Weapons research and development can create wonders. Hell, we’ve covered twenty of those on this site. Still, sometimes you get a dud. Ranging from puke guns to air cannons, here are ten weapons that just didn’t work.
10. Fire Balloons
Fire balloons were incendiary bombs attached to giant hydrogen balloons. A Japanese invention during World War II, the idea was a cheap way to drop bombs over America and Canada. When shot down or when the balloon popped, the bomb would ignite wherever it landed. There was only one small problem.
The balloons couldn’t be steered. At all. The result was that, of the 9300 launched, only 357 hit there targets. And many of these failed to detonate. Worse, two of the bombs landed back in Japan! Not exactly rocket science.
9. The Sticky Bomb
Before it arrived on the sci-fi scene in Halo, the ‘sticky bomb’ was a glue-coated grenade developed by the British during World War II to combat enemy tanks.. The basic principle is pretty simple: Grenade sticks to tank, making it easier to detonate on the tank, and killing all involved. Initially, the army had problems with it. Then Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the production of 2.5 million of the things.
So what went wrong? Well, to start with , it didn’t work on tanks covered in dust or mud. Instead, soldiers were encouraged to ambush tanks by slapping grenades onto the vehicles. Great, except a solider had five seconds to escape the blast, assuming the adhesive didn’t stick to them.
The Novgorod was one of two circular warships created during the age of the Czar in Russian, and was used for coastal warfare in the Russo-Turkish War. The ship had twin built in 26-ton guns mounted on a revolving turn table. Basically a floating turret.
Except, when you fired the thing, the recoil sent the ship spinning like a top. The design made it almost impossible to regain control over on open waters, with one ship spinning helplessly during trial runs. The entire crew was sick by the time it stopped spinning.
The wind cannon was a 35-foot long cannon designed by the Nazi’s to shoot a gust of wind at enemy targets. In tests, the compressed air mixture of ammonia and hydrogen was powerful enough to break a wooden board an inch thick from a distance of 656 ft.
However, wars are rarely waged against static boards of wood. The windcannon couldn’t even disturb low flying aircraft, the closest thing to it’s test target. Additionally its length made it a great target for Allied bombers.
6. The Duck Foot Pistol
The duck foot pistol was a pistol with four barrels spread out like a ducks foot. This allowed the shooter to hit four targets a once. This made it a hit among 19th century sea captains anxious to prevent pirates boarding. There was one rather obvious flaw, however.
None of the barrels pointed forward. So, it was likely to hit anyone, except the person charging toward you. A very useful trait for a firearm.
An attempt to combine the best offense with some defense, the gunshield was exactly what it sounded like. A buckler shield with a musket in the center, it failed to be a good shield or gun. Despite this, a hundred where made for King Henry VIII’s bodyguards.
Unfortunately, the shield made the musket to heavy to lift and aim, rending it barely more useful than, say, a club.
4. Diving Tank
Waterproof tanks known as the Tauchpanzers were developed during the Nazi’s plan to invade Britain. The idea was simple: combine the feared U-boat and the dread Panzer for a tank that could travel unseen on the seabed. Sealant and tape were used to seal gaps on 254 ordinary tanks, before long hoses were inserted to ensure that crew members could breathe underwater.
Problems occurred as the tanks couldn’t drive over the large rocks on the sea floor. Also once the tanks stopped moving they sank into the sand, forcing soldiers to swim to safety. The tanks never made it to Britain.
3. Who Me?
‘Who Me’ was a potent stink spray developed by the USA during World War II for the French Resistance. One of the world’s smelliest substances, the concoction of sulfur compounds stank fecal matter and rotting food. Who Me was designed to be sprayed onto the occupying German officer in an attempt to humiliate them.
The problem? The stink of Who Me left the sprayer smelling as bad as the target. So after just 2 stinking weeks in action the USA decided to abandon the project.
2. The Puke Ray
The LED Incapacitator ,otherwise known as a puke ray, is a hand-held non-lethal weapon that aims to use colored, flashing lights to cause the victim to experience headaches, disorientation, and vomiting. $800,000 was spent on developing the ray.
The problem? The military found out that the ray was useless if you closed your eyes. That’s right, shut your eyes and it does nothing.
1. Anti-Tank Dogs
Okay, this one is a bit messed up. During World War II, the Soviet Russian army attempted to train dogs to carry explosives to enemy tanks, blowing up the dog and tank upon contact. So, apart from senseless killing of dogs, what went wrong?
The dogs got scared. The dogs got scared by live fire and ran back to their Soviet trenches and killed Soviet soldiers.