• Many Russian vehicles are now using complex armor "body kits" in Kharkiv
  • Workshops now put together armor based on the vehicle's specifications 
  • Russian tanks are now appearing with primitive cage-type protection

Desperate Russians are now up-armoring their trucks with scrap metals and "body kits," lending a bizarre and "Mad-Max" style appearance to these vehicles. Earlier, it was reported that Russian troops were using wooden logs as armors while navigating the enemy territory.

Images showing Russian KamAZ trucks with improvised frontal protection made using transmission covers from MT-LB armored tracked vehicles had gone viral on social media, prompting the Ukrainian sources to tag them as the "artisanal army." Local media sources reported spotting many such vehicles were spotted near Kharkiv.

Besides the frontal protection, many Russian vehicles are now using complex armor "body kits" in Kharkiv. According to The Drive, this suggests field workshops are now putting together truck armor based on the actual specifications of the vehicle. This includes recycling sheets of metals cut to the appropriate shape, with apertures provided for the driver’s vision and the vehicle headlights.

Graduating from lumber armors to metal sheets not only offers extra protection to the crew but also to the engine and transmission. This will help them defend against shell splinters and some small-arms fire, though not against a direct hit by a heavier weapon.

Not just trucks, even Russian tanks are now appearing with primitive "cage" type top-attack protection, hinting at Russian efforts to provide tanks with an improved level of protection against Ukrainian anti-tank weapons.

However, The Drive report added that the cage armor and the truck modification do little when involved in combat or when exposed to armed drones or anti-tank guided missiles, as evident in images doing rounds of the wreckage of Russian T-72B3 tanks equipped with anti-javelin cages.

The urgent bid to up-armor the vehicles also hints at the effectiveness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In several instances, smaller defending forces managed to achieve multiple kills against Russian convoys.

The Ukrainians' anti-convoy tactic using ambushes and well-placed weaponry to decimate formations of Russian vehicles, both armored and soft-skinned, have also strengthened the Ukrainian resistance.

Even from the start of the war, the Russians had up-armored their vehicles using junk metal and wooden logs. The logs were reportedly used to protect the trucks’ radiators from small arms fire and to avoid overheating and breakdown. Russian soldiers had also used sandbags and logs on the turret of T-72 tanks to augment its explosive reactive armor blocks. The logs were carried on board to help these tanks add traction in mud, a major threat to the Russian military's off-road operations.

Russian military trucks are parked near the border with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic
Russian military trucks are parked near the border with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic AFP / STRINGER