Irregular armed forces have to rely on their ingenuity to arm themselves. And while rifles and mortars can be bought on the black market, getting hold of a tank or two can be a bit tricky. But you can always make a DIY version with your own hands.
At least that’s what fighters of the Kurdish militias in northern Syria do. Called People’s Protection Units, or YPG, they have been dedicated to protecting Kurds from whatever the three-year-long war in the country may throw at them. Lately it’s been the Islamic State, the big bad terrorist group that proved to be worthy of being bombed by America itself.
The People’s Protection Units don’t have killer drones or stealth bombers.
They are mostly armed with small arms, with some heavier weapons such as mortars and rocket launchers, pickup trucks turned into mobile gun turrets and an occasional piece of artillery.
And the Kurds also have homemade armor – an assortment of vehicles that would make Marvin Heemeyer proud.
(Heemeyer, an American welder, infamously used a bulldozer, armor plating and a few guns to go on a rampage in in Granby, Colorado, in 2004 to settle grievances over a zoning conflict.)
The former cars and track vehicles may look like cast-offs from Tatooine desert scenes of Star Wars, but with proper deployment they are no less efficient in battle than the early tanks of World War I were on European battlefields.