Four Uncommon Military Gear You May Not Have Heard Of

The equipment, equipment and animals used by the armed forces all have essential purposes. The helmet is for the protection of the head. Body armor to protect the body from bullets. An ammunition charge is self-explanatory. In the military, there are companion dogs that can help detect bombs or take down enemies like a missile made of hairs. These are just a few of the common things we all know troops are equipped with. Here are some of the items the soldiers brought with them into battle that you may not be familiar with.

The Pigeon guided missile

Insertion of a pigeon into a missile. Photo; MIT Technology Review

Yes, you read that right. The pigeons were guiding a missile. The Navy’s experiences with the Japanese Kamikazes left a deep impression. A plane full of fuel, armed with a bomb and an intelligent, thinking guidance system (the suicide pilot) was basically the definition of a guided missile. And they have been very effective. Thus, in the 1940s, the National Defense Research Committee tried to train pigeons recognize targets on the monitor screen by operant conditioning in order to create a pigeon-guided bomb. After a few years and $ 25,000 later, the project has been canceled because “the continuation of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division have a more immediate promise of application in combat.” Perhaps they struggled to get the birds to volunteer once they understood the goals of the project. Pigeons might be dumb, but they’re not suicidal idiots. Presumably we now have smart bombs that are at least as smart as a Pidgeon now, but they were certainly ready to think outside the box early in development, weren’t they?

Urban Combat Skateboard

Photo of a US Marine carrying a skateboard during exercise “Urban Warrior ’99” in March 1999.

Do you think it’s cool to skateboard and flippy with it? Maybe it could be used to detect trigger wires and maybe evade sniper fire with it, that was the idea behind Urban Warrior ’99. It was the military experiment of using skateboards to detect these traps in an urban setting. There weren’t a lot of details on the project, but based on the fact that we didn’t see soldiers riding skateboards, it seemed like it wasn’t much of a success. Plus, it was more material to lug around.

Xbox controller

The High Energy Mobile Laser Demonstrator, or HEL MD, has returned home to US Army Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Forces Strategic Command Headquarters.

Want to play your video game, but your responsibility to shoot down enemy troops bothers you? Say no more!

The United States Army worked with Boeing to create a directed energy weapon (aka laser beam) and called it High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). What’s crazy is that it can be controlled through an Xbox controller. HEL MD got on a truck. How it works is that one person drives the vehicle and drives it to where it needs to be. Meanwhile, another person is comfortably seated inside with a laptop and an Xbox controller that they could use to lock down targets and destroy them. The idea is that more than half of adults play video games, so why not use this fact to their advantage. Since we’re talking about government here, we imagine that they’ve figured out a way to make a $ 30 X-Box controller cost $ 50,000 by the time they’re done with it.

D-Day Invasion Selector Photo from

A child’s toy as a friend or foe identifier

The cricket noisemaker was a popular toy for children on D-Day in Normandy. We’re sure it was incredibly boring for parents, which is why it was popular with kids. While preparing for the D-Day landing in Normandy, the soldiers knew they would have a problem with the paratroopers dropped all over the place in the dark.

How would they regroup in their units?

How would they end up in the dark?

How could they tell the difference between a friend and an enemy?

The easy fix was that dime kid’s toy given to thousands of paratroopers before their drops. It was made of brass and apparently worked quite well. A click from one parachutist was responded to with a return click from another in the dark. If you managed to lose your clicker in the landing, I imagine responding to a challenge click with “I lost my damn clicker in the landing” might save you from getting shot.

You can still buy replicas today, but they cost $ 9 now.

Which of these is your favorite?

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