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Molotov Truck

One crude but effective way of attacking your enemy is to load up a vehicle with flammables, explosives, or anything else that would make a nice big boom, and send it on a collision course toward a target.

Any vehicle will do, but large trucks, planes, and even boats are commonly used due to both their size and the speeds they can get up to. The attack combines the force of the vehicle's impact, the possible detonation and/or cook-off of its fuel, and the added punch from its cargo into a massive strike.

There are multiple reasons why you might want a Molotov Truck: you're low on ammo, your weapons can't make a major dent in what you want to target, you want to shock and awe the enemy, or maybe just Rule of Cool.

For cars that are not intentionally weaponized but just happen to blow up upon receiving significant damage, see Every Car Is a Pinto.

Also related: Car Fu, External Combustion (kind of an X Meets Y of the two), Action Bomb, Incendiary Exponent, and Molotov Cocktail.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Huntress #5 (the 2012 mini-series), the Huntress sends a speedboat packed with explosives into a harbour as a distraction.

    Film 
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger uses this tactic in Predator when his commando unit is assaulting an enemy base.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture:
    Engineer: Why has the captain ordered self-destruct?
    Scotty: I would say, lass, because he thinks, he hopes, that when we go up, we'll take the intruder with us.
    Engineer: Will we?
    Scotty: When that much matter and anti-matter come together, oh yes, we will indeed!
  • In Ernest Goes to Camp, the kids get the idea to take out the bulldozer threatening to destroy the camp by loading up the runaway maintenance cart with all the volatile stuff they can get their hands on and ramming it. Unfortunately, the kids realize they don't have enough material to make a suitable boom, until Ernest shows up with the local Lethal Chef's latest batch of Eggs Erroneous, "the most powerful substance known to man!" This being an Ernest movie, it works beautifully.
  • The African Queen: In colonial WWI Africa, our hero and heroine convert the eponymous boat into a torpedo to try and blow up a German patrol ship.
  • The Movie of Sahara. "I think we need to pull a Panama!"
  • In Children of Men the heroes are ambushed after a flaming car blocks their path.
  • In The Dark Knight the Joker corrals Harvey Dent's police escort by blocking off the road with a flaming fire truck, leading to an epic Chase Scene.
  • In District 9 the Nigerian gangsters trap Wikus, Christopher, and MNU mercenaries using a molotov truck.

    Literature 
  • In The Power of Five, Matt's aunt is mind-controlled and attempts to kill Matt by driving one of these into his school.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion Lannister devastates Stannis Baratheon's fleet by sending in ships filled with wildfire, a highly explosive alchemical substance.
  • In Tomorrow: When the War Began, a petrol tanker is used to blow up the bridge into town.
  • In Everworld, a boat is simply lit afire and rammed into a wooden dam on the Nile.
  • In Michael Crichton's Prey, one of the characters rigs an ATV this way to blow up the wild nanotech swarms' nest.
  • Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, loaded a damaged truck with assorted flammables and sent it roaring into a swarm of Orks in Death of Glory to provide a distraction while he and Jurgen escaped. It made quite a satisfying fireball.
  • In The Granite Shield, eleven-year-old Flairalynne leads a fireship raid on the enemy fleet — and follows it up by setting her father on fire.
  • A whole swarm of Molotov Truck boats turns the tide of battle when the New Crobuzon fleet attacks Armada in The Scar.
  • In a non-combat example, the fleet that carries the Kite to the Edge in The Last Hero use rafts loaded with inflammable materials and swamp dragons to blast a gap in the Circumfence and clear the way for the vessel's launch.

    Live Action TV 
  • The fifth season of LOST has this. Ben use a Molotov Truck as a diversion to get rid of the guards so he can break a certain guy out of jail.
  • In the Hornblower episode "The Examination for Lieutenant" the Spanish sail a fire ship (an old ship packed with gunpowder and set alight) into Gibraltar. Hornblower and Foster manage to steer it clear of the British fleet.
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "Nitro", the IMF has to stop a near-eastern ultra-nationalist group from blowing up a government building with truck full of nitrogylcerine.
  • In the Firefly episode "War Stories", the crew of Serenity load up their 4x4 with incendiaries and drive it into the guard post on Niska's space station.
    • This is called back to in Forward, when the crew straps some bombs to the mule from Serenity and drops it on Womack's gunship.
  • In the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen, there is a governement conspiracy to crash a passenger plane into the middle of New York.

