Top 10 Failed Military Inventions

Simply, a military invention is one that was invented by the military in order to improve and advance certain military tactics, missions, or overall existence. Today, many of the most common military inventions, such as the GPS or Internet, or used by civilians as well.

When thinking about military inventions, you probably think about things such as high-tech military airplanes like the Stealth bomber, nuclear bombs, ballistic missiles, night vision, the Humvee, and many others. All of those inventions have been pretty much successful in their use. However, there have been inventions that the military has come out with that just don’t work at all. Whether it’s the U.S. Military or Japan’s, some inventions just haven’t worked. Here is a list of ten failed military inventions.

10. Corkscrew Tank

Invented by the Russians, the corkscrew tank was created in order to make its way across rough, rocky, and harsh terrain. The vehicle was able to maneuver across terrain such as snow and ice, which is common in Russia and proved to be somewhat profitable. While it was able to do some of the things it was designed to do, it had many downsides. For one, because of the extremely large corkscrews used, the tank wasn’t able to move across decent terrain. Also, it was heavy, which made it very slow, and it lacked suspension and safe steering.

9. One-Wheel Tank/Ball Tank

Another military invention on the list invented by the Germans, the one wheel tank was made in order for one man to be able to utilize two machine guns while being inside of a heavily armed sphere. However, this invention never made it out of prototype. In all reality, there is no way this invention would have proved helpful to any military member. Though it had a stabilizing wheel, it have great balance. Steering may have also been a problem, though there was a wheel that was shifted side to side by the man inside of the sphere. It is said that the ball tank was able to go fairly fast for an invention of its time.

8. Scooter-mounted Cannon


Used by the French during Vietnam, this vehicle was put together when the French military was lacking the money to provide more sophisticated equipment. They used what they had and often had to improvise in order to try to keep the military equipped. The scooter-mounted cannon was a scooter like vehicle that held a 75mm cannon. The vehicle was mainly used by paratroopers during the 1950s. However, it’s safe to say that this didn’t last long, as it surely offered no type of protection or even stability during war.

7. Focke-Wulf Triebfluegel

At the beginning of time, no one could ever imagine being able to fly through the air. However, with no less than genius inventors, it has become a thing of the past in our world. Backing up a little in time, during WWII the Germans were able to create a working helicopter. Though the aircraft was able to get off the ground, get to point B from point A, and land properly, the Nazis seemed to want more. To add more to their invention, they began to use ramjet engines. The Focke-Wulf Triebfluegel soon became useless as it was much too hard to land it with rockets strapped to the propeller blades.

6. Puckle Gun

The Puckle Gun was created by James Puckle who was a writer and lawyer from London. He created what he called the “Defence Gun” while others deemed it the “Puckle Gun.” No matter what you want to call it, this gun didn’t go far. First made in order to fire against Christian enemies and later to fire upon Muslim Turks, the Puckle Gun was never able to do its task. Created with a tripod-mounted, single barreled flintlock with a multishot revolving cylinder, the gun was able to shoot 63 shots in 7 minutes, compared to the more common three shots per minute, which was standard on the soldier’s musket. The Puckle Gun drew few investors and never achieved mass production or sales to the British armed forces, mostly because British gunsmiths at the time couldn’t easily make the many complicated components.

5. Cybernetic Walking Machine

The cybernetic walking machine seems like something you’d find out of a true sci-fi movie. It was an experimental quadruped robot that was tested in 1968. It was designed by a man named Ralph Mosher and the machine was supposed to allow the infantry to carry weapons over extremely tough terrain. The robot was controlled by a human through the use of foot and hand movements. There was use of hydraulics, but sadly the robot never went into production. However, the prototype can be found at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in VA. This robot weighs about 3000lbs and is only able to go up to 5mph.

4. Russian Tsar Tank

The Russian Tsar Tank literally resembles those bikes you’d see with one huge tire and one small one – a tricycle design. For some reason the Russians thought that this was somehow a safe and usable defense in war. There isn’t any proof that it was ever used during a battle however. In any case, the tsar tank seemed to have stayed in the testing stage. The huge wheels were intended to cross significant obstacles. However, due to miscalculations of the weight, the back wheel was prone to be stuck in soft ground and ditches, and the front wheels were sometimes insufficient to pull it out. This led to a fiasco of tests before the high commission in August 1915. The tank remained in the location where it was tested, some 60 kilometers from Moscow until 1923 when it was finally taken apart for scrap.

3. Charles de Gaulle

 The Charles de Gaulle is probably the most recent invention on this list. Though not a new invention, it was supposed to be an aircraft carrier that used new and improved technology; however, it has proven to be anything but. It was first made in 1986 and weighed about 40,000 tons. It cost over four billion dollars and the French truly believed it would be the next best thing. She is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the first and only nuclear-powered carrier built outside of the United States Navy. However, this aircraft carrier was much slower than the one it was meant to replace, which ran on steam. The propellers didn’t work right and the company who produced them went out of business. The engine and nuclear reactor were poorly built and incorrectly installed causing exposure to radiation. The deck was also designed wrong and was not usable as a means to defend the ship.

2. Rocket Belt

The rocket belt was made in order to allow a soldier to travel safely over a very small distance. It can be compared to a leap. The rocket belt was created in the 1960s and seemed to be promising. During October 1961, the pack was demonstrated personally to President John F. Kennedy in the course of exponential maneuvers on the military base Fort Bragg. However, come the mid -1960s, the military was no longer interested in the rocket belt. Because of its short range, the military didn’t see much use for it. The maximum duration of flight of the rocket pack was 21 seconds, with a range of only 120 m. The military also lost interest in this invention as jet and other aircraft technology was advancing rapidly during this time.

1. Flying Aircraft Carrier – USS Macon/USS Akron 

The flying aircraft carrier was first crafted by German engineers in the early 1930s. Prague-born engineer Dr. Karl Arnstein of Ohio was the one who built the aircraft which took its first flight in April 1933. The first was called the USS Macon and later, the USS Akron, a sister ship, was built. They were both blimp-like and not shaped like today’s aircraft carriers. The USS Macon was able to carry five F9C “Sparrowhawk” airplanes that could be launched as well as retrieved during flight. Following a highly damaging event during 1934 due to flying too high of an altitude over Arizona, the USS Macon crashed on February 12, 1935 due to a structural failure during a storm.

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