Our team took votes on our top 5 creative weapons.
Paleontologists date the invention of bows and arrows in the Paleolithic period, about 71,000 years ago. Based on archaeological evidence of arrowheads and cave paintings, they assume that prehistoric men used bows and arrows to hunt. Originally a tool developed in hunter-gatherer societies for the provision of food and sustenance. However, it would be thousands of years later when men began to fight among themselves, and for the purpose of war. The invention of the bow and arrow added precision to hunting. Whereas other weapons, like spears or blades, showed lethality, the bow and arrow allowed prehistoric hunters to kill from a distance.
Did you know that elephants were the first weapons of mass destruction? In the search for ever more impressive and lethal weapons to shock the enemy and bring total victory the armies of ancient Greece, Carthage, and even sometimes Rome turned to the elephant. Huge, exotic, and frightening the life out of an unprepared enemy they seemed the perfect weapon in an age where developments in warfare were very limited. Unfortunately, impressive though they must have seemed on the battlefield, the cost of acquiring, training, and transporting these creatures, along with their wild unpredictability in the heat of battle, meant that they were used only briefly.
The history of the tank begins with World War I, when armored all-terrain fighting vehicles were introduced as a response to the problems of trench warfare, ushering in a new era of mechanized warfare. Though initially crude and unreliable, tanks eventually became a mainstay of ground armies. By World War II, tank design had advanced significantly, and tanks were used in quantity in all land theatres of the war. Later, the Cold War saw the rise of modern tank doctrine and the rise of the general-purpose main battle tank. The tank still provides the backbone to land combat operations in the 21st century.
Warfare has never been the same since the invention of the airplane. Aircraft have been a fundamental part of military power since the mid-20th century.
Generally speaking, all military aircraft fall into one of the following categories: fighters, which secure control of essential airspaces by driving off or destroying enemy aircraft; bombers, which are larger, heavier, and less-maneuverable craft designed to attack surface targets with bombs or missiles; ground-support, or attack, aircraft, which operate at lower altitudes than bombers and air-superiority fighters and attack tanks, troop formations, and other ground targets; transport and cargo planes, big-bodied craft with large amounts of interior space for carrying weapons, and troops over long distances; helicopters, which are rotary-winged aircraft used for ground support, for transporting assault troops, and for short-distance transport and surveillance; and unmanned aerial vehicles, which are remotely controlled or autonomously guided aircraft that carry sensors, target designators, electronic transmitters, and even offensive weapons.
The invention of the gun revolutionized the battlefield. From swords and spears at close range, to open carnage from a distance. Historians estimate that as early as 850 A.D., alchemists in China stumbled upon the explosive properties of gunpowder while seeking an elixir of life. Thanks in part to the Silk Road and adventurous traders like Marco Polo. By the 13th-century ancestors of the modern firearm had spread from Asia to Europe. They further developed as weapons in the form of matchlock, wheel lock, and flintlock firearms.
By the time early colonists arrived in America in the 15th century, firearm design had advanced significantly. The weapons routinely included in journeys to the New World. Among the firearms commonly associated with the early colonists was the German-made blunderbuss. An early version of the shotgun that featured a flared muzzle and a broad opening at the top. This made for faster and easier loading. Technology progressed rapidly with both World Wars as an innovation catalyst. We are now in the age of the automatic rifle in which the battlefield will never be the same.
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