"The first bullet missed, passing over Lennon's head and hitting a window of the Dakota building. Two of the next bullets struck Lennon in the left side of his back, and two more penetrated his left shoulder. Lennon, bleeding profusely from external wounds and also from his mouth, staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, saying, 'I'm shot, I'm shot'."..."As Lennon had been shot four times with hollow-point bullets (which expand upon entering the target and severely disrupt more tissue as they travel through the target), Lennon's affected organs were virtually destroyed upon impact. Lynn [the doctor who operated on him] stated: "If [Lennon] had been shot in the middle of the operating room with a team of surgeons ready to work on him, he wouldn't have survived his injuries'."
This is reputedly how the murder of the Russian monk Grigori Rasputin took place in 1916, giving the name to a trope here. It's said that he was given four poisoned cup cakes and a bottle of poisoned wine (which had no effect), then shot in the chest six times, castrated, wrapped up in a blanket and thrown into the deathly cold Neva river, and pushed under the ice, which he tried to claw himself out of. His cause of death was then reported as asphyxiation by drowning and hypothermia. As noted on Rasputinian Death however, these are myths instigated by his political enemies to make him seem like a semi-invincible force of evil. In reality, after he didn't eat the cakes and just sipped a a bit of wine, he was shot twice in the body and once in the head and died instantly.
Speaking of Rasputin, how about the family who took him in? After the Bolsheviks herded them all in a room, they read something to the Tsar about his crimes against the Russian people and what not, then opened fire. While the Tsar and Tsarina died near instantly, his children weren't exactly as lucky. Due to the fact that the children had hidden a huge amount of jewels in their clothing, which acted as armor. Cue the 20 minute long repeated stabbings and shootings of the children. Alexei was particularly hard to kill, despite his hemophilia; he was stabbed numerous times in the chest before being shot in the few times in the head. The girls suffered a similar fate, though it wasn't nearly as prolonged. One of the girls did have the wonderful pleasure of having Olga's brain matter splatter in her face before being knifed to death herself. Unfortunately, when they were hauling all 11 bodies (this includes a maid, their doctor, and such along with the family), one of the girls (either Anastasia or Maria) were still alive. She proceeded to sit up, cover her ears and scream wildly until several Bolshevik henchmen came over to finally shoot her dead. Then they drove the bodies to a mine shaft, stripped them, and then threw them all into the mine shaft. Unfortunately, the next day, word had gotten out that something had happened near the mine shaft, so later that night the Bolsheviks went back, got the bodies, and drove them to a more remote area where they proceeded to bash the Romanov corpse's skulls in so their faces wouldn't be recognizable, then tossed the bodies onto a burning pyre and doused them with acid.
To go along with Romanovs, Alexandra's sister Elizabeth was killed the next day. How so? Well, first they gathered her along with several prisoners and took them to another abandoned mineshaft, then proceeded to beat her and the prisoners. Then, they took everyone and pushed them down the mineshaft, throwing a grenade down there for good measure. Unfortunately, the grenade blast only killed one person. The reason they found out this only killed one person was because Elizabeth and the others began to sing a Russian Orthodox Hymn. Another grenade was thrown down, but the singing continued. Finally, the Bolsheviks decided to throw a bunch of brushwood into the shaft and set it alight. One guard was to stand by and watch this to make sure they were all dead. In early October, White Soldiers discovered the Bodies, and found that Elizabeth had managed to bandage one of those injured during the fall prior to her death. These were the bodies that were found (NSFW)◊. The Bolsheviks seem rather fond of overkill, now don't they?
Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow were both shot 25 times by a six man posse who shot a total of 130 rounds into their car. With nine police officers around the country killed at their hands, one can't be too careful.
They didn't even try to arrest them. Instead they hid at the side of a road they knew the pair would be driving down in their car and just opened fire from their automatic rifles and shotguns, and then kept firing with their handguns when the other weapons were out of ammo. After the shooting ended, the officers suffered from temporary deafness. Barrow seems to have been a believer of the rule himself, as reportedly the car was filled with enough weapons and ammunition to equip a small army.
They were considered too dangerous to be offered a chance to surrender and taken alive which was somewhat justified as Bonnie and Clyde would blast anyone that tried to stop them. Such was the case at Sowers, Texas in November, 1933 when Schmid, a Dallas Sheriff, called "Halt!" on the two who simply replied back with a smattering of gunfire and made a quick U-Turn to escape.
