50 Weapons That Changed Warfare
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
William Weir, author of New Page Book's 50 Battles That Changed the World, takes another look at the history of warfare, focusing on the hardware that served those famous battles, as well as others not as glorious. Included are: * Individual weapons-from spears to the submachine gun. * Crew-served weapons-from battering rams to "Big Bertha". * Unmanned weapons-from punji stakes to "Bouncing Betty" landmines and trap guns. 50 Weapons That Changed Warfare even includes devices that, strictly speaking, are weapons carriers, such as tanks and bombers, but which have had enormous effects on the conduct of war. This book describes the effects of these weapons and how and why they changed warfare-from the bloody carnage produced by hand weapons throughout history to the never used but universally feared fusion bomb, whose sole purpose is to destroy millions of people while leaving buildings intact. Each weapon is not only described, but also illustrated to give a clearer picture of its usage and effects.
249 Index 255 About the Author 261 Introduction F or the last few thousand years, wars have been fought with weapons. For long stretches of time, they have been fought with the same, or similar, weapons. For example, flintlock smoothbore muskets were the basic infantry weapons for more than a century. When, in the early 19th century, they were replaced by percussion smoothbore muskets, soldiers got a more reliable weapon, but they didn’t have to change their tactics. A little later, they
Kublai’s men pushed the islanders back. One reason was their discipline and training. The Mongol army was organized on a decimal basis: squads of 10, companies of 100, regiments of a 1,000, and divisions of 10,000. All units responded to orders given by the beating of kettle drums and the waving of standards. And at this time, the Mongol armies were the most experienced in the world. Fortunately for the Japanese, a typhoon swept up the west coast of Japan and wrecked most of the Mongol fleet. The
Air”: Explosive Shells Length, 26.5 inches. 19 35.5 cm. (14 in.); 40 cm. (15.7 in.); 1155 lbs. 51-ton gun. 1711 lbs. 71-ton gun. Krupp Krupp 45 cm. (17.72 in.); 2005 lbs. 100-ton gun. Krupp One cannonball and a variety of explosive shells. 89 50 Weapons That Changed Warfare W hen Francis Scott Key located the flag by “the rockets’ red glare and the bombs bursting in air,” he was watching the effects of two weapons which had been developing for centuries and would turn into devices no one
rock at an object or hitting it with a garden hose. And against masses of foot soldiers, it was the most lethal gun ever invented. Masses of foot soldiers were what the British encountered at Omdurman in Kitchner’s campaign against the Sudanese dervishes. The British had six Maxim guns. The followers of the Mahdi, a self-appointed Muslim messiah, had thousands upon thousands of spear- and sword-armed warriors. They jogged up to the square of British infantry in a huge mob. The Maxim guns opened
on duty as a machine gunner in the Swiss Army. All men in Switzerland serve in the armed forces, take periodic military training and are active reservists until age 45. The tensions that would culminate in World War II were building up, and Mohaupt was disturbed at the ineffectiveness of antitank weapons available to the infantry. Switzerland, for example, was relying on the Solothurn antitank rifle—a semiautomatic 20 mm weapon that would have made hash of the tanks of World War I, but would not