History AwesomeButImpractical / Military

22nd Jun '16 2:41:08 AM morane
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** An argument can equally be made that the Battleship became obsolete (if not necessarily ''useless''), the moment the submarine became a viable weapons platform. The essential point remains the same - the extreme construction and operational costs of a Battleship can only be justified if it is essentially invulnerable to lesser ships. The moment that a vessel or collection of vessels of significantly inferior tonnage/cost can stand a reasonable chance of crippling or destroying a Battleship, then the Battleship becomes too great a concentration of military resources to justify.
** Battleships started to become obsolete as soon as the torpedo was invented. Being a powerful warhead that could damage or destroy a battleship for a fraction of the cost made them ideal and a precursor to modern missiles and rockets. the main problem was getting a torpedo launcher within range. Battleships gained longer distance guns, recon planes, and even radar to fight long distance where torpedoes couldnt reach them. Pre-dreadnoughts began using anti-torpedo nets and many small guns to shoot any torpedo ships, while later battleships have other kinds of anti-torpedo defense but that wasnt enough. Battleships eventually needed fleets to protect them from torpedoes, changing their roles to mobile artillery. When aircraft were invented that made them very effective torpedo platforms as even the longest range battleship could have attacked by torpedoes launched by squadrons of aircraft from carriers. In world war 2 most of the italian battleships were neutralized just by a number of torpedo planes attacking in them in harbor regardless of any defenses.

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** An argument can equally be made that the Battleship became obsolete (if not necessarily ''useless''), the moment the submarine became a viable weapons platform. The essential point remains the same - the extreme construction and operational costs of a Battleship can only be justified if it is essentially invulnerable to lesser ships. The moment that a vessel or collection of vessels of significantly inferior tonnage/cost can stand a reasonable chance of crippling or destroying a Battleship, then the Battleship becomes too great a concentration of military resources to justify.
** Battleships
justify. The same can be said of aircraft carrier, too - more aircraft carriers were sunk by submarines than by any other means in WWII.
*** ANY capital ships, not just battleships,
started to become obsolete as soon as the torpedo was invented. Being a powerful warhead that could damage or destroy a battleship capital ship for a fraction of the cost made them ideal and a precursor to modern missiles and rockets. the main problem was getting a torpedo launcher within range. Battleships gained longer distance guns, recon planes, and even radar to fight long distance where torpedoes couldnt reach them. Pre-dreadnoughts began using anti-torpedo nets and many small guns to shoot any torpedo ships, while later battleships have other kinds of anti-torpedo defense but that wasnt enough. Battleships Capital ships eventually needed (and need today!) fleets to protect them from torpedoes, changing their roles to mobile artillery. When aircraft were invented that made them very effective torpedo platforms as even the longest range battleship could have attacked by torpedoes launched by squadrons of aircraft from carriers. In world war 2 most of the italian Italian battleships were neutralized just by a number of torpedo planes attacking in them in harbor regardless of any defenses.defenses.



** The Russian Navy attempted to avoid this problem on Gangut and Imperatritsa Mariya classes simply by setting all their main gun turrets on the centerline of the ship on deck level and rejecting superfiring turrets. This arrangement had several advantages because it reduced the stress on the ends of the ship since the turrets were not concentrated at the end of the ship, increased stability because the lack of elevated turrets and their barbettes, improved the survivability of the ship because the magazines were separated from each other, and gave a lower silhouette. Disadvantages were that the magazines had to be put in the middle of all the machinery, which required steam pipes to be run through or around them and the lack of deck space free from blast. Moreover, it also meant that the [[DidntThinkThisThrough arc of fire of the two middle turrets was extremely restricted and any secondary armament had to be installed on hull casemates below the main deck]], and they ''still'' [[DidntThinkThisThrough were susceptible to main gun blast damage and they were prone to waves hitting in while sailing in rough weather]]. Combined with inverted "ram" bows, these ships were extremely wet and fared miserably in weather.



