Ball tank and rockets guided by pigeons: the strangest war machines

World War II ball tank

An incredible combat vehicle called Kugelpanzer or Rollzeug,

was once a real military equipment,despite the strange shape. Rollzeug roughly means "spherical" or "ball" tank, and it was designed by the Germans as a single-seat armored personnel carrier during or before World War II.

Source: Morpheios Melas / Wikimedia Commons

Little is known about this enigmatic militarycar, but one surviving copy can be found in Russia. It is known that the tank was built by the German company Krupp and, apparently, was designed as a reconnaissance vehicle armed with a single 7.62 mm machine gun.

His armor is quite thin, about 5 mm thick,therefore, it is unlikely that it is intended for use as an armored combat vehicle (AFV). The propulsion system was driven by a single-cylinder two-stroke engine.

The remaining famous example can be seen at the Museum of Tanks in Kubinka in Moscow.

Combat Vespa

Another of the most bizarre war machines of alltimes - Vespa 150 TAP. The modified Vespa motorcycle is intended to be used as an anti-tank gun platform for use by French paratroopers.

Source: RIVARS / Wikimedia Commons

The motorcycle was first introduced in the mid-1950s. Each vehicle is equipped with one 75mm US M20 rifle, capable of firing shells that penetrate 100mm of armor.

The idea behind the scooter was to bewas dropped by paratroopers during operations to support the paratroopers. The rifle could be dismantled and re-mounted on a Browning machine gun tripod.

Exploding mini tanks

Did you know that during World War IIDid the Germans really develop remotely controlled explosive mini-tanks? These tiny Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath tracked units could be controlled with a joystick and thousands of meters of cable.

Source: Rodw / Wikimedia Commons

Each device was powered by either twin electric motors or small gasoline engines. Such a tank carried a payload of 60 kg to 100 kg of explosives.

The idea behind mini-tanks was toduring the battle, spend them under the tanks of the allies, and then detonate them in the right place. They could also be used to destroy enemy infantry formations or demolish buildings and bridges.

Rockets for pigeons

Another very unusual combat unit wasbombs that were launched by pigeons. To do this, engineers created specially designed rocket nose cones that could contain three birds at the same time. The whole project was called "Dove".

Source: National Museum of American History.

Project "Pigeon" (English Project Pigeon, later Project "Orcon", abbr. From Organic control - "Organic Management") - Americana research project during the Second World War of the US Army, under the leadership of the American behavioral psychologist BF Skinner, aimed at creating guided weapons with a biological guidance system, in the role of which were carrier pigeons. The project was sponsored by the US Office of Scientific Research and was carried out as part of a federal research program on the creation of guided weapons and other forms of combat use of various warm-blooded animals and birds (torpedo, missile, aircraft and other weapons).

The control system included a series of lenses (up tothree), located on the nose of the rocket and projecting the image of the target onto the screen in front of the pigeon. Birds, one to three in number, trained using Skinner's technique called Operant Learning, had to peck at the silhouette of the intended target, thereby directing the missile.

By Milos Stevanovic ~ srwiki

Although the National Research Committee fordefense ”and was initially very skeptical of this idea, nevertheless, financial resources in the amount of $ 25,000 were allocated for its implementation. Skinner had a positive track record with pigeon training, but the idea of ​​bird-guided missiles seemed to too many impractical and insane. As the researcher himself said about this: "Our problem was that no one took us seriously." The program was canceled on October 8, 1944.

Vertical fighter

Under Hitler in Germany, manyvarious projects of vertically taking off fighter-interceptors. The strangest of them is the Focke-Wulf Triebflugel jet interceptor project, which was developed in 1944 by the famous aircraft designer K. Tank together with D. Kluchemann and H. Haliman.

Source: Bin im Garten / Wikimedia Commons

Triebflugel - translated from German aswing-propeller, which most accurately reflects the design of an aircraft that did not have a wing in the video in which people are used to seeing it. For vertical take-off and landing on the tail, as well as for horizontal flight, the aircraft had to use a three-blade propeller-wing with a diameter of 11.4 m, which was set in motion by a ramjet engine of O. Pabst's design with a thrust of 839 kgf installed at its ends. It was assumed that the engine will run on non-scarce types of fuel.

By the end of the war, the aircraft had just completed the test phase of the wind tunnel design, the military captured its production facility. As far as is known, no working prototype has been built.

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