The 6 Most Ingenious Misuses of Military Hardware
War is serious business. Life-and-death stuff. Brutal, bloody and unrelenting. But who says it can't also be fun?! Whether it's fryin' up some bacon, going sledding, or just taking the gang out for ice cream, here are six ingenious uses of combat equipment that prove a little war is no excuse to go without a party.
Using Fighter Planes to Make Ice Cream
Nothing has been more responsible for machine gun noises made with the mouth than toy World War II-era fighter planes. It's easy to see why kids love them: The real ones were some of the most badass machines ever built. They dealt death to ground, sea and air alike. And when you were done using them to tear apart your enemies in a hail of bullets, you could also make yourself some refreshing ice cream!
"Remember, John: If you have to bail, take the soft serve with you.
Yep: You can make ice cream with a plane. To quote: "To stave off boredom the ground crews rigged 19-liter (five U.S. gallons) cans with a wind-driven spinner connected to a mixing rotor, and hooked up one under each wing of an F4U. A pilot would take the aircraft up to high altitude for a given period of time and then come back to base with the ice cream." And it wasn't just an isolated incident pulled off by the World War II equivalent of Bill Murray in Stripes, either -- the practice was pretty common. In some cases, the soldiers even asked the pilot to do loops and barrel rolls to stir the ice cream, not even going to the trouble of fitting a mixer like they did with the F4U. Thankfully, modern planes are no longer used for such trivial matters. Helicopters on the other hand...
Tea Heated by Machine Gun
If you need an introduction to the concept of machine guns, our good friend Rambo would like to undertake that courtesy on our behalf. We'll just tell you that older machine guns often ran so hot they had to be handled with oven gloves while the barrels were changed. So obviously, when they weren't dealing hot metallic death to whatever ethnic group it was cool to kill that day, they did double duty ... as teakettles.
Not pictured: Chamomile.
Those older machine guns often had large bags attached to the side, filled with glycerin, water or, if all else failed, even the soldier's own urine. Regardless of the liquid, whatever was in the bag became boiling hot after the gun was fired. Never ones to waste resources, those wily Brits often used the preheated bags to make cups of tea with the excess water. Hopefully, they didn't get the pee-bags mixed up. On a few occasions, soldiers were even observed firing off bursts for no reason other than to simply heat the water, because the guns could bring water to boil in less than a minute -- way faster than any other heating method they had access to. That's right: The very first commercial microwave ... was a Vickers machine gun.
There's nothing like a hot cup of herbal tea to go with your mass murder.
Lighting Camp Fires with Plastic Explosives
Combining all the fun of Silly Putty with all the danger of a live bomb, plastic explosives have changed the face of modern warfare. The stuff is just slightly more powerful than TNT, and a single pound of it is enough to turn you and everyone within eight feet of you into an airborne meat Slurpee. Or to fry up a nice frittata!
You can totally cook with C4. In fact, there are a lot of stories talking about soldiers doing it. The thing is, despite being a gigantic, murderous explosion distilled into putty form, C4 is almost completely safe: You can cut, burn and even shoot it without detonating it. And when burned, it will give off enough heat to light even the wettest wood, so stories about soldiers sitting around campfires made out of plastic explosives are actually not that uncommon. But before you run out to Unstable Ted's Black Market Explosives and Hotwings, remember that we said "almost completely safe" up there. And here comes that bastard Almost: C4 gives off deadly fumes when it's burned. We'll leave it up to you to weigh the pros and cons of the situation. On the one hand: inhaling airborne toxins. On the other: a barbecue that will please your friends almost as much as it terrifies your enemies.
"Do you prefer your meat well-done, or carbonized?"
Riot Shields Make Good Sleds
Ah, the humble riot shield: Whether it's bashing in the faces of hippies, liberals, college students, or hippie liberal college students, the riot shield is the premier emblem of police brutality and oppression by the man worldwide. And now, also for sledding!
No, that isn't really a euphemism for something terrible.
It's strong plastic, perfectly smooth and even a little concave -- just like all the best ad-hoc sleds. But man, who on Earth would be hard enough to steal a fucking riot shield just to go sledding? Even if you got past all the security, broke the locks on the supply lockers and somehow evaded the dogs, you'd still have to wait until the police were done sledding first.