* [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons German]] electronic industry of the 1930s was a pioneer of the radar and Kriegsmarine battleships had very advanced radar systems, more accurate than even battleship guns when ranging a ship-sized target, yet none of them had a plotting grid or means to broadcast the radar data to the fire control directors, so each radar range had to be corrected by optics to get a firing solution.

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* [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons German]] electronic industry of the 1930s was a pioneer of the radar and Kriegsmarine battleships had very advanced radar systems, more accurate than even ever battleship guns when ranging a ship-sized target, yet none of them had a plotting grid or means to broadcast the radar data to the fire control directors, so each radar range had to be corrected by optics to get a firing solution.solution. It had over 40,000 ''kilometres'' of electric wire and was very prone to shatter and vibration damage. Moreover its UnusualUserInterface - the fire control officer fired the guns by ''blowing into a mouthpiece'' fitted with a pressure switch which closed the firing circuit instead of ordinary pistol firing key meant it was an embodiment of this trope. Pneumatics fare badly at sea, and the British estimated the German gunnery was efficient only for the first ten minutes, after which it deteriorated sharply.
22nd Jun '16 2:01:34 AM morane
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* Many British and French tanks in the early stages of the war. guns that can kill enemy tanks, check, armour that means enemy tanks can't kill us, check, ability to move above a walking pace, che-no wait, pass. They did have tanks that could go fast too, but most had tin-foil armour. Things didn't get much better until very late in the war, by which time it was over anyway.
** The British Churchill tank shows this brilliantly. Designed as an "infantry tank" it was meant to only go as fast as infantry as a support vehicle. This was designed AFTER Nazi Germany showed off new high speed Blitzkrieg warfare showing infantry tanks as obsolete. British tank design was at least two years behind its competitors, owing to the shattering losses in France and the need to keep some sort of designs in mass production. The Churchill was, therefore, a war-winning weapon for 1941 that was horridly outmoded in 1943. As Churchill commander John Foley points out in his book, Literature/MailedFist, the tank had virtues: ruggedness, mechanical reliability, and an ability to climb slopes the Germans thought were impossible for tanks. But the slow speed was a well-known flaw. Its guns were only ever moderately effective [[note]]Foley's Churchill got three hits on a Tiger at very close range. None penetrated, and the Tiger was still able to come back with a single shot that destroyed Foley's tank, killing the driver.[[/note]] especially in regards to beasts like the Soviet Is-2 with a 122mm artillery gun or German Tiger with an adapted 88mm flak gun, and its top speed was only around 15kilometers per hour compared to medium tanks which had top speeds of 45-55kilometers per hour. It was partnered by the lighter Cromwell, itself a flawed design, but which paved the way for the infinitely better Comet series and then the far more practical Centurion tank.

