The 6 Most WTF Military Weapons Anyone Was Ever Killed By

Sometimes, winning a war means being just a little crazier than the other guys. After all, you always want to preserve the element of surprise, and if the enemy is prepared for every non-stupid contingency, that means you have only one option left. And many times, the stupid option works.

For evidence, just look at these ill-conceived and/or hilariously insane weapons that somehow performed better than even their creators could have predicted ...

#6. The Flying Aircraft Carrier That Carried Smaller Planes Like Remora Fish

Russian Federation

Back when air travel was so new and dangerous that every warplane required an extra seat to accommodate the pilot's enormous testicles, various militaries toyed with the idea of developing flying aircraft carriers. In 1930s America, that meant taking a bunch of fighter planes and cramming them into the belly of a lumbering air-beast, a technique that was about as successful as you might imagine. Over in the Soviet Union, the airborne aircraft carrier idea that floated to the top of the list was a far more straightforward one: bolt small planes onto much, much larger planes.

Coincidentally, Russia was also first to develop stain-resistant pilot seats.

The Rube Goldberg monstrosity you're looking at above is a result of Stalin's Zveno project, which consisted of repurposing super-colossal Russian bombers like the Tupolev TB-3 to carry up to six Polikarpov I-16 fighter-bombers like winged parasites. Although, "parasites" is probably an unfair description -- in reality this was more of a symbiotic relationship, because once the full crop of fighters was firmly attached, each plane in this flying Jenga tower had to gun its engines just to get the whole ludicrous mess off the ground.

But It Totally Worked!

The idea was that the giant bomber could get the smaller fighters to a target that would normally be out of their range, and to that extent a Zveno could knock non-Russians on their asses more efficiently than a Russian breakfast. (Vodka. A Russian breakfast is vodka.) Once in range, the fighters detached like over-plump ticks to decimate their targets, usually Axis oil depots in Romania, German-held bridges, or anything that smelled a bit too strongly of capitalism. After transforming their target into a smoking crater, the fighter pilots could either attempt to reattach to the bomber in-flight (if they'd had a big enough Russian breakfast) or land at a nearby airfield and prepare to Voltron up again the next day.

The next time you're tempted to bitch about having to parallel park, remember this photo.

While both the TB-3 and the Polikarpov were retired in 1942, by that time Zveno carriers had conducted 30 highly successful raids on the Eastern Front, thereby proving that causing your enemies to point and laugh at you makes it way easier to pelt them with bombs.

#5. The Mortar That Was Seriously Compensating For Something

German Federal Archives

In the late 1930s, the Third Reich tasked weapons manufacturer/possible metal band Rheinmetall with developing a 600mm-caliber heavy mortar, probably because Hitler had that whole one testicle thing going on. The result was the Karl-Gerat, a self-propelled, gargantuan howitzer that packed a 580-horsepower diesel engine capable of carrying it to a blazing top speed of 6 entire miles per hour.

The Nazis named the first one Thor, because by that time the Nazis had outlawed subtlety.

German Federal Archives

German Federal Archives
"Rectum? Mjolnir killed 'em!"

And Thor wasn't a one-man army -- he had five compatriots known as Loki, Odin, Ziu, Adam, and Eva, because you can only dig so deep into the Norse pantheon before you end up at a dude whose entire claim to fame is that he owns a really badass shoe.

But It Totally Worked!

Sure, manning one of these gigantic, plodding beasts transformed you into a target on par with being assigned AT-AT duty in the Star Wars universe, but do you have any idea the type of firepower Thor was packing?

Marvel Studios

The slow rate of travel was negated by the fact that this thing could fling a 600mm, two-ton shell up to six miles away. We're talking shells so goddamn big that Panzer IV tanks had to be specially retrofitted just to carry four of them. To put that in pants-shitting perspective, here's an unexploded shell found in the basement of the Prudential building in Warsaw, Poland, after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944:

German Federal Archives
"Damn, Thor must've been happy to see me!"

And speaking of shitted pants, here's what the shells that actually exploded as intended did to said Prudential building:

Republic of Poland
"OK, so maybe 'happy' was an overstatement."

In addition to the Warsaw Uprising, these real-life Metal Slug bosses rained down heavy-metal terror on the Soviet fortresses of Brest, Litovsk, and Sevastopol, as well as American G.I.s during the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Remagen. Only one of them still survives today, on display at Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia. It's Adam, in case you were wondering.

Kastey/Wiki Commons
The rest are presumably in hiding until Ragnarok begins.

#4. The Airplane-Boat, Complete With Magical Hula Hoop

Conceived in 1936 and entering service around 1940, the German Blohm & Voss BV 138 (aka "The Flying Cog") was a vehicle with a crippling identity crisis. Was it a boat? Was it a plane? Was it definitive proof of extraterrestrial intelligence? Well, it was at least the first two -- you might hear it called either a flying boat or a floatplane, perhaps depending upon whether it happened to be floating or flying at the time.

German Federal Archives
"What about an 'airboat'?"
"No, I have a way more redneck idea for that one."

And would you like to know how you can make this bubble-eyed, floating contradiction look even more like something sketched on the back of a grade-schooler's notebook? Give it three overhead engines, like a whirling triceratops. Oh, and slap a hula hoop around the entire thing, because who doesn't like hula hoops?

But It Totally Worked!

The BV 138's main mission was reconnaissance, and it excelled at that mission by being the first flying boat maneuverable enough to avoid becoming soggy Swiss cheese at the first sign of an enemy machine gun, as well as trouncing the range of its nearest competitor, the American PBY Catalina. This extended range gave the craft the ability to report American positions to skulking U-boats.

Like you using the living room mirror to cheat at Battleship.

Surprisingly, the aforementioned hoopified version was simultaneously the most batshit and the most impressive variant. The BV 138 MS was stripped free of weapons to make room for that crazy hula hoop, which was actually a degaussing coil designed for the purpose of skimming over the surface of the water and exploding naval mines with the magic of magnetism so that the boys of the Kriegsmarine could live to hear a saliva-flecked speech another day.

Also, it could double as a UFO.

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