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History
Weapons

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Tanks
Gas
Nuclear Weapons
Other

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Weapons

Tanks

Named after the disguise under which they were shipped to France during World War I; also nicknamed (in WWI) 'Big Willies' and 'Little Willies' Click to show or hide the answer
Conceived and proposed the development of the tank in 1914 Click to show or hide the answer
Battle at which tanks were first used (1916) Click to show or hide the answer
Battle at which tanks were first used in large numbers (Nov 1917 – First Battle of) Click to show or hide the answer
Challenger, Chieftain and Churchill tanks: manufactured by Click to show or hide the answer
Name (after a Union general in the American Civil War) given to the US–built M4 tank – originally by the British army (known to its crews as the Ronson, and to their German adversaries as the Tommy Cooker – on account of its tendency to burst into flames when its ammunition store was hit) Click to show or hide the answer

Gas

The first gas to be used on a large scale in warfare (by the Germans at Ypres, April 1915) – a by–product of the dying industry; also known as bertholite Click to show or hide the answer
First used by the French in 1915: formula COCl2; more deadly than chlorine, but slower to act. Said to smell of new–mown grass or hay, or may blossom. Also used in large quantities by the Germans, it caused 85% of the 100,000 gas casualties in WWI Click to show or hide the answer
First used by the Germans in July 1917 (prior to the Third Battle of Ypres): causes blistering and bleeding, both internal and external; settles to the ground and remains effective sometimes for months. Formula C4H8Cl2S Click to show or hide the answer

Nuclear Weapons

For the use of atom bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, see World War II: Miscellaneous.

The difference between an atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb is that an atom bomb works by fission, while a hydrogen bomb works by fusion and is much more powerful.

City in New Mexico, near which the first atom bomb test took place on 16 July 1945 Click to show or hide the answer
Code name of the first atom bomb test (part of the Manhattan Project) Click to show or hide the answer
Atoll in the Marshall Islands where the first hydrogen bomb test took place on 1 November 1952 Click to show or hide the answer
Code name of the first H bomb detonation (part of Operation Ivy) Click to show or hide the answer
Limited Test Ban Treaty bans the testing of nuclear weapons everywhere except underground Click to show or hide the answer
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty bans the testing of nuclear weapons in all environments including underground Click to show or hide the answer
US air–launched nuclear missile, developed during the late 1950s; the UK joined the programme in 1960, and intended to base its entire deterrent on it, but the USA unilaterally cancelled it in 1962, leading to a major disagreement Click to show or hide the answer
US–built, submarine–launched nuclear missile, in service 1960–94; also used in the UK, but with UK–made warheads Click to show or hide the answer
Royal Navy nuclear submarine class, built to carry Polaris missiles; in service 1968–96 Click to show or hide the answer
British medium–range nuclear missile, and later the first stage of the Europa satellite launch vehicle; tested at Woomera (Australia), and in French Guiana, but cancelled in 1972 without entering full production Click to show or hide the answer
US long–range nuclear missile: first deployed in 1979, used by the UK since 1994; the UK's only nuclear weapon system, since 1998 (when its tactical free–fall bombs were decommissioned) Click to show or hide the answer
Royal Navy nuclear submarine class, introduced in 1994 to carry Trident Click to show or hide the answer
Royal Navy nuclear submarine class (previously known as Successor class), announced in 2016 to succeed the Vanguard class and to carry the latest version of the Trident missile Click to show or hide the answer

