Some of the world’s most innovative killing devices were developed during World War II.
With the Allies and the Axis powers in an arms race to overpower each other, each side developed weapons that many most soldiers dreaded to go up against.
Below are just a few examples of those weapons.
The V-42 Stiletto
The V-42 was a fighting knife to the First Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade, issued during World War II.
The V-42 was primarily designed by officers of the Devi’s Brigade, which was a joint commando unit made up of Canadians and Americans. The knife was designed to be a combat knife that could be used to silently eliminate enemy soldiers.
The V-42 had a double-edged with a narrow stiletto blade profile to provide maximum penetration when used for thrusting. The blade was so well-designed that it could easily penetrate the standard issue steel helmet with a single thrust.
Later renamed Sturmgewehr 44, MP43 is considered to be the world’s first modern assault rifle.
The German military began using the rifle in 1943, and gained immediate success. So much so, that it was given production priority over any other weapon on the German production line.
Initially, only soldiers in elite units were issued the rifle, but its use became more widespread, especially with the eastern front units.
Loosely translated as “tank fist,” Panzerfaust was a German anti-tank weapon that entered the war in 1943.
The “fist” was widely popular among the ranks because its simplicity. It consisted of a one-shot launch tube, and had a much more powerful warhead than the American bazooka.
The “fist” was capable of destroying any tank at the time. Initially, the range was just 30 meters, but later, the Germans were able to increase that range by 60 and 100 meters.
Panzerfaust was a simple and powerful weapon that forced Allied tanks to rely on the infantry to neutralize the threat before getting into range.
The 57mm M18 recoilless rifle was an anti-tank weapon used by the U.S. Army throughout World War II.
The shoulder-fired recoilless rifles were capable of firing artillery-type shells at reduced velocities. This allowed for greater accuracy than other anti-tank weapons that used unguided rockets.
The M18 could be used in both anti-tank and anti-personnel roles. The weapon could be both shoulder fired or stabilized using a monopod, but either way, the M18 was fired with minimum recoil.
The V2 was designed to bring terror to the enemy, in particular, the allies.
Towards the end of World War II, the V-2 wreaked havoc in London. Unlike the easy to spot V1, the V2 was nearly invisible after it had been fired.
The only time Germany’s enemy, often the citizens of London, was aware that a V-2 had been launched, is when it exploded near them.
The most destructive weapon of World War II was the Atom Bomb. The atomic bomb was first used in warfare by the United States at Hiroshima in August 1945.
The bomb that dropped on Hiroshima was code-named ‘Little Boy and was a uranium gun-type device.
The amount of energy ‘Little Boy’ generated when it exploded was the equivalent of 13 to 18 kilotons of TNT.
It has been estimated that 130,000 to 150,000 persons had died by the end of December 1945. The death toll was compounded by the fact that that the U.S. also dropped a plutonium implosion device on Nagasaki three days later.
Weapons such as these changed the world and ultimately altered the course of History.
When each of these weapons were used for the first time and their effectiveness was witnessed by the enemy, soldiers inevitably wanted to avoid them at all costs.