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, where a number of associates of Bugsy Moran's were obliterated in an apparent attempt on Moran's life (Moran was late leaving his hotel, so he wasn't there when it happened). Four hit men from Al Capone's organization showed up at the SMC Cartage warehouse, two of them in civilian clothes and two dressed as police officers. The "officers" ordered the seven people they found to line up against the wall. The two civilians then proceeded to rip everyone to shreds with M1928 Thompson submachine guns. Additional shotgun blasts were used to obliterate James Clark's and John May's faces. Then, to make it look like everything was under control, the civilians left with the "officers" prodding them with billyclubs. If you want a good idea of what it looked like, see this.
Some of the other gangsters active in 1933-1934 met very unfortunate ends like this:
Homer Van Meter, long-running associate of John Dillinger, was ambushed in St. Paul in August, 1934. Detectives chased him into an alleyway, and one of them shot him in the chest with a shotgun. As Van Meter struggled to stand, the police shot him fifty times with their pistols.
Baby Face Nelson, who died after his fatal shootout with Agents Herman Hollis and Samuel P. Cowley in Barrington. For the record, before Nelson was able to down Cowley and Hollis, Cowley fired a burst with a Thompson submachine gun that hit Nelson seven times, and Nelson was also shot five times in both legs (for a total of ten pellets in all) with Hollis's shotgun. Adrenaline accounts for his ability to live despite this, although he died about three to four hours after the shootout.
In Okinawan kama (sickle) fighting, one form involves you decapitating your foe and removing both arms before kicking him away, another form has you make multiple, disemboweling, bisections on the imagined foe. All in all, this is tame compared to Filipino knife fighting where it is part of the fighting style itself to keep slashing a foe until even if they are alive they won't be able to move.
"Even if a man were to have his head cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty." In the passage from the Hagakure from which this quote comes, Yamamoto Tsunetomo lists several examples of warriors who did just that before closing with the incredibly badass quote of: "With martial valor, if one becomes like a revengeful ghost and shows great determination, though his head is cut off, he should not die."
This is poetry meant to explain an ideal, not meant to be taken as literal truth.
To put this stuff to rest... The point of being taught to keep fighting past the point of theoretically winning is two-fold. Firstly, just because you do a beheading strike, doesn't mean that you cut a guy's head off. Maybe he dodges or blocks or has something protecting his neck. So you keep moving through the sequence and hit him someplace else immediately afterwards. That's why they teach katas and not just decapitation. Secondly, while it is certain that cutting a guy's head off will make him die immediately, if he was in the middle of a strike when you do it (which is pretty likely since people open themselves up during an attack) he maybe has enough momentum to stick a sword or a spear through some squishy part of your body. It's pretty unlikely but it genuinely can happen. If you keep your form and keep hitting him, you are alert to any possible pointy things and are likely to push him backwards instead.
More concisely, they teach you never to assume you have won just because it looks like it. If the guy's dead, then hitting him more doesn't hurt. If he's not, then you probably saved your life. It's the same reason why cops kick weapons away from people they've shot.
Army instructions: if you see a dead body but no reason for the death (no blood or visible wounds), you make sure the body is dead at range by shooting it. There is a problem with that, as shooting dead bodies is a crime, and pretending to be dead to attack is a war crime. Well, you could always poke them with a really long stick first.
It would be terrible if a corpse were to be hit by a ricochet or stray shot. If an enemy playing dead were to be hit in such a manner, then that is terrible.
As the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese had a nasty habit of doing, a dead body can still be booby trapped -with lots of kabooms. They tended to booby trap anything six ways from Sunday.
The final fate of the German battleship Bismarck in WW2. During its final battle, nearly every single piece of the vessel's superstructure was destroyed and at least one torpedo slammed into it. This was in revenge for the sinking of the British battlecruiser HMS Hood. Of course, if the Royal Navy had been a little more rational about it, she probably would have been sunk a lot sooner: closing to point-blank range meant that virtually none of their fire hit the Bismarck's hull. There is still some debate over whether or not the British actually sank the Bismarck, or if it sank due to German efforts to scuttle the ship.
