Weirdest But Most Amazing Military Weapons Ever Created
Weirdest But Most Amazing Military Weapons Ever CreatedWeird
Since the dawn of time, humans have attempted to weaponize just about everything and anything they could think of. From spherical tanks and cat guns, to bombs that were literally carried by bats, let's take a look at some of the weirdest, yet most amazing, military weapons ever created.
CornerShot is a weapon accessory that mounts a semi-automatic pistol or grenade launcher at the front, remotely linking to a trigger on the other end. This allows the front section to rotate up to 60° around corners, while a digital camera feeds the user a view of what lies around the bend.
Carriers can fire their weapon and hit a target up to 650 ft away without exposing themselves from their cover. But what if taking out the target right away isn’t the best option? What if you need the element of surprise, or a distraction? That’s where the kitty corner shot comes in.
It features a stuffed animal built onto the top of the weapon. The back legs conceal the bipod beneath, while the head covers the barrel, and the scope peaks out between the front legs. At worst, anyone seeing this around the corner is confused, giving the shooter several critical seconds of advantage to aim and shoot while the target tries to figure out what’s going on.
At best, anyone not looking close enough just thinks there’s a cat or a child’s toy leaning against the corner, giving the shooter a few more moments to survey the scene.
At the end of the World War 2, Germany became obsessed with creating weirdly impractical weapons that they believed would help turn the tide of the war. These included the V-2 revenge rocket, the whacky Wind Canon, and, most notably, the Krummlauf: a 14-inch-long curved barrel rifle attachment.
This is the great, great grandaddy of the Corner Shot, designed so that German troops wielding Sturmgewehr 44’s could shoot from cover during a conflict. But instead of a digital display, the Krummlauf contained a mirror so the user could see where the gun was pointing while maintaining a standard hold.
This meant it could be used from within tanks, over walls or around corners, pretty forward thinking for the time! But for all of the resources pumped into its development, the Krummlauf had some pretty serious drawbacks.
US military testing revealed that bullets would shatter once they hit that all important curve, making the Krummlauf useless for anything but very close-range combat.
On top of that, the damage taken from the shattered bullets meant the attachments only had a service life of a few hundred rounds. Not entirely surprising, seeing how it looks like it was invented by Tom and Jerry!
While we’re on the topic of things you can add onto gun to make it even more lethal, let’s talk about bayonets! These are removeable blades attached onto the end of a gun or rifle, which originally allowed soldiers back in the 17th century to engage in deadly close combat encounters.
While stabbing the enemy with a gun isn’t a war-winning tactic these days, bayonets have gradually developed over the years and are still used by the military. Many different designs are also being developed by weapons firms in a multitude of ways.
Take, for example, the utterly terrifying Stinger from Paper City firearms.
This retractable bayonet is pin activated, meaning it slides out when you need it, retracting back when you don’t, and locking into place to stop it sliding out accidentally.
While we may see something this inventive on weapons in the future, one with less practicality is with an utterly terrifying chainsaw attachment will probably just be left to gun enthusiasts.
Don’t get me wrong, attachments like these would be perfect for fighting in the zombie apocalypse! But with some of them reaching 18 inches and adding more than 4 lbs to the weapon’s weight, they’re pretty cumbersome and can’t be easily swapped out and stored.
So, they probably won’t become standard military issue for the foreseeable future, but they are still available to gun enthusiasts who are into doing fun things, like shooting pumpkins.
Three in One
This next weapon was never official military issue, but it’s so brilliantly weird that it needs to be included in this article. It's the Apache .27 caliber revolver; a 6-chamber gun that also contains a flick blade and a knuckleduster, this is personal protection at its finest!
The knife lays on the bottom of the chamber and flicks up via a small hinge. Then the knuckleduster folds out, revealing the trigger, and clicks into place to form the handle, and there you have it, a brass-knuckle-duster-knife-gun!
From all the details and elegance, you can probably guess this is a French design, one that dates all the way back to the 1860s. And while it was only manufactured for about 10 years, there was an unofficial 9 x 19 mm Parabellum variant reportedly used by the British during World War 2.
