WW2 Worst Of

Worst leader: Adolf Hitler. Nuff said!

Worst rifle: Mauser KAR98. For an advanced army in other ways, disgraceully obsolete.

Worst SMG: Sten. Cheap and prone to jamming.

Worst pistol: Don't know - help please? Luger or revolver?

Worst MG: The Japanese one that used 30-round strips! In a MG!

Worst tank: It has to be British! The Crusader that constantly broke down?

Worst fighter: Fairey Battle. Appalling!

Worst bomber: Bristol Blenheim. Disgusting attrition rate.

Worst commander: Percival.

Did you know http://www.world-war-2.info/facts/

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”), the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named “Amerika”. All three were soon changed for PR purposes.

More US servicemen died in the Air Corps that the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, your chance of being killed was 71%. Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo. The US 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1 for every 12,700 shots fired.

The US Army had more ships that the US Navy.

Most members of the Waffen SS were not German.

During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong, British officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officer’s mess. No enlisted men allowed!
Worst leader: Adolf Hitler... But Petain wasn't far behind.

Worst rifle: Boyes AT Rifle. Any flipping AT Rifle after 1941, actually.

Worst SMG: The Sten MkII. The Mk I was crap but not as fragile.

Worst pistol: How about the Liberator pistol - dropped to the resistance?

Worst MG: The Japanese Nambu - I agree!

Worst tank: The Japanese Chi-Ha. They could never use it anywhere - and if they could deploy it, it could be taken out with a Boyes AT Rifle

Worst fighter: Too much choice

Worst bomber: Controversially, the ME-262. Would have been a great fighter, but.... what payload?

Worst commander: Benedotti. Actually retreated from a Greek Island because it may have had a resistant.
Benedotti was given the command of a batch of Greek Islands including Nisyros. On a visit to that island, the soldiers stationed there said they had heard shots the night before. He ordered them to return to Kos with him and left the island to calm down. It was prety much left that way until the Germans insisted otherwise.

Later in the war, after the Germans had occupied it, the resistance actually did get formed (there was none when the Italians were there - they were poachers). They ambushed the Germans in and around a taverna there. The owners of the Taverna still proudly display the mirror broken by the exchange of fire.

But Benedotti was considered 'adventurous'. Quite. So long as it didn't involve anyone fighting back.
MrPVRd said:
Worst leader: Adolf Hitler. Nuff said!
Worst fighter: Fairey Battle. Appalling!

Worst bomber: Bristol Blenheim. Disgusting attrition rate.
...except the Fairey Battle was a light bomber. You could have tried "Boulton-Paul Defiant" (suddenly found itself a night-fighter) or "Me110" (ditto) as examples of cr*p fighters.

As for attrition rate, see "Fairey Battle", and the attack on the bridges over the Meuse, France 1940. The first VCs of the war for the RAF.

The Fairey Battle was instantly relegated to "trainer / target tug".

Actually, the Westland Lysander was another aircraft that didn't do too well. After the Battle of France (50 came back from 170 deployed), it suddenly became a STOL / rough strip liaison and SF support aircraft. Mind you, it did shoot down the first Heinkel over the BEF TAOR, in Nov 1939.....

Allegedly, the fate of an RAF pilot who claimed that the Lysander was manoeuverable enough to evade one, maybe two Messerschmitts, and that the Luftwaffe didn't have enough Me109 to worry about facing more than that....

... was last seen in France being chased around a church spire by 12 Messerschmitts.....
But the Lysander , like the Defiant, proved itself in another role.

The Lysander became essential in SOE agent drops , and had an extremely good record as such. Defiants proved themselves as Night Fighters, after the dreadful debacle over the channel , when most of one squadron was lost. We have been chosen for the seat of honour

The Battles of the AASF against the Meuse bridges was lunacy. Don't forget the Blenheim squadrons flying multiple sorties out of Watton daily, trying to stem the tide.

Worst Fighter? The Buffalo . Chopped to ribbons over Singapore , hopelessly outclassed. The Aircrew were good enough , but the fighter let them down.

Worst bomber - The Avro Manchester. But 2 more engines later , the mighty Lancaster.

