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The Toyota Horde. Potential Future Fact or Fairytale?

b00161400

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I came across this short interesting article on the Small Wars Journal by William F. Owen which argues that our future most dangerous enemies will be forces that are competent in formation level combined arms maneuver but conducting it with low cost forces.  It can be found here.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/410-owen.pdf

He claims:
1. The most dangerous future threats will likely not be 4th generation asymmetric insurgencies.
2. Mobility, and troop transport, to include their weapons, can be provided by 4WD civilian paterned vehicles.  Such as a Toyota Hilux.
3. These same vehicles could be used to move heavier weapon systems such as mortars and recoiless rifles and low level air defence can be provided by MANPADS.
4. Many Western states continue to train to fight large Soviet formations believing this to be the most likely worst case scenario when in fact something similar to what he proposes is more likely.
5. He gives some very specific ideas on how to employ older and inexpensive technologies against western forces.

Things to consider:
1. Would a force like this be completly restricted to complex terrain?
2. Related to the first topic, does it have any expeditionary capability?
3. How does it fight in the offence and the defence?  Is it particularly suited for one or the other?
4. Is it a completly light infantry/motorized infantry force, is there "armoured" soldiers driving the Hiluxes, are there gunners manning the mortars?
5. Is this force even worthy of development?
6. How does it fare against western forces?
 

Infanteer

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Wilf talked about this a bit more on the Small Wars Journal - this wasn't really meant to provide an actual threat, it was more of a thought experiment to show that someone doesn't require a massive military-industrial complex or a billion-dollar defence budget to present a modern military force with a threat.
 

a_majoor

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This is actually an old model, the LRDG of WWII was outfitted this way , driving Chevrolet 30 cwt WB trucks rather than Toyotas, but the effect was similar.

Recce, raiding, flank screening, force projection in complex terrain; by all means. I don't think a Toyota horde would ever be more than "Motor Infantry" simply because their vehicle fleet would not be able to deal with a heavier enemy either in the offensive role or the defesive role. (Motor Infantry used trucks for strategc and operational mibility, but dismounted and marched from the rear areas to the front).

This sort of force would be easily portable, capable of being sea and airlifted with minimal fuss, and can be slung via helicopter from ship to shore.

Now vehicle mounted weaponry *might* provide a much greater punch than strictly man portable weapons (.50 HMG's and 40mm AGL's for Technoviking), but unless you include Avenger AA mounts and heavy ATGMs like Hellfire, FOG-M or LOSAT, you are strictly limited in what you will be able to defend against.

It really looks more like this guy watched "Generation Kill" and transposed the HMMVW's of the Marines into Toyota land cruisers. In terms of logistics it is pretty brilliant, since you can steal or cannibalize the bad guy's vehicle fleet, and you won't look too out of place in an armed Toyota Land cruiser in much of the third world.

How badly do we need this? It depends. For the amount of resources we can muster, it might make more sense to create a Canadian Cavalry or Mounted Rifles regiment mounted on LAV's or similar vehicles. Now we have speed, but also protection and firepower sufficient to overmatch most small or medium weight opponents in both the offense and defense. Add the ATGMs and AA and AAA capabilities and you have a much more capable force. (There are lots of LAV varients either in service or proposed with these capabilities)
 

Fishbone Jones

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Think Brits and Long Landys. Long Range Desert Patrols. What has changed? What is different? This relatively small force totally disrupted Rommel's full army. Can it be applied to today's scenarios? What is stopping a well equipped, highly mobile force from operating in an AOR like the ME?
 

Journeyman

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recceguy said:
What is stopping a well equipped, highly mobile force from operating in an AOR like the ME?
Giulio Douhet and Steve Apple, which is to say, the synergistic effects of command of the air and instantaneous networked comms. One can no longer hide by simply staying out of the wadi or knowing that it will take 12 hours for the message to pass that you've transitted a village.

While I'm not remotely a fan of "massed tank armies in the Fulda Gap mentality," I believe citing Bagnold's LRDG as the way ahead may overlook some technological changes of the past 70 years -- and yes, it's been more than seven decades now.


Assuming, of course, a competent opponent like the Egyptians and not the Libyan or Tunisian.... rabble.
 

a_majoor

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Some of the good/bad aspects of this sort of force was discussed in detail in the "Trading Saber for Stealth" or "Are We a One Trick Pony? thread.

