When someone brings up phrases like "World War II" and "batshit insanity," you naturally expect them to be talking to be talking about the Nazis and the Japanese -- as we have. However, we feel that's a little bit unfair. The Allies could be just as deranged as the Axis when it came to brainstorming ways to win the war, and no one gives them enough credit for that. So here's to the heroes/madmen (or, in some cases, plain madmen) who came up with plans like ...
6 There Were Plans To Use A Tsunami Bomb Against Japan
It's easy to forget that New Zealand was involved in World War II, but they totally were. New Zealanders fought valiantly as part of the British Army, and they designed their own ridiculous tank in case the Japanese should ever make their way over. In case that tractor with machine guns wasn't enough to stop the Axis for good, though, New Zealand and the U.S. started working on another superweapon: a tsunami bomb. Which is exactly what you're imagining.
After a U.S. Navy officer noticed that Allied efforts to blow up coral reefs (to make way for ships) sometimes created waves, a New Zealand University professor was called upon to figure out a way to create on-demand tsunamis. While tests of singular explosions near New Zealand's capital, Auckland, were spectacularly underwhelming, they kept trying. Over 4,000 underwater explosions of various sizes and depths were done between 1944 and 1945. In the end, the Kiwi eggheads calculated that a chain of ten underwater explosions off a coastline could create a wave more than 30 feet in height -- enough to, as they say down in Oceania, "fuck some shit up."
US Board of Assessors of Atomic Tests
The catch? The amount of explosives needed was estimated to be two million kilograms (or 2,200 tons in less-impressive-sounding American). Still, if this so-called Project Seal turned out to be a success, the ability to summon tsunamis could have been perfect for the planned Allied invasion of Japan. However, the project was abandoned when it turned out the U.S. had developed something slightly more effective: the atomic bomb. Uh, yeah, that oughta' do it.
5 Churchill's Scheme To Murder Germany's Cows With Anthrax
If we asked you to guess what England's "Operation Vegetarian" was about, you'd probably imagine some sort of government program to get kids to eat their veggies, maybe even involving some cute, jingle-chanting mascots. The reality is even more unsettling. It was a plan to wipe out Germany's cow population with anthrax, forcing everyone in the country to change their diet.
Heinrich Hoffmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Well, almost everyone.
Or, you know, die a horrible death. Most likely the latter.
The plan originally came about because Britain was worried that the Nazis would develop biological weapons, so why not do it first? So they tasked bacteriologist Paul Fildes with creating bioweapons that could devastate Germany on short notice, should the war descend into a germ fight. Fildes' solution? Dropping anthrax-infected linseed cakes over German farms, to be eaten by the cattle. The anthrax would then inevitably spread to the human population. Those who survived would have to deal with contaminated soil and food scarcity. When Winston Churchill heard about a plan that could have potentially resulted in millions of human deaths, he said ... "Hell yeah!" Ol' baby-face was a big fan of starving people, after all.
Cecil Beaton/Ministry of Information
"Let them eat cake! Anthrax cake, I mean."
Operation Vegetarian stopped being a hypothetical scenario in 1943, when Britain injected five million linseed cakes with anthrax in a repurposed soap factory (personal hygiene wasn't a huge priority during the war). However, the Allies landed in France before there were enough anthrax cakes to pull the plan off, and so the deadly bovine delicacies were destroyed. This was probably the right decision, considering that when England tried to infect sheep with anthrax on Scotland's Gruinard Island as a test, they ended up rendering the whole place inhabitable for 50 years.
Ministry of Defence
"What does that sign down there say?"
"Don't know, let's land to read it."
As for Fildes, the guy who came up with the whole evil plot? They knighted him, of course. Presumably, he changed his name to Sir Anthrax Cowslaughter and became a supervillain.