    Tabletop Games 

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • A recommended strategy for some Grand Theft Auto missions.
  • Demolition Trucks from the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series. They contain nukes. They tend to get blown up before getting near their targets, so a common strategy is to make them temporarily invincible with the Iron Curtain, allowing you to detonate them right where your opponent doesn't want you to.
    • Also a favoured tactic by the GLA rebels with their Bomb Trucks and Carjackers, or explosive-vest terrorists in a pinch, if they find a truck they can operate.
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 the Empire has the Yari Submarine, which is a kamikaze sub.
  • Age of Empires III with the Fire Junk of the Chinese.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: The GLA (totally not Al-Qaida ripoffs) have a bomb truck unit, that can carry either explosives or anthrax. It can also be disguised as any vehicle, so the enemy thinks it a resource gatherer.
  • A variation appears in Call of Duty: World At War, where your squad encounters a truck with fuel barrels in it, at the top of a hill, facing an enemy encampment. Rather than lighting the whole thing on fire, you puncture one of the barrels while a squadmate puts the truck in neutral and lets it careen downhill, and then ignites the fuel trail instead.
  • Useable to great effect in Just Cause 2. Every Car Is a Pinto + speed + instant parachute = fun!
  • In Master of Orion II ships that are self-destructed (or sometimes just killed) explode, damaging all targets around. Quantum Detonator device allows ships to explode for greater damage and more reliably. Making ships oriented on self-destruction usually isn't a good idea, but occasionally running into enemy and blowing up a doomed ship may help others.
  • Devastator in Dune II is a borderline example: it's a heavy tank. Plowed into enemy base and got too damaged to get away? Move it a bit further and blow up.
  • Absolutely required in the second level of Total Overdose. Recommended strategy in other levels, as the points for combination kills can be helpful to completion score.
  • Homefront has your rebel force using this against the KPA, or so it appears at first; the truck is actually a distraction; the KPA forces no sooner move in to examine the truck as white phosphorus rains down upon them.
  • Company of Heroes have the Wehrmacht faction fielding the remote-controlled Goliaths that explode spectacularly upon destruction or prompt. Which are created from bunkers. The Panzer Elite Munitions Half-track also has this capability for more flexible deployment.
  • Cortex Command allows you to load several dozen of grenades, bombs, and crab bodies into a rocket and steer it on top of a cluster of enemies. Not very efficient, but often hilarious to watch.
  • It's a common sight in Battlefield 3 of people covering jeeps in C4 and then drive them into what ever needs to be blown-up.
    • In Battlefield 1942, jumping in a jeep and ramming a tank was a good way to make both explode.
  • Red Dead Redemption has you use an dynamite-laden wagon to crash the gates of El Presidio.
  • During the Attract Mode of Mercenaries 2, a clip shows one of the mercenaries attatching a homing beacon to a monster truck, driving it over a half ramp and into a military base, bailing out mid-air and watching a Tomahawk missile annihilate everything. However, in the game, most players stick to C4 as their explosive of choice.
  • An uncommon tactic in Command & Conquer: Renegade's multiplayer. Engineers may pile remote C4 onto a cheap vehicle and drive it into the enemy's harvester to cripple their income generation. It takes a lot of C4 to do this, however, but it's faster than trying to blow up the harvester in a more traditional fashion.
  • Red Faction Guerrilla is no stranger to this either. Plentiful vehicles, ready access to mining explosives, and gratuitous (perhaps excessive) values for explosive splash damage means that EDF checkpoints can be cleared by virtue of a truck full of demo charges and, if you're lucky, another handy vehicle nearby to escape in.
  • In World War III: Black Gold, the Iraqi players have "devastator" and "huge devastator" as suicide weapons, being a 40's pickup and a 6x6 military transport respectively.
  • Resident Evil 4 has powder keg wagons, which start moving when shot, exploding on impact with the enemy.
  • Ride To Hell Retribution has the protagonist steal a tanker truck and blow up a power plant to disable an electric fence, rather than just plow through the fence with the truck.

    Webcomics 

     Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real life 
  • Brander, or the "Fire ship" often used in the age of wooden ships. It was simply an old, wreck-like ship, with a skeleton crew, set aflame and rammed into the center of the enemy fleet For Massive Damage. Preferrably filled with as much powder as it could carry, but even when not, once the brander's riggings snag on another ship's, there's a good chance that its target's powder-magazine will shower everything with burning remnants soon.
    • The British used a galleon packed with gunpowder and set alight against the Spanish armada during one of the Gibraltar skirmishes.
    • The US Navy used the ship Intrepid as a fire ship to attack the Barbary Pirates of Tripoli, in 1803. The attack was unsuccessful, but the same ship had been used shortly before to detonate the captured USS Philadelphia in the same harbor. [1]
    • British amphibious attack on the heavily defended docks of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France; taking place during the night of 28 March 1942 during the Second World War. A destroyer carrying tons of explosives hidden inside it was rammed into the exposed caisson of the Normandie Dock. Operation Chariot, the St. Nazaire Raid
    • In 1770 at Chesma almost the entire Turkish fleet was wiped out by a single Russian brander, demonstrating just how unsafe wooden powder kegs tightly packed in a small harbor can be.
    • Chinese in the Opium Wars tried to harass English ships by sending junks, some aflame, some packed to the gills with black powder. Didn't work, since Brits were alert and without covering fire branders were easily intercepted by boats.
    • In the Russo-Japanese War during the Port Artur blockade the Japanese tried to sink a few old ships in the port's exit. This doesn't work well under intense artillery fire.
  • The Japanese used two separate versions of this in WWII:
    • The most well known are the kamikaze — fighter pilots loading their planes up with explosives and full fuel tanks then intentionally crashing into enemy ships.
    • The other version is the Kaiten submarines, which were essentially manually-piloted torpedoes.
  • A usual practice in modern terrorism/freedom fighting/whatever you prefer.
    • 9/11 (September 11th)
    • Riyadh compound bombing
    • U.S.S. Cole bombing (with an exploding boat).
    • Taliban forces have become fond of this. Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device.
    • Setting cars afire in the middle of roads is a common and popular tactic to create a hazardous obstacle and distraction in many conflict regions.


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