Hilux/Tundra, Mitsubishi L200, Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara/KingCab, Isuzu D-Max, Маzda BT-50/Mazda B2500, and the Jeep Gladiator. These trucks usually cost €5,500, roughly $5,800.
But robust British farm trucks, often with more than 100,000 miles on the clock, can be bought for as little as $2,000. A Car4Ukraine team member told the Telegraph some farmers hand over the keys for as little as £1 when they hear about the final destination of their trucks.
How the trucks are refitted for war
Car4Ukraine has raised enough money to deliver 146 refitted trucks offering fast-moving firepower to troops, with another 36 on the way.
Upon arrival in Ukraine, volunteer mechanics recruited by Car4Ukraine reinforce the bodies of the cars with steel plates to protect passengers from Russian mortar and shelling. They then add stands to the back of the trucks to accommodate machine guns, Javelins, NLAWs, and Stingers anti-tank weapons.
As the war against Russia’s invasion rages into its tenth month, the Car4Ukraine vehicles are continuously being used to battle enemy troops, transport injured civilians and soldiers to safety, and to even shoot down Russian missiles.
Speaking to Insider over a video call, Oleksii described a series of texts he received from a soldier driving one of his vehicles.
“A couple of days ago, we just received images of a cruise missile sent on Monday by Russia, but it was taken down by the machine gun from one of our trucks.”
The 17-person team at Car4Ukraine is part of the country’s civilian effort to defeat Putin’s forces, often with a makeshift arsenal to fight its heavily armed neighbor.
The little things, or the little people, are the ones that can make a difference against Russia’s “huge stupid army,” Oleksii told Insider.
“And with all of those crowdfunded ideas of how to improve every single aspect of the war. We’re going to win,” he said.
Read the original article on Business Insider