It was between three and five torpedoes. And 2,876 shells ranging from 4 inch to 16 inch guns were quoted by British Captains to have been expendednote Military enthusiast forums claims "she withstood 2000-3000 shells", but they disregard the fact they were shells of all calibers, not just big guns. Battleships do not carry more than 100 rounds for each big gun.. And arguably they only caught her because one torpedo hit jammed her rudder. That torpedo came from a Fairey Swordfish that had tracked the Bismarck via the oil trail it was leaving, the trail itself being the result of a hit by the newly commissioned battleship Prince of Wales. Also, those numbers are excessive in that fewer than 3,000 shells of all calibres were fired, and only 300-400 actually hit, with just about 80 being of a calibre capable of inflicting real damage (14 inch and 16 inch). Robert Ballard's 1989 exploration of the wreck concluded maybe 3 large shells actually hit vital machinery: one boiler room hit from a 16 inch shell, at least one hit to the conning tower and one hit whcih started the explosion of an 150mm magazine.
It was also a big threat to the convoys supplying Britain with essential materials, so revenge wasn't the only motive.
Another bunch of battleship examples: Almost every Japanese battleship in World War II (especially the Yamato and Musashi)
In the same vein: German Battleship Scharnhorst, actually a battlecruiser, was a much larger threat to British shipping than the Bismarck ever was. After an extensive and bloody career alongside her sister ship Gneisenau, Scharnhorst was eventually singled out and sunk. It took the Duke of York (a main line battleship), four cruisers, and something like 18 destroyers 12 hours of constant shelling before Scharnhorst finally went down by the bow - all serviceable guns still firing and screws still turning.
A total of 55 torpedoes and 2,195 shells had been fired since first contact with Duke of York and her battlegroup. Fewer shells, but many more torpedoes than Bismarck soaked - And in less time.
"Gentlemen, the battle against Scharnhorst has ended in victory for us. I hope that if any of you are ever called upon to lead a ship into action against an opponent many times superior, you will command your ship as gallantly as Scharnhorstwas commanded today."
It must also be noted though, that Scharnhorst, like Bismarck, was seriously hurt in the opening phases of the battle when a lucky shot from a cruiser took out her radar, leaving her virtually blind.
The Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck was sunk in port by British Lancaster bombers using 12,000 pound Tallboy bombs. (That's a 12,000 pound bomb, not 12,000 pounds of bombs) Tirpitz sustained at least two direct hits from these bombs, and a disputed number (between 1-4) of near misses. Even the bombs which missed were powerful enough to create blastwaves in the water that damaged the ship. The Tirpitz capsized not long after, and the fires started by the Tallboys detonated the ship's magazine. Battleship or not, throwing no less than 36,000 pounds (and possibly over 50,000 lbs) of high explosives at any one target has to be some kind of overkill.
Most battleships were built around this premise, so it's hardly surprising it took a lot to kill them. The Yamato was the most impressive of the lot, with armour plating equal to the weight of the entire second-biggest battleship of the time, packing well over 100 anti-air turrets and nine major guns that could fire a shell weighing as much as a car 25 miles, with enough recoil that a British gun of similar size was noted for causing a rain of decapitated rivets all over the ship it was on. Its death involved hundreds of US planes and lasted nearly four hours, culminating in its ammo magazines exploding with a blast large enough to form a mushroom cloud.
The Tsar BombaH-bomb, designed to level cities from 10 kilometres away, with a design payload of 100 megatonnes. Tested at half yield (50 Mt) 4 kilometres over Novaya Zemlya island, it registered as roughly a Richter 5 on seismographs, broke windows in Finland, and could have caused third degree burns from 100 kilometres distance.
They removed the third fission stage (after the initial fission and the secondary fusion stage) by replacing the uranium 238 tamper with a lead tamper, deciding that they wanted to minimize the fallout, which would have been just as massive as the bomb itself, and on their own territory. If they had let it off at full yield, the Tu-95 that dropped it (on a parachute, from 6.5 km above its detonation altitude) wouldn't have survived...
As conventionals go, the Grand Slam is pretty impressive. Oh, sure, it's got nothing on the power of nukes, but then, it was never meant to compete with nukes.
Nuclear weapons in general, SF Debris compared using one on a city to killing a daddy long-legs with a stick of dynamite.
During Operation Praying Mantis in the 1980's, an Iranian frigate decided to challenge an American surface action group. Three American ships opened fire with guns and missiles. After multiple gun rounds and six Standard Missiles from the first two ships had impacted, the captain of the third ship decided that he would make sure and fired a Harpoon anti-ship missile. By the time it arrived at the frigate's location, there weren't any pieces of the frigate left floating that were large enough for the missile to lock onto.