"Wee! This is so much fun! Plus it really scrapes all that scalp matter off!"
That's right: When they're not busting unions and skulls in equal measure, riot police have been spotted gleefully sliding down hillsides like children after the first snowfall. Cops are just people, after all, and a little snow can transform all of us right back into eight-year-olds. But it's kind of a bad thing for the police force's street rep when pictures of them wussing out on Dead Man's Hill get leaked to the press.
"Guys, no! No, I ... I think I hear my mom calling. For realsies!"
These officers were reprimanded for misuse of police equipment after the video first leaked, because riot gear is astoundingly expensive: That's precisely engineered, bulletproof material that the cops are doing their bitchin' jumps off of. But wait a minute -- they're worried that a little snow will damage their expensive riot equipment, but they're fine bringing it into actual conflicts? We always knew sledding was awesome, but we never thought it was more hardcore than a riot.
Related: What Makes A Good Superman?
Mail via Cruise Missile
The Cold War was all about the cruise missile: It was the great transcontinental dick-waving yardstick. It looked like a dick, it was fired out of a nuclear submarine (which was just another, larger dick) and then it blew up anybody bold enough to question the size of your dick. It was a spinning phallus of explosive death, is what we're saying here -- and when you saw one coming, you knew the end was near. Well, either "the end," or a postcard from Grandma.
FedEx ain't shit.
Cruise missiles were once used to deliver the mail. It was Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield who proposed the most logical solution to America's apparently cripplingly slow mail problem in the late 1950s. He was the first man who dared to ask: "Trains? Wait, why don't we just rocket that shit?"
Taking time out from its busy schedule of threatening communism and looking like a big metal dong, the Regulus missile was drafted by Summerfield to deliver the post ... from a submarine in the middle of the ocean. Wait -- why a submarine, and not just a boat? It's like they're just adding shit at this point because it sounds cool.
"And the missile will have swords instead of fins, and the submarine will transform into a Camaro after!"
The United States Postal Service, in what was certainly its first and possibly its last dabble in explosive awesomeness, saw no significant problem with the plan. It took the USS Barbero out into the Atlantic and fired a cruise missile straight at a major population center -- all in order to deliver about 3,000 letters.
"You fired a missile at us just to send us a postcard commemorating you firing a missile at us?"
The whole operation was inexplicably declared a success. They delivered the water bill with a rocket, and everybody agreed that was exactly what needed to happen. Summerfield himself was quoted as saying this was "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world" and that "before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles." And in a way, he was right: We did find a way to deliver mail with improbable speed; we just did it with 1s and 0s instead of flaming, hurtling cruise missiles.
Nobody's saying we chose wisely, here.
Lighting a Cigarette with a Nuclear Bomb
Nuclear bombs have been used only a handful of times in all of history. They're simply too risky, too frightening and far, far too dangerous to be deployed lightly. You drop a nuclear bomb only when the stakes are overwhelming, when there is absolutely no other recourse, or when you left your lighter at home and you really, really need a smoke.
"Shit. The wind killed it. Let's try one more time."
That's right: Ted Taylor, a man whose balls probably need a little hand truck to carry them from place to place, once used a nuclear bomb to light a cigarette. And if you're thinking he just lit a match off of one or something (an act which would already qualify him as a badass in the minds of all but the most jaded of elite mercenary forces), that's not the case: He used a parabolic mirror to reflect and focus the radiation from a 14-kiloton nuclear explosion in the Nevada desert, THEN STUCK HIS FACE INTO IT AND LIT HIS CIGARETTE. One more time, for those of you who were just temporarily blinded halfway through the insanity of that last sentence: A man once harvested the energy from a nuclear explosion ... just to light his cigarette. He survived just fine, but there's no word on whether he gained smoke-based superpowers afterward, so we're forced to assume he did.
"Well, if you can come up with a more efficient replacement for a dry lighter, I'd like to hear it."
Be sure to pick up our book, which can also be used as pants.
For more baffling misuses, check out The 9 Most Inappropriate Soundtrack Choices of All Time. Or learn about more badass weapons in 6 New Weapons That You Literally Cannot Hide From .
And stop by Linkstorm to see how DOB uses his .500 Magnum as a turn signal.
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