Although, it’s no surprise the design was used in a war nearly 80 years after its conception. It’s so weirdly innovative that even today it wouldn’t look out of place in a Grand Theft Auto game!
Grenades, for those who don’t know, are explosive weapons that work by dispersing fragments, shockwaves, chemicals, or fire. Usually, they’re small enough to be handheld, allowing soldiers to throw them long distances at the enemy, so they explode without damaging the thrower themselves.
But in 1915, German engineers came up with an ingenious way to throw them even further! They created the Stielhandgranate, a grenade attached to a long wooden handle.
These attached handles provided greater leverage for throwing the grenade longer distances and were so effective that they became standard military issue. But this wasn’t enough for Germany, not by a long shot, because by World War 2 they were testing out the Sturmpistole, a modified flare gun with a grenade loaded in its barrel.
The Sturmpistole was an attempt by the Germans to arm their troops with lightweight, multipurpose weapons. As such, this gun could launch flares for signaling and illumination, and a variety of deadly projectiles such as anti-tank grenades.
The rounds of the latter included the Panzerwurfkörper 42, which had a range of more than 225 ft, though it could only penetrate 3 inches of armor. Still, that’s a little gun with a big punch!
Sadly, the Germans focused their development efforts on more efficient anti-tank rifles, and this weapon soon fell out of service. Guess you could say it tanked!
As weird and wonderful as Germany’s whacky weaponry was though, it had nothing on what the British cooked up to combat them! The had developed the Panjandrum that basically looked like a fidget spinner.
It was a set of two rocket-propelled, 10 ft diameter wheels with a 5 ft wide central cylinder that was filled to the brim with explosives. Supposedly built to attack Germany’s extensive coastal defenses, these Catherine-wheels-of-death were designed to launch out of a landing craft, whizz up the beach, and blow a hole in any fortifications, or soldiers, in their path.
However, tests conducted in 1943 and 1944 ended in total disaster. The rockets attached to the wheels often failed, and in some cases, they detached completely, sending the Panjandrum veering off in every direction except the straight line they needed.
While it seems too whacky to be real, there are reports indicating that the development of this weapon might have been a spoof! There’s a chance this rolling rocket bomb was developed to lead the Germans into thinking the British intended to land on the beaches at Calais.
Either way, the Panjandrum was never used in action! Considering how badly those tests went, it's surprising that it didn’t take anyone out with it!
Now when it comes to grenades, size isn’t everything! And nothing’s proved that quite like the Dutch V-40 grenade.
Developed in the 1960s, this fragmentation grenade, also known as the mini-Frag or Golf Ball grenade, was a little over 1.6 inches in diameter and weighed 4.8 ounces. This meant it was a little over a third the weight and half the diameter of a standard M67 grenade, making it about the same size as a golf ball!
While small, and weirdly adorable, the explosion of this baby grenade was still lethal up to a radius of 16 ft, and dangerous up to 980 ft from the point of impact. This meant troops could carry more of them than standard grenades, and still make one heck of a dent in the enemy.
Sadly, their production ceased in 1972, but even though they were tiny, they definitely made a big impact.
Bizarre Bat Bombs
The Kamikaze attack aircraft used by Japan in World War 2 were undeniably horrific weapons. Men would fly these aircraft and their built-in bombs directly into the target, sacrificing themselves in the process.
While terrible, it gave a dentist from Pennsylvania, Lytle Adams, an idea: what if the US could train animals to be the kamikaze bombers they didn’t want their human troops to be?
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, he sent a crazy proposal to the White House: strap tiny, incendiary bombs to thousands of bats, release them over the island of Japan, and they’d nest in all the nooks and crannies of the country's wooden buildings.
In theory, they’d cause thousands of uncontrollable fires across the country, an idea that was as ingenious as it was batty!
As luck would have it, similar research being undertaken at the time into bat’s echolocation abilities strengthened Adam’s proposal, and the National Research Defense Committee began testing. A demonstration was conducted where the bats carried dummy bombs and, after being considered viable, the operation was finally given the designation Project X-ray.
