WHEN NIGERIAN TROOPS OF THE 81 DIVISION’S 174 MOTORISED BATTALION ARRIVED IN YOLA TO DO BATTLE AGAINST TERRORISTS AND INSURGENTS

Troops of the 174 Motorised Battalion and an array of Toyota Hilux counterinsurgency patrol vehicles

Troops of the 174 Motorised Battalion and a mixed array of Chinese-built 3-ton counterinsurgency patrol trucks(assembled in Nigeria) and the said Toyota Hilux vehicles

PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS

PHOTO CREDIT: STR/EPA

Pursuant to the execution of their alloted task of helping to give full effect to the State of Emergency proclaimed over Adamawa State, troops of the 174 Motorised Battalion of the 81 Division embarked on rapid overland deployment to Yola, the Adamawa State capital, a city in northeastern Nigeria which is situated 1,440 kilometres(900 miles) down the road from their Odogunyan barracks(Ikorodu) in Lagos. They departed at first light on Sunday 19 May, 2013.

Making a detour inside Kogi State and heading for Abuja, thereby adding a further 200 kilometres (125 miles) to the scheduled 1,440km Lagos-Yola travel itinerary, the troops eventually arrived in Yola at 0045 hrs on Monday, 20 May 2013.

They arrived in bullish mood and in a convoy of brand-new Toyota Hilux 4WD trucks which were specially configured for counterinsurgency operations in a novel design featuring hatches in their roofs from which GPMG-wielding soldiers can engage engage enemy targets and seats designed for seamless egress.

The soldiers also arrived in a handful of larger Chinese-built 3-ton trucks which were also similarly modified for the mission. Since 2012 and beginning with the Quick Response Group’s outposts on the Lokoja-Okene stretch of highway, the Nigerian Army have been deploying three streams of 3-tonners configured for rapid egress and featuring forward-facing swivel chairs from which machine gunners can fire their weapons from above the driver’s cabin.

Thus far, the said Chinese-built 3-tonner, Mitsubishi Fuso and Isuzu 3-ton trucks have been the base models for this configuration of specially modified counterinsurgency trucks. These 3-tonners have so far been spotted in Kogi State, in Kaduna enroute Mali and now in Adamawa, painted in olive, green camouflage and desert camouflage colour schemes respectively.

During the course of their tour of duty, the troops of 174 Motorised Battalion will be expected to work closely with troops of the 23 Armoured Brigade who are permanently stationed in Adamawa.

They have since began to deploy to the flashpoint districts of Mubi, Maiha, Madagali, Michika, Hong and Ganye Local Government Areas, with a special focus on dominating the mountains and porous borders which straddle the frontier with Cameroon and through which insurgents and terrorists have been infiltrating to wreak havoc on people in the conflict-affected areas.

Mubi, Madagali, Maiha and Michika LGAs
are located in the southern and central
sections of the Mandara Mountains while Ganye LGA is in the Alantika Mountains.

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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38 Responses to WHEN NIGERIAN TROOPS OF THE 81 DIVISION’S 174 MOTORISED BATTALION ARRIVED IN YOLA TO DO BATTLE AGAINST TERRORISTS AND INSURGENTS

  1. Henry says:

    Nice photos. I really like the way the nigerian army modified these trucks. However, I still think the army should have provided a shield for the machine gunner.

    • beegeagle says:

      You have a point there but I BELIEVE that these were intended to be specially configured CTCOIN operational/troop transport vehicles rather than dedicated gun-trucks ala the Landcruiser battle wagons? I REALLY think so.

      Imagine the very long trip from Lagos with a detour at Abuja and on to Yola which ultimately stretched to 1,000 miles? What would it feel like travelling that far under the scorching sun in an open-roofed Landcruiser gun-truck as compared to the infinitely more comfortable roofed 3-ton and Toyota Hilux CTCOIN/troop transport trucks?

      Additionally, it could either stem from the fact that with the roof in place, getting a swivelling platform which integrates a gun-shield is impracticable OR that the gunner is expected to emerge, open suppressive fire and disappear through the hatch in the manner of a soldier shooting from inside a foxhole.

