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Philippine Military Tanks Fighting ISIS-Backed Terrorists Use DIY Wood “Armor”

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By now, the world knows that the Philippine government is dealing with a crisis in Marawi City. Some local ISIS-backed terrorists have taken over the city, which is situated in the province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao.

The crisis started when combined government forces conducted a raid to catch Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Isnilon Hapilon. The ASG is a local terrorist organization known for its kidnap-for-ransom activities. In fact, they have brutally killed some of their hostages, which include both locals and foreigners.

Marawi City has become a war zone.

Hapilon’s forces fought back and asked help from another local terrorist organization, the Maute Group. The group was founded by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute. It is responsible for the bombing in Davao City — where President Rodrigo Duterte is from — last year. Reports have tagged the Maute Group as ISIS-backed terrorists. However, the Philippine government believes that they are not really backed by ISIS. In any case, the crisis rages on, with the Maute Group doing as much damage as they can.

The ISIS-backed terrorists have taken over some parts of Marawi.

Amid the evacuation of residents and the continued hostilities in Marawi City, the challenges faced by the Philippine military have become very obvious. It may be recalled that the country’s military has been identified as one of the most neglected and ill-equipped in the world. In the past, Filipino soldiers have also complained about being issued substandard equipment. There have also been instances wherein their ammunition runs out. At present, the Philippine government is still in the process of modernizing its armed forces.

It so happens that photos have been circulating online showing a Philippine military tank reinforced with wood, which functions as a makeshift armor. The Cadillac Gage V-150 is shown covered in pieces of wood from discarded ammunition crates and, presumably, damaged structures.

This shows what Filipino soldiers have to work with.

While some netizens commented that this really showed that the Philippine military was ill-equipped, Kyle Mizokami of Popular Mechanics pointed out that the makeshift wood armor actually acts like “the cage armor that protects U.S. Army Stryker interim armored vehicles.”

Ideally, the Philippine military should have this proper tank "cage."

Mizokami explained that it actually doesn’t matter what the cage is made of as long as it can prevent anything from penetrating the tank itself. He added,

“If a cage isn’t available, then a lot of wood would help. At least a foot of wood armor might do the trick to dissipate the armor-piercing molten jet. Maybe.”

It's hard to believe that the improvised wood armor is the best option.

Then again, the wooden armor would be useless against armor-piercing ammunition. Mizokami remarked,

“Fortunately those types of anti-tank weapons are mounted only on full-size tanks, of which ISIS in the Philippines has none.”

The seized weapons of terrorists. No anti-tank ammo so far.

Meanwhile, the Philippine military will have to make do with the wooden armor on their tanks.

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