Other

Herbicide and defoliant most widely used by US forces in the Vietnam war (agents purple, pink, green, blue and white were also used) Click to show or hide the answer
Short stabbing spear used by Zulus Click to show or hide the answer
Attached to a belt, when not in use (and in its scabbard), by a frog Click to show or hide the answer
Famous anti–aircraft gun, named after the Swedish company that manufactured it Click to show or hide the answer
Arrow in a crossbow Click to show or hide the answer
The part of a gun behind the barrel or bore Click to show or hide the answer
Nickname of the flintlock musket that was standard issue in the British Army 1722–1838 Click to show or hide the answer
Indicates a weapon's size by the diameter of the ammunition or bore Click to show or hide the answer
Two–edged sword traditionally used by Scottish Highlanders (literally "big sword") – gave its name to an anti–personnel mine used by US forces in Korea and Vietnam Click to show or hide the answer
Officially the Single Action Army, a.k.a. The Peacemaker – first produced 1873 Click to show or hide the answer
Cannons were first used by English troops (1346) Click to show or hide the answer
An arbalest was a type of (mediaeval) Click to show or hide the answer
Bren gun originated in Click to show or hide the answer
19th century US gunsmith: invented a small, short–barrelled pistol with a short bore; his name became a byword for the smallest usable handgun of any given calibre – also known as a pocket pistol or palm pistol Click to show or hide the answer
Type of bullet named after a place in India Click to show or hide the answer
French–built anti–ship missile, used to great effect by the Argentine navy in the Falklands conflict (sank both HMS Sheffield and the Atlantic Conveyor). Name comes from a French word for a flying fish Click to show or hide the answer
The best–known forerunner of the machine gun: invented in 1861, first used by Union troops at the siege of Petersburg during the American Civil War. Used a rotating barrel, but this wasn't new; its innovation was the gravity–fed reload. Not truly automatic as it had to be cranked. (cf. Maxim gun) Click to show or hide the answer
Anti–personnel ammunition used in cannons in the 18th century – typically a mass of loosely packed metal slugs, loaded into a canvas bag Click to show or hide the answer
Type of cannon, with a short muzzle and a steep angle of fire: named in the 16th century from the German word for a stone–sling Click to show or hide the answer
Designer of the AK–47 assault rifle Click to show or hide the answer
Distinctive curved knife used by Gurkhas Click to show or hide the answer
Standard model of rifle used in the British army from 1895 to 1956; bore .303 Click to show or hide the answer
Machine gun, named after its US inventor, but perfected and mass–produced in the UK, and widely used by British and Empire troops in both world wars, and also in Korea Click to show or hide the answer
The first truly self–powered machine gun (used the recoil from each round to load the next); US–born British inventor, 1884. First used in numbers in the Russo–Japanese war of 1904–5; by WWI it had been improved upon (cf. Gatling gun) Click to show or hide the answer
Popular name for the standard hand grenade used by the British army, 1915–72 (after its designer) Click to show or hide the answer
Bombard kept at Edinburgh Castle – dates from the 15th century, in the time of James II, although its early history is uncertain. Retired from active service in the 1540s, after which it was used only for ceremonial purposes. Last fired in 1681 to celebrate the birthday of the future James II of England, when the barrel exploded; taken to the Tower of London in 1754, returned to Edinburgh Castle in 1829 Click to show or hide the answer
Mounted guns, cannons, artillery: generic term Click to show or hide the answer
Bolt action, lever action, pump action: types of Click to show or hide the answer
The Chassepot — famously used in great numbers by French forces in the Franco–Prussian War of 1870–1, and named after its inventor — is a type of Click to show or hide the answer
A 'baton round' is the official military term for a Click to show or hide the answer
Soviet tactical ballistic missile, achieved notoriety in the West when used by Iraqi forces during the first Gulf war Click to show or hide the answer
The pelter (used by Roman soldiers) was a type of Click to show or hide the answer
Inventor of a shell containing musket balls, 1803, designed to maximise enemy casualties (British army officer) Click to show or hide the answer
The USA's largest manufacturer of handguns; founded 1862, based in Springfield, Massachusetts; also known for its wide range of ammunitions Click to show or hide the answer
British submachine gun, introduced 1941 and in widespread use until the 1960s; name is derived from the initial letters of the surnames of its designers (Reginald Shepherd and Harold Turpin) and the first two letters of the location (Enfield) of the Royal Small Arms factory where it was made Click to show or hide the answer
Jet–powered flying bomb, first used by the Germans against London June 1944 (one week after D–Day); said (by Wikipedia) to be the first cruise missile. Nicknamed the buzz–bomb or doodlebug Click to show or hide the answer
The world's first long–range ballistic missile, and the first modern rocket; developed 1930–4 by Wernher von Braun; first successful test flight October 1942; first used against Paris and London in September 1944. Over 3,000 were eventually used – mainly against Belgium (particularly Antwerp) and Great Britain (London) Click to show or hide the answer
"The gun that won the West" Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017