Operation Paul Bunyan: the US military (in cooperation with the South Korean military) used 813 men, armed with everything from ax stocks to M-16s and grenade launchers, seven Cobra attack helicopters, multiple F-4s and F-5s, a B-52 (along with F-111s and an aircraft carrier on standby)...to chop down a tree.
The above is a case of It Makes Sense in Context since said tree's unique geographic position could've sparked a border conflict with North Korea; it kept one South Korean border post from being able to see another. The first attempt at tree chopping -trimming branches- ended with two American officers being hacked to death by North Korean troops. The operation was both an intentional show of force and a deterrent against any other such incident.
Antimatter is often used in theoretical bombs. The moment antimatter touches matter it reacts with it. To give you an idea of the power this would give, an Atomic bomb gives a little under 1% of every atom's potential power. The Antimatter/Matter reaction releases one hundred percent of the energy! (Granted, it's under 50% if you ignore the part that comes out as harmless neutrinos, but it's still one hell of a boom.) More evocatively, a single gram of antimatter annihilating with a single gram of matter will release twice as much energy as the 4,360 kg Fat Man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
Also, there's no theoretical limit on the size of an antimatter bomb. A regular nuke can only get so big before it will partly scatter its core and prematurely halt the chain reaction. This doesn't happen with antimatter, because even when the particles get blown apart, they will react just as explosively when they touch the surrounding air.
This isn't "real life" yet, but relativistic weapons are, in theory, inevitably overkill. Traveling at 85% light speed, any object will hit a target and explode with the power of an equivalent amount of antimatter. However, they're horrendously inefficient due to the energy needed to accelerate to such a speed. At even greater velocities, 99.999% light speed, the explosive force that would be added by any payload (even antimatter or a hypothetical "total conversion bomb") is meaningless.
In 2006, after killing a police officer, a Jamaican criminal named Angilo Freeland was shot sixty-eight times (out of a hundred ten rounds). When asked why he was shot so many times, an officer responded, "That's all the bullets we had."
A group of scientists recently performed some research involving shooting mosquitoes with lasers. They had a Schlock Mercenary poster up on the door: "There is no overkill. Only 'Open fire!' and 'I need to reload'." Appropriately, said poster has a huge musclebound soldier pointing a prodigious quantity of firepower at an insect.
The book Great Mambo Chicken & the Transhuman Condition describes some explosives enthusiasts designing a mock A-bomb to win a contest:
"They came back the next week with a device that would not only look like an A-bomb explosion, it would actually work like one... he took a two-hundred-pound lard can and put three pieces of primacord inside, looping them around so they completely covered the bottom. Then he poured the ammonium nitrate into the can, inserted sticks of dynamite all around the perimeter, and ran the primacord fuse up to a blasting cap on top of it all. The cap would fire the primacord, which in turn would set off the dynamite, which would crush the mass of ammonium nitrate until the necessary pressure was reached — a true implosion device, just like the atom bomb."
It's the pure embodiment of this trope, given the fact that it's practically a shotgun shell for tanks (120mm) loaded with approximately 1,150 tungsten balls each 10mm in diameter. Of course the video shows the result most clearly at the end. Admittedly it could be argued that the Bofors 40mm 3P round is good contender given the fact that each round explodes into 2500 fragments and pellets and that a standard burst consists of 5 rounds but a shotgun shell for tanks is still slightly more ludicrous.
Cross into fiction: in World War Z, infantryman Todd Wainio recounts the disastrous Battle of Yonkers and opines that against a horde of zombies (which are effectively mindless, shambling, but completely fearless infantry), these would have been far more appropriate than the armor-piercing rounds the officers had supplied the tanks.
Canister shot very definite useful applications. Artillery crews can use it to prevent enemy infantry from overrunning them should they get so close, tank crews even have a strategy where if enemy infantry is swarming one tank, attempting to attach an anti-tank charge perhaps, then the other tank can use its main gun with canister to give the other tank a "back scratch". The tungsten shot can't harm the armor of the tank, but it WILL harm the not-armor of the enemy all around it.
Not even a new concept - this was used in muzzleloader warfare back in the days of Tall Ships. Look up "grapeshot" (small iron balls about the size of a golf or tennis ball packed into a muzzleloader cannon as anti-ship's crew), "case-shot" (leather canisters filled with pistol balls, good against crew on-deck) and "chain shot" (two cannonballs connected by a chain, designed to topple masts).
