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History of Weapons and Weapon Systems


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The BM-21 Grad (1963)



The Grad is the modern version of the classic Katyusha truck mounted rocket battery. Used by MANY nations, groups and terror organizations like Hamas. An old soldier that soldiers on. Not terribly accurate, it relies on saturation to nail its targets to the wall.

Not always truck mounted, the system can be a single tube or an entire battery. Often described as toy rockets by the Western media in relation to attacks on Israel...it is anything but a toy. The standard ammo is a 122 mm rocket with a 20kg high explosive charge.

Grad battery mass fire launches are always impressive...and frightening for those involved. Even the crews who are stationed in the cab as all this Hellfire occurs above and around them in most situations.



Edited by DogOnPorch
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The Hedgehog for ASW warfare


The depth charge...while being a devastating (and iconic might I add) weapon against submarines was becoming less and less effective as new submarine models were able to dive to much deeper levels than before. The charge had to go off relatively close to the sub's hull to score a complete kill...and this was getting rarer. The sub could be at 60 feet...or 260 feet...or 360 feet...etc. During the Great War, subs were limited to fairly shallow test depths...so there was a lot less guess work. 

Along comes the Hedgehog...a multiple shot grenade launcher that carpeted a targeted region with projectiles that sank straight down. One hit was all that was needed...

Modern version...

Hey...they make your sister's car. :) 

WW2 version...mind the narrator & music


Depth charges never lost their effectiveness, however, as improvements in both passive and active submarine detection allowed target depths to be estimated far better as the war progressed.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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The BM-27 Urugan & the BM-30 Smerch...love the name.

Smerch/Смерч = Tornado ; Urugan/Ураган = Hurricane 



The Urugan and Smerch are more or less steps-up from the Grad. The rockets can travel in the 40km & 100km range respectfully and carry a variety of different warheads depending upon expedience. Some very complex anti-armor capabilities...as the videos detail. Capable of being reloaded on the battlefield like the smaller Grad. Russians love their rockets...

Again, mass fire barrages are spectacular. The sounds are quite...unsettling. Hard to tell which is which at times...but a close comparison reveals many differences to the two systems.

Numerous different systems in action...


Edited by DogOnPorch
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This thing is nasty and still makes me nervous.

The Topol ICBM in its various forms...NATO: Sickle




Sure, there are many ICBMs out there that can flatten a city. But there is only this character that is a truck mounted, solid fuel and can fire at a moments notice...targeting as you go. Where is it parked? Who freakin' knows...

Being solid fuel rather than liquid, it requires no special insulation, no fueling period, no waiting...

This video sums up the entire launch procedure...under 30 seconds...1 megaton off to the target...or a pile of MIRVs...depending on which model.

The rocket doesn't ignite in the launch tube. Rather it is pop-ejected and then ignited...the small rockets fire to initiate spin, I believe. Launch lugs are ejected at the same time, by the looks.

The MZKT-79221 Transporter/Erector is HUGE as you can see. It requires special training to drive.

The Topol M can be silo launched as well...its erector capable of placing it into the silo. But...that's really not this thing's job. The Satan is the main Russian silo launched ICBM...liquid propelled.



Edited by DogOnPorch
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Canister Shot...

By the time the US Civil War arrived, dedicated smoothbore canister ammunition was being produced. Usually, this was in the form of a rather flimsy container (can) packed with certain sized shot. Pretty much like a big shotgun. Smaller pellets for point black firing...bigger ones for further down range. The canisters could even be doubled-up for more destruction close-up.



That was under ideal conditions.

Out in the Western & Trans-Mississippi Theaters of the war in particular, availability of ammo for cannons was always an issue. From round shot to explosives to cannister. So in the heat of battle, gun crews might have a quantity of 'Langrage' available close by to throw down the barrel and fire-off. Langrage was pretty much anything metallic or even perhaps some rocks...anything in a pinch.

But such ammo damaged the gun. Choices...and consequences...



Edited by DogOnPorch
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RSM-56 Bulava (Rus: Mace NATO: SS-N-32 )


This is the newish Russian submarine launched intercontinental (semi) ballistic missile. They had a heck of a time getting this thing working correctly...but recent tests show that it can indeed be launched in salvo while submerged.

Two years ago...

Two months ago...

The most spectacular failure during its development came when a Bulava went squirrely after launch and careened wildly off the coast of Norway for some minutes...making impressive artificial aurorae as it spiraled out of control.

Five years ago...

There were many failures as the wiki says...some involved guidance & control...some the pop ejection system to get it out of the submarine. Suffice to say that it makes quite the noticeable smoke plumes that would be instantly spotted from orbit. So the value of being submerged while launching might be overstated somewhat. Likely safer to launch while surfaced...then make a run for it. You're spotted, anyways.

Another thing about this rig that makes me go hmmmmmm is that it uses liquid and solid fuel...which means the submarine needs to have storage for dangerous hypergolic fuel components. But liquid fuel is needed to precisely maneuver the warhead stage into the correct flight path. The Bulava need not follow a ballistic trajectory as a result...changing sub-orbital planes as it goes. It is also capable of flying a very low trajectory without destroying itself in the atmosphere...a stealthy advantage in that respect. Too bad about the huge plume announcing the launch, eh?

Edited by DogOnPorch
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  • 2 weeks later...

VX Nerve Agent



As mentioned in another thread, VX was developed in the early 1950s at Porton Down, UK as part of their chemical weapons program studying German nerve agents & pesticides from WW2. A thiophosphonate...for the layman like moi...uses the very eager exchange of oxygen and phosphorus atoms with sulfur to produce its dramatic nerve disrupting results.

Tiny...microscopic...amounts are enough to produce symptoms while a pencil dot sized amount is enough to kill with certainty an average sized human...or most any living animal.

Devised as an area denial weapon, once deployed, it is nearly impossible to clean-up without GREAT effort. It's an oily substance, normally. It partially vaporizes at room temperature (or above) into a low hanging 'gas' throughout the environment where VX is present. As the temperature cools off, the vapor returns to the liquid state. It is not soluble to water and it is resistant to fire...so forget just washing it or burning it away via conventional methods.

Since the user wants to be WELL away from the VX when it is deployed...and wants the stuff to be as safe as possible while on his end...it is a rocket/bomb/artillery shell deployed binary agent. That is, it needs to have two chemicals mixed together...usually spun-up in the shell, bomb, etc...during flight.

During the Viet-Nam War, using VX to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail was mused but never tried.

Cuba used it in Angola. This was discovered four YEARS after the fact by finding active VX in soil samples...to give you an idea re: durability.

Saddam apparently used VX, sarin and other agents on both the Iranians and his own people at Halabja.

A note about treatment: atropine, pralidoxime and diazepam (valium) all via auto-injection...as fast as possible after exposure.



Edited by DogOnPorch
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Hanomag Sd.Kfz. 251 Halftrack


The standard ride of the Panzer Grenadiers during WW2. Over 15,000 made in various forms. The basic 251 was for transporting infantry, but there were MANY specialized versions...both factory and field-rigged. From engineering to flamethrower vehicles. First used in limited numbers during Case White (Poland 1939), it became ubiquitous to all fronts and theaters right through 1945. Obviously used to thwart bullets and artillery shrapnel...it was an essential component of the Blitzkrieg.

The Allies had nothing comparable until the introduction of the American M3 Halftrack...and the M3 Scout Car.


Stug III + several 251s...and a rare Hetzer.


Edited by DogOnPorch
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