The Islamic State may not have high-tech factories cranking out the latest in armored vehicles, but they do have blowtorches, steel plating, and captured garages. The result were vehicles that looked like they were driven off the set of a post-apocalyptic movie—but were quite effective against militias and other armed groups equipped with even less. Two in particular, “mobile battle fortresses” as the Oryx Blog describes them, looked like medieval castles on tank tracks.
In the mid-2010s the terrorist group known as the Islamic State quickly spread across Iraq and Syria, conquering large swathes of territory. IS, also known as Daesh, fanned out quickly across the Middle East, taking advantage of instability in the two countries to form their own totalitarian government. The group spread rapidly due to its ability to quickly incorporate captured weapons, including armored vehicles, into its ranks for fresh advances into new territory.
Not all of Daesh’s armored vehicles were real tanks and armored personnel carriers. The Oryx Blog has a new article on two “mobile battle fortresses” used in the battle for Mosul, Iraq. These vehicles were originally Ukrainian BTS-5B armored recovery vehicles (ARVs) purchased by the Iraqi government to tow away its T-72 main battle tanks.