War is a terrible thing: Sometimes you have to take the life of your fellow man in the most brutal and extravagant ways...and you just don't have a good enough weapon to do it as hard as you want. That's when you start strapping every weapon you have to every other weapon you have, and hope that physics is in a good enough mood today to let you fire knives out of your machine gun. Like these guys:
When the Nazi war machine rolled into Stalingrad, they had no idea what was in store for them: Crazy ass Russians. We know better now. We know that Russia is mad in the weirdest ways - like an ultra-violent Japan - and you shouldn't even look them in the eye, much less try to invade the bastards. But it took 5 months of brutal, unrelenting warfare in a bombed out frozen Hell to teach the Nazis that lesson. Nonchalantly strolling around this bombed out wasteland was legendary sniper Vasily Zaitsev.
Via Wikimedia Commons
No jokes here. He may have died 20 years ago, but we're pretty sure he can still tag us from the afterlife.
The Red Army's elite sniper teams, when not busy killing Nazis, used their spare time to think up new and interesting methods of killing Nazis. In one of these epic brainstorming sessions, Zaitsev, probably after frantically sketching something in his notebook while making explosion noises with his mouth, came up with the idea to take a scope from a Sniper Rifle and attach it to a giant 14.5 mm PTRS-41 Anti-Tank Rifle. He wanted to use it to kill bunkers.
Just straight up murder a fortified concrete fortress.
Here's a PTRS in action:
The idea was to fire the huge explosive shells through the viewing slits on Nazi bunkers, exploding them from the inside out, which was roughly the equivalent of successfully performing eye surgery with a chainsaw. It's probably also worth mentioning that the PTRS-41 had a nasty habit of breaking the user's shoulder when they pulled the trigger, so we guess it's more like performing eye surgery with a double-sided chainsaw. Madly, awesomely, terrifyingly - it worked. In the laconic words of the 284th division's combat journal:
"Sniper Morozov managed to send an enemy bunker up in flames using an Anti-Tank Rifle"
"But it wasn't a thing; he does that shit all the time."
In the dark days of WWII (the part before America moseyed on in and just totally saved everybody, all by themselves, no foolin',) the British were anticipating a full-on Nazi Blitzkrieg to come rolling right over the White Cliffs of Dover. Short on weapons, but well-stocked with fuel and moxie, the British decided to kill two birds with one inferno. Yep, they jury-rigged themselves some giant, tank killing, flamethrowing landmines ("Fougasses" was their technical name, but all the other weapons would make fun of them on the playground if they knew.)
Via Wikimedia Commons
FIRE. SOLVES. EVERYTHING.
Luckily, for all fans of activities like 'having skin' and 'not roasting like a chicken,' they were never actually used...
Not the case in Russia: According to this order signed by Field Marshal Georgi Zhukov, a Soviet "FOG Static Flamethrower" destroyed 4 tanks and an entire company (around 150 men) of submachine-gunners, causing the survivors to understandably flee in panic, seeing as how the mouth of hell opened up and melted their god damn tank and all. The Germans, possibly inspired by the effectiveness of the device (or just to silence the screaming in their heads) designed their own Flamethower Landmines later in the war.
Finally, in the Korean War, America took what was already a spectacular weapon and Michael Bayed the shit out of it. The Russian and German Flamethrowers had an 8 Gallon canister full of oil, and they melted tanks. The American version had a 55 Gallon barrel full of napalm, and they melted Gods.
"The fire you kindle for your enemy only burns yourself, unless it's with this thing."
WWI was when the planet lost its World War Virginity. As with all such experiences, it soon became clear that nobody knew exactly what they were doing, and a bad time was going to be had by all. A prime example of this confusion can be seen in the Gallipoli Campaign, which amounted to thousands of Allied troops sitting on the side of a rock for a year, not really achieving much. After months of stalemate, the Allies decided that sustaining 60 percent casualties to hold a pile of stones in the middle of nowhere wasn't really worthwhile, and decided to pull out.
"Guys! We didn't bring any protection. We're going to have to just pull out." - The Allies
As a general rule, when an army tries to leave the battlefield, the enemy is obliged to inflict as much damage as possible, to make sure they don't come back. This is called the Where The Good Lord Split Ya maneuver, and the Allies knew full well that it was about to be used against them. So ANZAC Troopers William Scurry and Buntie Lawrence took a break from performing the juggling Vaudeville routine their names suggest they toured with, and instead built what they called 'Ottoman Bafflers.' Using bits of string and old ration tins, Scurry and Lawrence MacGyvered up a gun that fired all by itself, using drips of water falling between two cans, or taut strings being burnt through by candles.
They later designed a way of getting a beer from the fridge using only a spoon, two rubber bands and some hockey tickets.
Everyone had expected appalling casualties in the withdrawal from the aforementioned kick in the ass on the way out, but due to the Drip Rifle, the whole army managed to escape with only a dozen or so killed or wounded. For context, you couldn't make a sandwich in World War I without a dozen or so killed or wounded.
Ha ha...ha...ahhh...a lot of people died in that war.
And it was probably because of something you did.