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Throughout history, mankind has produced an unimaginable array of weapons to be used against one another. In times of great struggle and war, ideas can become desperate in an attempt to try to win. Sometimes this results in breathtakingly destructive weapons such as the atomic bomb and napalm, but other times it results in some truly bizarre concepts! I have hand picked some of what I think are the most peculiar weapons man has ever designed below...

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Comments (2)

The ant-tank dog weapon is sad :-( Poor doggy.

By jerryriver (1432) - Prophet | 19.04.10

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Gay bomb... LOL

By igor (3395) - Prophet | 05.04.10

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1) Project Pigeon (USA)

Project Pigeon was an attempt by American behaviourist B.F Skinner to develop a pigeon guided missile during World War II. Although highly sceptical of the idea, the National Defence Research Committee provided $25,000 in funding to the project. The guidance system for the missile revolved around a central lens that would be placed at the front of the weapon which would project an image of the target onto a screen inside where the pigeon was located. The bird would then peck at the specific target. If the target was in the centre of the screen, the missile would fly straight ahead, but if it was not the pecks would cause the missile to alter direction until it was central again. Unsurprisingly, the project failed and was cancelled on 8th October, 1944 as the military were no longer willing to devote any more resources to it. The project would later be re-instated as “Project Orcon” in 1948, but was cancelled in 1953 with the successful trials of electronic guidance systems.

Project Pigeon (

2) Gay bomb (USA)

The informally titled “gay bomb” was the name given to a theoretical weapon project that was secretly proposed by the United States Ai r Force research laboratory in 1994 as a potentially viable non-lethal chemical weapon. The concept involved the release of substantial quantities of female sex pheromones over enemy forces in an effort to make them sexually attractive towards one another, and thus promote homosexual activity. It was envisioned from this effect that the enemy would subsequently become “distracted”, which would help promote dysfunction and inefficiencies in its mobilisation. The proposal was discovered by the Sunshine Project (an NGO against chemical warfare) under the Freedom of Information Act a while later, from a three page document outlining the options of non-lethal chemical weapons available to the U.S. military. The document described the gay bomb as a “distasteful but completely non-lethal” weapon.

gay soldiers
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3) Bat bomb (USA)

The bat bomb was developed and tested by the United States during World War II as an innovative new method of causing severe damage to Japanese infrastructure. The actual bat bomb device was a fairly large and traditionally shaped bomb that instead of containing explosives, housed hundreds of bats strapped to incendiary devices. It was projected that each bomb could contain up to 10,000 bats. The actual theory of the weapon working well was pretty solid, bats can carry more than their own weight, they hibernate and require little maintenance, they can navigate well in the dark, and their occurrence on the earth is usually in very large numbers in caves. The thousands of bats would be released at a height of 1,000ft, where they would disperse into the darkness over a large area, usually taking refuge in eaves, attics, and roofs of buildings. Built in timers would then ignite the bombs causing widespread outbreaks of fire and chaos. Despite successful tests, it was never actively used.

bat bomb

4) Anti-tank dog (Russia)

The Revolutionary Military Council of the Soviet Union officially approved the use of dogs for military purposes in 1924, which included among other things, mine tracking, assisting in combat, and the destruction of enemy targets. Three dog training schools were subsequently set up in major regional areas of Russia with the primary purpose of training dogs to destroy enemy tanks and armoured vehicles. The military called upon hunters, circus acts and police dog trainers to fulfil the roles. German shepherds were the most popular breed of dog used, largely due to their strong characteristics of strength, speed, fearlessness and intuitiveness to the training. Ultimately the routine was a suicide mission for the dog, it would just run up to a tank with the bomb device strapped to its back and explode, killing the animal in the process. Anti-tank dogs were actively trained by Soviet forces between 1930 – 1996, and used against German tanks on the Eastern Front between 1941 – 1942.

anti tank dog
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5) Project Habakkuk (Great Britain)

Project Habakkuk was a plan developed during World War II by the British government to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete, (a combination of ice and wood pulp). The goal of the vessel was to target German U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean that were out of range of the conventional land based RAF. Various models were built and tested by a team of engineers in Canada throughout 1943 and 1944, resulting in the conclusion that it could be made out of 14% wood pulp and 86% water. But due to the ever increasing demands and specifications placed upon it by the Royal Navy, (the hull had to be at least 40ft thick) the project kept becoming harder to complete, up until the point where it was physically impossible. Timescales and estimated budgets went through the roof, and by 1944 the project had been scrapped. In a 2009 episode of Mythbusters, two presenters successfully piloted a smaller model of this original concept in the Alaskan waters at a speed of 25mph.

