History AwesomeButImpractical / Military

19th Jan '18 8:27:51 AM Odacon_Spy
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* It's 1949, and the US Navy high command is ''pissed''. For nearly two centuries, the Navy has been the lynchpin of US strategic defense, but now everyone is talking about the Air Force, nuclear bombing, and Strategic Air Command. The USS ''United States'', supposed to be the largest and finest (and most expensive) American warship ever launched, as been cancelled 5 days after being laid down. So what do you do? Well, if we can't launch strategic nuclear aircraft from ships, we'll just launch them straight off the damn sea! And so was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_P6M_SeaMaster Martin P6M SeaMaster]] born. A ''transonic flying boat'' to be used as a strategic nuclear bomber. This was in many respects a cutting-edge, extremely advanced aircraft, designed to float on open water, supported by seaplane tenders or special submarines, hopping from place to place and making it hard for the Soviets to find and destroy them. Trouble is, all this brilliant innovation was dedicated to solving a problem that could more easily be circumvented entirely, and it was, with the fleet ballistic missile submarine and the aircraft carrier - suddenly back on the agenda following the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Admirals Revolt of the Admirals]] - eventually beating out the [=SeaMaster=] for funding. The program was cancelled as Navy pilots began conversion training to use the new bomber.

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* It's 1949, and the US Navy high command is ''pissed''. For nearly two centuries, the Navy has been the lynchpin of US strategic defense, but now everyone is talking about the Air Force, nuclear bombing, and Strategic Air Command. The USS ''United States'', supposed to be the largest and finest (and most expensive) American warship ever launched, as has been cancelled only 5 days after being laid down. So what do you do? Well, if we can't launch strategic nuclear aircraft from ships, we'll just launch them straight off the damn sea! And so was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_P6M_SeaMaster Martin P6M SeaMaster]] born. A ''transonic flying boat'' to be used as a strategic nuclear bomber. This was in many respects a cutting-edge, extremely advanced aircraft, designed to float on open water, supported by seaplane tenders or special submarines, hopping from place to place and making it hard for the Soviets to find and destroy them. Trouble is, all this brilliant innovation was dedicated to solving a problem that could more easily be circumvented entirely, and it was, with the fleet ballistic missile submarine and the aircraft carrier - suddenly back on the agenda following the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Admirals Revolt of the Admirals]] - eventually beating out the [=SeaMaster=] for funding. The program was cancelled as Navy pilots began conversion training to use the new bomber.
23rd Dec '17 5:25:29 PM nombretomado
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** Italian ships of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII in general: as Italian doctrine of the time was geared to fight the French navy, ships other than battleships were built with high reliability, ludicrous speed and thin armour in mind, so that their light cruisers would chase down and sink enemy destroyers and lure enemy light cruisers where heavier firepower was available, their heavy cruisers would chase down enemy light cruisers and lure enemy heavy cruisers in the guns of the battleships (that would have been able to sink enemy battleships from range and avoid counterfire at smaller ranges thanks to superior speed), and their destroyers would simply avoid enemy battleship fire and torpedo them with impunity. While arguably effective against the intended opponent, the Italians never fought the French navy but the [[BritsWithBattleships Royal Navy]], whose more aggressive combat doctrine, combined with higher initiative allowed to British commanders, the presence of carriers and the British ability to consistently break Italian and German codes, and British superiority in radar technology (Italy did not have functional radars when they entered World War II) ended up causing Italian ships to fight with similar-sized opponents again and again, where speed was less a factor than thick armour.