      • Bola David says:

        General Sir: I have information for you but my mail has refused to deliver to you. I will keep trying before COB today. Thanks

  2. Cryptologist says:

    174 is a motorised battalion. I feel airborne troops will be more appropriate for adamawa sector. This is a mountainous region and helo borne troops can be easily inserted into rugged terrain for assaults and blocking manoeuvres. All the same i believe they are capable.

  3. Russellinfinity says:

    it’s really heart warming to see that ballistic vests are now becoming a commodity with our armed forces. However, knee and ankle pads, nvgs and proper heat resistant gloves should also be in tow. I will like to see this ‘one man three mags’ issue addressed by our commanders. I expect at least six mags (that’s six in the pockets provided on the body armour and webbing excluding the 3 or 2 in ’69’ configuration on the rifle being carried). Apart from these they are good to go. The gun trucks are a welcome addition. The us special forces had toyota tacomas and tundras back in the day in afghanistan. I did love to see .browning hmgs mounted atop each one for range and brute fire power. I hope NA signals have’em tricked out with comms and GPS.

    • Henry says:

      @russell, truly gone are those days when nigerian troops carried out operations without body armour. We can never ever go back to those times, not when we have different variants of body armour/ bullet proof helmets produced by both DICON-MAROM and PROFORCE DEFENCE right here in nigeria.

      Many troops wear knee pads and elbow pads, both their numbers are in a minority. I can say categorically that the gloves(military brand) are becoming very popular. I spot on day to day basis, more and more of our troops wearing them. NVG’s also becoming popular too. Although I haven’t seen any soldier wearing one in real life, when you watch nigerian army counter-terror training videos on youtube, you’d see a huge number, if not all the troops involved in the simulation wearing them. Nigerian troops carry only 120 rounds, that is 1 mag in the ak-47 and 3 extra mags. I do agree with you, the numbers need to be ramped up. Another defect is the lack of side arms or secondary arms. So if your primary jams in battle, OGA you are “on your own”. This is very risky to be honest. Infact in nigeria only the navy’s SBS and SSS storm troopers carry side arms.

      If I’m to rate our army’s basic kitting

      Body armour. =100%
      Bullet proof helmets=100%
      Knee pad and elbow pads = 10% (only special forces and a few troops wear them)
      Military gloves. = 67%
      NVG’s. = 70%
      Radio. =40% (1in 5 troops, and 1 in the car)
      Side arms. = 0% ( not even the arms special forces troops carry them)
      MAG’s. 120 rounds = 60%

      *i hope the army retires their AK-47’s soon, and replace them with the AK-101 or 103. However, I believe this is may be very un-likely to happen.

  4. freeegulf says:

    preach on officer of the general staff russellinfinity. thumbs up.
    kitting has always been an issue with armies worldwide, fortunately, NA top brass re paying proper attention to this deficiency.
    firepower should never be underestimated also. an M2 browning will do serious work on targets than any rapid shooting medium MG.
    kudos to the army, they are in the right direction.

    • doziex says:

      HA! guys remember when 15,000 pairs of army boots were found in a generals house ?
      when soldiers in battle went without, or just a pair.

  5. beegeagle says:

    As an aside, gentlemen, you might recall that we have often called for the FG to splash out a token $80 million on the acquisition of eight units each of upgraded Mi-24V attack helics and Mi-17V5 multimission helics from Russian surplus stocks.

    Well, here is what should be a Mi-17 transport helic steeled up to no end and in effect, transformed to an assault helic. 33 troops embarked and six rocket pods contained many, many dozens of rockets. What manner of stampede would this trigger off in the skies over an insurgents’ base?

    Ruggedness, versatility and extreme durability in all adverse conditions. That is the Mi-17. We need these as allied assets behind the Mi-171Sh Terminator helics.

    Indian Mi-17V5 multimission helicopter

    • ifiok umoeka says:

      Mean looker, the most feared thing to appear over a battle field is an attack copter. When that copter doubles as an assault truck, baby its time to head for dodge city like the americans say. Add active and passive defense and ECM sys to it and its game over. However, I’d like us to replace the s5, s8 and s13 rockets with the canadian rockets, they have longer legs. Add laser kits and you have a long range precision weapon sys in the class of the hellfire at a fraction of the cost

      • Russellinfinity says:

        The Russian rockets are just fine especially the S13. What I would recommend is buying the latest variants – S 13 T and S 13DF. Laser kits are a welcome upgrade since they increase the precision of these weapons. Better Irvin than Uncle Sam/NATO… ; )

    • doziex says:

      NOW, the Indians, that’s an army NA should be emulating. As their large army is well experienced on both the conventional and CTCOIN fronts.