Worst Commander - Leigh-Mallory. A back stabber , and the architect of the lunatic 'Circus , Rodeo ,Rhubarb and Ramrod' offensive fighter sweeps over France that cost Britain some of it's best Fighter leaders and rising stars between 1941 and 1943 , including Bader , Stanford-Tuck , Lock , Finucane , Mungo-Park , Blatchford etc.

A wasteful exercise in men and machines

Worst Tank - The German 'Maus' (Who says they don't have a sense of humour?0 :D
The Liberator pistol was not designed as a combat weapon, but more as a cheap tool for assasinations or to shoot a German sentry to get his weapon.



Book Reviewer
I thought the Liberator was only dropped in SE Asia - Phillipines, etc? It was indeed designed as a "Weapon to get a weapon with" - one shot, close, to kill a lone sentry and nick his gat.

My proposal for worst of WW2 -

the PIAT.

Impractical, bloody heavy, murder to load/cock, and the uncanny ability to injure its firer with accurate backsplash :)

Septics had the 3.5" Bazooka, Krauts had the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust, we had the PIAT. No fair!!!
Well, the Defiant did pretty well at first....until the Germans caught on to the guns-pointing-wrong-way vulnerability, they persisted in trying to get onto the thing's 6. With predictable results.

It couldn't last, though. Once they cottoned on, it was a total deathtrap. As was the Fairey Massacre, oops, Battle. Anyone who so much as looked at one deserves a medal.

What about the Messerschmitt Me163? A very high-performance glider ruined by attaching a rocket motor fuelled by stuff (high test hydrogen peroxide) that would instantly ignite any organic matter, you included. Hanna Reitsch said it was the only aircraft that ever scared her. The operating mode was to take off when the enemy approached, climb very fast indeed to 40,000 feet, turn whichever way the radar controller said to make visual contact, then you had enough juice left to pull up after the first pass at ~500 mph, before doing another attack in the glide at similar speed.

As the speed decayed very rapidly, though, you then had to break off and holler for a vector to base in a space shuttle style approach.

But there weren't any wheels! just a skid! so, if anything went wrong at all the remnants of the fuel would very probably explode! The worst Me163 story was probably about one of the test pilots; they lit the rocket and took off, but the rocket failed on t/o and they lined up for a straight-ahead forced landing.

By the time the crash crew reached it, still on the airfield, the T-Stoff had leaked into the cockpit and dissolved him alive.

A fine example of the Germans being technically brilliant but completely howling batshit mental. They also tried to wish the thing on the Japanese, sending a complete aircraft, along with the blueprints, formula for the fuel, and two engineers from Messerschmitt/Bayerische Flugzeugwerke to Tokyo in a U-boat. But even the Japanese thought it was a tad wild.

The Japanese, though, I think, scooped the prize with their AT weapon that consisted of a shaped charge on a stick, with a spike. Courageous infantryman spots tank approaching. Breaks cover and charges tank, no doubt yelling Banzai! US Marine co-ax gunner blows his head off. Goes looking for more Japs with sticks. Whoops, that's the snake joke, isn't it?

No, Marine co-ax gunner is paralysed with laughter at crazy little bastard (or something). Courageous infantryman sticks spike in tank armour and pulls pin. Shaped charge explodes and makes a hole in the ground where it fell when the spike didn't penetrate the inches-thick steel armour. Tank commander, perceiving crazy little bastard and laughing gunner, draws .45 and puts a cap in his ass...


PartTimePongo said:
Don't forget the Blenheim squadrons flying multiple sorties out of Watton daily, trying to stem the tide.
That was horrendous - Bomber Command took a real kicking on that one. Only ever briefly mentioned in most histories
What about the The Bachem Ba 349 Natter?

The hapless pilot is responsible for piloting a wooden rocket (same fuel as the Me163) at a bomber squadron, firing a nose-cone full of unguided 73mm rockets at one(!) bomber on the way up, accelerating past the bomber stream, ramming a second bomber on the way down after employing an ejector device that did not work.

The theoretical ratio was 2 aircraft for 1. The ratio later fell to 1:1 as the ramming tactic was discarded. The first flight killed the test pilot, and the only functioning airstrip was overrun by the US before the aircraft could be launched in anger.

At least the Me163 was hypothetically capable of landing!
Indeed. I really wonder what they thought the point was?