So, how would the mechanics of this project work? First, the bats would need to be still while they were being transported, so they were stuck in little ice cube trays and kept cool, forcing them into a hibernate state. Then, a carboard container would release the bats automatically from the plane, and as they warmed up on their descent, they’d spread their wings and fly.
But this didn’t go to plan. During one test, a few of the loaded bats set fire to a hangar and general’s car, well, at least they knew it worked! Ultimately, the marine corps spent some $2 million trying to get this crazy idea to take off, but in the end the project was scrapped in favor of the atomic bomb.
Real Big Guns
In the 1790s, the world’s first flintlock pepperbox guns were created; revolvers with multiple barrels that used a flint-striking ignition mechanism.
This multichambered, fast firing gun was a game changer, but it wasn’t long before people began taking the design to new heights. Some variations featured six or eight chambers, each holding a bullet, which would rotate round to the firing pin in succession. But by the 1850s, some adventurous designs featured up to 18 barrels!
Though one went even further, designed by a Belgian gunmaker called Mariette, featuring a mega 24 barrels. Imagine how it would look in a western movie. They could call it “The Good, The Bad, And The Utterly Insane 24 Barrel Gun”!
While it would have taken a short time to fire, loading each bullet and placing the percussion caps needed to fire them on each barrel would have taken between 40 and 60 minutes. So, super cool, but not exactly a quick load!
Luckily, in the 21st century, the great, great grandson of this mega-barrel pepperbox is a little easier to load and fire: the Metal Storm technology. Unveiled back in 1997, this company developed a volley gun with a whopping 36 barrels.
The prototype gun demonstrated that Metal Storm technology could achieve a maximum fire rate of an impossible sounding 1.62 million rounds per minute. In this configuration, it could fire, almost literally, a wall of 24,000 9mm rounds at more than 3800 mph, which would eat through just about anything in its way.
It worked by stacking multiple projectiles nose-to-tail in each barrel, which were then electronically triggered individually in rapid succession. This meant they fired in waves, delivering maximum damage without knocking into one another.
In 2007, the US Navy announced it’d purchased some Metal Storm tech, but it was never used in action as its applications were very circumstantial. It’d be great in an ambush scenario, but whoever this stationary weapon was being aimed at would just have to step to the side to avoid becoming a fine paste, that’s a pretty limiting drawback!
Unable to secure many contracts, the company went into administration in 2012. Looks like they hit a wall, hopefully not one made of 1 million bullets.
There aren’t many weapons out there that trigger trypophobia but the TOS-1 isn’t like many weapons. First developed by the Soviet Union back in 1988, these scary looking machines are actually rocket launchers capable of using thermobaric warheads.
Sometimes called aerosol bombs or, somewhat terrifyingly, vacuum bombs, thermobaric weapons basically use up all the oxygen in a given area to generate a high temperature explosion. They release a chemical cloud that ignites the air underneath it, resulting in fires that can burn and suffocate anyone who stands in their path.
The rocket launchers themselves sit on a T-72 tank chassis. There are 24 220mm rockets that are loaded into 24 tubes, and the rockets each weigh around 400 pounds. In short, this is not a weapon you want to be anywhere near, even when it’s not firing!
Reap What You Sow
You can probably tell just by looking at some machine guns that they’re heavy, even light machine guns tend to weigh around 22 lbs. So, being a soldier out on patrol must be tiring if you’re lugging one around. And that’s where Australia’s ‘Reaper’ came in.
Developed by Advanced Accuracy Solutions, The Reaper is a backpack-mounted pole-and-sling combo designed to redistribute the weight of the attached gun, stabilizing it and allowing for more accurate aim.
It’s a good, albeit weird looking contraption; one that the Australian Army trialed back in 2015. But the disadvantages quickly came to light. It really wasn’t camouflage friendly, it couldn’t integrate with night fighting equipment, and it posed a lot of issues if the user had to quickly get in a vehicle or aircraft.
