A good weapon should be dangerous to the enemy; I don’t believe in guns, but I guess that’s a good idea. But when the guys behind the gun start to get hurt, thing tend to become a little tense. There have been plenty of weapons with designs so flawed or execution so poor that they actually achieved the undesired effect.
Better safe than sorry, right? So, check out these 10 horrible weapons!
10. The Nambu Type 94 Handgun
Imperial Japan had some amazing weapons, but this was not one of them. The Nambu Type 94 is a serious contender for the title of worst service handgun ever. Introduced in 1934, the Type 94 was plagued by a series of design flaws which would have been embarrassing even for a Saturday Night Special.
9. The T-64 Tank
For decades, NATO commanders lived in fear of the T-64, a main battle tank that was certainly formidable on paper. But in reality, the T-64 was a complete dud. The sophisticated suspension and transmission were flimsy and broke down more often than the rugged T-62 unit. The autoloader also frequently broke down and the turret was not designed to allow for manual loading when that happened.
8. The Century Series Fighters
In the 1950s and ’60s, the US Tactical Air Command focused on developing fast planes with a high rate of climb to serve as interceptors or high-speed fighter-bombers. The result was the Century Series: the F-100 Super Sabre, the F-101 Voodoo, the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F-104 Starfighter (pictured above), the F-105 Thunderchief, and the F-106 Delta Dart (which was developed from the F-102). They were very fast, very expensive, and utterly useless at anything other than their intended mission.
7. The Mark 14 Torpedo
Developed on a shoestring budget during the Depression, the Mark 14 Torpedo and its Mark VI Magnetic Exploder were “reliably unreliable.” An inadequate testing phase failed to realize that the depth gauge didn’t work properly, meaning many torpedoes sailed too far under the target’s keel. A magnetic trigger was supposed to detect when a ship was right overhead and detonate the torpedo, breaking the back of the enemy.
Italy has a reputation for crafting quality handguns, with variants of the Beretta 92 currently the standard sidearm for a number of NATO militaries (including the US M9). But there’s always an exception that proves the rule, and the Glisenti M1910 has to be a serious rival for the Nambu 94′s title of worst service handgun ever. This was because the Glisenti engineers had made the gun very easy to disassemble, but subsequently very flimsy. Heavy use would cause the frame and receiver assembly to loosen until the gun came apart in the hands of the shooter.
5. The Breda M1930 Machine Gun
The Breda M1930 lacked the simple primary extraction design of many other machine guns, so an internal oiler had to be installed in the feeding mechanism to ensure spent cartridges would actually be ejected. This did succeed in getting the cartridges out, but the oil tended to form a disgusting gunk in even slightly dusty environments. Such gunk would clog the mechanism of all but the most hardy of firearms, and the expensively precision-machined Breda was certainly not one of those.
4. The Heinkel He-177 Greif
In Nazi Germany, technical prowess and common sense were often overruled by the childish whims of the top brass, and the He-177 was one of the foremost examples. The idea was good: a bomber with the range and payload of the Allied Lancasters and Flying Fortresses, but able to fly faster and higher. But the Germans lacked an engine powerful enough for such a long-range bomber. Instead, they coupled two Daimler DB-601s, the wonderful engine used in the Messerschmitt Bf-109; the engines ran so hot they often burst into flames. Even during normal operation, the heat was so intense that the wing spars weakened. The Germans built several thousand He-177s, but their impact on the course of war was negligible other than to waste resources and pilots.
3. The LaGG-1 And LaGG-3 Fighters
Named after the initials of designers Semyon Lavochkin, Vladimir Gorbunov, and Mikhail Gudkov, the LaGG was built around a polished and very flammable wooden fuselage. Soviet pilots quickly began to joke that the name actually meant “Lakirovannii Garantirovannii Grob” or “Varnished Guaranteed Coffin.” Shortages meant that the planes had to be built using surplus Klimov M-105 engines, which were so underpowered that even the lightweight wooden airframes were too much for them. Despite problems revealed in testing, the planes were rushed into production.
2. The V-2 Missile
The V-2 was the first ballistic missile in the world, an amazing engineering feat for 1944. Designed and built by Nazi Germany under the direction of Wernher von Braun, it was a single-stage missile with a range of 320 kilometers (200 mi) propelled by a mixture of ethanol and oxygen. Originally named the Aggregat-4, it was renamed by Nazi propagandists as Vergeltungswaffe-2, or Second Vengeance Weapon, the V-1 being the infamous “doodlebug” flying bomb. An estimated 20,000 V-2 workers were killed while building the rocket, so it was actually almost 10 times more lethal than against the enemy.
1. The SA-80 Rifle
The SA-80 is their current standard rifle, officially designated L-85, and although it has evolved to be effective in combat, it didn’t start well. The SA-80 is a weapon designed for a war that never happened and which is consequently unsuited for the real wars it fights, namely peacekeeping in deserts. Let’s not even get into the decision to tell the workers assembling the rifles that they would be laid off after finishing them, which ensured an ensuing decrease in assembly quality.