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** Italian ships of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII in general: as Italian doctrine of the time was geared to fight the French navy, ships other than battleships were built with high reliability, ludicrous speed and thin armour in mind, so that their light cruisers would chase down and sink enemy destroyers and lure enemy light cruisers where heavier firepower was available, their heavy cruisers would chase down enemy light cruisers and lure enemy heavy cruisers in the guns of the battleships (that would have been able to sink enemy battleships from range and avoid counterfire at smaller ranges thanks to superior speed), and their destroyers would simply avoid enemy battleship fire and torpedo them with impunity. While arguably effective against the intended opponent, the Italians never fought the French navy but the [[BritsWithBattleships [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships Royal Navy]], whose more aggressive combat doctrine, combined with higher initiative allowed to British commanders, the presence of carriers and the British ability to consistently break Italian and German codes, and British superiority in radar technology (Italy did not have functional radars when they entered World War II) ended up causing Italian ships to fight with similar-sized opponents again and again, where speed was less a factor than thick armour.
8th Dec '17 2:34:14 PM CurledUpWithDakka
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* Among nuclear weapons, atomic bazookas are the least useful and most hazardous. During the 1950s the United States developed the Davy Crockett recoilless rifle which can fire low-yield nukes (think the Fat Man launcher from VideoGame/Fallout and you get the picture). As cool as the idea of a man-portable nuke may seem, it was rendered useless by the fact that the weapon's fallout was wider than its optimum firing range. So if it were ever fired, the users would almost certainly die from cancer caused by the weapon's fallout, making it effectively a suicide weapon. Fortunately, it was never used in combat since it would probably inflict more harm on its users than its target.

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* Among nuclear weapons, atomic bazookas are the least useful and most hazardous. During the 1950s the United States developed the Davy Crockett recoilless rifle which can fire low-yield nukes (think the Fat Man launcher from VideoGame/Fallout VideoGame/{{Fallout}} and you get the picture). As cool as the idea of a man-portable nuke may seem, it was rendered useless by the fact that the weapon's fallout was wider than its optimum firing range. So if it were ever fired, the users would almost certainly die from cancer caused by the weapon's fallout, making it effectively a suicide weapon. Fortunately, it was never used in combat since it would probably inflict more harm on its users than its target.
1st Dec '17 4:47:53 AM onyhow
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** Even if they hadn't been rendered obsolete by airpower ''Yamato'' and ''Mushashi'' defined the ragged outer edge of practicality for battleships. Manufacturing their armor pushed the limits of the Japanese steel industry. The maximum range of their guns exceeded the distance that any naval gun could be aimed accurately. The sheer size of their guns required the Japanese to invent an entirely new technology in materials handling equipment just to move the projectiles around the magazines. The extreme weight of their turrets exceeded the metallurgy available for their supporting bearings. And finally their price tags were so extreme the cost to construct them actually damaged the national economy. Finally their actually performance in operation makes a pretty convincing demonstration that the even bigger battleships planned by the Japanese and the Germans simply wouldn't have worked.

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** Even if they hadn't been rendered obsolete by airpower ''Yamato'' and ''Mushashi'' defined the ragged outer edge of practicality for battleships. Manufacturing their armor pushed the limits of the Japanese steel industry. The maximum range of their guns exceeded the distance that any naval gun could be aimed accurately. The sheer size of their guns required the Japanese to invent an entirely new technology in materials handling equipment just to move the projectiles around the magazines. The extreme weight of their turrets exceeded the metallurgy available for their supporting bearings. And finally their price tags were so extreme the cost to construct them actually damaged the national economy.economy [[note]]For example, the amount of ropes needed to conceal her construction alone is enough to cause damage to the fishing industry[[/note]]. Finally their actually performance in operation makes a pretty convincing demonstration that the even bigger battleships planned by the Japanese and the Germans simply wouldn't have worked.
28th Nov '17 2:35:00 AM patriciovalencia117
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* [[FirebreathingWeapon Flamethrowers]]. It was a weapon of WWI and WWII that could quickly torch infantry, bunkers, and vehicles. Not to also mention it had enormous psychological potential of producing the hellish images of burning people screaming in pain. However, the weapon was eventually phased out since the Vietnam War for several reasons. First, it was a heavy weapon that weighed down the user and turned them into a highly visible target, especially for enemy snipers. Second, while its range isn't as atrociously short as depicted in the media, it still wasn't effective for long range engagements. Third, the weapon couldn't be safely stored in such a way that it would not explode if hit by an explosive or incendiary projectile. Even its psychological advantage has its own downside: since flamethrowers were so terrifying, their users ''always'' get executed if captured.