      Look at their massive purchase of MI-17V5 choppers. They have also invested and used mraps technology from all over the world.

      All I am saying, is NA doesn’t have to make the mistake in order to learn. Lets learn from the experiences of other armies in similar predicaments.

  6. doziex says:

    I am sure, it’s clear to every body that the Nigerian army has copied this hilux concept from Pakistan.
    It is ingenious in a conventional sense.

    A cheap way to keep a large army motorized and mobile.

    With mobility, an army can dominate a large area with relatively few troops.

    Just as the americans intended in Iraq, Patrols allows a small force, to seem to be everywhere at once.
    This mobility allows for rapid reaction, and also makes the occupying force more unpredictable to the insurgents. They are always around, interrupting the plotting cycle of insurgents.

    However, since these “sexy vehicles” are road bound, the insurgents first in Lebanon, then in Iraq perfected the bloody art or is it science, of the roadside bomb aka IED.

    This became the perfect counter to thin skinned hummvee, the rich man’s hilux. I remember how “sexy” a Humvee looked, right before it was mangled by an IED.

    The IED ground the coalition strategy in Iraq to a halt. It prevented the mobility, that created the illusion that their was enough troops in country.

    However, with a combination of the surge, MRAPS and the sons of Iraq(paid off former insurgents), the coalition turned the tide.

    As I have said before Iraq and Afghanistan remained an open book for the Nigerian army and boko haram alike.

    The outcome would be determined by which side executes best.

    It’s been an easy opening round for the NA. However, is it the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end ?

    • igbi says:

      I elieve you are grossly exagerating things. And I think the vietnam war is a much better place to learn stratégies. I say this because in Vietnam you have insurgents who actually won and they won by a combination of war propaganda and local support and cross border atacks. You grossly overplay this MRAP IED thing.

      • doziex says:

        Omo did you see what IEDs did to the Americans ? Majority of their wounded and KIA came from IEDs.
        And what has the Vietnam war got to do with thin skinned hilux trucks ?

        Vietnam heli borne vertical envelopment strategies and the Mekong delta riverine strategies are suited for the niger delta.

        But in the north east and mali, Iraq and Afghanistan offers way more lessons for both the occupying army and the insurgent.

        Hey guys lets get analytical here. Statements like “you are exaggerating” and the like wouldn’t cut it. Offer your own counter theory/argument.

    • igbi says:

      AlAlthough I think it would be a good thing to buy the MRAP technology and make some MRAPS ourselves for our army.

  7. beegeagle says:

    🙂 Doziex, you sef dey go AWOL? Good to see you again.

    • doziex says:

      Omo, na work O. One day I go rich like Oga beeg, till then, nah work till u drop.

      • igbi says:

        Ok, I think you are right after all.
        I don’t know much about weaponry, I think I will try and study what those IEDS did to US troops in iraq and afghanistan.
        But, my comparison with Vietnam was not about the landscape, it was about the strategy used by the VC and the failing one used by the USA. One lesson I learnt from the US misery in Vietnam is that you can not avoid the use of an occupation force.
        I think mobility is important, but you need to occupy the land as well, so you need to poor in a lot of troops. I believe that Iraq and afghanistan offer greater lessons to learn from as you said, I have to tell you that I hate the idea of buying our weapons instead of making them ourselves. At this period of time I don’t understand why we can’t be making our own jets, MRAPS, fighter helicopters and all.

  8. ifiok umoeka says:

    The second pic seems to have a different windshield and exhaust and looks modern compared to the first. The fuel tank seems more streamlined too. It also has 4 pods compared to the 1st. I’m thinking the 1st is mi 17-1v while the 2nd is 17-v5.

  9. beegeagle says:

    You are right.

    The first Mi-17 is a base model variant and older while the IAF example is a more modern Mi-17V5

  10. beegeagle says:

    We need MRAPs, Doziex. Nobody has lost sight of that fact. So does a motorised battalion need ‘motor’ vehicles – such as these reconfigured 4WD and 3-ton trucks.