Lots of "forces" out there are indeed rabbles or armed mobs, you could probably use this sort of force with great effect in most of Africa (think the Congo or Darfur as well as current North Africa), for example. Of course, even mobs can become too big, get organized or enlist outside help of their own, so the best compromise would be a fast medium force (LAV Cavalry or LAV Mounted Rifles, depending on how you lay it out and organize things) which has all the advantages of the light force and can swing a much bigger "stick" when needed. Modern weapons and communications technologies also work even better with larger, more capable vehicles.
 

GK .Dundas

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Haligonian said:
I came across this short interesting article on the Small Wars Journal by William F. Owen which argues that our future most dangerous enemies will be forces that are competent in formation level combined arms maneuver but conducting it with low cost forces.  It can be found here.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/410-owen.pdf

He claims:
1. The most dangerous future threats will likely not be 4th generation asymmetric insurgencies.
2. Mobility, and troop transport, to include their weapons, can be provided by 4WD civilian paterned vehicles.  Such as a Toyota Hilux.
3. These same vehicles could be used to move heavier weapon systems such as mortars and recoiless rifles and low level air defence can be provided by MANPADS.
4. Many Western states continue to train to fight large Soviet formations believing this to be the most likely worst case scenario when in fact something similar to what he proposes is more likely.
5. He gives some very specific ideas on how to employ older and inexpensive technologies against western forces.

Things to consider:
 

4. Is it a completly light infantry/motorized infantry force, is there "armoured" soldiers driving the Hiluxes, are there gunners manning the mortars?
" And is the elephant a federal or provincial responsibility ?
          Geeze talk about putting it  in a Canadian context or in this case  a CF context.  :facepalm:
BTW it worked for the Chadians err....Chaddites  ummm Chads ........ you know those guys in Africa  ???
Seriously though during the early 90 in the Chad vs the  Libyans fracas combined with French air cover the Chadians literally and figuratively drove circles around the " Brother Colonel's " Troops .Milans and ZSU 23-2 's are wicked combination.  :2c:
 

Old Sweat

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The paper is intriguing, but it is a case of taking mobility versus fire power and protection to almost a ridiculous length. It seems me that we have developed/are developing the capability to differentiate between benign and hostile Toyotas, even if we aren't completely there yet.

Here is a challenge for our resident war gamers, run a simple game using a well-trained force of say battle group strength equipped as per the paper against a Canadian combat team supported by artillery, including weapon locating devices, air and aviation, EW, etc and report your results.
 

b00161400

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GK .Dundas said:
" And is the elephant a federal or provincial responsibility ?
          Geeze talk about putting it  in a Canadian context or in this case  a CF context.  :facepalm:
BTW it worked for the Chadians err....Chaddites  ummm Chads ........ you know those guys in Africa  ???
Seriously though during the early 90 in the Chad vs the  Libyans fracas combined with French air cover the Chadians literally and figuratively drove circles around the " Brother Colonel's " Troops .Milans and ZSU 23-2 's are wicked combination.  :2c:

I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're saying here.  Anyone know what he's saying?

Old Sweat said:
The paper is intriguing, but it is a case of taking mobility versus fire power and protection to almost a ridiculous length. It seems me that we have developed/are developing the capability to differentiate between benign and hostile Toyotas, even if we aren't completely there yet.

Here is a challenge for our resident war gamers, run a simple game using a well-trained force of say battle group strength equipped as per the paper against a Canadian combat team supported by artillery, including weapon locating devices, air and aviation, EW, etc and report your results.

I would love to hear how that goes.
 

Infanteer

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http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2010/04/the-toyota-horde/

Follow the blog discussion on the paper - Wilf makes it clear that his goal was to provoke discussion on the generation of military power, not get wrapped around the axles of a specific operational concept.

When discussing the viability of "cheap" forces such as these, it is important not divorce military power from its political foundation.  I am always brought back to the anecdote of when Clausewitz was asked weigh in on a strategic problem given by the Chief of the General Staff for a scenario featuring a conflict between an imaginary country A with a military force of X against country B with a military force of Y. Clausewitz rejected the problem, saying it was impossible to consider anything with no knowledge of the political condition between A and B.