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* [[FirebreathingWeapon Flamethrowers]]. It was a an ideal weapon of for WWI and WWII that could quickly torch infantry, bunkers, and vehicles. Not to vehicles while also mention it had enormous having the psychological potential effect of producing the hellish images of burning people screaming in pain. However, the weapon was eventually phased out since the Vietnam War for several reasons. First, it was a heavy weapon that weighed down the user and turned them into a highly visible target, especially for enemy snipers. Second, while its range isn't as atrociously short as depicted in the media, it still wasn't effective for long range engagements. Third, the weapon couldn't be safely stored in such a way that it would not explode if hit by an explosive or incendiary projectile. Even Finally, even its psychological advantage has its own downside: downside; since flamethrowers were so terrifying, their users ''always'' get tortured and/or executed if captured.
27th Nov '17 6:30:20 PM nombretomado
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* The [[KatanasOfTheRisingSun Mitsubishi A6M Zero]]. Yes, it's the most agile thing in the sky, could fly for hours, and packs a punch, but it tends to blow up at the slightest provocation (compared to the [[BoringButPractical F4F Wildcat]], which could make a Zero empty its ammo into itself and still fly), because all this maneuverability and range was achieved by lightening the plane to the point that it might as well been made from cardboard - including the unprotected fuel tanks that spew the flaming gasoline around after the first hit. It still was a tough thing to hit, and only became a true death trap when the US Navy started fielding fighters powerful enough that they could use their high-speed maneuverability to negate the Zero's slow speed agility, namely the [=F4U=] Corsair and the Wildcat's successor, the [[TookALevelInBadass F6F Hellcat]], which retained all of the Wildcat's durability.

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* The [[KatanasOfTheRisingSun [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun Mitsubishi A6M Zero]]. Yes, it's the most agile thing in the sky, could fly for hours, and packs a punch, but it tends to blow up at the slightest provocation (compared to the [[BoringButPractical F4F Wildcat]], which could make a Zero empty its ammo into itself and still fly), because all this maneuverability and range was achieved by lightening the plane to the point that it might as well been made from cardboard - including the unprotected fuel tanks that spew the flaming gasoline around after the first hit. It still was a tough thing to hit, and only became a true death trap when the US Navy started fielding fighters powerful enough that they could use their high-speed maneuverability to negate the Zero's slow speed agility, namely the [=F4U=] Corsair and the Wildcat's successor, the [[TookALevelInBadass F6F Hellcat]], which retained all of the Wildcat's durability.
26th Nov '17 5:56:13 PM nombretomado
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* Project Babylon was Iraq's attempt to build a supergun that would have rivaled the Nazis' V-3 project. The project would have called for the construction of two 1000mm cannons and a 350mm prototype, each 156 meters long. The full size cannons would have been capable of firing conventional shells over 1000 kilometers, or firing rocket assisted shells straight ''into orbit''. The guns' intended uses were to either deliver nuclear, biological, or chemical tipped warheads or to disable enemy satellites. However, like the V-3, the Babylon guns suffered from the drawback of being locked into facing a single direction, as well as being gigantic and impossible to hide. The gun was so impractical the Israelis never considered it a serious threat; after a few shots, the [[IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles Israeli Air Force]] would quickly put a laser-guided bomb right down the muzzle. The project ground to a halt after its lead designer was assassinated (whether by Israel or Iran remains uncertain; both were more concerned with his simultaneous work on improving the accuracy of Iraq's ballistic missiles), and the guns were dismantled and destroyed by the UN after the First Iraq War.

