ISIS Releases Photos of Militants Using U.S. M113s as VBIEDS

M113-ISIS-600x400ISIS militants have loaded U.S. M113 armored personnel carriers and are using them as vehicle born IEDs against Iraqi Security Forces, according to photos release by militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. forces rarely drove the M113s brought to Iraq outside the wire because the vehicles were so susceptible to buried improvised explosive devices. Rather than ship the aging armored personnel carriers, U.S. officials left many M113s with the Iraqis after U.S. troops returned home. ISIS militants have since taken those M113s in northern Iraq since overrunning Iraqi army bases.

The photos released by ISIS show the M113s driving through side streets of Amiriyat al Fallujah in eastern Anbar province. The photos of the M113s are then followed by explosions, supposedly of explosive-laden M113s hitting Iraqi Security Forces positions.

ISIS first disseminated the photos on Twitter before they were picked up by the Long War Journal.


M113 ISIS3

M113 ISIS4

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • porkroll

    Special Delivery from the Religion of Peace.

    • Jim

      Thank you. We should all start calling this Cult the “Religeon of Peace” when they kill.

    • Lamont Cranston

      The equipment wouldn’t be there if America hadn’t invaded.

  • Liv

    Wouldn’t what little armor the AMTRAK has contain a bit of that blast?

    • Aleksandar011

      Actually it probably makes things worse. The armor holds the blast wave for a while, it builds up, and once released it’s even more powerful. Think of pressure cooker bombs used in Boston Marathon bombings, the pressure cooker contains the energy of the explosion and allows it to build up before it releases. It also allows low explosives to be used to produce a relatively large explosion. And the parts of vehicle or cooker becomes shrapnel.

      • void

        But the side armor is thicker than the top, so it would blow up instead of out.

        • blight_asdfjkl

          Or out the rear.

          I suppose they could strap C4 to the front of the vehicle, then use it as a fighting vehicle for the martyrs until the whole thing is detonated for Allah.

        • sapper

          M113 are just 1-1.25 inch thick aluminum hulls. There is no armor on these vehicles. I know, I used to drive them while in the Army. Even the M113A3 were still a basic hull, no armor and no real difference in thickness. These are cold war 1980’s era models , left over from Vietnam days.

          • blight_qwerty

            Regardless of how properly armored the vehicle is, if the explosives are packed in the troop bay, the blast wave will come out of the weakest point. Every door will be blown open, so the commander’s hatch, the top and the rear will be the most likely places for the blast to be directed out of. However, the blast will also instantaneously compromise the vehicle hull at all points, then turn it into a fragmentation nightmare.

    • Essayons

      Given the nature of explosions/ explosives, that would only serve to amplify the blast when that little bit of armor finally gave to the expanding gasses. Combat Engineer- Iraq

  • Lance

    Shows that Gen Oredarno is full of crap the M-113 is not junk and the terrorist are besting modern equipment used by the failing Iraqi Army with them. Think 113s can have a place in combat today. AAPV is a waste of money.

    • mhpr262

      You are welcome to drive an M113 crammed with C4 up to an ISIS roadblock and blow yourself up.

    • Dylan

      Yes. The fact that leftover M-113’s that were so dangerous they could not leave a base are now being used as one-way trips to God, is probably proof of our shortsightedness on these vehicles!

      We should also find out what kind of pants and hats/turbans/helmets ISIS is using, because we have clearly given up the superior protection of Levi’s double stitches for that useless Kevlar crap.

      • blight_qwerty

        ’cause “our Iraqis” don’t have the initiative to lay IEDs where the ISIS things go.

  • dubweiser101

    Must feel like quite the accomplishment for these ISIS mutts to have snagged some old US hardware. Chances are they won’t even figure out how to properly use them in combat anyway, the clutch on a -113 is a lot trickier than riding a camel.

    • Mark

      There was no clutch to use in the M113 I drove.

    • sapper

      Clutch? I guess I missed that part of APC training…. might be why mine was always deadline LOL.

    • Tad

      I think it’s a great guerrilla warfare tactic. It’s cheap (almost free), it strikes terror and confusion into their enemy, and it is particularly unnerving because the vehicle is a “friendly” vehicle.

    • Big Daddy

      The M113 is automatic and very easy to drive. the newer ones have a steering wheel we had laterals.

    • NamVet71

      No clutch in a M-113.


    Great - let’s use IEDs on those M113s ;)

  • BlackOwl18E

    I still have no desire for American soldiers to get involved in this fight. We’ve given those countries fighting ISIS billions of dollars for defense. They have the equipment to take on the enemy. If they can’t sum up the will to fight I see no reason we should fight for them.

    • tiger

      Just like the ARVN in 1975. Time to step up. We can not do it for you. They have plenty of trigger pullers & gear. Teach them to fish, Not just give them fish.

    • Tad

      I don’t know that the problem is the will to fight. It might be that the US trained them in how to fight using conventional warfare tactics and operational techniques, which are pretty useless against an enemy like ISIS.