When the SAS shot dead three IRA members in Gibraltar, one was asked at the subsequent inquest, "Why did you shoot him sixteen times?" His response? "The magazine only holds 16 rounds, sir."
A little background on this one (known to the IRA as 'The Murders on the Rock' or to the British as Operation Flavius). It was believed that the people in question had multiple remote detonators for the same bomb, and as the troopers decided that they would be better served being 'very sure' rather than 'pretty sure' that the people were dead. Yes, it transpired that they had no such thing, but that was the intel the guys on the ground were given, and they acted accordingly. The screw up was by someone at a way higher pay grade.
For those who don't know, even in ideal it's surprisingly hard to hit someone with a bullet in such a way as to be certain that they will be instantly killed or incapacitated. The SAS has a policy of "shoot until down" as a result.
Some probably saw the preparations for the first Desert Storm campaign this way, but Colin Powell's philosophy is basically this trope: either go in thoroughly prepared to win, or don't go.
Often more justifiable in real life than you might imagine. A gunshot wound, unless it strikes the central nervous system, won't guarantee an instant stop. A shot through a major artery or even the heart will take several seconds to physically incapacitate somebody. Police are generally trained to shoot until the threat ceases, not to fire some small number of rounds and wait for blood loss to take over. This, for example, is what Magnums were designed for: stopping power, and also why hollow points exist. They spread the force over a larger area, increasing the chance of hitting something vital. Also they tear a more ragged wound channel (including cutting with the sharp edges produced by the deforming bullet), increasing your chances of ripping up a major blood vessel and thus speeding shock and blood loss along. It also increases the chances of the bullet staying within the target body instead of penetrating out the other side, as jacketed bullets are known to do.
Stopping power has been proved to be a myth by the FBI. The massive trauma caused by a hollow point magnum round, however, is still very real.
The shooting of Amadou Diallo. 41 bullets fired, 19 hitting. The shooting started when Diallo reached for his wallet (he didn't speak English, and the officers reportedly believed he was reaching for a gun). The shooting continued because the force of the bullets propped Diallo up against the door, so he didn't fall until they stopped.
It would have an explosive yield roughly 100 times larger than a modern nuclear missile.
The plot of the final issue of Global Frequency centres around devices like these, which have been left unattended in space until their countdown is inadvertently started. Because they were America's last resort in case the nuclear deterrent failed, their control centre is fanatically defended, and capture of the centre destroys the ability to switch the rods off. Salvation of humanity depends on launching a man with a bomb at short notice to destroy the launch platform. Cue the ultimate choice - me or everyone else when the remote detonator fails.
There are smaller, conventional versions. In the 1960s and somewhat thereafter, when the British were looking into hypersonic combat aircraft, it was realised that kinetic heating makes it almost impossible to build a missile whose warhead and guidance electronics won't be cooked off by the heat. Fortunately, at those speeds the kinetic and thermal energy communicated to the target mean you don't need a warhead. By the 1980s it was realised that a GPS type system in the tail, where it's cooler, can be used to steer the weapon in a mach 5+ glide to its target.
This was used in the RPG Shadowrun, where they were called 'Thor Shots'. Essentially massive rods of metal fitted with engines and pointed downward from orbit to create explosions roughly equivalent to nuclear weapons but without the EMP effects.
This was quite real in the 1960s, and was called Project Thor. Nowadays these are called "kinetic kill" weapons, and include railguns.
Also used in Syndicate Wars, where the rods melted in mid-flight, causing a plasma rain.
It was also used in End War as the JSF superweapon, and we get to see it fired in the trailer. Now imagine if all those rods were fired all at once.
The Cobalt Bomb. Roughly 510 tonnes of cobalt would be needed, and due to wind and other factors, it probably wouldn't succeed in wiping out all life on Earth, but it'd come damn close. The only problem is how much it would cost... and possibly others not being entirely willing to just die.
The use of the M1 Abrams for urban warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan is seen as this, since the tank was designed to take on Soviet tanks en masse on open terrain, which they did easily on the beginning of both wars. Never mind a tank is much more vulnerable in a city than on open terrain.
On a Military Channel documentary about Desert Storm tank battles, one incident involved the gunner spotting an Iraqi Republican Guardsman about to fire an RPG at them right in front of him. Acting on reflex, the gunner took aim and fired. Keep in mind, he didn't switch to the machine gun first, this was with the tank's main gun. You can imagine the results.
