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The super weapons that didn't exist

16.04.2012  |  12:30

At all times people tried to make an impression on their sworn enemies. They did it in different ways, for example, spreading rumors of miraculous super-weapons they allegedly intended to produce. Parades, uniforms, photographs of monstrous cannons - it became a powerful weapon to influence the minds of mankind

At all times people tried to make an impression, especially on their sworn enemies. They did it in different ways, for example, spreading rumors of miraculous super-weapons they allegedly intended to produce.   The Spartans dressed their soldiers in red tunics and cloaks on which their red blood was not visible, and this earned them the reputation of invincible warriors. Huge storm tower often caused terror to the besieged and forced them to surrender. The Mongol horsemen that invaded Russia dressed in Chinese silk and carrying expensive Chinese weapons were perceived by Russian soldiers as heroes. Parades, magnificent uniforms, photographs of monstrous cannons in magazines and corresponding articles - in late 19th and early 20th century it became a powerful weapon to influence the minds of mankind.

It is the dissemination of information, though not always reliable, that often gave a country moral ("we are better because we are more talented and stronger"), and hence, political superiority over the enemy. For example, such was the "trench Destroyer" that appeared in the United States on the cover of the popular science magazine "The Electrical Experimenter" in February of 1917. The author might have come up with it being impressed by a Ferris wheel he saw at a fair or amusement park, or, perhaps, the first agricultural wheeled tractors. Yet, his machine was simply awesome: maximum offensive power with seemingly maximum protection of the crew. However, he did not put any thought in designing the way this machine would be transported to the battlefield, or how the crew will be firing from the cabin, swaying at the axis of the Ferris wheel.

But the magazines with such pictures on the covers were sold, and the artist's effort was certainly rewarded. In addition, people were convinced that the United States had capable engineers and believed in their country. As early as 1905 in Germany,

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a patent on a tank in the form of armored ball with the side tabs for guns and machine guns was registered. It has never been made. However, the idea was seriously discussed in the U.S. magazine Popular Science in 1936.

In line with this project, the tank was to consist of the fixed inner sphere and two rotating outer hemispheres with developed grousers. Its armament consisted of three machine guns: one looking forward, two - in the turrets at the ends of the hemispheres, and a zenith. The engine exhaust was assumed to be in the space between the shells, but in place of ventilation inside the "tank" it was quite seriously planned to place oxygen cylinders. Yet, at a first glance, the tank in the picture looked quite workable and again evoked the idea that the taxpayers were not giving money to the state for nothing. Once the engineers were working on such projects, it meant the US would have no problems.

   However, all these projects were inferior to the "electro-tank" that seems to be developed in 1935 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For driving on the highway, it would have wheels, but for moving cross country for some reason the designers chose the perpetual screws. This alone should have alerted people, because no tanks put into service before this had screws.

But this way the tank looked more impressive.   But, more importantly, the "tank" impressed with its weapons. It was not a gun, not a machine gun, and not even a flamethrower, but a generator of electrical discharges of Van de Graaff.   Inside the ball there was a separate operator's cabin, which had at its disposal a fountain with plenty of water in a special tank.

When a stream of water was directed at the opponent, immediately after it was hit with an artificial lightning discharge of the hundreds of millions of electron volts, that literally incinerated all wet and alive. Other crew members were engaged in a diesel engine of this "super-tank" and had to manage it. Van de Graaff was able to create a generator with the capacity of seven million volts. It was certainly an impressive size, only the designers did not succeed in increasing the range of water cannons, which prevented the Americans from building it. Popular Science magazine wrote in 1940: "In Los Angeles an experimental model of a giant armored car was built, armed with two six-inch guns in rotating armored turret. This mobile fortress is equipped with thick armor to protect it from shells and bombs.

Special efforts are made to protect the machine. Its specially designed tires can travel at speeds of nearly 105 kilometers per hour. While shooting, the turret rests on the ground by means of hydraulic supports.

These armored cars can cover an unprotected area in one night with a net of "forts", equipped, other than with six-inch guns, with heavy machine guns. The "Traveling fort" was tested in the U.S. Army for four months. ". Tested, but with no results, despite the fact that all the fighting qualities of this "super-tank" were wonderful. But in reality, nothing like this existed, and could not exist at that level of the development of military technology.

Yet, the trusting reader of that time thought it was possible. They thought that the U.S., being the world's most advanced automotive power in the birthplace of skyscrapers, could build any fighting machine.   Interestingly, it was the same principle used by the American media to present the Reagan's program "Star Wars", scaring us with "binary gas", "neutron bomb," military lasers and other "horrors", although almost all of this in the end turned out to be phony. It appears that binary munitions were developed in order to increase the retention period, and greater security for its own troops.

In addition, later chemical weapons were prohibited.   The "Star Wars" program cannot be implemented, because even if all its components are created, frequent launch of units into space would destroy the entire ozone layer over the United States. A "neutron bomb" is purely an anti-tank vehicle, moreover, today deprived of the appropriate carrier.

That means that nothing that the Americans for many decades threatened the world with was implemented in practice. Yet, people were afraid, and the state budget revenues were spent not to lag behind. Vyacheslav Shpakovsky Pravda.Ru  Read the original in Russian.



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