Unfathomable, destructive and causing irreparable damage, these war machines have changed the course of history over time. Today we live in a nuclear age where even a small mistake can result into the ruination of a beautiful world. Look at the massive weapons employed in battles and wars for a long time, here’s our list of top 10 war machines of all times.
10. Greek Torsion Ballista
The Greek Torsion Ballista, the ancient war machine, was a force to reckon with in its times. In Ancient Rome, the early ballista was developed from two weapons, a hand held crossbow and a bigger, heavier construction employing a winch, mounted on a tripod. The invention of Torsion spring bundle, added to the might of ballista. The fast relaxation time of this system, made it possible to shoot lighter projectiles, with an enhanced range. Offering huge tactical advantages, the Greek ballista was a siege weapon. For the Greek ballista, recognition and repute, both as a siege engine and field artillery came under Alexander the great.
9. Ottoman Heavy Cannon
When Ottoman Empire saw the power and value of the gunpowder, they proceeded to make use of it through a weapon. They could not penetrate the walls of Constantinople until 1453 but afterwards brought around 60 huge cannons and continued to fire at the walls for 40 days. When finally the Constantinople fell, the world changed forever. Thus, these cannons resulted into the fall of an empire and its walls which stood strong for so many decades.
8. R-7 Semyorka ICBM
The world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, developed during the Cold War by the Soviet Union. This ultimate war machine was widely called “semyorka”, which in Russian means the digit ‘7’ or a ‘group of seven’. First deployed in 1959, the costs of this missile system were huge, due to the large launch sites required in remote areas. These mammoth missiles were built for the kill, but had their own disadvantages. It took over 24 hours to prepare these missiles for launch, and they cannot be left on alert for more than a day due to cryogenic fuel system. Nonetheless, R-7 played a significant role in giving Soviet military a boost during the cold war era.
7. Maxim Machine Gun
Next in line of our list of war machines is the first recoil operated gun. Maxim machine gun was invented in 1884 by Sir Hiram Maxim. Very efficient and less human effort demanding than the previous machine guns, it has been called the weapon most associated with imperial conquest. Initially, its position was easily located by the clouds of smoke it produced but the use of smokeless powder changed this, making it a powerful weapon. The design of this war machine was copied and revised several times, using it to for many devastating purposes, most famously in the trenches of World War I.
6. V2 ballistic missile
Inspiration of one of the greatest books in history, V2 ballistic missiles were born out of early German rocket tests led by Wernher von Braun. It was basically a research project aimed to have the first man-made object to reach outer space. The most interesting quality of this war machine is its capability to strike the predetermined targets using its complicated intertial guidance system and liquid-fueled rocket engine. Apparently, most of the V2 engineers were snapped up when the Second World War ended to lead space programs for the two biggest powers – US and the Soviet Union.
5. AK-47 Assault Rifle
A selective-fire and gas operated assault rifle, AK-47 continues to be the most popular rifle of all times. First developed by Soviet Union’s Mikhail Kalashnikov, its design work started in the last year of WW II. Because of its durability, a really low production cost and simplicity of use, it has been manufactured in many countries and is used by armed forced and irregular forces all around the world. AK-47 has also served as the basis for developing other types of crew served fire arms. Today, AK-type rifles are recognized to be most produced assault rifles in the world.
4. Russian T-34 Tank
This tank is one of the most produced war machine of all times. Developed in 1941, the T-34 was most effective in World War II and is counted among the most influential design of the time. Still used in almost 25 countries, the Russians made this tank such that it can move through deep mud trenches, snow and practically any surface. That’s how the Germans could not match the superior war machine’s firepower, versatility, mobility and efficiency and were destroyed and defeated on the eastern front.
3. B-52 Stratofortress
Of the 740 B-52 Stratofortress built, 50 got into military service in 1955. They are so innovatively designed that even after so many years of service, they are still counted as among the best war machines ever invented. Its versatility, flexibility and the fuel economy contribute to its success in the military history. Although, they were meant to be replaced by B-1B introduced in 1986, they still dominate with average ready rate of 80% more than its upgraded version which has the same around 55%. The best bomber in the US air force, they are definitely not retiring, not at least until 2040.
2. The Nimitz-class super carriers
The Nimitz-class super carriers are a set of ten nuclear powered aircraft carriers, count among the deadliest war machines of all times. In service with the mighty United States Navy, they have been among the largest warships built. What makes this warship different is the use of A4W pressurized water reactors. Designed to have a life of 50 years, the leader of the pack, USS Nimitz was commissioned in 1975. With a capacity to deploy over 90 aircraft on board, this war machine has proved its mettle in operations around the world, including the Gulf War and the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
1. The Atom Bomb
Leading the list of war machines, Atomic Bomb definitely deserves to top the line-up of most devastating weapon ever used in wars. By far, the two times it was used, there were an estimated 200,000 deaths and resulted into a new era in the war – more powerful and catastrophic. Dominating the conventional war machines in the military strength of armies all around the world since then, the names Little Boy and Fat man seems like an irony now.