If you look at the history of weapons in human history, you will find the trace of the first weapons in the Bronze age. Weapons like maces and swords were created in this age. Since then, we have seen guns, rifles, tanks, nuclear bombs, submarines, biological weapons and many more. As time passed, these weapons only got deadlier. From swords to radiological weapons, here is a list of ten of the deadliest weapons created by us humans, most of them belonging to the 20th century!
World War I Machine Gun
During the World War I, there were 38 million military and civil casualties. Most of them were caused by the development of new weapons during the war. One of them were machine guns. The first ever machine gun was invented in 1884, 3 decades before the war by Hiram Maxim. While not the same design, similar guns were used in the war. It allowed the soldiers to rapidly fire the bullets at a rate of 500 to 600 rounds every minute. The early machine guns were heavy and required 3-5 soldiers to carry a single one and would easily jam or overheat after continuous use. While newer models with oil and water-cooling mechanisms were produced, they could still overheat quickly. By the end of the war, most of the countries involved were developing their own machine guns.
World War I Tank
The first World War I tank was developed by the British because of the impossible situation on the Western Front. The initial vehicle was constructed in Great Britain at William Foster & Co. in 1915 and was nicknamed “Little Willie”. The prototype of the new design ‘Mark I tank’ was initially termed ‘Landships’. However, they were called ‘tanks’ to preserve secrecy. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the lethality index of a World War I Tank is 68300. Some drawbacks of this deadly weapon are its speed, frequent breakdowns and poorly ventilated cockpits.
World War I Fighter Bomber
The next deadliest weapon in our list was also seen during the WW I. It was the first major dispute that saw planes being put on the offensive. These specially designed aircrafts were regularly seen in the sky, conducting various bombing raids. Early bombers were two seaters and would typically have a machine gun mounted in the front. Some of the most famous fighter bombers during the WW I were Bleriot XI, Voisin III, Caudron G.IV and Short Bomber among others.
French 75 mm Gun
Adopted by the French in March 1898, the French 75 mm field gun or Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897 was a ‘quick firing field artillery’. It was an anti-personnel weapon created to shower the enemy forces with explosive and time-fused shrapnel shells at an astounding rate of 15 fires per minute. It was considered as the 1st modern artillery weapon and the first field gun that had a hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism. In 1916, the field gun was firing phosgene shells and toxic mustard gas.
V-2 Ballistic Missile
The V-2 ballistic missile was created by Germany during the second world war. It was the first liquid-propellant rocket on a large scale with a long-range ballistic missile. The rocket was called A-4 by the German Army Ordnance and was nicknamed V-2 or Vergeltungswaffe Zwei, which means “Vengeance Weapon Two” by the Nazi’s. The first bomb was dropped in 1944 in London. In totality, over 3000 missiles were launched that killed 2754 people only in London. Its lethality index is 861000.
MK 19 Grenade Launcher
An Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) is a grenade launcher that is a self-loading riffle. It is mostly loaded with either magazine or an ammunition belt. MK 19 grenade launcher is an American 40 mm ammunition belt AGL developed in 1968 during the Vietnam War. What made this one of the deadliest weapons in the world is that it can fire 40 mm grenades at a rate of 325-375 rounds every minute. A grenade blast from this killed anyone within 16 feet and wounded everyone within 50 feet.
M4 Sherman or Medium Tank M4 (officially) was the most use medium tank in WW II by America and its Western Allies. By the end of the war, the US had built approximately 40000 tanks. They even lend them to Britain, France, China, Poland and Canada. It was so much faster than the tanks used in the first world war, with a top speed of 30 miles per hour. Its lethality index is 2203000.
World War II Fighter Bomber
Fighter bombers became far deadlier in the second world war due to liquid-cooled engines, metal construction and stronger armament. Among the hundreds of fighter bombers developed, B-29 Superfortress was one of the deadliest. It was a long-range heavy bomber built by 3 companies based on a design submitted by Boeing in 1939. The most famous B-29 bombers were the Enola Gay and Bockscar that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The Fat Man
While are plenty of nuclear bombs in the history of mankind, The Fat Man was one of the most powerful nuclear weapons that was used offensively. It was a 20-kiloton plutonium device that detonated over Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. The blast killed roughly 40000 people immediately and almost the same from the radiation. The lethality index of The Fat Man is 48550000.
Tsar Bomba or the RDS 220 hydrogen bomb is the most powerful thermo nuclear bomb that has been made till date. It was detonated by the Soviet Union over Novaya Zemlya Island on 30 October 1961. It was dropped by a Tu-95 bomber and the bomb detonated 4 kilometer above the ground. It produced a yield of 50 megaton, which is equivalent to the explosion of 3800 Hiroshima bombs. Unlike other thermonuclear weapons, Tsar Bomba had 3 stages instead of 2, which increased its explosive powers. The actual yield of the bomb was predicted to be 100 megatons. It was reduced by 50%, so that the radioactive dust could be limited.