The 6 Most Badass Weapons Ever Improvised in Battle
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:
Anti-Tank Sniper Rifle
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.
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.)
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."
The Drip Rifle
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.
Before America entered the Second World War, Tony Stein was a Machinist, a Golden Gloves Boxer and a Navy Reservist. So he was kind of hardcore to begin with, and then a good ol' man-makin' war came around, and it was like tempering steel in Grizzly blood. At some point during Stein's conquest of half a dozen Pacific islands, he came upon a downed Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber (alliteration is always fun, even in the face of genocide!) with its tail gun still intact. Stein took the gun, added the stock (the back side) from an M1 Garand, the bi pod and sights from a standard machine gun, and a box to hold the chains of .30 caliber bullets.
There's just so... much... gun.
Jesus! Look at that thing: It's like every gun in the world had sex with every other gun in the world, and then neglected the resulting love-child until it became psychotic and vowed revenge on everything.
Remember: This was a gun designed to be mounted on a plane in order to kill other planes. And Stein figured that was as good a thing as any to heave up on his shoulder and go Nazi destroying. The Stinger had a Rate of Fire in the region of 1,500 rounds a minute, which is well within Mini-Gun territory. To put that into perspective, here's a video clip of a gun with a rate of fire of 1,200/minute.
Which is enough to easily saw off the top of a building.
When the US launched its assault on Iwo Jima in February 1945, Stein was there with his ad-hoc bastardized God-worrier. The power of the bullets would tear fortified emplacements apart and suppress the occupants enough to allow demolition charges to be hurled in to finish the job. The Axis was probably grateful to see that charge, actually, after a few minutes of having all the air around them replaced by bullets.
It might as well have shot other guns instead of bullets.
Related: Behold! A 90s 'Sprite' Commercial Where Pro-Wrestler 'Sting' Beats Up The Kid From 'Sky High'
SAS Battle Jeeps
In 1940, a man named David Stirling came up with a plan to fight the Nazis in North Africa: Drive American Willys Jeeps hundreds of miles across uncharted desert while evading Axis patrols, sneak up on a Luftwaffe Airfield in the middle of the night, and wreck the place on foot.
And then melt them with our minds.
Nobody said it was a good plan. It's like somebody went through an actual strategy and replaced every instance of the word "tactical" with "balls out."
But astoundingly, it worked fine, for a bit. Eventually, though, the Germans upped the security on their airfields. So the SAS took a cue from Compton, and incorporated the mother of all drive-bys. They'd take up to half a dozen heavy machineguns pilfered from Allied aircraft, and strap them to their jeeps, resulting in these wildly over-powered, cartoonish gun platforms:
"Ehh... Needs more guns" - David "More Guns" Stirling.
That is a vehicle comprised entirely of guns, ammo, gas, water and poor impulse control. Not even radiator grills survived the strip down. Using these old-timey Twisted Metal characters, Stirling and company would tear ass past an Axis airbase in the dead of night, all guns blazing with tracer rounds, and presumably high-five as the world exploded around them. After that it was just a matter of getting as far away as possible before the remaining ground attack aircraft could get airborne. Hopefully they saved their turbo power-ups, instead of making the rookie mistake and just grabbing all the fireballs.
The Polish Home Army's Everything
Poland is Europe's Afghanistan. Every superpower that tried to swallow it up has been subjected to unrelenting and extremely violent resistance. The Poles rose up against the Russians in the 1870s with giant medieval scythes, and they defeated an army wielding modern muskets and cannons. As to be expected, they didn't exactly welcome the Nazi war machine with open arms (nobody really did; the Nazis were notoriously discourteous house-guests.)
And they all wore stupid looking socks.
Britain was too far away to supply arms effectively, and the Soviet Union mostly didn't give a damn, so the Poles were very much on their own. What else was left to do but surreptitiously build all the weapons they needed themselves and fight the bastards anyway. Factories were set up in basements, auto repair shops and strongholds hidden deep in forests and swamps. From there, they supplied arms of astonishingly high quality to the resistance.
The Poles in their underground, impromptu factories managed to design, test and produce Filipinka and Sidolowka grenades, the Blyskawica, Bechowiec and KIS submachineguns, and satchel charges made from stolen munitions and dud German artillery shells. While these things are very impressive (or at least really good at puttin' holes in dudes,) that wasn't the end of the Pole's murderous ingenuity. Take, for example, the K-Pattern Flamethrower:
It consisted of one tank of compressed air, one larger tank full of a gas-diesel mixture, a rubber hose, a valve, a pipe and a short length of rope on the end of the barrel that would be kept constantly alight.
They used them to destroy Tiger Tanks.
Or how about the steampunk catapults they made from the leaf-springs of a truck, which they used to fling Molotov Cocktails over fortified walls?
But the biggest, craziest Polish MacGyverism of Death was the Kubus armored car:
People who were alive during the 80s should have the horn section from the A-Team theme blaring in their head right about now.
The whole thing was based on a Chevy truck platform, and was churned out in only 13 days in the back of an auto-repair shop in Warsaw. For reference, modern mechanics take 13 days to replace a headlight, and that's not counting the week spent waiting for the spring-clips to arrive from Korea.
There was no design or testing stage here, no written plan or blueprint: The manufacturer, Cyprian Odorkiewicz (O'Dorkowitz? Really?) just threw it all together and then drove it out the front door, straight into the Warsaw Uprising. It was armed with a Russian machinegun up top, and armored slots all around, from which the dozen Poles inside could fire their guns, tank-killing flame-throwers, or just swing their crazy-ass scythes around, depending on their ingenuity, resources, and how little of a fuck they wanted to give that day.
Check out more of Tony Pilgram's stuff at Bad Metaphors.
For more acts of badassery it's worth drinking a beer to this Memorial Day, check out 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy and 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator.