Weird and interesting weapons during the Cold War
There was no World War III (fortunately), but after World War II there was a period called the Cold War. It was the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies. The term was used because there was no large-scale fighting and no one declared war on the other. Their conflict revolved around political, economic and propaganda struggles for global influence. It was a difficult time for both sides because of the possibilities of a nuclear attack, and it was a mind game because they could never tell if the other side was planning one or not. Thus, the military had to think outside the box with weapons to fight the enemies. Here are some of their rather interesting productions:
Designed by Russian Soviet director and design chief Rostislav Alexeyev, this ground effect vehicle is a hybrid of aircraft and ships. What is unique is that it glided just above the water (about 13ft above) without touching it – an effective flying height to avoid detection. How it worked was the wind pushed the air down where it is compressed between the wings and the ocean surface. Its maximum cruising speed was 550 kilometers per hour and could carry troops, cargo, as well as nuclear weapons, such as the P-270 Moskit, a ramjet-powered anti-ship cruise missile. There was only one lun-class ekranoplan ever created due to the cancellation of military funding and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Still driven by the idea of nuclear weapons and (probably) inspired by the god of thunder, Project Thor was born. The Air Force’s idea was a Kinetic Orbital Strike, which was supposed to work by attacking the target by projectile impact and using the kinetic energy to unleash destructive powers. While the idea is still the result of the nuclear weapons craze, this one doesn’t use any. Instead, it was a satellite containing tungsten rods 20 feet long and 1 foot in diameter that could be aimed at the target on command. He would then release and rain down these rods to hit the target from a very high angle at a very high speed, hence his nickname “Rods from God”.
In 1957 the British Army ordered ten blue peacocks for use in Germany. Blue Peacock was a ten kiloton nuclear landmine they planned to place in the North German plain. This gigantic mine had an eight-day timer or could also be detonated through a wire. They did so because “a skillfully sited atomic mine would not only destroy facilities and installations over a large area, but would prevent an enemy from occupying the area for any appreciable time due to contamination”. as written by the chief engineer of the army.
The wacky thing about this project was that the plain in northern Germany could get very cold during the winter season. The cold could disrupt the electronics of the mine. Their solution? A proposal to seal live chickens inside the enclosure, with food and water, of course. The chicken’s body heat would be enough to keep those electronics warm, and the chicken was supposed to be alive for about a week. The Ministry of Defense canceled the project in February 1958 due to high risks of nuclear fallout. Fortunately, no chickens were injured.
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