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* Many British and French tanks in the early stages of the war. guns Guns that can kill enemy tanks, check, armour that means enemy tanks can't kill us, check, ability to move above a walking pace, che-no wait, pass. They did have cruiser tanks too: that could go fast too, fast, but most had tin-foil armour. Things didn't get much better until very late in the war, by which time it was over anyway.
** The British Churchill tank shows this brilliantly. Designed as an "infantry tank" it was meant to [[MightyGlacier only go as fast as infantry as a support vehicle.vehicle]]. This was designed AFTER Nazi Germany showed off new high speed Blitzkrieg warfare showing infantry tanks as obsolete. British tank design was at least two years behind its competitors, owing to the shattering losses in France and the need to keep some sort of designs in mass production. The Churchill was, therefore, a war-winning weapon for 1941 that was horridly outmoded in 1943. As Churchill commander John Foley points out in his book, Literature/MailedFist, the tank had virtues: ruggedness, mechanical reliability, and an ability to climb slopes the Germans thought were impossible for tanks. But the slow speed was a well-known flaw. Its guns were only ever moderately effective [[note]]Foley's Churchill got three hits on a Tiger at very close range. None penetrated, and the Tiger was still able to come back with a single shot that destroyed Foley's tank, killing the driver.[[/note]] especially in regards to beasts like the Soviet Is-2 with a 122mm artillery gun or German Tiger with an adapted 88mm flak gun, and its top speed was only around 15kilometers 15 kilometers per hour compared to medium tanks which had top speeds of 45-55kilometers per hour. It was partnered by the lighter Cromwell, itself a flawed design, but which paved the way for the infinitely better Comet series and then the far more practical Centurion tank.tank.
* The British cruiser tank concept fits this trope as well. Faster than anything the enemy could deploy and having immensely good operative range, their drawbacks were puny 2 lb QF 40 mm "peashooter" gun, [[ArmorIsUseless tin-foil thin armour]] and [[MadeOfExplodium petrol engine with external fuel tank]]. While they were really on their own in open range such as desert, they were easily knocked out of action in close terrain where their mobility was severly compromised.
19th Jun '16 3:50:00 PM ScorpiusOB1
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** And finally, not to put too fine a point on it, the value of the superbattleships is evident in their abysmal performance during the war. The ''Yamato'' engaged US surface ships in only one engagement, the Battle off Samar, where (despite ''weighing more than the entire force she opposed'') she only contributed to the sinking of three small ships. The ''Musashi'', meanwhile, was sunk by aircraft in the Sibuyan Sea prior to the Battle off Samar, and never fired a single shot at an enemy surface vessel in the entire course of her career. In the end, neither ship ever came into gun range of an enemy capital ship. And those hundreds of AA guns were underpowered and obsolete even before they were installed, serving mainly to increase the number of men who went down with each ship.

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** And finally, not to put too fine a point on it, the value of the superbattleships is evident in their abysmal performance during the war. The ''Yamato'' engaged US surface ships in only one engagement, the Battle off Samar, where (despite ''weighing more than the entire force she opposed'') she only contributed to the sinking of three small ships. The ''Musashi'', meanwhile, was sunk by aircraft aircraft[[note]]The same fate suffered by her sistership ''Yamato'', in a totally pointless sacrifice[[/note]] in the Sibuyan Sea prior to the Battle off Samar, and never fired a single shot at an enemy surface vessel in the entire course of her career. In the end, neither ship ever came into gun range of an enemy capital ship. And those hundreds of AA guns were underpowered and obsolete even before they were installed, serving mainly to increase the number of men who went down with each ship.
11th Jun '16 1:48:41 PM Kadorhal
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* The [=XM29=] OICW. It was a standard 5.56mm assault rifle with a 20mm grenade launcher that had programmable airburst grenades. Issues came about due to weight, cost, and the ineffectiveness of both the 20mm grenade and the rifle itself compared to the [=M16A2=][[note]]A nine-inch barrel went a long way to making the weapon ineffective versus the [=M16A2=] - for comparison, even the shortest M16 derivatives have never gone below a ten-inch barrel, and that's not including the five-inch flash hiders usually attached to them. The [=M16A2=]'s 20-inch barrel is generally considered to be ideal for maximizing the 5.56x45mm cartridge's lethality, and anything shorter than the M4 carbine's 14.5-inch barrel is intended for a role similar to submachine guns rather than a normal rifle.[[/note]]. The grenade launcher part did manage to spawn the [=XM25=], using a 25mm grenade, which has seen continued testing and actual service.