      • blight_qwerty

        We were training them to fight the enemies we were fighting. If anything, I was about to worry they’d suck at conventional warfare…but it seems they suck at all kinds of warfare.

    • majr0d

      We were saying the same thing to the Brits in 1941 until Germany declared war on us.

      Difference is ISIS has already declared war on us.

      Waiting for them to get stronger or worse, take over Iraq/Syria is incredibly shortsighted. Does one think they will all of a sudden become peaceful? How many US troops will it take then to defeat them?

    • bart hooliman

      But in reality ISIS is just doing the dirty work for Tukey, Saudi Arabia and yes the USA. This bombing ISIS thing is just a cover to smash Syrias oil infrastructure. This has more to do with who builds oil pipelines where than some struggle of good vs evil.

    • John Madojemu

      Yes, I concur with you. Take to the horse to the river, but can’t force the horse to drink. They got tools, equipment to defend themselves, but waited on us.


    • dlambers

      The problem with these people is that they have no national identity or loyalty. Look at how they identify themselves. The first two word in a name are the given then the family name, followed by bin and the name of the region, clan or tribe they belong to. That says nothing of the Sunni/sheite thing._

    • force majeure

      The giant no-bid contracts are drying up. Of course we’ll be going back.


    I just like the valuable information you supply on your
    articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here regularly.
    I’m moderately certain I will be told many new stuff proper right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  • rtsy

    Remarkably short sighted use of such equipment.

  • Christopher

    Well it’s the only thing the M113 is good for these days. Turn the rest into of ours into UAG’s I say. Isis just found a proper use for them because they can’t protect troops from asymmetric warfare threats.

    Should have retired the M113 years ago. But some idiot said way back when. “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time. ”

    • Chrisopher

      Doh UGV not UAG.

    • FormerDirtDart


      Well, at least according to the manic “Gavin” idealizers of the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne) from Combatreform,org

      (this should in no way be qualified as an endorsement, and should only be viewed a sarcasm)

    • majr0d

      “Should have retired the M113 years ago. But some idiot said way back when. “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

      OK Genius, what vehicle would we have used to transport medics, engineers, mortars and forward command elements and where would that money have come from? We are STILL using M113s in many of those roles (or even less protected or capable vehicles because we don’t have a replacement…

      This is why Rumsfeld (who I’m no fan of) said what he said. Sofa generals can say “we shoulda issued” 40 gigawatt pulse lasers to every servicemember and beat up the Army for “hillbilly armor” but it’s not the Army making the budget or signing it into law…

      • Christopher

        Strykers, Bradleys and MRAPs can easily be retrofitted to do those jobs. Retiring the M113 would have provided more then enough to buy a few extra of any of these.Do you really a need a squad of more then 8-10 soldiers to do those jobs?
        Operation Protective Edge proved how useless the M113 is compared to more modern armor protected vehicles. They were easily destroyed by old RPG7s and Kornets. Which is why IDF commanders are asking for more Namar’s to replace them.

        If an APS like Trophy or Quick Kill were mounted on an M113 I would eat my shoe. But that upgrade would be more expensive then putting them it on an M1 or buying a new Stryker.
        We shouldn’t have been to Iraq in the first place. As it’s the primarily the reason the implementation of the MRAP and GCV have been delayed.

        • majr0d

          Strykers can’t keep up with tracked vehicles cross country. Bradleys don’t make very good ambulances or mortar carriers.

          How does retiring the M113 make money for retrofitting vehicles which happen to be more expensive to buy and in some cases maintain? (let alone the cost of retrofitting)

          No doubt the M113s were more vulnerable during Op Protective Edge. Useless? You may want to compare casualties among Israeli troops and Hamas fighters. look at the body count But again, how does getting rid of $750k M113’s pay for $3mil a piece Namers?

          “As it’s the primarily the reason the implementation of the MRAP and GCV have been delayed.” Don’t know how to break this to you. MRAPshaven’t been delayed. They are actually being largely phased out. Iraq didn’t delay the GCV. The program only started in 2009. Budget cuts and sequestration delayed and doomed the GCV. Considering the direction it was moving its demise may not be such a bad thing.

          • blight_qwerty

            Christopher: Retiring armored vehicles does not magically return money to inventory…only in computer games. Retiring vehicles costs money, and is done when it is projected that retiring a vehicle type /saves/ money in the long run.

            The maintenance cost of M113 command vehicles, mortar carriers and ambulances is not astronomically high to the point that retiring the vehicles is a fiscal slam dunk. If anything, BAE would love to retire the M113’s, since system integration into a family of new vehicles would be immensely profitable.

            However, it is likely such a contract would be contested by General Dynamics, which would love to turn any “simple” idea into an RFP and turn it into a procurement dramafest. Then BAE would be handicapped by sticking to a legacy platform, and the person promising new technology would make up promises about technical superiority, win the contract, then flub the delivery.

