5 Weird Weapons of World War II – the Allies

  • December 10, 2009
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Anti-Tank Dogs

Anti-tank dogs or dog-bombs were dogs that were trained by the Soviet military to seek food under tanks and armored vehicles. The dogs were left hungry for a few days and explosives strapped to their backs, they would then be left to wander fields where enemy tracked vehicles approached. As they went under the vehicle, the explosives were detonated by a wooden lever that would be triggered as they went under.

Soviet reports claim that the dogs managed to disable 300 German tanks and caused enough of a problem to the Nazis that they took measures against them. Dogs were ordered to be shot on sight and flame throwers deployed on tanks and armored vehicles to ward them off in the field.

In an unfortunate incident in 1942, the use of the dogs went horribly wrong as a group of the hungry hounds ran amok. This forced an entire division of Soviets to retreat from the battlefield and soon after the anti-tank dogs were withdrawn from regular service, however they continued to be trained right up until 1996.

anti tank dogs



Ice Ships

In 1942, the allies were suffering heavy losses of merchant ships to German U-boats as a result of the limited range of patrolling aircraft. Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested building large ships made of ice to protect allied merchant ships and possibly as a platform to launch an offensive from. Mountbatten, the Chief of Combined Operations, an organization responsible to the Chiefs of Staff for the development of equipment and special craft for offensive operations, had been advised by one of his scientists, Geoffrey Pyke, that huge ships of up to 4,000 feet long and 600 feet wide could be made cheaply and in large numbers.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s PM was enthusiastic of the project and saw to it that it got underway. In 1943, it was discovered that by adding wood pulp to the water before freezing, a very tough material was made which was called ‘pykrete’, in honor of Geoffrey Pyke. It was reported that when demonstrating the idea to a group of high brass military leaders, Mountbatten fired a shot at an ordinary block of ice, which shattered into little pieces. However when he fired at the Pykrete, the bullet bounced right off and almost hit the Chief of Air Staff Sir Charles Portal.

Construction on a prototype began at Patricia Lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and it was determined that the hull needed to be at least 35 feet thick in order to contain damage from bombs and torpedoes. However before tests were complete, the Battle of the Atlantic had been virtually won and with the construction underway of the new aircraft carriers, the project was reluctantly abandoned in August 1943.

ice ships


Written by Andrew Griffiths – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com