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* Project Babylon was Iraq's attempt to build a supergun that would have rivaled the Nazis' V-3 project. The project would have called for the construction of two 1000mm cannons and a 350mm prototype, each 156 meters long. The full size cannons would have been capable of firing conventional shells over 1000 kilometers, or firing rocket assisted shells straight ''into orbit''. The guns' intended uses were to either deliver nuclear, biological, or chemical tipped warheads or to disable enemy satellites. However, like the V-3, the Babylon guns suffered from the drawback of being locked into facing a single direction, as well as being gigantic and impossible to hide. The gun was so impractical the Israelis never considered it a serious threat; after a few shots, the [[IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles [[UsefulNotes/IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles Israeli Air Force]] would quickly put a laser-guided bomb right down the muzzle. The project ground to a halt after its lead designer was assassinated (whether by Israel or Iran remains uncertain; both were more concerned with his simultaneous work on improving the accuracy of Iraq's ballistic missiles), and the guns were dismantled and destroyed by the UN after the First Iraq War.
20th Nov '17 3:48:02 PM Jhonny
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** In another attempt at weaponizing animals, the Swedes once attempted to create a unit of ''moose'' cavalry (Sweden having a limited supply of good cavalry horses but plenty of moose) in the 17th century. It turned out that 1: Moose can't just subsist on hay like horses can, 2: Once the moose are in rut, they'll attack everybody, even their handlers, 3: Moose are terribly vulnerable to a wide variety of livestock diseases, and 4: Moose are smart enough to figure out that guns and pikes are bad for their health, and once they do, they refuse to go anywhere them. The unit was dissolved without ever fighting a single battle.

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** In another attempt at weaponizing animals, the Swedes once attempted to create a unit of ''moose'' cavalry (Sweden having a limited supply of good cavalry horses but plenty of moose) in the 17th century. It turned out that 1: Moose can't just subsist on hay like horses can, 2: Once the moose are in rut, they'll attack everybody, even their handlers, 3: Moose are terribly vulnerable to a wide variety of livestock diseases, and 4: Moose are smart enough to figure out that guns and pikes are bad for their health, and once they do, they refuse to go anywhere near them. The unit was dissolved without ever fighting a single battle.
20th Nov '17 3:34:10 PM Jhonny
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* The submarine itself was like this for many years. It was slow and often more dangerous to its operator than to an enemy ship - the first successful sinking of a surface warship (the USS ''Housatonic'') by a submarine (the ''H. L. Hunley'', armed with [[RammingAlwaysWorks a spar torpedo]]), during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, was followed soon after by the ''third'' sinking of that same submarine in only half a year since its completion. Germany, the last Great Power to build a submarine, was able to demonstrate its capabilities once and for all when, in the opening weeks of World War I, a single U-boat sank three British cruisers in under an hour.

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* The submarine itself was like this for many years. It was slow and often more dangerous to its operator than to an enemy ship - the first successful sinking of a surface warship (the USS ''Housatonic'') by a submarine (the ''H. L. Hunley'', armed with [[RammingAlwaysWorks a spar torpedo]]), during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, was followed soon after by the ''third'' sinking of that same submarine in only half a year since its completion. Germany, the last Great Power to build a submarine, was able to demonstrate its capabilities once and for all when, in the opening weeks of World War I, a single U-boat sank three British cruisers in under an hour. But then Germany ultimately used that weapon in such a way that it ''neither'' weakened Britain in any significant extent (which, given that Britain is both an island nation and a net importer of food could have been ''devastating'' if enough transports had been disrupted) nor did them much good in the diplomatic arena. Ultimately, the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare was one of the things that brought the US into the war against Germany.
20th Nov '17 3:27:57 PM Jhonny
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* Cavalry can often be this. A large settled society will have difficulty maintaining a large cavalry force but can [[WeHaveReserves throw a huge number of infantry]] at the opponent. A nomadic society will naturally be (almost) all light cavalry in its fighting forces, but in the ElementalRockPaperScissors that is warfare having a single type of arms comes with its own [[CripplingOverspecialisation downsides]]. Of course in the early modern era, infrastructure and agricultural production became such that settled societies could maintain huge cavalry forces, but then those very same advances also produced the railroad that made the transport function of horses largely superfluous and later gave rise to motorized formations which ultimately made cavalry redundant. A dashing cavalry charge surely looks ''awesome'' and many a war was won by cavalry, but it's not exactly the most efficient allocation of resources.
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