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Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces

Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2018 Title Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces
Author Leigh Neville Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 9781472822512
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.00

Review

"Technicals" – mainly civilian pick-up trucks jury-rigged with crew-served armament – seem everywhere in asymmetric combat throughout the globe.

Somalia's civil war supposedly spawned the term. Prohibited from carrying weapons, humanitarian NGOs, as the story goes, then hired armed locals for protection – and euphemistically called the practice "technical assistance". Still another source claims "technicals" as an Anglicized derivative of the Russian arms manufacturer Tekniko.

Regardless, Leigh Neville now parses the practice in his enormously entertaining Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Great Toyota War to modern Special Forces – 257th in Osprey's vast "New Vanguard" range.

After intensely illuminating introductory notes on origins and typical weapon installations, the author surveys nine case studies of technicals in action over just 48 pages:

  • Beirut
  • Africa
  • The Great Toyota War
  • Somalia
  • Cechnya and the Balkans
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Libya
  • Syria

Highly mobile and maneuverable, technicals, Neville notes, often rely on surprise flanking tactics to combat less agile conventional forces. Requiring no specialized training, the rapidly deployable vehicles perfectly suit "the 'shoot and scoot' ethos" of guerrilla fighters.

From "hillbilly armour" to faux "Darth Vader" helmets, every page proved packed with fascinating facts. Western Special Operations Forces, for instance, employ technicals – "Non-Standard Commercial Vehicles" in US parlance – to blend among local populations in enemy-controlled areas.

Dozens of color shots with extended, explanatory captions augment the account. Peter Dennis' excellent action illustrations further season the study. And a selected bibliography and index conclude this mind-blowing, real-life "Mad Max" effort.

Unfortunately, none of Neville's noticeable number of direct quotes is annotated. Nor is any of his action accounts. So you're largely on your own for further research of this spellbinding subject.

Still, I can't remember having so much fun with an Osprey effort. Grab this terrific little tome.

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!