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* The [=XM29=] OICW. It was a standard 5.56mm assault rifle with a 20mm grenade launcher that had programmable airburst grenades. Issues came about due to weight, weight[[note]]the target weight was 15 pounds; the actual weight ended up being 18[[/note]], cost, and the ineffectiveness of both the 20mm grenade grenade[[note]]it was too small for proper lethal air-bursting[[/note]] and the rifle itself compared to the [=M16A2=][[note]]A nine-inch [=M16A2=][[note]]thanks to a barrel went a long way just barely longer than nine inches, which wasn't enough to making the weapon ineffective versus the [=M16A2=] - for comparison, even the shortest M16 derivatives have never gone below a ten-inch barrel, and that's not including the five-inch flash hiders usually attached to them.generate an effective muzzle velocity. The [=M16A2=]'s 20-inch barrel is generally considered to be ideal for maximizing the 5.56x45mm cartridge's lethality, and lethality; anything shorter than the M4 carbine's 14.5-inch barrel - and for the record, no other AR-15 derivative has gone below ten and a half inches - is intended for a role similar to submachine guns rather than a normal rifle.[[/note]]. The grenade launcher part did manage to spawn the [=XM25=], using a larger and more effective 25mm grenade, which has seen continued testing and some actual service.service, with current plans to see full-scale deployment in 2017.
6th Jun '16 11:52:31 PM morane
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** On paratroop gear, the German wartime RZ (''Rückfallschirm, Zwangablösung'') parachute. It was designed to open quickly, the rationale being the lower the drop, the less time on chute fall. Unfortunately, it opened extremely violently, resulting in bruises and broken ribs. Moreover, it had ''one single riser'' instead of the normal four, making controlling it in-flight impossible: the paratrooper hang on the parachute like a spider on the web, helplessly, and the only thing he could do was to try to pivot into wind. The German jump position was a crucifix dive instead of the leaning rest, and instead of the safe parachute landing fall, the paratrooper landed on all fours, making wearing gauntlets and kneepads a must. The descent speed was faster than with Allied parachutes and thus landings were always hard, and many ''Fallschirmjäger'' broke their arms or ribs on landing. The rig itself took almost three minutes to undress and could not be unharnessed prone. The horribly unsafe RZ rigs were largely responsible of the horrendous ''Fallschirmjäger'' losses. Jumping with RZ rig is today prohibited for safety reasons, and ''Fallschirmjäger'' re-enactors use normal four-riser Bundeswehr canopies attached on RZ harnesses on jumps. Even stranger is that Luftwaffe used ''perfectly normal'' four-riser parachutes as rescue rigs.
1st Jun '16 1:30:15 AM Doug86
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* Around the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo many rather impressive prototypes of fighter and bomber aircraft had been designed by various American and Russian manufacturers. Innovative uses of old technology (for instance, contra-rotating propellers) made them fast and powerful; sadly, the innovative use of ''new'' technology - namely the jet engine - resulted in aircraft that were even faster and more powerful, but also more efficient and less maintenance intensive. Needless to say, this doomed all the new piston-engine planes into never leaving the prototype stage.

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* Around the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo UsefulNotes/WorldWarII many rather impressive prototypes of fighter and bomber aircraft had been designed by various American and Russian manufacturers. Innovative uses of old technology (for instance, contra-rotating propellers) made them fast and powerful; sadly, the innovative use of ''new'' technology - namely the jet engine - resulted in aircraft that were even faster and more powerful, but also more efficient and less maintenance intensive. Needless to say, this doomed all the new piston-engine planes into never leaving the prototype stage.



* This was the US Army's evaluation of the Sopwith Camel during WorldWarOne. While very agile, the Camel was unforgiving to inexperienced pilots, and the Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine had a variety of quirks and shortcomings of its own (which the Americans were very aware of from operating the Gnome-engined Nieuport 28). If not properly handled, the Gnome could burst into flames. Instead, the US Army Air Service opted to adopt the SPAD S.XIII, a less agile but faster French fighter plane, for most of their front-line units.