Ultimately, the Aussies concluded the Reaper was more of a burden than a boon and decided not to integrate it into their service. Well, if their army ever find themselves needing to disguise their troops as human coat hangers, at least they’ll know who to call!
It Takes Balls
In 1936, a Texan inventor by the name of A J Richardson got thinking about the horrors of the first world war. What if, instead of launching mortar bombs at trenches and hoping they hit the target, they could send heavily armored, motorized bunkers over the fields like steel bubbles?
Richardson drew this design up, and for the most part it seemed like a solid idea. The motorized, ridged outer shell would allow the ball to conquer just about any terrain, the 3 men inside were sealed against gas attacks, and the heavy driving motor would prevent it from rolling sideways.
There was just one problem, there were no windows. Richardson had forgotten to take into account that the men inside needed to see where they were rolling and shooting! As such, this tumbleweed tank never got past the design stage.
But that didn’t stop others from creating similar designs, like Germany’s weirdly mysterious Kugelpanzer.
Less than 5 ft in diameter with a small trailer wheel at its rear, this Ball Tank was manned by a single crew member sitting on a motorcycle style saddle powered forward by a 25-horsepower engine. The shell was a mere 5 millimeters thick and was solid all the way round, save for a viewport at the front that had a slot for a machine gun underneath.
Weighing in at 1.8 tons, it’s estimated this thing would have rolled into battle at 5 miles per hour. But here’s the thing, there’s only one known Kugelpanzer in existence, and almost no records of its development. It’s theorized German forces probably used it for light reconnaissance or cable laying, as there are no records of it ever being used in combat.
Despite very little being known about it, a fantasy soviet version featured in the popular online game World of Tanks under the name the IS 8-ball. But a group of Chinese engineers were so taken with the virtual tank that in 2020 they made one from scratch themselves!
Using two tracks that run around the entire diameter of the ball, moving one allows the entire sphere to rotate on the spot without rolling over! While those guns don’t seem functional, this brilliant ball is definitely on a roll!
Off The Top of Your Head
The trench warfare of World War 1 was as essential as it was horrific. Soldiers on the frontline would expose themselves from the safety of their trench to fire at the enemy, risking their own demise in the process.
This was something that Albert B. Pratt, a resident of Vermont, had thought about a lot. Then, in May 1916, he applied for and was issued a patent for one of the weirdest, albeit inventive weapons the world had ever seen: the Helmet Gun.
It was a pneumatic gun built into the steel casing of a helmet, fired by the operator by blowing through a tube to activate a mechanism that would hit the gun’s trigger.
To Albert, the gun made perfect sense! Soldiers wouldn’t have to expose themselves over the trenches, allowing them to make well aimed shots by simply peaking over. He also argued that the gun was automatically aimed at threats, as we tend to look towards targets, allowing for instinctive aim.
Sadly, it was a little too ahead of its time, and was resigned to the history books. But the idea itself wasn’t as mad as it seemed. Helmet mounted viewfinders, like the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System for the Apache helicopter, became more commonplace in the military in the 1980s.
While there are no modern patents that involve strapping a physical gun to a soldier’s head, it seems Pratt’s design wasn’t far off the modern mark.
With trench warfare being such a critical and defining factor of World War 1, many other experimental weapon designs were developed to overcome it. One of these was the mobile personnel shield developed by French colonel Jean Baptiste Eugène Estienne.
All steel in design, these shields consisted of 2 huge wheels, supporting a box-like structure that a troop could crouch inside and fire out of through very tiny slots at the front. From the inside, troops could slowly push their way forwards into the battlefield, protected for the most part from enemy fire.
It was a pretty ingenious contraption, but it had a huge disadvantage, its weight. Being all steel for protection, they were too heavy and cumbersome to be used for anything other than short distances on favorable ground. If the unlucky soldier hit a patch of deep mud, it was game over.
Despite this, larger, multi-personal versions were developed by other countries though the cumbersome concept didn’t make it through to the second world war. Today, many see these mobile personnel shields as the inspiration for the development of tanks!