10 of the Weirdest Weapons Ever Invented

by Shivam Khandelwal8 months ago0 comments
Picture 10 of the Weirdest Weapons Ever Invented

There is simply no shortage of the variety of weapons humans have invented since the earliest of times. Every time the circumstances changed, intentions changed and so did the structure and development of the weapons. We have come a long way from designing tools to defend ourselves from threatening animals to mass-murdering our own species. We sometimes created disastrous weapons and sometimes also created some of the weirdest weapons ever. Following is a list of 10 of the weirdest weapons ever invented.

1 The French invented a “bazooka Vespa.” It was a Vespa 150 TAP scooter armed with an M20 75-millimeter recoilless rifle, also known as a light anti-armor cannon. The vehicle carrying the weapon could only reach the speed of 40 miles per hour and was intended to be used by French paratroopers. Nearly 600 such scooters were created in the 1950s.

Bazooka Vespa
Vespa Military. Image credit: C. Galliani via Wikimedia.org

The French company ACMA, or Ateliers de Construction de Motorcycles et Automobiles, created the Vespa 150 TAP near Dijon from 1956 to 1959.

It had a very odd look with a standard color of either dull olive or sand color. The scooter had an eight-inch tire but could carry the weapon under its seat effortlessly. 

It was dropped in pairs via aircraft, strapped to a special pallet sitting on a cushion of hay bales.

The weapon was ready to use as soon as it was received on the battleground. The Frenchmen used to ride it until they got to a suitable point. Then they dismounted to set the gun up at a perfect angle using the M1917 Browning Machine Gun tripod which came along with the scooter.

The cost of production of the destructive scooter was relatively cheap. It cost roughly $500 at that time, and the American M20s were available in abundance. (1, 2)

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2 Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis attached a curved barrel device onto the end of an MP-44 rifle. It was known as “Krummlauf” and was used as an attempt to allow soldiers to shoot over obstacles without exposing themselves to enemy fire, or shooting around corners from a safe position. The weird weapon was successfully made but only worked in limited circumstances.

Krummlauf
A Sturmgewehr 44 fitted with a Krummlauf taken at the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung in Koblenz, Germany (Image to the left), German rifles, including the STG44 assault rifle with Krummlauf and a G3 battle rifle. Image credits: Der Rickkk via Wikimedia.org, Loong/Flickr via Wikimedia.org

The development of the curved barrel started as early as 1943 when a 20-millimeter barrel was attached to an eight-millimeter rifle. Multiple versions of the Krummlauf were made with varying degrees of curvature: 30, 45,  and 60 degrees. One was literally bent to be perpendicular.

The one with the bend at 90 degrees was intended to be used for mounting armored vehicles. It was assumed that the rifle would be thrust through a port, and the user would be free to swivel the rifle around the inside and shoot in any direction.

After the war, the device was tested. It was found that the bullets would break into half at the cannelure, the cylindrical part of the bullet. Therefore, the rifle was only suitable for close combat, and in fact, the Nazis invented the weapon just for that purpose. (1, 2)

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3 Bat bombs were US-created timed, incendiary bombs that were each attached to a hibernating bat. The plan was to launch them at dawn, and the bats were to be placed in nearby attics up to a 40-mile radius. The incendiaries eventually ignited and cause a fire in the wood and paper constructions of Japanese cities, eventually causing explosions, widespread fire, destruction, and havoc.

Bat Bombs
Bat Bomb. Image credit: United States Army Air Forces via Wikimedia.org

An American dentist Lytle S. Adams was impressed by the bat’s strength of flight and so came the idea of inventing bat bombs. He somehow managed to put up his idea to President Roosevelt and the president decided to give him a shot at the idea.

At the time, most of the Japanese construction was made up of wood, paper, and bamboo. The intention was to attach a bat to a timed incendiary bomb and drop them at dawn.  The bats were expected to roost under the eaves of the Japanese buildings where the bombs would activate eventually.

The working team was first tasked to find a perfect species of bats for the project. After a widespread search, Mexican long-tailed bats were selected. Thousands of these were captured by nets after receiving permission from National Park Services.

A highly inflammable liquid called napalm was stored in a capsule and attached to the bats using adhesive. Every incendiary device was timed to detonate in 30 minutes.

The project was handed to the Marines in 1943 and was renamed “Project X-Ray.” Fake Japanese cities in Utah were also created, and bat bombs were tested on them.

However, just when the bat bombs were about to come into action, they were set aside by the senior officials in the light of another secret weapon called the atomic bomb. (1, 2)

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4 The Claw of Archimedes was an ancient anti-ship weapon developed by Archimedes to defend the sea-facing city walls of the city of Syracuse. Sources say that it was a crane-equipped weapon with a grappling hook that enabled the user to lift the attacker’s ship by the prow and drop it. Its strike often caused the victim ship to capsize or at least face severe damage.

Claw of Archimedes
Depiction of the Claw of Archimedes. Image credit: learnodo-newtonic.com

It is said that this weird defending weapon was put into use during the Second Punic War in 214 BCE. It was when the Roman Republic attacked Syracuse with 60 ships under the command of Marcus Marcellus.

The Romans attempted to infiltrate the city with the fleet at dark but faced deadly consequences. As soon as the fleet approached the city wall, they started sinking, leaving the Romans in complete confusion. 

The plausibility of the weapon was tested two times in modern times by researchers. First, it was tested in 1999 in the BBC series Secrets of the Ancients, and secondly, it was featured in a Discovery Channel series Superweapons of the Ancient World in 2005.

The research went successful both times since they were able to tip over and sink a model of a Roman ship. (1, 2)

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5 Blue Peacock was a nuclear mine developed by the British in the 1950s which was packed with chickens, food, and water. The scientists were concerned that the electronics inside the weapon would freeze before it was used, therefore the heat from chickens was expected to keep the electronics working. The mine was to be detonated by a timer or a wire three miles away. It was never used.

Operation Blue Peacock was to be placed in West Germany and was targeted towards Soviet troops that were hypothetically going to infiltrate the rest of Europe.

The weapon had a major drawback. Since it was to be buried underground and detonated at an unknown future time, the wait might allow the mine to become cold. And if it does become cold, the detonator would not be able to trigger a nuclear blast.

Therefore, in 1957, a British physicist came up with the solution of chickens. He proposed to pack chickens with seeds in the mine to keep them alive. The heat emitted by the chickens would be enough to maintain sufficient temperature until the bomb was detonated.

These chicken mines would yield 10-kiloton of explosions producing a 375-foot-diameter crater.

After producing two prototypes, Operation Blue Peacock was abandoned for two reasons. The amount of nuclear fallout from the blast was huge and burying a nuclear weapon in the allied territory was not easy. (1, 2)

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