5 Historically Baffling Weapons Militaries Actually Made
For as long as there have been humans, there have also been humans trying to kill humans. It’s kind of our thing. We just can’t seem to sit still and not do the whole killing each other thing for a damn second. Go back to the most idyllic caveperson setup, you’ve got a full belly, the cave is warm, the sabretooths are taking a break from biting your ballsack off in the middle of the night … life’s good.
And yet, even in that moment of brief bliss, Caveman Bob is going to look over at the rock beside him and think to himself, I bet I could tie like six other rocks to this one rock to make a super rock and walk over to the other cave and show Caveman Steve my cool new super rock by cracking him upside the head and taking all the cool crap he has in his cave. Yeah, yeah, I’m actually going to also tie my super rock to the end of a burning stick as well and really put on a show. I’m gonna go ahead and roll over there. And so it goes, our perpetual garbage instinct to make stuff that kills people even more wild to kill people even harder, which is how we end up with instances when, even for the insatiable bloodlust of humankind, we went a little overboard with our weapons of war ...
Being a dude with a blank check that develops weapons for the government must be a bit of a rough job. On one hand, you get to put your complete supervillain brain to work every day and give it a serious challenge and stay sharp. On the other hand, you’ve basically got some magical third grader’s notepad that lifts your most insane sketches and batshit garbage off of the page and turns it into a reality. That’s how you end up with the Bat Bomb, a concept that nearly came to fruition during WWII.
The idea was pretty simple. Take a buttload of bats, strap tiny little incendiary bombs to them, load a thousand of them up into a “bomb,” drop the bomb over Japan, and deploy a swarm of bats to flutter out into the attics and roofs of the mostly-wooden and paper Japanese architecture. Where the bats would eventually blow the hell up, and the cities would burn down.
And you know what? Is this absolutely, completely insane? Without a doubt. But is it also kind of genius? Undeniably so.
I just love to picture that in the bat world, it was like that scene in Band of Brothers where all of the Airborne are getting ready to board the planes to D-Day when the bats got loaded into that bomb. Just all kinds of war movie tropes, but in bat form populating one of these bombs. There’s the hardass bat chomping on a bat-sized cigar at the head of the bat bomb. Another bat soldier keeps trying to show the other bats a scandalous picture of his hot bat babe waiting for him back home, while one absolutely freaks out and pulls his cord too early and sets the entire bat bomb ablaze before it even leaves the plane. In writing this, I have actually convinced myself that bat bombs kind of rule and are maybe something we should look into and, at the very least, potentially get a Pixar movie of the exact scene above started in production.
One of the funniest things you’ll see on the road is a scooter guy who desperately wants to be a motorcycle guy. The overcompensation. The embarrassment about being a scooter guy is rooted so deeply that they try to mask it with cool helmets or blasting The Strokes from their hot red scooter displaying the most aggressive form of vehicular body dysmorphia possible. The most aggressive form of this was deployed by the French military in the 1950s, with their goddamn bazooka Vespa.
Designed to be airdropped into battle, it wasn’t meant to be fired while scooting … but it COULD be if needed. Can you imagine the absolute clown show that would happen if you pulled the trigger while fully wide open on this thing? What a worthless design. You’re basically turning yourself into the one comically-underpowered Twisted Metal 2 character that the best player at the sleepover has to play with because he’s too good with everyone else. And yet, even when you take into consideration the absolutely horrible energy of a bazooka strapped to a Vespa, it’s still not as low-T of a move as placing just one Punisher sticker on the back of your truck.
Fighting in old days was a lot like countering an enemy unit in a video game. Got some war elephants running wild on the battlefield? Well, everyone knows that the best way to counter them is with some war pigs. And even better if you upgrade your units to FLAMING war pigs. That’s basically what the Romans did to try to fight off the dreaded war elephants at the gates. Though pretty damn unstoppable on the battlefield, those big bastards did have one serious weakness: squealing pigs. They hated those little turds. Often said to turn and run and trample their own men at the sight of a pig, the Romans capitalized on this by sending swarms of pigs towards the elephants, even lighting some on fire to really plus up the effect.
But that’s where I start to doubt the whole “elephants just really hate pigs” element of this tactic. Is it specifically the pigs that they’re bolting away from, or is it the fact that the goddamn pigs are burning alive and sprinting at them that might be sending the whole damn thing into a shit show? I’d wager that you could light just about any creature ablaze, and most would run away from it. No matter how intimidating or unintimidating it might be. If I’m on the battlefield on my cool-ass battle elephant and I see goddamn Alf on fire, just lit the hell up, screaming, hair scorching, running at my ass, I’m turning that elephant around and getting the hell out of there. If I’m up against the kind of force that would light Alf on fire and send him at me, we’re never going to be able to counter their cold tactics. I’m gone.
The Flying Crowbar
Some of history’s weapons of war are comical in just how ineffective they are. Some are more impressive in how weirdly ingenious they are. And then some, well, some are just plain evil. That’s the case with Project Pluto, or the “Flying Crowbar,” A Cold War design we had to show the Soviets just how goddamn messed up we were.
Though it’s most certainly worth its own deep dive alone, the plan was basically this: launch this big-ass nuclear-powered missile over to Russia that would cruise around at treetop level and drop a bunch of hydrogen bombs on the Soviets.
That seems bad, right? Probably seems bad enough? Not for these designers. It would also just kind of cruise at the perfect height to kill people with its shockwaves alone, and when it was done doing the whole bomb dropping thing, it would keep flying around over Russian heads and spit nuclear waste and just generally explode people with shockwaves and lumber around over their heads like some beast that was written out of ancient folklore for simply being too evil. When your weapon of war sounds like the kind of thing that Dr. Evil would request development for, you might want to take a deep breath, think on things for a minute, and maybe at least remove the whole part where it barfs nuclear waste on innocent civilians. Some ideas just need a bit of editing before they’re ready for the real world.
Yep. Welp. If the entries before this weren’t pretty definitive proof that we kind of suck. This one should just about do it. This should pretty much wrap up the whole human project thing with a nice little bow. The Soviets strapped bombs to dogs during WWII to blow up tanks.
That’s it. That’s the weapon. That’s all the proof we need to know that we’ll probably always just be Caveman Bob and Caveman Steve huddled in our caves. Coming up with dumb new ways to make rocks go faster and hurt more and lobbing them back and forth at each other, endlessly pelting each other in our dumb caveman cocks over and over again until we die. We are Caveman Bob. We are Caveman Steve. And we probably deserve this world we’ve created outside of our caves.