Ridiculous Military Weapons


M-388 Davy Crockett

In the 1950s and 60s there was a very real fear of a massive Soviet ground attack in Western Europe. One answer to that threat was the American army's M-388 Davy Crockett, essentially a bazooka that fired an atomic bomb.

What the M-388 did was to put atomic weapons with the capacity to render vast areas uninhabitable for years in the hands of a few young jumpy front line GI's with itchy trigger fingers.

The M-388 had a range of just 3km and was woefully inaccurate even at that distance. Crude, stupid and possibly the worst single idea in history.

FP-45 Liberator

The FP-45 was a one-shot pistol produced by the US army in the second world war, designed to be dropped en masse in the occupied territories of Europe for use by members of the resistance movements.
The FP-45 Liberator was so crudely made that it could be manufactured quicker than it could be reloaded
The pistol was extremely cheap to produce but also crude, simple and only effective over a very short distance. And the one-shot barrel didn't instil much confidence either. If you missed first time you more than likely died.

In fact, the FP-45 was so crude that it was actually quicker to manufacture than to reload (seven seconds against 10), and few were ever used in combat.

Blue Peacock

This British-designed nuclear mine was very wrong, for a number of reasons. First, it weighed in at 7.2 tonnes, making it difficult to produce, transport and bury in secret.

Second, it was designed for use in West Germany, to be detonated in the event of Soviet invasion, but nobody thought to ask the West Germans which particular outcome they would actually prefer - the imposition of a competing economic ideology or the complete destruction and contamination of huge swathes of their country.

But the third reason is the most bizarre. When buried in winter, the electronics that controlled the mines froze. To keep them warm enough to work, the inventors proposed encasing live chickens in the shell with enough food and water to last 10 days. The press labelled the Blue Peacock the chicken-powered nuclear bomb, and the project was abandoned.

Chauchat submachine gun

The Chauchat was a good idea, badly implemented. The French weapon was one of the first mass produced, high-powered sub-machine guns and was used extensively in the first world war. When it worked, it was a powerful asset but it was totally unsuited to the demands of the first world war for one simple reason. The open magazine meant that it would quickly jam when mud entered the chamber.

The battlefields of Flanders were among the muddiest places in which men have ever waged war, making the Chauchat one of the most misconceived weapons of all time.

The rat bomb

For some reason, second world war military inventors became obsessed with the idea of animal-based armaments. The rat bomb was a British initiative that involved stuffing rat carcasses with explosives and having secret agents bury them in enemy coalbunkers.

In theory, unsuspecting workers would shovel the rats into industrial boilers, the explosives would ignite, and the German war effort would be dealt a mortal blow. In reality, the Germans intercepted the first consignment of dead explosive rats and the project was abandoned.

The anti-tank dog

When the German army attacked Russia in 1941, the Soviet army was woefully ill-equipped to defend the motherland. In a bid to buy some time until proper armaments could be imported or produced, the Russians came up with a brilliant plan: strap explosives to dogs, and teach them to run under German tanks.
Russia's anti-tank dog strategy in the second world war backfired in spectacular fashion.
To say the plan failed is a bit of an understatement. The dogs had been trained on tanks that didn't move and didn't fire back. When confronted with real German Panzers, the confused and terrified dogs either stopped still and were shot, or ran back in the direction they'd come and exploded among their own troops.

But that's not all. The dogs had been trained on Russian tanks with diesel engines, and used their keen sense of smell to accurately identify a target. German tanks had gasoline engines. You can guess which 'target' they usually chose.

The cat bomb

Our American allies were no brighter. Bizarrely, one idea was to parachute live cats - strapped with explosives - onto enemy shipping.

The cats' natural fear of water would ensure they steered themselves and their deadly payload towards the decks of ships rather than the open ocean.

The plan ran into trouble when it was discovered that the cats tended to pass out during the drop.

Balloon bombs

In the second world war, the Japanese had high hopes for the balloon bomb (or Fu-Go).

The elements rendered Japan's 9,000 balloon bombs virtually useless
Quite simply, the idea was to strap incendiary explosives to hydrogen balloons and let them float over the Pacific Ocean on the winds of the jet stream.

American cities, forests and farmland would be set ablaze, wreaking economic havoc and inciting panic among the populace.

Over 9,000 balloon bombs were launched, some of which caught the wrong breeze and floated back towards Japan.

Only 300 made it anywhere near their target. Japanese propaganda stated that the balloons had killed 100,000 US citizens.

The real figure was six.

The bat bomb

After the failure of the cat bomb, the American military turned its attention to bats. Millions of bats carrying incendiary charges would be packed into bomb cases and dropped over enemy territory.

When the cases opened the animals would fly off and find nice, dark places to hide, like the basements of munitions factories and the cellars of office blocks. A timer would set off the charges and, bingo, Germany would burn.

Tests were encouraging, but the bat bomb was abandoned when the atomic bomb came along, which had the twin advantages of increased destructive power and no time wasted attaching tiny bombs to the legs of a million bats.
Good stuff, got anymore?

ZIL screwdrive vehicle

The XF-85 Goblin.

The "XF" stands for "This plane looks like a turd."

This oddly shaped plane was dropped out of a B-36's bomb bay, presumably hoping to confuse enemy ground control when pilots reported back that "The big plane is shitting little planes."
Some of the above have been covered on QI and Discovery channel - will have a look for the links.

Is there any archive of stuff that didn't make it through the GEMs Awards? Must be some belters there. I used to put in suggestions for approval by my boss.

"Are you taking the piss?"
"Are you drunk?"
"What the **** is that?"
"Drink some more next time you bell-end!"

Were a selection of response I had.

(Might throw a few drinks down my head and get my invention book out.)
Ah that M338 - where the battalion had to dig a trench, en mass. One unlucky lCpl jumps out, fires and dives back in before the warhead goes off.

Nuclear weapons in the hands, potentially, of JNCO's and Subalterns. God help us...
I remember a ridiculous weapon known as the "LSW". Only us Brits were foolish enough to use it but I think even we have sucesfully managed to phase most of them out by now.

Apperently during WW2 in N.Africa, the Germans noticed that "ze Tommy's" would snurggle their way through German minefields by using camel droppings as a guide of the safe route. In response, the boxheads designed a surface layed mine designed to look like a camel terd. Typical dirty Nazi trick!

I think the Home Guard were the kings of ridiculous weapons though. Platoons of old men on roller skates armed with pointy sticks and bad breath were more than willing to take on Panzers!

Puckle's Defence Gun

n 1718, James Puckle designed a gun that could fire 63 shots in seven minutes. Doesn’t sound like much now, but that’s a full three times as fast as a talented infantryman back in the day.

Puckle’s gun is generally thought to be the first rapid-fire weapon ever made. Rapid-fire weapons led to machine guns and machine guns are an important part of today’s warfare, right? So why is the Puckle gun on this list?

Well, Puckle promised that his gun could shoot round bullets to kill Christians and then kill Muslims with square bullets. He thought square bullets would hurt more.

No 74 ST Grenade The Sticky Bomb

During the Second World War, the British military removed much of the bureaucy surrounding weapon development, hoping to foster an increased rate of innovation. This also allowed many absurd and impractical ideas to reach the front line, including the No 74 ST Grenade, or sticky bomb. The sticky bomb was designed to act against enemy tanks, and consisted of a glass ampule of nitroglycerin attached to a plastic fuse. This was encased inside a knitted wool ’sock’ coated in sticky resin, and the whole grenade then encased inside a protective metal case. Although effective in combat, the fragile glass casing easily cracked during transport, the explosive was highly volatile, and worst of all, the sticky coating often glued an armed grenade to the thrower’s clothing, making it a very unpopular weapon.

German 80cm Dora gun

The 80 cm "Dora" was one of the biggest guns that was ever built. It weighed 1,350 tons and fired 7.1 ton armour piercing rounds over a distance of 38 km. The barrel weighed 400 Tons. It was only used once against Sevastopol in June 1942. Only 48 rounds were fired by the Dora gun.
To make it possible for the gun to be fired in different directions a curved railway track had to be built. To move the gun on this curved track two locomotives had to be used.
This gun could not be transported in one piece so it had be build up for use every time. To build up a firing position and the gun over 2,000 men and special cranes were needed and it took 6 over weeks.

Schwerer Gustav - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Russian tank defence weapon, intended to hose infantrymen off the sides of armoured vehicles. Had the drawback that any infantrymen further away would be impossible to hit with it.


ZIL screwdrive vehicle
Geoffrey Pykes Snow Vehicle used the same principle. the US/Canadian FSSF in Operation Plough was supposed to cruise through Norways snows like the high seas in them.

Basically an AK based Krummlauf?
I understood that that was an infantry weapon, for shooting around corners in a sneaky, Nazi way. The Russian one was for shooting downwards off the top of a tank. Though of course the tank gunner would have been killed whilst waiting for the infantry to get within his effective range (three feet away and below him).
I am sure I saw a programme on TV a couple of years ago in which pigeons had been trained to land on Warships ... the idea was to then put them into a crude winged bomb dropped by an aircraft near an enemy craft and the pigeons could see the vessel through a perspex window which they could peck , receive a reward of grain , to direct the flying bomb towards the vessel ..... the nearer they kept the ship in the middle of the perspex disc the more grain they got ...I have not made that up .

Edit ..... linky added .... Project Pigeon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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