    We have spoken previously about the need for an array – COIN-ready Toyota Hilux/3 ton trucks, Toyota Landcruiser guntrucks, uparmoured+upgunned Pinzgauer ATVs, Panhard VBLs, Otokar Cobra APCs and MRAPs (my choice – Casspir/GILA) in numbers which make sense when juxtaposed against the number of motorised and mechanised infantry, special operations battalions and desert warfare units under arms.

    So Pakistan and whatever they choose to do for CTCOIN does not necessarily represent a template for us. In the past nine months, terrorists have specifically targeted 4WD patrol vans and it is arguable that their soft-skinned hull is the clear reason why.

    Let us believe that the NA have adopted a bottom-up approach in building up their CTCOIN/desert warfare array. There is no other way to view it since we have already seen news items which make it clear that MRAPs are a high-priority pursuit for the NA at this time.

    Unknown to many, there was a significant mine threat faced by ECOMOG forces in Sierra Leone. It is strange that MoD did not prioritise the acquisition of Casspir MRAPs in the immediate post-war period. But the uparmouring and upgunning of the Pinzgauer ATVs, which was not the case during the ECOMOG years where they saw action, suggests that careful thought has gone into troop protection even if the machinery of government grinds slowly and falls short of the expedited action which the matter clearly deserves.

    Neither Landcruiser gun-truck, uparmoured Pinzgauer ATVs nor Panhard VBL recce vehicles can HONESTLY be said not to have a role in our array. Not while they all feature in Afghanistan, alongside uparmoured Hummers and the sternest MRAPs

  11. beegeagle says:

    Igbi, he is not necessarily exaggerating the threat. The indicators are that BH have been specifically targeting soft-skinned vehicles. You only need to browse through the blog archives going back to last September. During the last week of February 2013 alone, there were five IED attacks against 4WD patrol trucks in Mubi, Maiduguri and Damaturu.

    In any case, it is sensible to have all the assets which make for a complete array in our arsenal. We have actually examined COIN arrays here and agreed that the Indians have got it right while the Pakistanis appeared to have a curiously perilous fixation with soft-skinned 4WD patrol vehicles in what is an IED-intensive insurgency.

    Again, we would need Casspirs at any rate because when it gets down to the grind in Mali, landmines and IEDs are going to be the enemy’s favorite weapons. Also, as we head towards our own desertified frontiers on combat/hot pursuit operations, landmines and IEDs are going to be used by insurgents like never before.

    For one, those are weapons which are very easy to conceal in the featureless, off-road environment and landmines have always been a weapon of choice in the African desert going back to the WW 2-era, on to the Algerian War of Independence, the Polisario Front’s war against Morocco over the Western Sahara, in the Namibian desert during the Border War and the Chad-Libya war over the Aouzou Strip.

    So a Casspir leading and bringing up the rear in a convoy of five Landcruiser gun-trucks, two lorries laden with supplies, three 3-ton trucks, two Panhard VBLs, two Otokar Cobra APCs and three Pinzgauer ATVs, remains the IDEAL. The Casspir alone, of all the vehicles in that convoy, it is which can sustain a standard 7kg TNT landmine blast under each wheel and survive the impact while warning the entire convoy of the danger which lies ahead. The gun-trucks can then reposition themselves and open consequential fire, if need be.

    Let us do things properly and reach for the complete array of assets.

    READ

    https://beegeagle.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/comparative-studies-indian-army-ctcoin-operations-in-kashmir/

    (Note how the Casspir leads convoys and gun-trucks, Igbi; also note, Doziex, that they have not jettisoned 4WD van or gun-trucks and use ‘battle trucks’ such as our 3-tonners plus that armoured ATV which replicates our uparmoured Pinzgauer)

    UNLESS we fail to add Casspir and GILA MRAPs to cap up our array which is more than four-fifths complete on account of already inducted assets, I would say on the strength of the Indian array highlighted above, that with our CTCOIN-adapted Toyota Hilux/3-ton trucks, Landcruiser gun-trucks, uparmoured Pinzgauer ATVs, Panhard VBL scout cars and Otokar Cobra APCs, we are growing a full-spectrum array which shall yet atain completion with the acquisition of MRAPs aplenty.

    • igbi says:

      Yes I think he is right, but I hate the idea of always buying Equipment instead of making them ourselves. If a real war starts then no body would supply us with weapons.

