History is full of examples of human ingenuity run amok. Weapons design is no exception.
1. The Bat Bomb
Developed by the U.S. for use against Japan during World War II, the bat bomb was literally that. Each bomb would contain 40 hibernating bats, each of which would be strapped with a small napalm bomb and a timer.
2. Anti-Tank Dogs
The Nazi betrayal of the Soviets during World War II caught the Russians completely off guard. In a desperate attempt at staving off the Nazi advance into their territory, the Soviets strapped dogs with explosives and trained them to run under German tanks.
3. Submarine Aircraft Carriers
At the height of World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned a series of Sen Toku I-400 class submarines. These subs were large enough to carry three Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft underwater, surface, launch the planes, and then dive again. The submarines were also equipped with torpedoes.
4. Nuclear Artillery
Conventional nuclear weapons are capable of destroying entire cities, but during the Cold War, the idea of ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons emerged. These smaller nukes were limited-yield weapons that would be launched from the ground at targets on the battlefield.
5. The Soviet Ekranoplane
The 300-foot-long Lun-class Ekranoplane flew a mere four meters above the ground or water through an effect generated by its wings. It was intended to be a revolutionary transport vessel, bigger than any plane and faster than any ship. It was also capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
6. Kaiten Torpedoes
Kaiten torpedoes were built by the Imperial Japanese Navy and were in service between 1944 and 1945. These torpedoes were manned and were a variant of the suicide weapons that Japan resorted to towards the end of the war.
7. Pigeon-Guided Missiles
Pigeon-guided missiles were developed by noted behaviorist B.F. Skinner during Project Pigeon. Although the project was ultimately cancelled because of the impracticality of the weapons, the idea of pigeon-guided missiles showed promise.