Weird Weapons of World War II – The Axis Powers

Anshu Attri

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4 Weird Weapons of World War II – The Axis Powers.

During World War II, Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler and his allies, the so called ‘Axis’ powers, were desperate to control Europe and Asia and spread the their ideals throughout the world. Like in any era of sustained warfare, 1939 – 1945 saw the development of many weapons and while most were run of the mill, some were a little more creative and just a little weird

1.The Electric Gun
The idea of an Electric Gun was proposed by the Nazis as a long distance weapon. The huge gun would have been able to fire 750 six-inch shells a minute at a target 90 miles away. Ammunition was to be fed by an automatic conveyer and when fired, solenoids or coreless electromagnets would magnetically pull the missile and send it on its way. The solenoid would then go dead and a new one would take its place, pulling the next missile out and so on.

Although on paper the Electric Gun seems like a weapon with awesome potential, it was totally impractical so never made it past the proposal phase. Useless against smaller targets like ships or troop concentration due to the long range, its main use would have been for bombardment of large scale targets such as cities but the aeroplanes already in use were much better suited to this task.




2.The Goliath Tank Buster
The Goliath Tank Buster was a remote controlled tank-shaped vehicle designed during the war by German scientists. It was about four feet long, two feet wide and roughly a foot in height and was packed with 75 kg of high explosives, enough to blow up a tank or demolish a building. Once the unfortunate target was established, the vehicle was guided by an engineer, and once in the right position, for example under a tank, the explosives would be detonated and destroy the target.

They were used mostly by specialized Panzer and combat engineer units of the Wehrmacht and were seen on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day June 6th, 1944, although most were quickly rendered inoperative due to damage from artillery blasts.




 
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ahmedsid

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Goliath was a crazy weapon! I mean, look at it go! Pretty quick, can pack in a punch to demolish building during urban warfare situations!!!
 

Anshu Attri

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3. Fire Balloons

In 1944, the Japanese Imperial Army released over 9,000 air balloons filled with bombs and/or incendiaries and aimed them at US and Canadian cities, forests and farmlands. They were intended to wreak havoc, causing explosions and widespread fire but only around 1,000 of the balloons actually made it to their intended targets.

Despite the high hopes of the weapons, only six people were killed as a result of their deployment and they only managed to inflict a small amount of damage. The Americans made sure that none of the damage that was caused was reported so the Japanese only heard about one incident, that of a balloon reaching Wyoming and causing no harm at all. The Japanese soon realised the ineffectiveness of Fire Balloons and discontinued their use after less than six months.



4. Railway Guns

Railway guns are large pieces of artillery placed on rail tracks and used for long range bombardment. Although they were first used in the 19th century, the ones designed by the Krupp weapons manufacturers in the 1930s and used in WW II deserve special mention as they were quite simply massive.

The biggest were the largest two artillery pieces ever used in combat and were known as ‘Schwerer Gustav’ and ‘Dora’. They weighed around 1,350 tons and could fire 7 ton shells up to 37 kilometers (23 miles) away. Gustav was eventually captured by and destroyed by US troops and Dora was destroyed by the Germans to avoid it falling into enemy hands.

Artillery guns were capable of firing across the English Channel and were designed to destroy heavily fortified positions. However with the rise of the aeroplane there usefulness became limited as they were easily destroyed from the air and similar damage could be inflicted on the enemy with the much cheaper and effective fighter and bomber plains. As a result, the Second World War was the last time Railway Guns were to be used.

 

Anshu Attri

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Weird Weapons Of World War II – The Allies

Between 1939 and 1945, one of the worst wars in history was fought out between two opposing forces that were so large and wide-spread, it became known as the Second World War. In a bid to stop Adolf Hitler and his allies, who were known as the ‘Axis’ powers, the ‘Allies’ worked on many weapons projects to try to develop new ways to help them win the war. While many were successful and eventually helped the allied cause, other ideas that went into development ended up being shelved, often because they were just a little too weird to work!