Aside from introducing dead Germans into the discussion, for us this means it is almost useless to say "country A with a LAV/MBT based force would easily destroy country B's toyota force" as their is no political conditions established.

What if a force similar to the one Mr Owen describes was mustered in Kandahar City and moved out fast enough to overrun one or two of the many small NATO outposts in Afghanistan, killing or capturing 50-100 NATO soldiers in one day and destroying/capturing millions of dollars of sensitive equipment?  Sure, the military power is transitory and the inbalance is still obvious, but how would this translate into the political nature of the conflict?  Linking tactics (means) to strategy (ways) to policies (ends) for combatants is essential in these scenarios.

Edit - spelling and grammar

 

GK .Dundas

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Sorry Haligonian ,
Reference 1 was a an old joke in response to a previous poster 's comment on weather or not drivers would have to be armoured corps or mortar teams , gunners. Joke goes something like this : UN concerned about fate of elephant in world approaches  several countries and asks them to do report .France does one on the sex life of the elephant Germany does one on the Elephant as a weapon of war. Canadian report is entitled " Is the Elephant  a Federal or Provincial responsibility"?
Reference 2 was my even worse attempt to be humorous  a second  time.
  That and I should never post when I'm that tired . My editing skills as bad as they are to begin with, go right out the window.
 

GK .Dundas

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If you're going to game this a little information


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chadian%E2%80%93Libyan_conflict
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_War
 

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/14/why-rebel-groups-love-the-toyota-hilux.html

http://www.tacomahq.com/135/toyota-bravest-trucks/ 
 

a_majoor

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Infanteer said:
What if a force similar to the one Mr Owen describes was mustered in Kandahar City and moved out fast enough to overrun one or two of the many small NATO outposts in Afghanistan, killing or capturing 50-100 NATO soldiers in one day and destroying/capturing millions of dollars of sensitive equipment?  Sure, the military power is transitory and the inbalance is still obvious, but how would this translate into the political nature of the conflict?  Linking tactics (means) to strategy (ways) to policies (ends) for combatants is essential in these scenarios.

Given the various sensor capabilities, as well as the use of standard military practice like OP's, sentries etc. and potentially our intelligence assets (big question mark there), it seems to me that any group trying to assemble a large fighting force to conduct raids will not have the element of surprise. Racing out from Kandahar city towards a FOB to raid an ISAF position only to be met by Apache attack helicopters or artillery fire and direct fire from the FOB essentially makes the "means" inappropriate to the ways and ends. It is far easier to blend in on foot as farmers or in traffic as a singular VBIED than move around as a large motorized force.

Upthread someone mentioned that as well; we simply can't hide in a wadi and expect no one will notice. The examples of a Toyota based Motor Infantry are viable given the specific scenarios (large space the force ratios, enemies lacking the ability to monitor the AOR, or the flexibility to move quickly to block the Toyota force etc.), so if those particular conditions can be met, then by all means. If these conditions are not met, then the Toyota force will not be able to operate effectively.
 

dapaterson

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Old Sweat said:
Here is a challenge for our resident war gamers, run a simple game using a well-trained force of say battle group strength equipped as per the paper against a Canadian combat team supported by artillery, including weapon locating devices, air and aviation, EW, etc and report your results.

Here is another challenge: Who is more willign to absorb casualties?

Our Toyota horde does not have to defeat us militarily, but rather sap our will to fight.  And given our fear of the Globe and Mail  ("Ten Canadians killed by rabble in Toyotas") they need not destroy us as a fighting force, only do enough damage to influence the national will.  The Tet offensive comes to mind - lose a battle and win a war.
 

GK .Dundas

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dapaterson said:
Here is another challenge: Who is more willign to absorb casualties?

Our Toyota horde does not have to defeat us militarily, but rather sap our will to fight.  And given our fear of the Globe and Mail  ("Ten Canadians killed by rabble in Toyotas") they need not destroy us as a fighting force, only do enough damage to influence the national will.  The Tet offensive comes to mind - lose a battle and win a war.
Lets reverse the idea for moment  how about high tech raiding party equipped with UAVs , satellite imagery Himars and variety of other bits of gear. I suspect in an AO where air superiority  is either working in our favour  or perhaps is up for grabs what kind of damage could we do to an opponent?
I have got to admit I've wanted to try this since the mid 70's ..... the technology level is getting to the point where is not as suicidal as once would have been . And to be honest this at least strikes me as a little more satisfying  then jeep mounted recce alone Just as suicidal perhaps but least I 'd get to blow up a couple of things prior to meeting  my fate .

