What were the weirdest weapons of World War 2 – and why have you never heard of them?
The Krummlauf Curved Barrel Rifle sounded like a great idea to German engineers – a rifle that could shoot around corners! But it was undone by the fact that shooting a bullet through a curved pipe was tricky and dangerous, and broke the barrel as often as not.
Hitler liked big, showy weapons, and few were bigger and showier than the Gustav Rail Cannon. This massive rolling cannon looked like a metal dinosaur and shot high-powered shells – but it needed four thousand soldiers to assemble it! No wonder only a few were ever built.
Allied scientists had much smaller ideas for deadly weapons – training pigeons and bats to serve as bombs. They would essentially be tiny kamikaze bombers, but animals are unpredictable and the projects were never finished. It certainly didn’t help when some explosive bats blew up a general’s car.
But no strange WW2 weapon was more spectacular than the Great Panjandrum. This massive rocket-propelled pair of connected wheels was designed by the British to roll through Nazi barricades and deliver powerful payloads. There was just one problem – it didn’t work. While it never quite moved accurately enough to be deployed in combat, it sure looked cool.