1.The Pigeon-Guided Missile

American behaviorist B.F. Skinner hit on a novel idea for the war effort when he came up with the idea for ‘Project Orcon’ (which stood for organic control), which was his attempt to produce the world’s first pigeon-guided missile.

The control system had a lens attached to the missile which projected an image of the target to a screen. Three trained pigeons would then peck at the target on the screen and where they pecked would determine where the missile hit. As long as they pecked the center of the screen the missile would remain on target but if they pecked off center, the missile would change course, as long as two of the three had it right though, the target would be hit

The National Defense Research Committee put $25,000 for research into the project but despite this, for some unfathomable reason, the US military didn’t take the idea too seriously. On the 8th October, 1944 the project was canceled, the official reason given was; \”further prosecution of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division have more immediate promise of combat application.\”



2. The Flying Jeep
The Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment in Manchester, UK began work in 1940 on attaching rotor blades to a jeep. Nicknamed the ‘Rotabuggy’, initial tests involved dropping the jeep from heights of a few meters while it was filled with concrete to demonstrate it could take the impact without damage.

The jeep was then fitted with additional equipment including the rotor blades, a tail fairing with twin rudderless fins, a rotor control next to the steering wheel and glider navigational instruments. In 1943, the first test flight was conducted when the Rotabuggy was toed behind a Bentley and managed to glide at speeds of up to 65 mph.

The initial flights had limited success as handling proved difficult but after some modifications, the flying qualities of the vehicle were officially described as “highly satisfactory”. However the project became deemed unnecessary with the development of Horsa II and Hamilcar which were gliders equipped to carry vehicles.

 

Anshu Attri

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3. The Poisoned Dart Bomb
Between 1941 and 1944, British scientists were working on a top secret project to developed a projectile bomb that released darts tipped with poison. A recently de-classified document entitled ‘Research Into Use of Anthrax and Other Poisons for Biological Warfare’ revealed that sewing machine needles would be used in the weapon and tipped with a lethal poison, which would probably be either anthrax or ricin.

According to a 1945 memo about the project, light darts could be used as the poison ensured slight penetration would be lethal and there was no need to hit vital organs. It also had the added advantage, according to the memo, of making it so that medical treatment would be unlikely to prevent the victim’s death.

The bombs could carry 30,600 needles and if they hit, you were likely to be dead within half an hour. However the chances of hitting someone varied and while they would have had great effect against troops out in the open, they were virtually useless when there was any type of cover. This made them unlikely to cause mass damage frequently and therefore uneconomical and as a result, they never made it passed the planning stage.


4.Anti-Tank Dogs
Anti-tank dogs or dog-bombs were dogs that were trained by the Soviet military to seek food under tanks and armored vehicles. The dogs were left hungry for a few days and explosives strapped to their backs, they would then be left to wander fields where enemy tracked vehicles approached. As they went under the vehicle, the explosives were detonated by a wooden lever that would be triggered as they went under.

Soviet reports claim that the dogs managed to disable 300 German tanks and caused enough of a problem to the Nazis that they took measures against them. Dogs were ordered to be shot on sight and flame throwers deployed on tanks and armored vehicles to ward them off in the field.

In an unfortunate incident in 1942, the use of the dogs went horribly wrong as a group of the hungry hounds ran amok. This forced an entire division of Soviets to retreat from the battlefield and soon after the anti-tank dogs were withdrawn from regular service, however they continued to be trained right up until 1996.
 

ajtr

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Spinning Cylindrical Bomb:Story of The Dam Busters


During the WW II, a British aeronautical engineer, Barnes Wallis came up with an idea of a barrel shaped bomb released with a back spin to attack German dams. It would bounce on the water and skip over the torpedo net protecting the dam. Following is excerpted from a book called "The Dam Busters" by P. Brickhill (now out of print.)

"If you make something spin fast enough around an axis it needs a surprising amount of force to tilt it off that axis. The earth is one example of spinning on an axis. It stays on that same axis (thank God) but it doesn't have to be a sphere. A lot of youngsters have little gyro- scopes as toys. Yank hard on a string and a caged disc spins like mad, and people are intrigued at the strength it needs to budge it from its axis. Or take a child's top. It stays upright when it is sp;nning fast enough and falls over when it isn't. (That's a top secret!). A lot of aircraft blind flying instruments depend on gyroscopic action, such as an artificial horizon.

Wallis knew that he had to reduce the diameter of his missile. And he knew it still had to hit the water on every bounce with the same shape surface as before. He already knew his missile had to drop with a lot of back-spin on it to control the bounces, and also to make it crawl underwater flat against the dam wall when it hit. So why not a missile shaped like a portly barrel with enough back-spin to keep it gyroscopically on an identical axis all the way.

That would reduce the diameter without lengthening the 'barrel' shape too much. It seemed all so easy. All one had to do was think it out first.

His assistants carved on lathes a series of fat, barrel-shaped models, each with differing weight-size-shape ratios and all of them with a potential diameter small enough to be carried under a Lancaster.

Wallis tested each repeatedly with varying combinations of back- spin, catapult velocity and height. Consistently they skipped across the water in the tank in little flashes of spray but seldom tilting off their horizontal axis, presenting at each skip the same pot-bellied shape to the water. By trial and error he found at what speeds each model would slither against the far end of the tank and crawl under the water hugging the wall (with the residual back-spin). He filled a notebook with details of each shape, and by simple elimination was able to choose the model with the widest range of reliable performance.

The rest was largely doing sums, such as how fast a five ton 'barrel' could be safely spun backwards before release from an aircraft and achieve enough gyroscopic stability for half a mile or more of bouncing bumps. Wallis made it between 450-500 revolutions per minute backwards.

By the middle of 1942 he was satisfied he could make a five tonner do what he wanted it to. The only thing he didn't know was whether to call it a barrel, a bomb, a mine or a missile. Not that it mattered." Taerum flicked the belly lights on and, peering down from the blister, started droning: 'Down . . . down . . . down . . . up a bit ... steady, stead-y-y.' The lights were touching each other, 'G George' was exactly at 60 feet and the flak gunners had seen the lights. The streams of glowing shells were swivelling and lowering, and then the shell were whipping towards them, seeming to move slowly at first like all flak, and then rushing madly at their eyes as the aircraft plunged into them.

Gibson said tersely: 'Bomb on! '

Spafford flicked the switch and heard the whine of the electric motor starting back in the fuselage. He could hear it winding up speed and a vibration grew through the aircraft as the black barrel under- neath stirred out of its inertia and started revolving backwards, faster and faster, building up to optimum revs., until G George was thrum- ming like a live thing.

Gibson held her steady, pointing between the towers.

Spafford screamed, 'Bomb gone!' loud and sharp, and they rocketed over the dam between the towers.In a few moments the mountain of water erupted skyward again under the dam wall. It was uncanny how accurate the bomb was. The spray from the explosions was misting up the whole valley now and it was hard to see what was happening by the dam. ---

'Hell, it's gonel It's gonel Look at it for Christ's sakel' Wheeling round the valley side Martin had seen the concrete face abruptly split and crumble under the weight of water. Gibson swung in close and was staggered. A ragged hole 100 yards across and 100 feet deep split the dam and the lake was pouring out of it, 134 million tons of water crashing into the valley in a jet 200 feet long, smooth on top, foaming at the sides where it tore at the rough edges of the breach and boiling over the scarred earth where the power house had been."