  • Gordon W. Horton

    This is almost funny. How many times have we left a combat zone and left valuable working and repairable equipment on the ground. Yes every war since Vietnam. We first fought the Iraq Army with equipment we gave them to fight the Iranians, then we beat them terribly and decided they need n Army to defend their selves so we used our troops & our equipment to train them and we left millions of equipment for them. Then we went back and had to fight them and they were using our equipment. Now here we go again this time fighting the ISIS scum bags that should be treated like animals when captured or slaughtered. They have no decency about themselves. When we leave equipment we need to either blow it up if it’s for financial reasons or at least leave some type of detonator in it so we can blow it up when we feel like we need to do so like when it’s full of these guys!

    • Bernard

      We should have left a lot more behind than M113’s like MRAP’s for one. Repair and transport aren’t always worth the cost, transporting one MRAP is $100,000. If it’s outdated just leave it or demo it.

      • bart hooliman

        after all the military industrial complex would love to build us some more.

        • blight_qwerty

          They’d prefer the Infinite SLEP contract, since you can always blame the long-lost contractor and the disruptions in the supply chain making everything cost 10x it did in the good ol’ days.

  • Joe

    This is going to happen in Afghanistan. I just left there in June and you would not believe the equipment that is getting cut up or left behind. They say it is too expensive to ship back home. I would rather it come back home and be given to local law enforcement or use it for training, I have been serving in the U.S. Army for 31 years now and this kind of thing will never stop.

    • Steve B.

      Yeah, I’m certain the Maine State Police need a couple of M113’s to follow a nurse as she mt. bikes down some logging roads.

    • Bernard

      They’re giving these things to schools. We don’t need to spend another $100k each on that junk. Leave it, blow it up, burn it up, cut it up, but don’t take it home. Our schools and police forces will not get $100k worth of use out of an MRAP, and they’ll spend more just keeping them running.

    • tiger

      Not practical. No Port. No rail link. Long dangerous drive thru Pakistan. Then do what? Sit in a bone yard in Arizona? We could not give Mraps away to other nations.

    • majr0d

      What’s worse than leaving equipment behind is not finishing the job and being doomed to sending troops back.

      • tiger


        The Golfer in Chief would say his election goals were met. The job was never meant to Police Afghanistan for 20 years.

        • majr0d

          We never thought we’d be in Germany, Japan, Korea or Kosovo as long as we have either.

  • SCPO Ken

    Maybe we should put an on-star type device on all our turn over “stuff”. Track them, disable them, and boom kill them.

    • rtsy

      Yeah, so anyone with a computer and some know how can hack them and do the same.

    • Jim

      Senior Chief, you are a genius. You are now promoted to the head of the JCS.

  • William_C1

    I wonder if Sparky is somewhere writing about how this proves the M113 is the best AFV ever?

    • blight_qwerty

      They’re tactically mobile and easy to fix, such that even terrorists than use them. The terrorists deem them better vehicles than the numerous Humvees they have captured.
      ~M113 spin-doctor

      Given the choice of an M113, unarmored Humvee, and military-police uparmored Humvee, which one do you go with?

      • crackedlenses

        I’d probably take the M113; treads plus being big and military-looking are big pluses…

  • Zspoiler

    They make nice targets though.

  • GI Joe

    Just got back from the Amazon jungle in Peru. I was living with an isolated Indian tribe. Can someone fill me in on the latest and greatest news?

  • Werner

    We used M113A3’s all the time through 2005 and 2006 since there were not enough up-armored M114’s Humvees available. This was true of both the Active and Reserve component forces. And the statement that they didn’t leave the wire is false, for DOD spent millions of dollars wrapping M113’s in the RPG cage which is present on the Striker vehicles. I spent the bulk of my patrolling and ECP duty with old 1025’s trucks and the caged M113’s during OIF and OIF III (with 3rd ID).

  • bob

    isis fighters that blow themselves into atoms, will be met at the gates of heaven and taken next door, to a long slow pain filled ride to hell!

  • ajmacdonaldjr

    File a complaint with CIA if you’re unhappy with ISIS

  • John

    We had 113`s in Nam, other than the driver, we sat on top since there was no armor to speak of on the bottom. They couldn’t even stop a 30 cal. A magneseum aluminium hull did not protect one from any explosives stronger than a firecracker.

  • John

    We had 113`s in Nam, other than the driver, we sat on top since there was no armor to speak of on the bottom. They couldn’t even stop a 30 cal. A magnesium aluminium hull did not protect one from any explosives stronger than a firecracker.

  • ex anti tank

    So if you see a M113 comming down the road, use a LAW or 90 rr or 106 rr. If your stupid enought to see it coming and do nothing about it, you deserve what you get.

  • FWGuy

    These are obvious 1-man (driver) suicide missions.

  • aviation law cases laws and related sources hardcover

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment.
    I do think that you need to publish more about this issue, it might not be
    a taboo subject but usually people do not talk about such
    issues. To the next! Cheers!!

  • Jake

    We should blow up every piece of equipment we leave behind. Let Iraq and Afghanistan buy their own stuff.