Weapon design is often meant to inspire fear, but occasionally it's just so goofy or strange that you wind up laughing. Such is the case with the weapons in this gallery, which include a scooter rifle, acoustic kitties, and harmonica guns.
Harmonica guns, multi-shot weapons with a horizontal magazine, invented by J. Jarre between 1859 and 1862
(via Historical Firearms)
Operation Acoustic Kitty, a $20 million CIA project from the 1960s, cancelled in 1967
"In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon transformed the furry feline into an elite spy, implanting a microphone in her ear canal and a small radio transmitter at the base of her skull, and weaving a thin wire antenna into her long gray-and-white fur. The goal was to transform the female feline into a living, walking surveillance machine. For its first official test, CIA staffers drove Acoustic Kitty to the park and tasked it with capturing the conversation of two men sitting on a bench. Instead, the cat wandered into the street, where it was promptly squashed by a taxi." – according to Emily Anthes.
(via Today I Found Out)
Schwerer Gustav and Dora, the largest-calibre (800 mm) rifled weapons with the heaviest shells (7 tons) ever used, designed and built by Krupp in the late 1930s to destroy the main forts of the Maginot Line
The flashlight gun of North Korean secret agents
Each hole is actually a gun barrel, which gets activated with the push of a button.
Trained dogs to carry explosives to tanks and other military objects, used in the Soviet and Russian Army between 1930 and 1996, the US Army in 1943 and Iraqi insurgents in the 2000s
Another serious training mistake was revealed later; the Soviets used their own diesel-engine tanks to train the dogs rather than German tanks which had gasoline engines. As the dogs relied on their acute sense of smell, the dogs sought out familiar Soviet tanks instead of strange-smelling German tanks. – according to The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II by Chris Bishop.
A Dyson LePetit protector ring, a six shot .22 pistol
Tsar Tank or Lebedenko Tank, Russia, 1914
The largest and strangest armored vehicle ever built was made in 1914 in Russia, developed by Nikolai Lebedenko. The tank used the good old tricycle form instead of caterpillar tracks. The two big wheels were 27 feet high (8.2 m), and powered by two 250 hp Sunbeam engines. The weight of the big wheels was too much, so it often got stuck in the ground. After some tests the tank remained somewhere in a field, and stood there eight years before it was taken apart.
The Vespa 150 TAP scooter with a US-made M20 75mm recoilless rifle, produced by ACMA, the licensed assembler of Vespas in France. It was made for French paratroops and introduced in 1956.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
Bat bombs, developed during WWII by USAAF, with dozens of small timed incendiary bombs attached to Mexican Free-Tailed Bats
The bats were hibernated in canisters, and only woke up in the falling bomb. At 1,000 ft. above the ground, the bomb opened.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
The Bulgarian Umbrella, developed by the Bulgarian Secret Service and the KGB, used against Georgi Markov, a dissident writer in 1978 on Waterloo Bridge, London
The umbrella has a tiny gun that shot a ricin pellet. Markov felt that it was only a bee sting, but he died three days after the shot.
Project Babylon, a secret Iraqi supergun project between 1988 and 1990
Saddam Hussein wanted to built one of the largest weapons ever named Big Babylon with a 512 ft (156 m) long barrel to shoot projectiles into orbit. The sections were produced in Europe, but some of them were seized in Turkey and Greece in transit by trucks to Iraq, but several ones were seized at the manufacturers' sites.
(Above: Two sections bolted together at Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, Portsmouth, England, via Wikimedia Commons)
Who? Me?, a sulfurous stench weapon developed by the American Office of Strategic Services during WWII to be used by the French Resistance against Germans
Who? Me? smelled like fecal matter, according to Dalton, and was issued in pocket atomizers. The plan was for a Resistance member to sidle up close to one of the German officers then occupying Paris and unobtrusively spray him. – according to SFGate.
(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Kiss of Death, a 4.5mm caliber lipstick pistol used by KGB during the Cold War
(via The Patriot Files)
The rocket pigeon and rocket cat, illustrations from three editions of Buch von den probierten Künsten by Franz Helm, made in 1535, 1584 and 1607