Headshot. With a .50 caliber sniper rifle. (google image it but, needless to say, not for the squeamish and somewhat NSFW).
Quoted from a report on urban warfare, discussing the Battle of Aachen. The situation: American forces are under sniper fire from a fortified church steeple. "This position proved to be impervious to both small arms and 75mm tank destroyer fire, whereupon Daniel again called upon his 155mm artillery piece. One shot from the 155 brought the entire structure crashing to the ground. This use of a 155mm gun as an anti-sniper weapon is perhaps the epitome of 'Knock 'em all down.'"
Actually, artillery barrages are a common counter-sniper tactic. Sniper duels are inefficient, as snipers are expensive. Artillery is cheap.
An even better example occurred during the Battle of Normandy. When one American unit was pinned down by several German snipers, they called on the battleship USS Texas to give them a bit of 'suppressing fire'.
Sport example, Australia vs American Samoa in FIFA World Cup 2002 Qualification stage Oceania Zone in April 2001. Australia 'killed' American Samoa 31 - 0.
In rugby: By most points scored, New Zealand vs Japan at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, by 145 points to 17. Or by total shutout, Australia vs Namibia in 2003, 142-0.
Another sports example, the 1940 NFL Championship game featuring the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. The teams had met earlier in the season, with the Redskins winning 7 - 3. After the game, the Redskins owner called the Bears players "crybabies" and "quitters." So how did the rematch go? Chicago wins 73 - 0.
After the Sepoy rebellion, the British executed some of the captured rebels with cannons. For another execution method that is really overdoing it, see here.
One of the plans for eliminating Osama Bin Laden very likely came close to defining this: The airstrike would have involved 32 bunker-busting bombs to take out a single building (just in case there were any underground bunkers in the neighborhood). According to military estimates, the effect of the raid would have been similar to an earthquake on the surrounding city...something that made the US government a bit squeamish. (Source: The New Yorker)
The standard reaction of an untrained person armed with a gun is to completely empty a clip/magazine into an attacker and keep pulling the trigger. Similarly, the reaction with any other weapon is to keep hitting/stabbing/whatevering the other person. We're hardwired to want to make sure that that which is on the business end of our weapons is thoroughly dead. Our ancestors who didn't have that habit were killed by the big cat or bear or whatever it was that they figured was dead enough.
Not just humans, but many prey animals have a similar instinct. If that big cat or hyena or bear gets surrounded and overpowered by a herd of angry water buffalo or bison or elephants, they won't just kick it to death, they'll trample it over and over until the carcass is so much bone splinter-riddled hamburger.
In the German MMO Ogame they're much more severe. Specifically, 9999 days.
In a similar vein, the bans on the Something Awful forums can range from 6 hours to multiple types of bans (regular, autoban, or permaban) or a "permaprobation" which lasts 100,000 hoursnote or a little more than 11 years (arguably more severe than a regular ban, because you can just pay $10 to come back, whereas the 100,000 hour probation can't be circumvented).
During World War II, the British came up with the idea that to destroy hardened targets, they needed a really REALLY big bomb. What they got was the Tallboy, a bomb so big that during its design phase no existing bomber at the time could carry it. Even when the Tallboy was scaled down for production, bombers needed special modifications to carry them. However, the Tallboy was hideously successful since it destroyed its targets by creating man-made earthquakes. The Tallboy was so successful that once they had the capability to carry it, the British designed an even biggerbomb. Even better, the Tallboy was officially known as the Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb.
Lancaster MKIII could carry the 12,000lb Tallboy with the bomb bay doors removed. It was used on the Submarine pens in Leon and Brie. The "downscaled" bomb you're thinking of was the 4,000lb cookie that was carried in the Mosquito MkVIIIB as well as Lancasters, though the Lancaster could carry the cookie unmodified. The cookie was also a different type of bomb than the Tallboy. The Tallboy had only 3,000lb of explosives and could be fitted with a time delay charge, being designed to penetrate the ground of up to a depth of 130ft before exploding. It was used on the Tirpitz for its outstanding armor penetration and high explosive charge, and because Tirpitz's hiding place in a fjord meant that it was very well protected against torpedo attacks (torpedos being the preferred method for planes and small ships to sink large warships). Were the Tirpitz in the open sea, the Tallboy would have likely been ineffective against a ship at full steam, which would have ample time to change course and dodge the bomb, as American B-17s found while trying to bomb the Japanese fleet at Midway.
