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You, and possibly your buddies, are in a jam. There's some obstacle in your way, be it a large group of people, a wall, or even a space station, and you don't possess the necessary conventional firepower. You use what's at your disposal. In a lot of cases it may be easy to get your hands on a vehicle of some sort: car, truck, boat, space ship, what have you. usually these vehicles have some form of fuel, or you might have a spare grenade or other explosives. Why not put them together? Like ice-cream and chocolate syrup.

The gist of it is that the vehicle acts as a weapon on its own and as a delivery system for some form of explosive; Such as, the vehicle's own fuel (set off by a primary explosion or combustion), high explosives, kegs of black powder, a nuke, whatever fits the situation. NOT Every Car Is a Pinto!

The name came from a Dark Heresy game. The group had to assault an Arbites (police) station, and they had driven there in a truck. One character had randomly asked for bed sheets and flexible plastic tubing. So, instead of charging into a building full of prepared and well-armed Arbites, they stuck a bed sheet in the gas tank, let it soak a little, lit it, and put a cinder block on the gas petal. It drove itself straight into the front of the building, like a giant motorized Molotov Cocktail. It took a minute, but KABOOM! made the whole thing a lot easier.

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

Examples of Molotov Truck include:

Comic Books

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


 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.


  • 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 swarms' nest.

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.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, protagonists used Molotov Truck during the "Day of the Black Sun" to breach the walls of the Fire Capital plaza.

Video Games

  • Actually a recommended strategy for some Grand Theft Auto missions, if I recall correctly.
  • Demolition Trucks from the Command and Conquer Red Alert series. They contain a nuke.
  • Age of Empires III with the Fire Junk of the Chinese.
  • Command and 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 the open sandbox game Total Overdose. Recommended strategy in other levels, as the points for combination kills can be helpful to completion score.
  • Home Front 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.

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.
    • 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 all the Turkish fleet was wiped out by a single Russian brander, demonstrating just how unsafe wooden powder kegs tightly packed in a small haven can be.
    • Chinese in 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 Russo Japanese War during Port Artur blockade Japanese tried to sink a few old ships in the haven's exit. This doesn't work well under intense artillery fire.
  • Kamikaze pilots in WWII
  • Kaiten submarines also used in WWII by the Japanese.
    • modified torpedos to become suicide vehicles. [1]
  • A usual practice in modern terrorism/freedom fighting/whatever you prefer.
    • 9/11 (September 11th)
      • To be fair, they didn't light the planes on fire first.
    • 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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