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There Is No Kill Like Overkill / Real Life

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Whatever happens, we have got
the Maxim gun and they have not.
Hilaire Belloc

  • Malcolm X was murdered in 1965 in New York by a Sawed-Off Shotgun blast to the chest, and then was shot 16 times by handguns. Someone wanted to get the job done...
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  • This is reputedly how the murder of the Russian monk Grigori Rasputin took place in 1916. It's said that he was given four poisoned cupcakes 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. 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 bit of wine, he was shot twice in the body and once in the head and died instantly.
  • After the Bolsheviks herded the Romanovs in a room, they opened fire with their Nagant revolvers. 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 had 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) was 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 before chucking several hand grenades in, hoping that the mine would partially collapse and conceal their handiwork. 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.
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  • 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 that 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?
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  • Most people know that Joan of Arc died by immolation. What most people may not know was that Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, intended to prevent any possibility of a posthumous cult glorifying the Maid of Orleans by destroying any possible relics associated with her. Hence, Joan of Arc wasn't cremated once, but thrice: the first pyre killed her by suffocation; the executioner then took the time to show the audience that she indeed was dead. Then, another pyre was lit and kept going for several hours, which made her cranium and abdominal cavity explode, spattering the onlookers with bits of Joan's insides. Then, they lit up a third pyre, to which they added pitch and oil to burn the remaining organs (namely, the heart and entrails, moister than the rest of the body); the remaining ashes and bone leftovers were finally scattered in an unknown location. Ironically, Joan of Arc was canonised in 1920, actually creating some kind of "posthumous cult" for the Maid of Orleans.
  • Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow were both shot 25 times by a six-man posse who shot a total of 130 rounds into their car. According to firsthand accounts, the officers began shooting with automatic rifles (namely, the Colt Monitor, a civilian version of the BAR light machine gun,) and when the rifles ran out, they discarded them and drew shotguns, emptying them into the car. When those ran out, they drew their service pistols and began shooting into the car until it rolled off the road and stopped moving. With nine police officers around the country killed at their hands, one can't be too careful.
  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, where a number of associates of Bugs 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 hitmen from Al Capone's organization showed up at the SMC Cartage warehouse, two of them in civilian clothes (overcoats and fedoras) and two dressed as police officers. The "officers" ordered the five gangsters, one optician and one mechanic they found to line up against the wall. The two civilians then entered and proceeded to literally slam them against the wall with their tommy guns. After they finished, additional shotgun blasts from the fake policemen 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. Oh, and this was the aftermath, with some of the bodies an inch of skin away from being sawn in half, and blood, guts and bone pooling all over the garage floor. The force of the bullets somehow sent James Clark slamming into the floor and Pete Gusenberg jammed in a chair, broke a saw, perforated hundreds of bricks and caused massive collateral damage throughout. What's the most astonishing thing about is that one of the victims, Frank Gusenberg, actually lived for six hours despite being in horrific pain.
  • Some of the other gangsters active in 1933-1934 met very unfortunate ends like this:
    • Homer Van Meter, a 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.
  • 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. 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 Bismarck sank due to damage inflicted by the British, or if it was scuttled by her own crew.note 
  • German Battleship Scharnhorst, 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 mainline 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.
  • The Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck was sunk in port by British Lancaster bombers using 12,000-pound Tallboy 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. And that doesn't include the dozens of Tallboys that were dropped that did not score hits or near misses on Tirpitz (even with the best targeting devices of the day, high altitude bombing was not nearly as accurate as some other methods, but it was necessary as the Tallboy needed to be dropped from altitude in order to attain the speed needed for the penetrator to blow through heavy armour).
  • HMS Agincourt. This battleship was built in Britain for the Brazilian Navy. Before she was finished, she was sold to the Ottoman Empire, only to be seized by the British at the outbreak of World War I. The ship was built with 14 12-inch diameter guns, mounted in 7 turrets. No other battleship in history has mounted as many heavy guns as Agincourt.note  When she entered into service with the British Grand Fleet, there were fears that if she fired all her guns at once, the resulting force would cause her to capsize. When she fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, her captain decided to order full-gun broadsides against the enemy. When she fired a full gun salvo, "the resulting sheet of flame was big enough to create the impression that a battlecruiser had blown up; it was awe inspiring." Amazingly, no major damage was caused to the ship, although all the glass and table wear onboard was shattered by the force of the blast! The secondary armament was equally oversized, with 20 6-inch guns in single-gun casemates for protection against destroyers and torpedo boats; this gave Agincourt more such guns on one side of the ship than a typical battleship of the era had, total. Agincourt was fortunate to have never been hit by enemy shells, as all this firepower was paid for by having weak armor.note 
  • The Tsar Bomba H-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.
