Soviet Kamikaze Dogs
Dog lovers may want to skip this one. In World War II, the Soviets trained their dogs to do all kinds of things for them. Now, they wanted to train them to run to their deaths. Strapping explosives to their backs, they taught them to run straight at Nazi tanks. The bombs would explode on impact, killing the dogs.
German Gustav and Dora Rail Cannons
Hitler desperately wanted to conquer France. However, the only way to do that was to get through the Maginot Line, a heavily fortified border running along Germany and Italy. Enter the German Gustav and Dora Rail Cannons, the largest cannons ever built. They weighed 1,344 tons and even though they were attached to a rail line, couldn’t be moved for fear of crushing the tracks. They were also hilariously inaccurate and barely saw much any real action. The Gustav was captured, and The Nazis ended up scrapping the Dora entirely so the Soviets couldn’t get their hands on it.
Designed in the 1500’s, the hand mortar was designed to propel a grenade further than a hand could throw it. Though it wasn’t a particularly popular weapon, most European armies in the fifteenth and sixteenth century used them.
The Madu is an ancient weapon from India. While it may look like a frisbee from hell, it’s actually a standard shield and parrying weapon. People who used it would stand low to the ground to protect their important body parts and then strike when the opportunity presented itself.
While we’re on ancient weapons, let’s talk about Greek Fire. Used primarily at sea, the Byzantine Greeks would launch a wave of fire at attacking Arab ships. The attack method’s success kept the Byzantine Greeks safe for centuries. The weapon’s design was so secret that we have no record of it today.
The Lipstick Pistol seems like something straight out of a James Bond movie. It was a weapon of the Cold War used by Soviet agents to smuggle a gun from place to place. The barrel was only 4.5mm and had one shot, so the agent would likely have to be in close range to use it. People called it “The Kiss of Death.”
Similar to the Madu, the Haladie came out of India and spread all the way to Syria and the Arab world. While the Madu was for defense, the Haladie was for offense and was best used with a shield.
This may look like a harmonica, but you wouldn’t want to put your lips to it. The Harmonica Gun was one of the first high capacity guns with the bullet magazine horizontal rather than vertical. Of course, just by looking at it, anyone could tell it’s very awkward and not exactly user-friendly.
Believe it or not, the Chinese were the first to develop an ancient type of firearm called the Fire Lance. In the tenth century, they designed them to use a simple firework that shot a poison or pellets at a close range of only a few feet. They were a popular and cheap weapon peasants typically used to defend their villages.
Vespa 150 TAP
Like something a child might dream up while playing with his army men figures, the Vespa 150 TAP was designed by the French military to combat guerilla forces in Algeria in the 1950’s. They airdropped it into the field and troops would use it on the front lines as artillery. That cannon on the front is an M20 armor-piercing rifle. It proved effective against guerrilla fortifications.
Magpul Flashlight Gun
The Magpul Flashlight Gun may look like an ordinary semi-automatic, but it actually collapses and transforms into a flashlight. The transformation from flashlight to rifle is smooth and efficient and would make perfect sense for undercover operations.
While “Bat Bomb” may sound like a weapon Batman might use, it was actually an American World War II design. And, yes, real live bats are involved. Essentially, bats were put in a canister with small bombs strapped to their chests. The canister would be dropped over a city, in this case, a Japanese city, and would release the bats. The bats would fly all over the city and before long the bombs would go off, burning the city to the ground in every direction. The military tested the bomb and found it actually worked. However, more tests were canceled as resources were redirected to the atomic bomb.
During their preparation to invade London, the Nazis developed a line of panzer tanks called “Tauchpanzer” which could be dropped into the ocean and move underwater toward the beach. However, the invasion of London was scrapped and these tanks were never used for their intended purpose.
Another secret spy weapon straight from the pages of a James Bond script, the Bulgarian Umbrella was developed by the Soviet KGB. It gained infamy during the assassination of Georgi Markov. The umbrella is designed to shoot a pellet with ricin inside. Once it implants in the skin, the poison slowly kills the victim within days.
Volley Guns took on many forms over the years. Unlike machine guns, volley guns weren’t automatic and could fire only one bullet at a time from each barrel. Sometimes the bullets could fire simultaneously or at different times depending on the design. The most popular and slightly silly volley gun was the “Duck Foot Pistol,” so named because it looks exactly like a duck’s foot.
Archimedes Death Ray
Before Greek Fire became a thing, the ancient greek mathematician Archimedes is said to have developed a mirror to burn down Roman ships that invaded Syracuse in 212 BC. While many considered this to be a myth, students at MIT tested it out and concluded it was plausible.
Right now the world’s fastest missile can reach Mach 3, but Russia, China, and the US are all developing hypersonic missiles that can reach from Mach 5 to Mach 10. Some of these missiles could reach up to 12,000 miles-per-hour (32,186 kph). At those speeds, hypersonic missiles would be undetectable by missile defense systems.
Some machine guns can shoot 1,000 rounds per minute. Now, imagine a gun that can shoot 1,000 times that. The Metal Storm machine gun was developed by an Australian company of the same name and is similar in design to a volley gun. It can shoot up to 1,000,000 rounds per minute and would devastate any military withstanding it.
Laser Weapon Systems
Like something out of Star Wars, in 2014, the US Navy installed their first laser system. Using concentrated, high-powered infrared rays, the system is capable of shooting drones out of the sky or keeping smaller ships from approaching. Archimedes, eat your heart out.
Everyone’s heard of laser guided missiles, but few know there are laser guided bullets or “smart bullets.” Using the same principles and technology, laser guided bullets always hit their target with even a novice shooter behind the gun. The real-time guidance system inside the bullet can even course correct.
No, this isn’t the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter. Scientists developed an invisibility cloak that can match any background and wrap around any shape, making it look invisible to the naked eye. While improvements and advancements are underway, the idea of a real, working technology like this is crazy.
Designed for non-violent use, the LED Incapacitator shoots bright pulses of light to disorient people. However, this is no ordinary flashlight. The quick array of colors and intensity has the ability to blind and even nauseate someone to the point of vomiting.
CROWS, or Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station, give us a look into advanced warfare. Much like aerial drones, these small ground vehicles are remotely operated and provide a slew of functions, including removing landmines, scouting an area, and engaging the enemy.
Robotic technology has been going at a slow but steady pace. Boston Dynamics seems to want to change that. Over the years, they’ve developed all kinds of robots resembling animals, most of which help assist the military. One robot that looks like a cow helps carry large loads of materials and can easily scale tough and mountainous terrain. They’ve also developed robots similar to dogs and cheetahs.
Welcome to the future. The Phasr Rifle is a non-lethal military weapon designed to temporarily blind the target with a green pulsing laser. While weapons like these have been created in the past, the Phasr Rifle is slightly different in that it doesn’t permanently blind it’s victims.