A Bunch Of NAFO Anti-Russian Memelords Have Given The Ukrainian Army A Fleet Of Real Technicals


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.

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.

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

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34 Responses

  1. “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). “Thank you for not only saying this, but having that philosophy. I’m sure that there will still be trolls posting tHiS Is CaR a SiTe , but your absolutly spot on! We don’t live in a vacuum, nor do cars or car culture.

    1. Military vehicles with mounted guns started pre WWI with light cannon on trucks to shoot down balloons and motorcycle sidecar machine gun carriers. By WWII truck mounted machine guns and light artillery were common, e.g. the US Army’s Dodge Weapons Carrier or the Russian SU-1-12. The LRDG trucks fit this continuum of more or less official armed patrol vehicles. The SAS Jeeps of WWII are a noteworthy development as the first light attack vehicles.
      The modern “technical” originates in Somalia in the 1980s where Technical Assistance was a euphemism for mercenaries with armed trucks and has become the accepted term for unofficially modified vehicles.
      By this standard, a pickup with a home built machine gun mount is a technical but a Landrover Wolf WMIK is not a technical.

  2. To add to the weird vehicles being used as ‘technicals’ (I’ve learned a new word today) earlier in the week there was a photo circulating Twitter of a Peugeot 307CC adapted into one.

    1. Technicals are usually pickups, because that’s often what works best and is around, but any nominally civilian vehicle that has been turned into an improvised combat vehicle is a technical.

  3. Estonian flags (and one probably Finnish) who have proven QUITE adapt in information and cyber warfare, both of which border Russia, and both of which are quite threatened by it. Good work, Fellas.

    1. Nations represented in order of appearance:
      Estonia, United States, Estonia, Estonia, Estonia, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Estonia, United States.

      Estonia is very unsurprising because the person who has been organizing these vehicle donations for NAFO actually is an Estonian currently in Kyiv.

  4. It isn’t often that I actually recognize and understand meme things like this. I follow someone on FB that is actively involved in this meme war. Funny stuff for sure with real results. Joohn Choe is one of these folks.

  5. These aren’t strictly technicals; they’re light support vehicles. And that’s not just any WK – that’s a 2008 Overland 5.7 or 3.0CRD; most likely the 3.0CRD as it was sold in very large numbers in Europe.

    Either one is pretty much the ultimate in light support vehicles. You can up-armor a WK substantially. Base payload rating is 5 passengers plus 1500lbs. And both the 3.0CRD and 5.7 are “holy shit what” fast. The CRD is a mountain of torque, and when manually shifted, can do 0-60 a lot faster than you think.

    Much more importantly: the Mitsubishi Triton is the 101st technical provided to Ukraine by NAFO.
    Yeah. They’ve provided 101 vehicles to Ukraine. To celebrate 100, the entire batch was painted in special NAFO camo. That’s not regular camo. The black and brown markings are NAFO shibe silhouettes.

  6. how can we crowdfund the plucky neonazi army against the evil self governing donbas empire? link pls

    i’m all about supporting smol fracking LNG exporters against the tyranny of the russian pipeline!

    1. The lighting site is thattaway.

      They cater to Nazis and fascism-enthusiasts like you. You’ll find no such welcome here, only a heaping helping of “fuck off back to Truth Social. Aww, that’s right, it’s bankrupt. Sad.”

  7. Think of it as the world returning to pre-First World War conditions, with nationalistic imperialism and militant quasi-state religious movements providing a major impetus for international madne – err… relations.

    By the way, a “technical” is any vehicle modified to carry a large weapon; this often involved cutting out roofs, rear seats and trunks and welding or bolting a weapon mount to a rear frame element. Obviously pick up trucks are ideal, but even FANT/GUNT in Chad and Libya utilized what they had during the Toyota War.

    And what they built their technical force around was 400 HiLux pickup trucks given to them by the French air force, along with heavy automatic weapons, light rocket launchers and anti-armor weapons. That transfer was conceived and organized by a couple of senior officers who’d served with the Free French in North Africa in the Second World War and had worked air recon coordination with the LRDG units mentioned in a post above.

    1. Are you referring to Sarkozy’s “irak like” , based on lies, war to take down kadhafi, and let a huge mess there, cause the “badguy” was about to let people know that he illegally financed Sarkozy’s campaign with 100’s millions euros black money, and also put an end to french imperialism in Africa by creating a more powerful and independant currency than the Franc CFA ?

  8. Anyone who gets off their ass and does something to help the Ukrainians in any way at all gets a thumbs up from me. Hilarity helps moral too so if the Ukrainians take the support as intended then all power to them.

  9. “It’s our general desire here at The Autopian to not interject ourselves into politics where it doesn’t serve our readers”

    Well, that’s a big improvement over a certain other car blog that a number of authors here were previously employed by.

  10. Note only is humour sorely needed during grim times, but it’s also one of the best ways to undermine authoritarian regimes. Their lies don’t stand up well against fun-poking, and the optics of cracking down on meme lords are bad-or just sad.
    Poke at ‘em till deflated!

  11. I’m glad people around the world are collaborating against this unprovoked aggression. That said, this world makes less and less sense to me each day…

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