  • During Operation Praying Mantis in the 1980s, 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.
  • North Korea has been known to have people executed by antiaircraft gun, to make sure there's nothing left of the condemned.
  • In medieval and Renaissance Europe, the punishment for treason for men not of the nobility was: first hanging by short drop until the condemned could be cut down, then castratednote , then their organs torn out with hot pincers, and finally they would be drawn and quartered. Their heads would be cut off and placed on stakes; anything else left of their bodies afterwards was burned.
  • 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, the 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."
  • 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."
  • The shooting of Amadou Diallo. 41 bullets fired with 19 hitting him. 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.
  • Rods from God. It would have an explosive yield roughly 100 times larger than a modern nuclear missile.
  • 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 like 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.
  • Finnish Lahti-Saloranta L-39 anti-tank rifle used as a sniper rifle. While efficient as an anti-tank rifle in the Winter War, it became obsolete already during the interim peace for its intended use. But as it was accurate and had long range, the Finns found it a new life as a sniper rifle during World War II. It has iron sights, calibrated to 400 m, but it is accurate for sniping up to 1400 m distances. It was usually employed for anti-sniper action, but at least one Il-2 Shturmovik assault plane has been shot down with it. After WWII it has been successfully used as an anti-helicopter weapon.
  • Using battleship artillery to bombard enemy shore positions. Ships can bear far bigger and heavier guns than is possible to deploy on land, and 155 mm is the usual maximum caliber on ground force artillery. At sea, it is considered a light cannon. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraqi positions were terrified of the presence of scout drones because they came from said battleships; it meant those BFGs were about to be aimed at them with a pretty good chance of hitting.
    • Case in point: The USS Wisconsin on 15 March, 1952. While shelling railroad infrastructure along the North Korean coast, an NK 152mm artillery battery made the mistake of challenging the Wisconsin to a fight, bracketing the ship with shells and actually managing to score a direct hit on one of the ship's 40mm guns. Whatever elation they felt at hitting the ship, however, likely quickly turned to pants-shitting dread when the Wisconsin adjusted its course and replied to the attack with a full broadside of its 406mm main guns. After the North Korean artillery position had been replaced with a crater, the ship escorting the Wisconsin sent a signal lamp message to the battleship: "Temper, temper, Wisconsin."
  • Several of the weapons on this list seem to have been designed with this concept in mind. Some notable entries: Tyrannosaurus Rounds (the name should say it all), Varmint Grenades (note: using these against humans has been declared a war crime), and the punt gun (a 6 ft to 10 ft long shotgun firing one pound of shot that would likely give Wrex or Grunt wet dreams).
  • 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) A commando raid also had the benefit of being able to verify that Bin Laden was actually in the building, whereas obliterating it with bombs would leave open the possibility that he could slip out in between launching the strike and the bombs actually falling.
  • 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 bigger bomb. Even better, the Tallboy was officially known as the Bomb, Medium Capacity, 12,000 lb.
  • In the Second World War, the British needed to destroy a German train tunnel that went under a mountain. German engineers had proven themselves remarkably adept at undoing the damage dealt by saboteurs, so the RAF decided to send Lancasters armed with Talboy bombs to target, not the tracks themselves, but the mountain! Three bombs hit the mountain, and only one actually passed-through the tunnel, but the result was that the mountain collapsed, sealing the tunnel for the remainder of the war.
  • Retired nurse crushed to death after being run over by 3 vehicles
  • 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 popular 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. There's even a (disputed) theory that the bodyguards were the ones who actually hit Long, rather than Weiss.
  • 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.
  • Medium Atomic Demolition Munition (MADM), or if you would prefer: Nuclear Landmines. The name says it all. It's even the page image for Overkill on The Other Wiki.
  • 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.
  • The Punt Gun is a giant shotgun that was used for the harvesting of wild waterfowl for commercial purposes. In fact, it was SO effective at turning out large numbers of dead birds that the practice of Punt Gunning was banned in most of the U.S. around 1860 because stocks of wild waterfowl were significantly depleted to dangerously low levels.
  • 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 his squad were sent to do recon on German forces in the area and ended up getting pursued by a Tiger tank. The tank followed them all the way back to the village where the soldiers were garrisoned and trapped them in a house. While he and the squad escaped out the back door, 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.note 
  • 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!
  • Two examples from Romanian history:
  • This report released in March 2014 claims that the Navy SEALS who killed Osama bin Laden used over a hundred bullets to bring him down, likely the reason why the government refuses to release photos of his obviously mutilated corpse.