Project Habakkuk

6) Fire balloon (Japan)

The fire balloon was an experimental weapon tested by Japan during World War II. The device was relatively simple; it was a hydrogen filled balloon that would use the Pacific jet stream to travel to the North American continent where upon arrival an incendiary bomb attached to it would explode. The Japanese thought they could potentially wreak havoc across the American continent, causing random explosions, fires and destruction in an unpredictable and erratic fashion that would be hard to combat. As it turns out, the programme was highly ineffective. Over 9,000 balloons were launched in the initial phase, with just 300 reaching the USA and Canada. This resulted in 6 deaths, some moderate property damage, and a kill rate of 0.067%. The journey of each balloon was highly variable in direction, and even if it were to reach the North American continent, the land is far too sparsely populated to have any real probability of hitting civilian or military targets, unlike that of Japan itself.

fire balloon

7) Antonov A-40 (Russia)

The Antonov A-40 was an unsuccessful attempt by the Soviet military to provide a platform for a tank to glide into battle after being towed airborne by a traditional plane. Previously, the Soviets had used heavy bombers to carry T-27 tankettes onto the battlefield, but this resulted in a significant waste of resources. The tanks could not be dropped with their crews, valuable aircraft were put at risk, and personnel would be injured or killed in the process of getting to their vehicle. The Antonov A-40 was a proposal for a detachable wooden and fabric frame to be fitted to a light T-60 tank. This would effectively give the T-60 biplane wings and a twin tail. In theory, it could be deployed with a full crew onto the battlefield, drop its wings upon arrival and be ready for combat within minutes. The first (and only prototype) was tested on 2nd September 1942, being towed by a Tupolev TB-3. Due to the extreme drag created by the tank, it failed.

Antonov A-40

8) The Great Panjandrum (Great Britain)

In 1944, the British Admiralty’s Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development was commissioned to build a device that was capable of breaking through seven foot thick concrete walls that the Nazi regime had constructed along the European coast as part of their defence against the Allied Forces. Their answer: The Great Panjandrum, a highly experimental rocket propelled cart loaded with explosives that would hurtle off of landing craft and plough straight through barb wire, cables and mines at 60mph and straight into the German defensive positions where upon it would create such a large explosion that a tank could fit through the hole left by it. The device was never actually tested successfully. All attempts at Western Ho! Beach in Devon proved to be a complete failure, the weapon was just far too erratic to be used on a consistent basis during a landing operation, (in most cases the device would turn around and head back out to sea).

great panjadrum

9) Kaiten (Japan)

The Kaiten was a type 93 torpedo that was modified to allow a human pilot to guide the vessel up until the point of it’s destruction, rendering it a suicide weapon. Approximately 100 of the 400 examples of the torpedos built were actually used in combat, resulting in the death of 100 Japanese, the sinking of the USS Mississinewa (a fleet oiler) and the sinking of the USS Underhill (a destroyer escort). The Kaiten pilots were very young, most of which were aged between 17 and 27 years. Once they had been loaded into the cockpit for launch, it was impossible for them to get out. One major issue with the design of the Kaiten was the fact it had to remain in shallow waters, meaning so too did the submarine carrying it, as they were loaded externally. This resulted in an increased vulnerability and the subsequent destruction of eight submarines carrying the Kaiten torpedo. Ultimately, it was a savage weapon that took the lives of many Japanese men.

kaiten

10) Bouncing bomb (Great Britain)

Unlike most of the other crazy weapons in this poll, this one actually worked, and was responsible for a very momentous occasion in the Allied war effort in May 1943. The “Upkeep” bouncing bomb was developed by British engineer Barnes Wallis and was designed specifically to bounce along the surface of the water to avoid torpedo nets, and ultimately detonate upon impact with the target. Operation Chastise, which involved deploying these type of bombs resulted in the breaching of the Mohne and Eder dams, and the flooding of the Ruhr valley, causing severe damage to German industry. German forces later found an unexploded Upkeep bomb in the woods nearby, but subsequently failed to understand how it worked and abandoned the project. Examples of this bomb can still be viewed in numerous museums across the UK.

bouncing bomb
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