Inside the Libyan rebels' secret "Mad Max" workshops

The Libyan rebels assembled a motorized cavalry of mostly civilian trucks outfitted with crude armor and even cruder weapons almost overnight. Where'd they come from? Secret workshops run by brave mechanics using junk tools and spit-and-gum techniques to keep the troops at the front armed.

A reporter from the New York Times was granted a few days inside these workshops around Misurata, which has been the source of heavy shelling and intense street battles. Photos show aircraft rocket pods, tank-mounted machine guns, and other weapons designed for other uses being rigged onto technical pickups.

Colonel Qaddafi's loyalist forces have yet to fully overrun the city despite the superiority of their equipment due in large part to the hundreds of similarly out-fitted armored trucks running around. When not arming trucks, these shops are also making other weapons like "henzab" spike-sided pods (similar to Caltrops) to be deployed around the streets to puncture boots and tires.

Few of the mechanics have any experience in this kind of work, but a lack of weapons means fighting in any way possible. There's even a guy using metal tools to scrape explosives out of unexploded shells. (Hat tip to Westie1984!)

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Chris Hondros