  • 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".
  • If one's trying to get rid of a spider in their house, there are certain ways to kill the spider. Then there's torching your house like this man in Seattle did.
  • An F-15E Strike Eagle scored an air to air kill during the first Gulf War against an Iraqi Hughes 500 helicopter (the basis model for the US military's OH-6 Cayuse and AH-6 Little Bird helicopters) on 14 February 1991. Using an LGB-10 laser-guided bomb. Confetti was all that remained of the helicopter.
  • A 2016 New Zealand documentary interviewed the police officers sent to investigate the Mt Erebus air disaster. Apparently, they were rather disturbed by birds that kept eating the bodies as they were being salvaged. They asked for help from the US base in Antarctica who sent them a Light Anti-tank Weapon! While the more gung-ho policemen were all set to fire it off, "wiser heads prevailed", as oxygen cylinders that were still hidden under the snow could have exploded. Eventually, the bodies were just reburied until they could be evacuated.
  • Using a Patriot surface-to-air missile to shoot down a quadcopter. For context: A Patriot is a Surface to Air Missile that travels five times the speed of sound designed to knock down ballistic missiles. The quadcopter reportedly cost $200 to buy from Amazon. Although the fact that the Patriot system could acquire and kill the quadcopter at all is actually pretty impressive due to how far outside its intended mission set such a small low-flying target is.
  • During The Vietnam War, the American forces were so desperate to take out the Viet Cong that they often utilized excessive firepower to get the guerrillas out of the jungle. Here's an attempt to kill one sniper, for example. Even more amazing, the sniper actually survived the barrage and escaped with his life.
    • To be fair, this has become standard procedure when dealing with suspected sniper nests after Simho Häyhä's reign of terror as the White Death during the Winter War. It eventually got to the point where the Red Army called in artillery strikes on places they thought he was hiding in to try and kill him. He survived those attempts, and continued to terrorize the Russians some more.
  • The Rayleigh bath chair murder in Britain during World War II. A soldier named Eric Brown was fed up with his disabled father's abusive treatment of his mother and himself. His reaction? Steal an anti-tank mine from an armoury and hide it in his dad's wheelchair. His father's nurse suffered leg injuries and bits of his father had to be recovered from several neighbourhood gardens.
  • The AIR-2 Genie. How do you bring down waves of incoming Soviet bombers? By sticking a nuke on a rocket and firing it in their faces.
  • In World War One there was a "Zone Call", which was a request for every available weapon of any calibre within range to fire at the maximum possible rate on a single grid square until anything within it was obliterated. That was reckoned to cost around a million pounds a minute (£55M in 2018 money). The proper use was for attacking large concentrations of enemy troops, but a Royal Flying Corps officer called one in to get rid of one antiaircraft battery and was court-martialed for the waste.
  • After a failed coup d'etat against the ruling d'Medici family, the patriarch of the rival Pazzi family was tortured, hanged, buried, dug up, thrown into a ditch, dragged through the streets and propped up at the door of Palazzo Pazzi, where the head was used as a door-knocker. From there the head was thrown into a river, fished out, hung from a willow tree, flogged, and then thrown back into the river.
  • Mexican revolutionary general Pancho Villa was killed instantly when he got hit with nine expanding bullets in the head and chest. Three of his four bodyguards were also killed during the shootout as well, leaving only one survivor.
  • Operation Paul Bunyan, where US and South Korea deployed engineers, security guards, backed by utility copters, artilleries, gunships and more to... cut down a 100-ft poplar tree. However, considering they were dealing with North Korea in response to the axe murder incident, it also doubles as Gunboat Diplomacy.
  • During the Decena Trágica, the death of Gustavo Madero (brother of the president Francisco I. Madero) was notorious for how gruesome it was. A mob of soldiers loyal to Victoriano Huerta threw him into a courtyard by insulting him, then kicking, slapping, punching, stabbing and caning him until his face was swollen by the beatings, where he was blinded from his remaining eye with a bayonet by one of them, while the other soldiers stabbed him with knives and swords, all while Manuel Mondragón watched with glee; once they had their fun, he was shot 21 times, and then the soldiers further defiled the corpse by ripping off organs out of it and throwing dirt and manure onto the remains of the corpse.
  • The B-52 Stratofortress was The Dreaded specifically because the crew tended to empty the entire payload onto the target. Please note that the B-52 is not a small plane: it's big enough to warrant eight jet turbines to even get it off the ground, and it has a payload to match. Such was its power that most commanders surrender en-masse when they even think there's one around...a reputation that goes as far back as Vietnam.
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