And for the gamer's Two scenarios  one against a armour heavy force and the other against.... well let's see if Timmy likes being ambushed !
 

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Thucydides said:
Given the various sensor capabilities, as well as the use of standard military practice like OP's, sentries etc. and potentially our intelligence assets (big question mark there), it seems to me that any group trying to assemble a large fighting force to conduct raids will not have the element of surprise. Racing out from Kandahar city towards a FOB to raid an ISAF position only to be met by Apache attack helicopters or artillery fire and direct fire from the FOB essentially makes the "means" inappropriate to the ways and ends. It is far easier to blend in on foot as farmers or in traffic as a singular VBIED than move around as a large motorized force.

KC is only a 15-20 min drive from many of the NATO areas in Panjwayi and Zharei districts.  Apaches and UAVs don't track a pickup truck or a bongo driving from KC to Bazaar-e-Panjwayi - there are hundreds of them an hour (trust me, I stopped them all once).  As the article states, some of this can be transported via truck (of which dozens fly up and down highway 1 in an hour), which would completely obscure its positioning.

There is the potential to create an imbalance in force, even if fleeting, that can cause a "Globe and Mail" moment that dapaterson mentioned.  Hence my Clausewitz comment.
 

daftandbarmy

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I'm not a 'cavalwy' expert, but it would seem to me that a properly constituted and managed corps recce screen could do much better than your average horde. But then again, that assumes you're thinking at Corps level, which is more expensive (and sooooo 'Cold War') than a bunch of Toyotas.  ::)
 

b00161400

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So I threw this thing up as a sort of thought experiment and the results have been somewhat illuminating.  Most people who have responded seem to think that for the most part this force would not in fact have a chance against western medium and heavy weight forces, with perhaps the small exception of some very limited success isolated in time and space with an aim to causing heavy casualties. For example a "toyota horde" coming out of KC to mass against a coalition FOB or some other post.

Having said all this, lets put our imaginations to work. Can anyone think of a formation/strategy, or whatever that would be effective against a Western medium to heavy force other than an insurgency strategy or another medium to heavy force? Granted, this is rather vague and not taking terrain or strategic or operational goals into account, but lets see if anyone can think of anything.

I would say creating a force that is geared to fight in a particular geographical area would be key, thereby allowing all equipment, personnel, and the way the organization is tasked and organized to be optimized for that particular fight. I'm thinking of a sort of Swiss military type of idea here where they know they are going to fight within their geographical borders and can therefore prep for that particular type of fight.
 

Infanteer

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Haligonian said:
Having said all this, lets put our imaginations to work. Can anyone think of a formation/strategy, or whatever that would be effective against a Western medium to heavy force other than an insurgency strategy or another medium to heavy force? Granted, this is rather vague and not taking terrain or strategic or operational goals into account, but lets see if anyone can think of anything.

I'll take you back to the Clausewitz story mentioned above and say it is pointless to do so.  This is like comparing ballistics to argue what round is better - it doesn't matter when you don't take into effect the manner in which the rounds will be employed and (most importantly) who is employing them.  Is a "Toyota-horde", being cheap and light, going to seize/defend a state against a modern, conventional Army?  No - but protecting/overthrowing a state are simply two policies that commonly manifest themselves in war.  There are many others.

The author's intent (at least from my discussions from him) were to show that there are alternative ways to generate military power other than a simple dichotomy of modern, military-industrial complex or improvised insurgent mob.  We should take forms of military power such as this into consideration when considering possible threats.
 

kilekaldar

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I would argue that the Toyota War has already occured to us in a limited way. When we'd patrol into Zhari fighters would be brought in from the surrounding areas using vans, trucks, and motorcycles. They would pick up weapons from the nearest stash and then engage us in running gun fights. There where no mounted weapons like AAA, RR, or Mortars but they were using civi pattern vehs to enhance their mobility. Since we couldn't engage those vehs without seeing weapons there was nothing we could do to counter the tactic. We tried setting up a surprise VCP but they just drove around it using different roads and later attacked it.

 
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