Across military history, we have seen countless examples where both military leaders and politicians will do almost anything to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield. As revealed in this list, we will see that creativity is often a huge gamble and even reeks of desperation. For every great weapon idea, there are literally dozens of very expensive failures.
With this thought in mind, let us examine 7 crazy military weapon ideas that almost became reality.
The Great Panjandrum
The Great Panjandrum was a weapon that consisted of two 10 foot wide rocket-powered wheels which were to deliver a drum that was full of explosives. Under ideal conditions, this weapon was to be used in situations where the British could penetrate heavy German fire in a beach assault and then blow massive holes in enemy lines. This would allow friendly tanks to roll through the enemy lines.
The biggest problem was that the rocket-powered wheels were very unpredictable. The Panjandrum was incredibly unreliable and could not maintain any intended direction. Designers even tried using a third wheel along with steering cables, but those didn’t help. Additionally, when its speed reached 60 mph, its rockets kept flying off.
Nellie was a war machine that was intended to resolve an obsolete problem. It was a vehicle covered with armor that would supposedly plow a trench through enemy defensive lines in order for other war machines to subsequently advance through the new trench and further penetrate enemy lines.
It was allegedly a pet project for Winston Churchill. However, it was quickly discovered to not be up to its intended task. For starters, it had a huge turning circle of 1 mile which made it impossible to steer. Secondly, conditions were unbearable inside its cramped cockpit. Finally, with its slow operation and it’s leaving a long trench trail behind itself, it was a prime target for enemy bombing runs.
The Puckle Gun
The weapon was created in 1718 by a British lawyer named James Puckle. This gun became the very first multi-shot gun that was patented. It was able to fire at three times the rate of a soldier using a standard one-shot musket, and yet it could fire with the same range and accuracy as a single shot.
The Puckle Gun could also fire square bullets that were created to induce incredible pain. It is believed that this invention was way ahead of its time. Had it been embraced by a major military, it could have altered warfare at that time. Unfortunately, it proved to be unreliable and too expensive to build as its complexities made it impossible to mass-produce.
The Bat Bomb
The end result of this weapon idea was to create thousands of fires simultaneously across an area of 40 miles for every bomb that was dropped. This vision was concocted by Pennsylvania dentist Lytle S. Adams, who envisioned Japan getting destroyed by these numerous fires which would be the result of small devices to be dropped using hundreds of bats.
Adams loved to explore caves and was very impressed by bats he had seen at Carlsbad Caverns. After the Japanese torched Pearl Harbor, he took his bat bomb idea to his close friend Eleanor Roosevelt.
Due to his personal connection to the first lady, his zany plan got considered at a much higher level than it probably should have. Incredibly, The National Research Defense Committee considered the idea. It invested over $2 million in “Project X-Ray” to investigate the idea – which was later dropped.
Of course, the Allies were not alone in creating crazy weapon ideas. Adolf Hitler had always envisioned building a superheavy tank that was indestructible. The Maus was the result of this vision. It was a massive 200-ton tank that was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Unfortunately for them, the Maus suffered countless mechanical issues from the very beginning.
The driveshaft was a huge problem as it suffered from repeated failures. In spite of containing a huge aircraft engine, its top speed could only reach 12 mph. It had armor that was over 9 inches thick, but it did not have even one machine gun to engage in close combat—even though it would’ve probably been in close combat quite often. Although there were plans to manufacture 150 of these Maus tanks, German generals were not convinced it would an effective weapon, so only two prototypes were even made.
The Blue Peacock
The Blue Peacock was to be a huge nuclear landmine to be buried by the British in Western Germany. These mines would detonate to prevent a hypothetical invasion by the Soviet Union into Western Europe. Unfortunately, its design had a massive flaw. When it was buried deep in the ground, the landmine would become too cold to set off the intended nuclear explosion.
Nothing could be any stranger than the proposed solution for this problem. Scientists who were running this project actually proposed burying chickens inside the bomb casing with a week’s worth of food. The chickens’ body heat would then allow the device to detonate.
The Gay Bomb
The notion of creating a “gay bomb” is perhaps the most controversial weapon idea on this list. However, as recently as 1994, the Wright Laboratory of the US Air Force requested $7.5 million in order to create a chemical aphrodisiac to be delivered in an explosive device for the purpose of causing homosexual behavior in enemy troops.
As it turns out, this idea became a horrific failure scientifically. To begin with, there’s no known chemical mechanism that will cause heterosexuals to instantly reverse their sexual preference. Secondly, there is also no known aphrodisiac that has ever had any kind of measurable effect on humans, and certainly, nothing that would have the desired drastic effect for a gay bomb.
This project was also a functional failure because there is no data or evidence available that any gay activity would really decrease troop readiness. In fact, there are plenty of homosexuals that have proven to be extraordinary soldiers. In the end, funding was never furnished for this project.