The Mexicans are getting very close to a real Mad Max world.The Mexican gangs have been building heavily armored vehicles which they have been using in battles against other cartels.Some of the earlier vehicles found where based off the Ford F-150 chassis, but the latest efforts have gone to modifying full size trucks.
In Mexico, their appearance on the Internet has gone viral. On the front page of Reforma, a national daily newspaper, a photograph Monday of a monster truck was accompanied by the headline: “And this doesn’t look like a war?”
The monsters look like a cross between a handmade assault vehicle used by a Somali warlord and something out of a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” movie. Complete with battering rams.
The assault vehicles have appeared in several confrontations with Mexican authorities. In the western state of Jalisco, soldiers confronted one of the beasts in May and disabled it byshooting out its tires. The trucks have not been seen in the cities and remain mostly a chilling curiosity.
Tim Johnson, MccLatchy Newspapers, 6 June 2011. Hat tip NC.
The latest discovery showed that the gangs are upping their game. The two armored vehicles were cloaked in inch-thick steel plating. Built on a three-axle truck bed with a heavily armored cabin, the latest "narco tanks" are far larger than previous versions.
"You can easily fit 20 armed people in here," an unidentified army officer told El Porvenir TV as he showed the inside of one of the vehicles.
The officer said the vehicles could withstand fire from 50-caliber mounted weapons and grenade blasts, and contained a vicious pointed steel battering ram.
Except for the fact that they have wheels they remind one a bit of the clumsy armored boxes that the German’s built in World War 1. The article mentions Somali warlords, but the United States forces running supply convoys through Iraq, and earlier in Vietnam, have used similarly improvised armor on their vehicles.
German AFVs in World War 1
In this case a contractor built Ford Superduty modification in Iraq 2006
Vietnam Era Truck Modifications
Based on the description they are heavily underpowered.In the video attached to the MccLatchy article above, some of them have a military truck basis and some of the armor appears to be camouflaged so that they are not immediately obvious on the street.
How they are supposed to get these vehicles to the fight (unless the fight comes to them) is not unclear.Even protection against .50 caliber heavy machine gun rounds is not going to do much against the king of firepower the Mexican military could bring to bear. During Operation Cobra in Iraq, Saddam’s forces often found it safer to abandon their armored vehicles and fight from foot.