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* This was the US Army's evaluation of the Sopwith Camel during WorldWarOne.UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. While very agile, the Camel was unforgiving to inexperienced pilots, and the Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine had a variety of quirks and shortcomings of its own (which the Americans were very aware of from operating the Gnome-engined Nieuport 28). If not properly handled, the Gnome could burst into flames. Instead, the US Army Air Service opted to adopt the SPAD S.XIII, a less agile but faster French fighter plane, for most of their front-line units.
29th May '16 2:33:47 PM MrCandle
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** Both ''Ratte'' and ''Moster'' were the brainchilds of Edvard Grotte, the engineer [[MadScientist well known for his bouts of gigantism and reliance on the awesomeness]] to the detriment of practicality. During the times of the Weimar Republic, when Germany and the Soviet Union entertained a brief alliance, both being something of the pariahs to the West, he did some work in Russia, producing several designs for his Russian employers. While the first of them, the unimaginatively named Grotte Tank, AKA TG-1, [[BoringButPractical was a fairly conventional medium that advanced to the prototype stage, generally pleased everyone]], and wasn't adopted largely due to the sorry state of the early-Thirties Soviet industry, his subsequent designs were a clear indication of what will then follow. The TG-5 dwarfed even the aforementioned T-35 in its sheer insanity, and was essentially an early version of ''Ratte'', weighing the same 1000 tons and boasting 12-inch naval guns. It was to be driven by four marine diesels and to have the 1000 mm frontal armor.
** The Japanese, whose dynamics with their allies could be sometimes described as "everything that the Jerries can screw up [[UpToEleven we can screw up better]]", and their armor department [[TheAllegedCar being the proverbial redheaded stepchild]] of their military indistry, produced the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-I O-I]], the superheavy tank that might be best described as a [[MilitaryMashupMachine lovechild of T-35 and the Maus]]. Equipped with five turrets with [[{{BFG}} 100-to-150 mm guns]], and driven with the two naval diesels, it was to weigh from 100 to 120 tons in its various incarnations, and used for coastal defence and invasion protection. There's a very little information on this tank, but at least one prototype was reportedly built in 1944, and sent to Manchuria for trials, where it was reportedly blown up by the retreating Japanese forces during the Russian offensive the next year. The only material remains of this tank are several huge track links in some Japanese armor museums.
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_163 Me-163 Komet]], a rocket-powered airplane that had a seven minute flight time, flew too fast to effectively target bombers (its intended target), used two highly-corrosive fuels that spontaneously combusted upon mixing, desired or not. They also had a habit of spontaneously ''exploding'' if jarred too much by, say, a rough landing, and the thing flew so high that pilots were required to eat a special diet in order to reduce intestinal gas. No pilot ever scored more than one victory with it. It was also made of wood to keep the weight and costs down, and while it had wheels when it was going up, they broke away from the aircraft as it took off. What did you land with? ''A single skid''. The best part was that at this stage of the war, even flat runways were in short supply, so the pilots had to land them in bumpy, rocky fields. And since they turned into gliders to boot, they were completely defenseless from enemy fire. More pilots died trying to fly/land these things than in combat. Oh, and the engines were considered more valuable than the pilots. What does ''that'' tell you?

to:

