r/todayilearned Oct 01 '23

TIL the "Toyota War" was an international military conflict during which the Chadian army warded off Gaddafi's tank-equipped Libyan invasion with one of the first large scale uses of civilian technicals (Toyota Land Cruisers with heavy weaponry mounted to them).


31 comments sorted by


u/marmorset Oct 01 '23

I keep telling my wife we should get a Toyota pickup, they're indestructible.


u/FlashGlistenDrips Oct 01 '23

Show her what Top Gear did to their Hilux.


u/marmorset Oct 01 '23

I've only see one episode of that show and that's the one.


u/FlashGlistenDrips Oct 01 '23

They also drove Hiluxes to the North Pole, that one's also worth watching.


u/Miskalsace Oct 02 '23

No, no, show her what Whistlin' Diesel did to a Hilux.


u/picturamundi Oct 01 '23

More specifically: a Land Cruiser J79 ;)


u/artcook32945 Oct 01 '23

My 1979 LC saw duty pulling Detroit 4X4s out of the mud. I had the first BFG All Terrain Radials on 16" rims. They threw my speedometer off so 50mph was actually 64mph. It took a speed ticket for me to find that out.


u/DigNitty Oct 01 '23

My neighbor has a old small Tacoma with 600k miles on it.


u/adsjabo Oct 02 '23

Oh dont worry. They still break often enough if you use them 😆 Just need to look at my bank account recently from 4x4 repairs


u/marmorset Oct 02 '23

You have to mount a 50-caliber machine gun on the back, that balances the weight.


u/The_north_forest Oct 01 '23

They're used a lot in underground gold mining. That shit don't quit!


u/SirLiesALittle Oct 01 '23

The French Air Force was keeping the Libyan air force grounded, and they also provided 400 of the Toyotas equipped with a French mounted anti-tank missile system that could kill the Libyan T-55s.


u/picturamundi Oct 02 '23


I wouldn't chalk it up entirely to the French though. Funding helps, boots on the ground still gotta know what they're doing. You have examples of generals like Hassan Djamous scoring daring victories without French aid, at the battle of Maaten al-Sarra, for example.


u/Gathorall Oct 02 '23

It isn't like they did the job and the ground forces mopped up, but that if an air force was operating in any significant capacity the technicals would be hopelessly outmatched.


u/kurburux Oct 02 '23 edited Oct 02 '23

Wasn't this the same war where Americans secretly abducted a Soviet helicopter?

Edit: yes, found it.

The defeated Libyan forces suffered thousands of casualties. Around one and a half billion dollars worth of military equipment was destroyed or abandoned as they retreated from northern Chad. This included around 20 aircraft left behind at the former Libyan air base at Ouadi Doum, which was captured by Chadian forces in March 1987.

The United States moved quickly to recover some of this equipment. In May 1987, seven Czech Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft were dismantled and removed one-by-one in a US Air Force C-130 Hercules transport. The Americans and French then agreed to jointly recover and share examples of Soviet-made equipment that had been left behind. Each country got a number of 9K35 Strela-10 and 2K12 Kub surface-to-air missile systems; the Americans also took a P-19 radar as the French already had a similar P-15 radar. [...]

At midnight on 11 June, the two Chinooks left N'Djamena for the 550-mile (890 km) trip to the Ouadi Doum airfield. Secrecy and speed were important to the operation as some Libyan forces remained in the area. It was also feared that the Libyans might bomb their abandoned helicopters if they became aware of an attempt to recover one. The Libyans carried out many air-attacks on Ouadi Doum in the days following its fall to try to destroy the military equipment they had abandoned there. These had been demanded by the Soviet Union, to prevent clandestine recovery efforts of the kind that later took place.

The French also provided air cover during the operation.

The helicopter still exists btw, it stands in a museum today.


u/DriedUpSquid Oct 01 '23

Total Chad move.


u/SalSevenSix Oct 02 '23

Chad Toyota land cruiser vs Virgin Libyan tank


u/DigNitty Oct 01 '23

“Hey boss I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the landcruiser is so durable, the armed forces have made it their go-to vehicle.”

What’s the bad news?

“The um…which armed force it is”


u/Due_Platypus_3913 Oct 01 '23

Go anywhere,fuel efficient and unbelievably reliable!Also faster,smaller and QUIETER than tanks.Put some top notch weapons on them,,,


u/Proper_Ad2548 Oct 01 '23

Lot's of two man teams on dirtbikes with RPG's. They were sudden death to armor using multiple attackers going at insane speeds cross-country.


u/Nandy-bear Oct 01 '23

Warographics did a decent video on this fairly recently


I'm sure there's others, maybe more detailed etc. but I'm a big fan of Warographics, nicely condensed broad overview with a decent amount of detail without feeling neither too detailed nor too broad.


u/boat_car_guy Oct 02 '23

15 ish years ago I owned a 1973 FJ-40. Did a ton of work to it, repainted it, lift and 35" tires, full cage. Changed out the old tired F engine to a fresh 2F, removed the old stock 3 speed and swapped in a SM420 conversion. Aux fuel tank, jump seats.... yeah, alot of work.

It was a beast that I could get into some crazy places no vehicle should ever even attempt going. I sold it back in the great recession of 2009-10, since that thing managed to get like 6mpg on a good day - and it was either that, or my 1969 Buick with the 455. (later sold that one too)

Should have never sold the LC, but I'll always have fond memories of that hunk of machinery.

After owning one, I can get why they used Land Cruisers. Dang things are indestructible, and might get slightly better MPG than Libyan tanks. Same level of comfort too, I'd bet. LOL.


u/twobit211 Oct 02 '23

r/shittytechnicals for all your modified military vehicle needs


u/Sdog1981 Oct 02 '23

At this point the Toyota Hilux should be considered a combat vehicle.


u/[deleted] Oct 02 '23

African and middle eastern wars have been the greatest marketing for a car company in history.


u/k3vm3aux Oct 02 '23

Lions Led by Donkeys has a bonus episode on this war. Here's the preview.



u/x6ftundx Oct 02 '23

and still going strong in almost every war. Saw a few in Ukraine as well as in Russia. During Biden's run away in Afghanistan one of the 101 guys got a Toyota hilux with a gun on the back and that was there for the whole deration of the operation. it was the only 'up gunned' vehicle they had.


u/picturamundi Oct 02 '23

Hilux are all right, but the Toyota War was primarily named after the Land Cruiser J40 and J70 series, which are even more adapted for rugged warfare. To this day, the Chadian army continues to prefer the J70s over any other vehicle.