The Greatest Ever Weapons
The Quirky, The Deadly and the Real Basics
Since the dawn of time man has demonstrated great innovation when it comes to ways of killing and maiming a fellow human. Inventing ways to kill each other is as old as time. What do you think of when it comes to weapons: swords, daggers, knives or batons. Perhaps you think of older weapons like the pike, the battle axe, a halberd or a mace. Maybe newer weapons like guns or the latest tazer, they all achieve the same thing, unless you are a collector.
No 10. Katana Sword.
The 5 foot long slicing sword that was the centre-piece of an entire warrior class for a thousand years. The Katana is the classic Samurai sword associated with the, almost mythical, warrior from the east.
This sword is perfectly capable of cutting a man from his neck right through his body to his groin with a single blow. The characteristic curved, single-edged blade of the Katana first appeared around 900 A.D. and in the hands of the Samurai, this sword came to represent the essence of the warrior mind-set. An instrument of violence and martial philosophy
No. 9. Walther PPK
The Walther PPK is very much a cult weapon, this gun emerged in 1931 designed as a concealed weapon for the German police, it was rapidly adopted by various secret services. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was in British Naval Intelligence and knew of the PPK's reputation.
It is the culmination of years of development, packed into one concealable, light-weight, semi-automatic pistol. The PPK's claim to fame include a fool-proof safety system, which is nice to know if you're going to be tucking one into your pants. The PPK was also the first, successful, double-action semi-automatic weapon.
No. 8. The Pike
The Pike has faded in and out of history several times over the past 2,500 years. The Pike goes back to the times of Alexander the Great. The Pikes claim to greatest ever status, is it's enormous tactical impact when used in massed ranks combined with a simple training regime.
In days gone by, where you had large peasant armies, you can train those individuals to be quite a ferocious pike squad in a relatively short space of time. The pike square was the basic tactical formation for pike men. Renaissance armies typically had up to 400 men arranged in this way.
No. 7. Arquebus
Blasting it's way to prominence in the Battle of Pavia in 1525 the Arquebus became the bench-mark for an entire species of guns whose basic design persisted until the 19th century. Gary Bate, a medieval gunsmith describes the arquebus "It fires round soft lead balls at a muzzle velocity of about 1,000 feet per second which will, at 50 yards, penetrate about 3mm of steel plate.
Early guns were crude, fired from the waist and ignited like a firework. By comparison, the arquebus was a revolution, it provided wooden stock, shaped to allow it to nestle into the shoulder which now meant that you could aim the gun.
No. 6. War Boomerang
We all know the boomerang as an amusing toy but, the returning boomerang has an altogether more blood-thirsty use. It's easy to dismiss the boomerang as a quaint Australian weapon system that has no relevance, but it's hugely important because it goes back to the dawn of history and has an equivalent in most civilisations around the world.
In Scotland, Richard Ogilvy makes authentic boomerangs using, as far as possible, the original Aboriginal woods and methods.
No. 5. Thompson Submachine Gun
The Thompson was the first submachine gun, fired from the hip with a spray of bullets all around. It became so iconic that almost any submachine gun gets called a Tommy Gun. A submachine gun shoots smaller bullets than a regular machine gun which makes it more compact and lighter and can be carried by an individual soldier rather than the two-man operation of it's big brothers.
The Tommy Gun enjoyed it's finest hour in the hands of allied forces during the 2nd World War. The use of a 45 calibre pistol round is the key to the Thompson's success
No. 4. Barret M82
In Iraq this weapon has proved invaluable, both in open terrain and in urban fighting and it's awesome power had guaranteed the Barret a place in the arsenals of the world's elite forces. The Barret shoots a 50 calibre round, a very large bullet, which is effective at very long range. An accurate kill can be made at up to 2km.
A sniper using the Barret will target not only people, as the 50 calibre makes it very effective against vehicles and other equipment too. Crucial to the accuracy of the Barret it it's floating barrel design.
No. 3. The Longbow
Tom Clancy points out that "The Longbow is an elegant weapon but very difficult to master and you need arms like Schwarzenegger to draw it". An arrow from a full-size Longbow weighs 3oz and when released it will be doing 193 feet per second. Just pulling the string of a maximum strength longbow is equivalent to lifting your own body weight.
The timber of the ewe tree is ideal for making a longbow as it is dense, strong and very springy. In medieval times, the obvious defence against the longbow was armour and the heavier the armour became the bigger the longbows became.
No. 2. Kalashnikov AK47
Probably the most recognisable firearm in use around the world. The Kalashnikov AK47 is an icon. It is an easy gun to use. Someone with no previous experience could pick this up and, after ten minutes instruction, use it effectively. With perhaps 100 million of these guns on the planet, this is a gun with a mandate. The pride of the Russian arsenal has found a home in the most unlikely place - Las Vegas where it's latest incarnation is manufactured.
When Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov invented the AK47 he was a hunble tank commander emerging from the devastation of World War II. Five dacades of manufacture mean that over 50 armies now use the AK47 and crucially, the basic design remains consistent.
No. 1. Man
It's easy to forget that your mind and body are weapons in themselves. Most soldiers, on the battlefield, when they run out of ammunition and other weapons are left with hands, feet and brain-power. Soldiers are routinely trained in unarmed combat. All societies have come up with systems of unarmed combat. Martial arts evolved at a time when there were no weapons. Top of the list of martial arts is Wing Chung which was Bruce Lee's original fighting style.
Man! The Greatest Ever Weapon!
CREDITS: All of the above information was taken from the UK's Channel Five "Greatest Ever" documentary series.