Bizarre Weaponized Vehicles From Military History

You might think that you know about all the unique military weapons that have been made to date, but human beings have a penchant for devising ever newer ways to kill and destroy. Here, we will take a look at seven weapons that will literally blow your mind and will make you question why they were really made in the first place. Let’s have a look:

#1- The Jetcopter

During the early times, it seemed that helicopters would just remain an idea or a doodle on paper. History is witness to the fact that there have been people like Leonardo Da Vinci who had a very clear idea about how the helicopter would look. Everything was on paper, but there was one issue, and that was how you would control the whole thing. During the very first attempts, one of the problems that was faced was that helicopter would only spin along the blades.

Igor Sikorsky and the world's first mass-produced helicopter, the Sikorsky R-4, 1944. Wikipedia / Public Domain
Igor Sikorsky and the world’s first mass-produced helicopter, the Sikorsky R-4, 1944.

The Germans were finally successful in making a helicopter that actually flew from one point to the other with the help of propellers. For some reason, Adolf Hitler thought that the whole structure was not advanced enough and decided to spruce up helicopters by adding ramjet engines to them. The basic idea was not to overcome steering issues, but it was thought that the whole thing would look better if there were fire-breathing engines attached to the wings.

The Focke-Wulf Triebfluegel used to fire off the ramjet engines that were located at the end of the rotor blades and off he went. The main issue was that the rockets attached to the blades were not easy to control, and the jetcopter’s design was such that the pilot had to land while facing the sky because they couldn’t see the ground behind them due to the flaming metal.

#2- Russian Tsar Tank

The Russian Tsar Tank - Wikipedia / Public Domain
The Russian Tsar Tank

The second thing on this list is the Russian Tsar Tank that looked like one of those bicycles that were used in the circus in the 1800s. The only difference being that the tanks here actually had armor and guns. The Tsar Tank was as dangerous as it seemed but the issue was that the length of the lead pipe was proving to be fatal for the people.

This is one of the primary reasons why the design did not get a heads up on the testing stage. The design paid attention to the wheels but did not pay heed to whatever was going on at the back. It was seen that whenever the vehicle moved over mud, the wheels sank and were very hard to pull out.

#3- Corkscrew Tank

A screw-propelled Snowmobile from 1926. Wikipedia / refractionless / CC BY-SA 2.0
A screw-propelled Snowmobile from 1926. Photo Credit

The corkscrew tank looked straight out of a horror movie. The vehicle traveled sideways and trotted upon different types of terrain. One strange issue was that the vehicle did not work well on smooth terrain, which means that it was of no use to the army.

Another problem was that the tank was extremely slow, and steering was not easy because the screws could not move from side to side and there was no suspension whatsoever.


#4- GE Quadruped

Walking truck in the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in Fort Eustis. Larry Pieniazek / Wikimedia Commons / GFDL
Walking truck in the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in Fort Eustis. Photo Credit

The GE quadruped, or the walking truck, was another unique vehicle. It never got passed the design stage because it was costly to take the plan forward and it wasn’t even easy to operate.

Another issue was that that the quadruped was extremely noisy and could be heard from a distance, which is the sort of heads up that you don’t want to give your enemies when you are at war. Sure, technology would have made things better, but the question remained – how would you use the GE quadruped?

#5- One-Wheel Tank/Ball Tank

he Kugelpanzer at the Kubinka Tank Museum, 2006. Morpheios Melas / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
The Kugelpanzer at the Kubinka Tank Museum, 2006. Photo Credit

The one wheel tank was a huge tank that was initially designed to destroy everything around it. It had to be operated by three people who would be placed inside the ball. The main issue with this was that the guys inside had no idea where the ball tank was going. The idea was the one wheel tank was finally laid to rest after the German built only the prototype.

#6- The Vespa-150 TAP

Photo Credit

This Vespa scooter was to be used be soldiers who would parachute into battle. (Troupes Aéro Portées, or TAP). It was first introduced in 1956. The French company Ateliers de Construction de Motocycles et Automobiles (ACMA) produced it. At the time, they were the only company allowed to assemble Vespas in France. But this was no civilian Vespa – it was designed for hard use on the battlefield and included a three-inch recoilless rifle and a heavy-duty reinforced frame.

The idea was that two of these scooters at a time would be parachute-dropped along with a two-man team. One scooter carried the gun, and the other carried the ammunition. It’s worth noting that the gun was not meant to be fired from the scooter – the team carried a tripod which could be used to set the rifle up when the team wanted to use it.

David Herold

David Herold is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE