Prolonged urban combat has a way of affecting serious changes in battlefield doctrine and equipment in the forces that experience it. The tight confines of military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) severely change the dynamics of conflict, as well as the relative advantages afforded by technological superiority. Here a humble RPG can lay waste to a multimillion-dollar tanks with ease. IEDs gain new vitality found in choke points and other areas that see high traffic and naturally encourage ambush.
For US and Western forces who experienced the reality of the Iraqi insurgency over the past decade, this led to the emergence of entirely new(although many of these did exist prior in other states' arsenals) families of vehicles, such as the MRAP truck series, as well as major modifications to existing platforms, including the TUSK and BUSK upgrades to AFVs.
In the case of Syria, however, the state cannot rely on an enormous military industrial sector to respond to pressing needs, facilitating the emergence of widespread 'battlefield innovations', or, as US troops who were struggling in 2003/2004 period dubbed it, 'Redneck armor'.
Over the past two years we have witnessed a number of these sorts of responses in SAAF armor.
Here is a T-72AV with sheet metal skirts and wall reinforcing mesh crammed with cinder blocks, likely in an attempt to defeat HEAT charges.
Here we see a similar modification applied to a BMP-2, likely around the Diriya area where Republican Guard units are operating.
In some cases the modifications have been more extreme, here is a police BRDM-2 with what appears to be a properly engineered set of add-on armor. This has clearly been in use for some time, as the armor itself is in the same scheme as the vehicle.
With this in mind I decided to revisit some of my original Syrian armor and 'Mad Max' it up a bit to add some further character.
My first attempt was on a T-72A, with the addition of a few worn bits of sheet metal plating. I wanted these to look as battered as possible, so I shaped some plasticard with a scalpel, before weathering the hell out of them and covering them with mud. I also added a bar grill at the front, the intention of which would be to prematurely detonate RPGs/ATGMs.
With a decisive lack of side armor, the older T-72s in the SAAF service have seemed to be particularlly vulnerable to ambushes and in the open against ATGMs.
The second attempt was the further 'harden' the Shilka previously shown on this blog. I was already not happy with the lack of a mast, so decided to email Shaun at SandS to get a replacement for the originally defective part that had originally forced the conversion. In his usual gracious manner he quickly responded and I was able to fully realize the vehicle. I find that the radar is really key to capturing what makes the Shilka such a unique and neat looking bit of kit.
To add to the battered look of the thing, I added a second 'type' of field armor, the idea being that after taking some damage to the rear, the crew had hastily procured and welded on the first piece of metal they could lay hands on.
Thats all for now!