Metal crow’s feet spikes stop Russian delivery trucks in Ukraine

Amid the escalating adversity, Ukraine confronts an adversary exhibiting superior militaristic prowess. With Russia’s expansive arsenal, amplified manpower, and abundant resources, the situation appears starkly daunting. Nonetheless, this inevitable disparity fuels the need for innovative strategies from Ukraine, purposed at crippling Russia’s onslaught and inflicting maximum consequential damage. 

Metal crow's feet spikes stop Russian delivery trucks in Ukraine
Photo credit: TASS

As reported by Forbes, Ukraine’s defense has ingeniously repurposed timeless weaponry for contemporary warfare. By utilizing drones as a delivery system, they scatter caltrops – sharp metallic spikes traditionally known as jackrocks or crow’s feet. These rudimentary metal objects have been utilized for centuries, serving to hinder the progress of enemy cavalry, including horses, camels, and even elephants. They embody primitive yet effective strategies of area denial, evocative of less technical landmines of simpler times.  

The unique design of caltrops guarantees that irrespective of their fall, a piercing spike always points upward. Even a kick wouldn’t dislodge them from this battle-ready position. The uncontrolled scattering of these instruments across the battlefield further enhances their effectiveness, offering a constant and unwelcome surprise for any unfortunate enough to come across them.

Metal crow's feet spikes stop Russian delivery trucks in Ukraine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

New drone tactics

The Ukrainians have proven resilient, developing their own tactics to disrupt Russian logistics. A standout among these strategies is the unique utilization of kamikaze drones, which are used for relentless attacks on adversary trucks. A smart battery conservation method they’ve adopted allows these drones to rest on the road, springing into action only when a truck nears. This cunning technique not only conserves energy but also comes as an unexpected surprise for the Russians. 

In an ingenious move, the Ukrainians have managed to equip these drones with caltrops. These sharp devices hinder Russian-wheeled vehicles, primarily used for logistic support missions, bringing them to a stop. This stopgap measure has been extremely successful against the Russians’ transport apparatus. 

Oshkosh M1070 truck transports another captured modern T-90 tank
Video Screenshot

There’s been chatter on various social media platforms, with Russian soldiers voicing complaints about these unexpected obstacles on their supply routes. Due to the growing fear of drone attacks, Russian soldiers have resorted to transporting supplies at night. However, thanks to these new Ukrainian tactics, navigating supply paths has become a mounting challenge for them.

The truck must stop

In the contemporary era, where high-speed vehicles are commonly used to mitigate the risk of drone strikes, spotting a caltrop along a dusty road becomes incredibly challenging. The damage caused by these ancient devices is notable, potentially leading to a fatal truck crash if the tyres are punctured. Moreover, once the vehicle is forced to stop, it becomes an easy target for First Person View [FPV] drones. 

Metal crow's feet spikes stop Russian delivery trucks in Ukraine
Photo credit: CFP

Military truck tires, specifically designed to endure harsh conditions, are not typically easily compromised. However, it doesn’t take many caltrops to disrupt their functionality. Simultaneously, the Ukrainians have employed drones to place anti-tank mines, introducing another layer of complex challenges. Russian soldiers might sweep a field section, deeming it safe, only to discover stealthily planted anti-tank mines the next day.  

However, caltrops will not be the determinant in war games. But in the current scenario, where wars are often dominated by drones, robots, and sophisticated electronic warfare systems, witnessing the resurgence of such a primitive device is indeed captivating.

Truck tire vs crow’s foot

The success of crow’s feet, sometimes referred to as caltrops, in puncturing a vehicle’s tire relies on a multitude of variables, such as the tire’s thickness and its inflated pressure. Crafted to land with one spike upward, crow’s feet can pierce tires of a wide array of thicknesses. Typically, new car tires boast a tread depth between 8 and 9 millimeters, a measurement that decreases as the tire experiences wear and tear. More often than not, the sidewalls are thinner, with a common thickness hovering around 2 to 3 millimeters. 

It’s standard for car tires to be filled to a pressure of about 30-35 pounds per square inch (PSI). This internal pressure can assist in the puncturing process. Additionally, the material and design of the crow’s foot are pivotal factors. Typically made from hardened steel, a crow’s foot can breach rubber and some types of armored tires. 

However, you must understand that while crow’s feet can indeed puncture a tire, they don’t usually cause an instant burst. Instead, they’re more likely to provoke a slow leakage, progressively deflating the tire. This is primarily due to the small size of the hole created by the crow’s foot. The tire’s high internal pressure tends to close this hole, obstructing the air’s exit.


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