Weapons That Didn't Pan Out

Oct 2016
1,079
Merryland
#31
Also, these 16th C "fire bomb cats" - supposedly the invention of Franz Helm of Cologne, used to set fire to besieged cities, but copied and recopied with plentiful illustrations (so it must have been a great idea at the time). Basically you tie some sort of incendiary device onto a live cat.

“Create a small sack like a fire-arrow … if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw it will be ignited.” - Penn University Library

What is to keep the cat from running back into your camp? :lol:

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similar account in the Bible

"And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails; and when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.."
Judges 15:4
economic warfare. take that, Philistines.

Samson foxes.png
 
#36
The 300 anti-elephant wagons that Rome tried to use against Pyrrhus' 19 war elephants at the Battle of Ascalum (279 BC).

Dionysius of Halicarnassus 20.1.6-7: 'Outside the line (the Roman consuls) stationed the light-armed troops and the waggons, three hundred in number, which they had got ready for the battle against the elephants. These waggons had upright beams on which were mounted movable traverse poles that could be swung round as quick as thought in any direction one might wish, and on the ends of the poles there were either tridents or swordlike spikes or scythes all of iron; or again they had cranes that hurled down heavy grappling-irons. Many of the poles had attached to them and projecting in front of the waggons fire-bearing grapnels wrapped in tow that had been liberally daubed with pitch, which men standing on the waggons were to set afire as soon as they came near the elephants and then rain blows with them upon the trunks and faces of the beasts. Furthermore, standing on the waggons, which were four-wheeled, were many also of the light-armed troops — bowmen, hurlers of stones and slingers who threw iron caltrops; and on the ground beside the waggons there were still more men.'

2.4-5: 'When the king (Pyrrhus) had ordered the elephants to be led up to the part of the line that was in difficulties, the Romans mounted on the pole-bearing waggons, upon learning of the approach of the beasts, drove to meet them. At first they checked the onrush of the beasts, smiting them with their engines and turning the fire-bearing grapnels into their eyes. Then, when the men stationed in their towers (the towers atop the elephants) no longer drove the beasts forward, but hurled their spears down from above, and the light-armed troops (of Pyrrhus, who accompanied the elephants) cut through the wattled screens surrounding the waggons and hamstrung the oxen, the men at the machines, leaping down from their cars, fled for refuge to the nearest infantry and caused great confusion among them.'

GuessThisBattle1.jpg
 
Likes: Edratman
Jul 2016
8,661
USA
#37
In what way? I believe that the sarissa provided a decisive advantage to the Macedonians over the Greek city-states who used the dory, and was the backbone for most of the Successor armies. It only faltered when the Romans overcame it.
Combined arms and better tactics allowed the Macedonians to defeat the Greeks and others. At best it was a cheap way of taking untried skirmishers and turning them into line infantry that could compete with a hoplite who had trained and prepared for that position since adolescence.
 
Aug 2016
872
USA
#38
I believe the US had a program where they tried to train attack dogs to identify Japanese soldiers through smell. They diverted Japanese-American soldiers to help. It didn't work.
Article

Since the Late Roman's use of the plumbata was (AFAIK) never copied, it might be a candidate.

Combined arms and better tactics allowed the Macedonians to defeat the Greeks and others. At best it was a cheap way of taking untried skirmishers and turning them into line infantry that could compete with a hoplite who had trained and prepared for that position since adolescence.
Being able to compete with someone at their own game, when they've trained for years longer than you, is not a small achievement.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,491
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#40
I believe the US attached fire bombs to bats so they would explode when the bats were roosting under the wooden eves of Japanese houses. Not sure how that worked out.

The Japanese tried attaching bombs to balloons and sending them over the US, resulting in the only war death on US soil during WW2. I'd say it didn't work out as well as they expected.
 

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