  12. doziex says:

    To further explain my point and intention, these hilux battalions we have, are great innovations for a cash strapped conventional army, and I AM NOT KNOCKING IT.

    However, this film has already been played elsewhere in the world, and we know that such a battalion is massively vulnerable to IEDS in their daily patrols.

    Alert personnel, and the turret gpmgs can offer protection against rpgs and other style ambushes, but the unseen IED, would wreak havoc.

    Those who say this is an exaggeration, should check whether their POV is based on wishful thinking.
    Are you just hoping that the buffoons in BH would just fail to “execute” and act on this vulnerability ?

    NA should counter a threat, just because it exists, whether BH or other insurgents exploit it or not.

    Helicopters,MRAPS, mine & IED detectors, snifer dogs, drones and intelligence are all necessary counters.

    • ifiok umoeka says:

      Pls can someone tell me where our piranhas are!

      • doziex says:

        I bow O. Since they ( the mowags ) featured unsuccessfully in Darfur, we have not seen them deployed again.

        Abi, the Canadians even gifted us the 8 wheeled grizzly version ?

        It seems like the Otokar cobra has replaced all our APCs at home, and on foreign deployments.

  13. triqqah says:

    Wen this conflict reaches the stalemate point then we’ll start getting reports of IED attacks on a daily basis. IED is capable of disabling MBT’s, APC’s. It will make quick works of those soft skin Vans.

    • igbi says:

      I don’t think there will be a stalemate. I think boko haram is getting flushed out.
      But your remarks stand, we need better vehicles.

  14. eniola says:

    Dis z terrible if its true dat dhq did dis
    leadership.ng/news/020613/fg-loses-billions-military-shuns-defence-industries-products

  15. beegeagle says:

    THIRTEEN MONTHS AGO, BEEGEAGLE WROTE:

    Let us move forward, gentlemen.

    I am still expecting an invasion as a last-gasp act of desperation by the terrorists, with Malian, Nigerien and Chadian insurgents in tow. An invasion mounted by technicals.

    So why don’t we prepare some fast 4WDs to operate in swarms around Panhard VBLs and Otokar Cobra armoured vehicles.

    WANTED FOR INSTALLATION ON 4WDs:

    Type 78 82mm RCL

    Type 78 RCL

    CHECK OUT these Jordanian 4WD truck-mounted 107mm MRLs, guys. Chinese Type 63s? To fight a guerrilla, you have to think like a guerilla.

    Pakistan Army 107mm MRLS

    If Nigeria are going to Mali, we need these. It must not be like Freetown when we left thirty BM-21/APR-21 122mm MRLS in Nigeria and Abacha was chopping money without turning to China to acquire 107mm MRLs which would have been used to dislodge the combo of soldiers and guerrillas who were shelling the city from their highland strongholds.

  16. igbi says:

    The french press has started diabolizing Nigerian soldiers.
    They are probably doing this to minimize thz influence of Nigeria in West Africa or to discourage other West African countries from being militarily independent from France.
    I think we should counter this propaganda coming from France as well.
    I noticed this in their press which is written in french, they think we will not notice it because it is written in french.

  17. igbi says:

    BBC has just made a video meant to terrify Nigérians. They used a combination of boko haram propaganda videos.

  18. beegeagle says:

    Let them say, Igbi. They always have a lot to say. After all the spineless and fair coverage which BBC Hausa provided for BH while the more hard-headed Nigeria-US partnership continue to make the gains that matter, what do you expect? They can say twice as much. Their script is played out and a nullity ANYWAY.

    State of play – a news report on NTA News aired about ten minutes ago stated that a posse of local and foreign journalists have been ushered into the area of operations by the military. Expect to see and hear more in the days to come.

    • ifiok umoeka says:

      Finally, even Syria allowed BBC into Qusair after the captured the town. However, they especially the foreign ones should be kept under close surveillance

  19. beegeagle says:

    Gentlemen, this should interest you. It has a lot to do with the GREAT MRAP DEBATE which developed after soldiers got killed in Basra, IRAQ inside “Snatch Landrovers”. That triggered off a debate about MRAPs. Very relevant to contemporary operational realities in NE Nigeria, Mali and Niger

    http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com/2006/06/great-debate.html?m=1

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