I love papers like this, because these are the kind of deals that ruffle the feathers of Tankers and Armor fans, as well as status quo military thinkers. Thanks to Small Wars Journal for publishing it. Basically, William has presented some excellent low cost hybrid warfare concepts that should be of great interest to the military and PMC’s. It’s a different way of looking at armor and maneuver warfare as it applies to small countries and armies, and today’s wars.

   The concept revolves around using small pickups that are easily available throughout the world as a means to transport troops and really modern weaponry–like Javelins for example.  He goes into how Hezbollah fought the Israelis in 2006, and used that war as an example of the kind of fight that would benefit from the Toyota Horde idea.

   Especially if Hezbollah actually had better proficiency with their anti-tank weapons.  If they had actually trained with those weapons and got proficient before that battle, they could have easily upped the numbers of kills.  Javelins and other fire and forget weapons would have been a game changer and the Israelis would have really felt the sting. But just basic anti-tank gunnery skills would have really changed the dynamic.

   The pickup can also be used for the hard work of fortifying a region or prepping the battlefield, much like what Hezbollah did.  They planted IED’s all over the place, set up tank traps, built rocket hides, you name it.  Cheap local trucks, that can quickly transport people, bombs and tools all over the place, are all you need for that endeavor.  And with fortified regions, hybrid armies actually want to be attacked so they can suck in armored columns into their traps.  Then attacks on the logistics can be set up, as well as attacks on individual tanks and APC’s, all using the stuff that was planted.  Much like what Hezbollah did.

   The trucks can also disappear into the population.  Hell, you could use taxis as transports, and really blend into society.  If the trucks are attacked, a group like Hezbollah could kill some civilians, throw them in those trucks, film it and put it all on youtube and say the attacking force killed these innocents.  In essence, these local vehicle/military transports, are the ultimate tools for hybrid warfare and playing the propaganda game to your advantage.

   Now to put on my PMC hat.  Imagine contracting your services to a country, in order to build up regional fortifications and set up this Toyota Horde and Hezbollah style hybrid warfare concept?  It would be cheap, quick to get off the ground, and pretty effective if done correctly. You could also use the country’s current weapon systems to add to those regional fortifications, much like what William was talking about in his paper.  You could also use these ideas, if PMC’s ever had to fight other PMC’s in the coming future. (big if) Notice that the New Rules Of War fit nicely with this paper as well. Interesting stuff and maybe the ‘Somali technicals’ are the wave of the future? lol –Matt


The classic Somali Technical…. Bring on the Toyota Horde!!

The Toyota Horde: Examining a Lost Cost Military Capability

by William F. Owen

Download the full article: The Toyota Horde

The subject of this article is a broad technical and operational examination of how almost any country on earth can currently gain a viable level of military power by building on the enduring elements of combined arms warfare. These elements are enduring and appeared in the first twenty years of the twentieth century. It is further suggested that skillfully applied this type of capability may enable its user to confront and possibly defeat NATO type expeditionary forces.

A number of popular opinions about the future nature of warfare have created a substantially misleading impression that the skills and equipment required for formation level combined arms capability, such as that possessed by NATO during the cold war is no longer needed, because few potential enemies possess similar peer capability. Thus the object of the article is to show just how simply a peer or near-peer capability can be acquired, and maintained.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many examples of where military action by irregular forces has inflicted battlefield defeats on regular forces. The most famous are the Boer defeats of the British Army during “Black Week” in December 1899 and the Hussite Wars of the 15th Century, where irregular forces, using improvised barricades made of ox wagons (wagenburgs) were able to stand against and defeat the armoured knights of the Holy Roman Empire. In both cases each irregular force was able to generate conventional military force from fairly meager resources. There is nothing novel, new or even complex, in this approach. It is common, enduring and proven.

Download the full article: The Toyota Horde


William F Owen is British and was born in Singapore in 1963. Privately educated, he joined the Army in 1981, and served in both regular and territorial units until resigning in 1993 to work on defense and advisory projects in Kuwait, Taiwan, Algeria, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone. An accomplished glider, fixed wing and helicopter pilot, he works as a writer, broadcaster and defence analyst.

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