The Heinkel 162 Volksjäger was pretty gnarly too, a single engine jet fighter made of wood with the engine mounted over the fuselage (bale out of that!). Had the distinction of being perhaps the only aircraft specifically designed to be built by slaves. (it was production engineered to use the bare minimum of skill, had very little instrumentation etc)

The RAF carried off the remaining ones to Farnborough, where in three flights two test pilots were killed. At that point they put the remaining one in a museum!
The Japanese Lunge Bomb ranks alongside the Russian Dog Mine as antitank weapons. Mind you, the British sticky bomb was not much better. Pull out the pin to release the sticky goo onto the fabric, pull arming pin, try and disentangle self from primitive superglue in under 7 seconds.

I still opt for the Liberator as the worst pistol. Nobody said it had to be issued in any particular way.

The PIAT is credited with knocking out the odd vehicle or two... I'm still trying to find details of how many Panzer III, IV, V and VIE were taken out by Soviet Anti-Tank Rifles. I have found one being used by a sniper in Stalingrad.... but only because it had an interesting range benefit.
OldSnowy said:
I thought the Liberator was only dropped in SE Asia - Phillipines, etc? It was indeed designed as a "Weapon to get a weapon with" - one shot, close, to kill a lone sentry and nick his gat.
Yes, because, after it was designed and ready to be distributed, the French and other exile governments got cold feet, thinking of a postwar nightmare of having every little crook in their country armed with one of these things. But it was originaly designed with the ETO in mind.

Terrifying thought, a Republic in which almost anyone can have a gun. It would never work. What a sound French decision.
Yeah, I thought of the sticky bomb, but somehow the lunge bomb had a sort of heroic stupidity...

George MacDonald Fraser managed to sink a boatload of Japs with a PIAT (see Quartered Safe Out Here), so that's one at least.

The worst naval kit had to be the German (again) rotor kite: like a kite, but with a feckoff big two-bladed rotor. The idea was to let cruising U-boats on the surface see further. The thing contained a bloke with binos and a phone. The sub towed it at speed and it rose gracefully to several hundred feet up. The problems began when the sub had to dive! If there wasn't time, SOP was simply to let go the tether and let the guy fall into the sea, where he drowned in the usual way. Another case of German ideas being very clever but also completely mad.

What about the famous para "cricket"? Is the story that it sounded just like a German rifle bolt a myth? If it was genuine, then it was without a doubt the worst item of kit ever.

The Short Stirling bomber was terrible, too. It couldn't get above 18,000 laden, and the fancy new electrics in the controls ran through a wiring board directly behind the fuselage roundel - how long did it take the Germans to realise where to aim? not very...
PartTimePongo said:
Worst Fighter? The Buffalo . Chopped to ribbons over Singapore , hopelessly outclassed. The Aircrew were good enough , but the fighter let them down.
But even there, there's an argument that the Finns rather liked the Buffalo. In fact, some of their aces flew it quite successfully.


From the description of how 900lbs in weight were added while complying with RAF specifications, it looks like this might be another British Defence procurement mystery

It's right up there with the "off-the-shelf" purchase of the F-4 Phantom. Except instead of the original engine, they put in Rolls-Royce Speys (which were wider, and smoothed out the wasp-waist shape of the aircraft) to create the heaviest, most powerful, and slowest Phantoms in service in the world......
The idea with the Russian mine dogs was that they would carry an explosive charge strapped on their body, with a rod pointing up, which, when touched would set off the explosion. They were trained that during battle, they would run under then next tank and blow it (and themselves ) up.
The problem was that the Russians used Russian tanks to train them, and during the first battle, the dogs ran the wrong way and hid under the Russian tanks (which they were familar with) and not the German ones.

The Americans apparently suffered a similar c*ck up.
They bred bats with the idea of tying little bombs made of thermite to the bats leg. The bats were supposed to be dropped in huge numbers at night time from bombers over Japan, where they were supposed to fly e.g. into barns and attics during darkness. In their hiding place they were supposed to chew off the string holding the bomb, which after a timed delay catch fire.

The only problem was that a whole load of "loaded" bats escaped at the trial airfield, setting several hangars on fire...



War Hero
The PIAT gun was rubbish, but it was the first man portable anti armour weapon in the world.

Information came from a veteran of the Wessex Division from WWII.

Latest Threads