While most people are familiar with the Fat Man atomic bomb carried by Bockscar for the American attack on Nagasaki (the more famous aircraft Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy atomic bomb on Hiroshima), they may not realize that there were also a series of non-nuclear versions of the bomb, designed as training munitions (pilots had to learn how to aim the things somehow). The Pumpkin Bomb weighed as much as the Tallboy, and carried an explosive charge twice as big, to facilitate the bombs' designed use as an air burst warhead, flattening their targets beneath them rather than letting the terrain soak up the force.
Imperial Japanese Heavy Cruiser Kumano survived several attacks which would be considered fatal to most battleships. Her bow was blown off, she was targeted by several air strikes and American submarine wolf packs (one submarine ran aground trying to deal the Coup de Grâce), and finally sank at Santa Cruz after one more air strike. After she capsized, American planes strafed and bombed the surviving crewmen who had decided not to share her fate, though the Americans eventually ran out of bombs and bullets, having failed to kill most of the swimmers. Kumano was a ship of "nine lives," alright...
If the good old fly-swatter is not enough for you anymore, electrified ones are on sale. Not only do they swat bugs and jolt them to death, but if you charge them enough, they literally make them explode into dust.
On September 8, 1935, Dr. Carl Weiss shot Senator Huey Long with a gun (Long died in the hospital two days later). Long's bodyguards returned fire... 62 times. Considering they were armed with regular handguns, they likely had to reload before continuing to fill Weiss's body with lead. Being pissed that they failed at their jobs probably had something to do with it.
Recent news stories have revealed that China has begun issuing miniguns to local police forces, leading many Chinese to wonder just what the hell their police are expected to face that would warrant so much firepower.
The 2008 killing of Travis Alexander in Arizona: He had been shot in the face, his throat was slit from ear to ear, and he had been stabbed 29 times. Some are comparing Jodi Arias to Casey Anthony in terms of her "self-defense" plea.
Flamethrowers and Napalm are as simple as overkill can get. Blast someone with fires of 1,500-2,200°F and their body will either become completely charred over or reduced to ash and bones.
During the Battle of the Bulge, one American soldier recalled an event where he and the squad he was sent out to do recon with were pursued by an enemy Tiger tank. The tank followed them all the way back to the village the soldiers were garrisoned in and trapped them inside a house, though thankfully they escaped out the back. Still, the tank, thinking that the soldiers were still inside, stuck its main gun through the front door and fired at point blank range before leaving. That German tank crew must have been having a really bad day.
William Slim's task when building Fourteenth Army in Burma? Prove to his men that the Japanese were not unbeatable supermen. His solution? Attack platoons with battalions and tackle companies with brigade groups; i.e., a dozen-to-one odds. His response to complaints that this was using a hammer to crack a nut? Hey, it works!
Edward Teach, commonly referred to as the infamous pirate Blackbeard, was shot at least 5 times, was cut with a sword twenty times, and had his head chopped off and suspended from the ship! The head thing was so they could collect the reward, but still!
On Christmas Day, 1989, following their conviction by a Kangaroo Court, deposed dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were executed by firing squad. After they were lined up against the wall, the leader of the firing squad began firing more or less immediately rather than organising the firing squad first, and the other soldiers present quickly followed suit. Hearing the sound of gunfire, every soldier in the complex with a clear line of sight from their windows to the Ceaușescus also began firing on the couple, releasing a quarter-century of pent-up anger against the dictator and his wife. They were reportedly hit by over 120 bullets.
When Edward the 1st conquered Wales, he ensured its permanence by building 8 massive castles, among the most fantastic in the world, referred to by a historian as "an orgy of military architectural expression on an almost unlimited budget".
Near the end of the Cold War the Italian Army put a request for a new reconnaisance vehicle. What they got is the B1 Centauro, armed with a 105mm gun and the armour of a light tank (in fact the only difference with a typical Cold War-era European tank design is the fact it's faster and wheeled). Justified because it was also supposed to replace the old M47 Patton still in service, with the armour making it much more survivable than the usual jeep and the gun much more fearsome (as the Mahdi Army found out the hard way in Iraq when they were stupid enough to try and face the Italians in a straight fight).
During the Winter War in Finland, the Russian army launched artillery strikes in an attempt to kill one man. That man was Simo Häyhä, so this was fully justified. Not that it worked. The best they got was cutting his jacket with shrapnel.