"The Dam Busters" by P. Brickhill
 

Anshu Attri

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5. Ice Ships
In 1942, the allies were suffering heavy losses of merchant ships to German U-boats as a result of the limited range of patrolling aircraft. Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested building large ships made of ice to protect allied merchant ships and possibly as a platform to launch an offensive from. Mountbatten, the Chief of Combined Operations, an organization responsible to the Chiefs of Staff for the development of equipment and special craft for offensive operations, had been advised by one of his scientists, Geoffrey Pyke, that huge ships of up to 4,000 feet long and 600 feet wide could be made cheaply and in large numbers.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s PM was enthusiastic of the project and saw to it that it got underway. In 1943, it was discovered that by adding wood pulp to the water before freezing, a very tough material was made which was called ‘pykrete’, in honor of Geoffrey Pyke. It was reported that when demonstrating the idea to a group of high brass military leaders, Mountbatten fired a shot at an ordinary block of ice, which shattered into little pieces. However when he fired at the Pykrete, the bullet bounced right off and almost hit the Chief of Air Staff Sir Charles Portal.

Construction on a prototype began at Patricia Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and it was determined that the hull needed to be at least 35 feet thick in order to contain damage from bombs and torpedoes. However before tests were complete, the Battle of the Atlantic had been virtually won and with the construction underway of the new aircraft carriers, the project was reluctantly abandoned in August 1943.

 

ahmedsid

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Good Thread this is! Fire Baloons take the cake! Followed by Ice Ship!!! Man I would never have known this if it werent for this!! I cant believe Fire Baloons reached the US Mainland! hahaha
 

Koovie

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5. Ice Ships
In 1942, the allies were suffering heavy losses of merchant ships to German U-boats as a result of the limited range of patrolling aircraft. Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested building large ships made of ice to protect allied merchant ships and possibly as a platform to launch an offensive from. Mountbatten, the Chief of Combined Operations, an organization responsible to the Chiefs of Staff for the development of equipment and special craft for offensive operations, had been advised by one of his scientists, Geoffrey Pyke, that huge ships of up to 4,000 feet long and 600 feet wide could be made cheaply and in large numbers.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s PM was enthusiastic of the project and saw to it that it got underway. In 1943, it was discovered that by adding wood pulp to the water before freezing, a very tough material was made which was called ‘pykrete’, in honor of Geoffrey Pyke. It was reported that when demonstrating the idea to a group of high brass military leaders, Mountbatten fired a shot at an ordinary block of ice, which shattered into little pieces. However when he fired at the Pykrete, the bullet bounced right off and almost hit the Chief of Air Staff Sir Charles Portal.

Construction on a prototype began at Patricia Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and it was determined that the hull needed to be at least 35 feet thick in order to contain damage from bombs and torpedoes. However before tests were complete, the Battle of the Atlantic had been virtually won and with the construction underway of the new aircraft carriers, the project was reluctantly abandoned in August 1943.

Aircraft carriers made of ice! HAHAHA! made my day
 

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Weirdest battleship of WW2 : french giant submarine Surcouf. Turrets with 203 mm guns, torpedoes, and a hangar for a seaplane ! Lost at sea somewhere near Bermuda triangle (no kidding)


"When completed, Surcouf appeared to be a formidable vessel. She was the largest submarine in the world, displacing 3,404 tons submerged. She was 350 feet long, with a beam of over 29 feet. Powered by two 3,800-horsepower Sulzer diesel engines on the surface and two 1,700-horsepower electric motors for undersea propulsion, Surcouf had a range of 10,000 nautical miles and carried a crew of 120 men. The most formidable aspect of the vessel was her armament. She mounted two 8-inch guns in a twin turret located forward of the conning tower. Aft of the structure on deck was a watertight hangar containing a Besson/ANF Murceau MB-411 scout seaplane. The seaplane had two functions: to locate potential shipping targets over the horizon, and to spot the fall of shots from the submarine’s guns after she commenced an attack. Surcouf carried 600 rounds of 8-inch ammunition for her two guns, plus a wide optical range finder mounted high enough above the sea to give a seven-mile horizon. The giant submarine also carried a 16-foot-long motorboat and an internal compartment designed to house up to 40 prisoners. Surcouf was equipped with six external torpedo tubes, none of which could be fired when submerged. Sixteen spare torpedoes also were carried."

Read the full story at : http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/the-mysterious-disappearance-of-the-bizarre-surcouf/
 

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