The North Atlantic Fellas Organization, aka NAFO, aka the consortium of social media savvy memelords doing battle with pro-Russian trolls/propagandists, have purchased a fleet of camo trucks for the Ukrainian military to use in defense of its country against the illegal invasion and occupation of their country. That’s an insane sentence to read and it felt extremely strange to write but, as far as I can tell, this is the first time Internet shitposters have outfitted an entire platoon with vehicles.
Another Ukrainian improvised technical in the east utilizing MRL tubes from a BM-21 Grad pic.twitter.com/0OHbFZCNzL
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) August 24, 2022
It’s our general desire here at The Autopian to not interject ourselves into politics where it doesn’t serve our readers, but cars do not exist in a vacuum and decisions made by policymakers do impact the hobby (The 25-year import rule, for instance). To stick your fingers in your ears and avert your eyes, sometimes, is to hand over important decisions to people who don’t get it. I’m not even sure that the Russian invasion of Ukraine can be considered political, but there’s your disclosure.
There’s a lot of context required to explain what the hell is happening here and I do it because it’s worth it since this whole thing feels very new.
First, a quick brief on what a technical is. It’s essentially a fast, off-road capable truck that carries a small number of armed troops and, typically, a gun or RPG mounted in the back. War On The Rocks has a pretty good explanation of the history, which goes back to the “Toyota War” when a bunch of under-armed Chadians decimated a Libyan army equipped with more traditional weapons.
[T]he pickup-truck era of warfare really began on March 22, 1987, when 2,000 Chadian soldiers riding in technicals armed with heavy machine guns, AA guns, MILAN anti-tank missiles and recoilless rifles emerged from desert wadis in the depths of the Sahara and overran the massive Libyan air base at Wadi Doum, Chad in a surprise attack that killed thousands of Libyans, destroyed dozens of tanks and aircraft, and shattered Libyan air power. The Chadians would go on to repeat their success several months later with an attack against the Libyan airbase at Maaten al-Sara, in Libya itself. Again, thousands of fighters in armed pickups crossed the desert to hit with speed and surprise. Libya agreed to a cease-fire six days after Maaten al-Sara fell, bringing the “Toyota War” (so named because Chadian forces were mainly composed of Toyota trucks) to an end.
So that’s what a technical is. They’ve become popular in the Middle East, Africa, South America, and pretty much anywhere asymmetric warfare occurs. The Ukrainian Army, which has repelled a much larger and more conventional force, has built some crazy Mad Max-like technicals and used them to great effect against the Russians.
#Ukraine: More technicals from the Ukrainian army – here we see a light truck with a ZPU-1 anti-aircraft gun mounted. The ZPU-1 consists of a KPV 14.5mm heavy machine gun with a scope. Whilst it entered service back in 1949, it still can be used against lightly armored targets. pic.twitter.com/XcUwXUeOml
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 22, 2022
Because of this success, Ukraine has been asking for donations so they can buy more of the Toyota, Mitsubishi and other trucks that make up their Technical fleet.
The next important thing to know: Russia has been, up to this point in history, seen as a leader in information warfare. They shamelessly spread lies and it’s hard to quickly refute them before another one pops up, especially on places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Telegram. No amount of weak-armed factchecking works.
In its place, a bunch of brave shitposters have responded to misinformation not with facts but with the kind of comically nonsensical meme-ing that ridicules the original poster in such a way that it negates and, more importantly, exposes how brazenly stupid their points were.
These people are known as NAFO, or just fellas, and they exist to bonk (counter) the Vatniks (Russian online propagandists) who are trying to prop up the Orcs (Russian soldiers). If you have to ask the question “What Air Defense Doing” then maybe you should read this article from DW:
NAFO rose up spontaneously in May when the Twitter account @Kama_Kamilia offered a custom “fella” — a Shiba Inu dog avatar — to collect donations to the Georgian Legion that supports the Ukrainian military.
A gender-neutral dog cartoon character inspired by the long-running “doge” internet meme, the fella soon became the mascot for pro-Ukrainian mockery of “vatniks” who spearhead Russian propaganda online.
Sure. So why am I writing about this? Because they raised enough money to buy, according to them (it’s hard to vet this claim) 101 technicals. And not only that, they have special camo and logos showing the Shiba Inu meme dog. There are some Mitsubishis, Isuzu, and a freaking WK Jeep Grand Cherokee!
This is for the “69th Sniffing Brigade” (draw your own conclusions there). Just look at the video:
I cannot account for the other vehicles, but this shows 11 trucks, SUVs, and vans ready to go to battle. With memes. In real war.
To quote the excellent commentator Rob Lee, this isn’t the “first social media war, but it is the first extremely online war.”
Unless this is all a hoax, and I don’t think it is, we’re going to see memelords helping Ukrainian soldiers literally touch grass and kick ass in actual war.
Top image credit: YouTube