** Both ''Ratte'' and ''Moster'' were the brainchilds brainchildren of Edvard Grotte, the engineer [[MadScientist well known for his bouts of gigantism and reliance on the awesomeness]] to the detriment of practicality. During the times of the Weimar Republic, when Germany and the Soviet Union entertained a brief alliance, both being something of the pariahs to the West, he did some work in Russia, producing several designs for his Russian employers. While the first of them, the unimaginatively named Grotte Tank, AKA TG-1, [[BoringButPractical was a fairly conventional medium that advanced to the prototype stage, generally pleased everyone]], and wasn't adopted largely due to the sorry state of the early-Thirties Soviet industry, his subsequent designs were a clear indication of what will then follow. The TG-5 dwarfed even the aforementioned T-35 in its sheer insanity, and was essentially an early version of ''Ratte'', weighing the same 1000 tons and boasting 12-inch naval guns. It was to be driven by four marine diesels and to have the 1000 mm frontal armor.
** The Japanese, whose dynamics with their allies could be sometimes described as "everything that the Jerries can screw up [[UpToEleven we can screw up better]]", and their armor department [[TheAllegedCar being the proverbial redheaded stepchild]] of their military indistry, industry, produced the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-I O-I]], the superheavy tank that might be best described as a [[MilitaryMashupMachine lovechild of T-35 and the Maus]]. Equipped with five turrets with [[{{BFG}} 100-to-150 mm guns]], and driven with the two naval diesels, it was to weigh from 100 to 120 tons in its various incarnations, and used for coastal defence and invasion protection. There's a very little information on this tank, but at least one prototype was reportedly built in 1944, and sent to Manchuria for trials, where it was reportedly blown up by the retreating Japanese forces during the Russian offensive the next year. The only material remains of this tank are several huge track links in some Japanese armor museums.
** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Me_163 Me-163 Komet]], a rocket-powered airplane that had a seven minute seven-minute flight time, flew too fast to effectively target bombers (its intended target), used two highly-corrosive fuels that spontaneously combusted upon mixing, desired or not. They also had a habit of spontaneously ''exploding'' if jarred too much by, say, a rough landing, and the thing flew so high that pilots were required to eat a special diet in order to reduce intestinal gas. No pilot ever scored more than one victory with it. It was also made of wood to keep the weight and costs down, and while it had wheels when it was going up, they broke away from the aircraft as it took off. What did you land with? ''A single skid''. The best part was that at this stage of the war, even flat runways were in short supply, so the pilots had to land them in bumpy, rocky fields. And since they turned into gliders to boot, they were completely defenseless from enemy fire. More pilots died trying to fly/land these things than in combat. Oh, and the engines were considered more valuable than the pilots. What does ''that'' tell you?
23rd May '16 5:27:32 AM Nautilus1
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** Most of the problems the Germans had with the above designs could have been averted if Hitler had diverted as much resources to logistics as he did to the sharp end. The most critical failure in this regard was the Nazis neglect of armored recovery vehicles. Most modern armies base their [=ARVs=] on the principle that "1 pulls 1": ie, 1 ARV is sufficient to recover 1 main battle tank. The Germans, due to a failure to update their designs, maintained recovery vehicles based on the Panzer IV chassis even as the ''Heer'' switched to Panthers, Tigers, and then on to Tiger IIs. It took ''five'' Bergepanzer [=IVs=] or three halftracks to pull a Tiger or ''Elefant'' out of action, even more for a Tiger II. In some senses, Hitler's neglect of logistics made ''the entire Wehrmacht'' AwesomeButImpractical.

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** Most of the problems the Germans had with the above designs could have been averted if Hitler had diverted as much resources to logistics as he did to the sharp end. The most critical failure in this regard was the Nazis neglect of armored recovery vehicles. Most modern armies base their [=ARVs=] on the principle that "1 pulls 1": ie, 1 ARV is sufficient to recover 1 main battle tank. The Germans, due to a failure to update their designs, maintained recovery vehicles based on the Panzer IV chassis even as the ''Heer'' switched to Panthers, Tigers, and then on to Tiger IIs.[=IIs=]. It took ''five'' Bergepanzer [=IVs=] or three halftracks to pull a Tiger or ''Elefant'' out of action, even more for a Tiger II. In some senses, Hitler's neglect of logistics made ''the entire Wehrmacht'' AwesomeButImpractical.
23rd May '16 5:26:32 AM Nautilus1
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* The famous German half-tracks for used for supply and as infantry armored cars all used the same ''[[GratuitousGerman Schachtellaufwerk]]'' type of chassis and track, only scaled up or down to their respective size. Unlike tank tracks, which were classic links held together by pins, in ''[[GratuitousGerman Schachtellaufwerk]]'' tracks designed to allow high road speeds all track links were fitted on needle bearings with individual sealing and lubrication. That makes ''a few hundred'' lubricated roller bearings for each vehicle, with expected costs and hardships when building them in large numbers. And all for no useful purpose, since there were strict orders to drive them at lesser speeds than possible anyway.
14th May '16 8:09:46 PM dinohunterpat
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* [[FirebreathingWeapon Flamethrowers]]. It was a highly weapon of WWI and WWII that can quickly torch infantry, bunkers, and vehicles. Not to also mention it has 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. 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 wasn't effective for long range engagements. Finally, the weapon couldn't be safely stored in such a way that it would explode it hit by an explosive or incendiary projectile. Even its psychological advantage has its own downside; since flamethrower users were so terrifying, they ''always'' get executed if captured.
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