Back to the Drawing Board

The Lockheed XFV-1 in flight.

Back to the drawing board: The Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon

It could hardly have been the ambition of the Salmon’s creators that it should end up as an exhibit at Florida’s Sun ’n Fun Campus Museum. This, after all, was a US aircraft prototype designed to show the world that fighter aircraft could take off and land without needing a runway. Vast, expensive aircraft carriers […]

British soldiers with captured German Goliath tracked mines.

Back to the Drawing Board – The Goliath Tracked Mine

The Goliath Tracked Mine Standing at a mere 1ft tall and 4ft long, it must be assumed that the Goliath Tracked Mine was named with the same light-hearted irony as Robin Hood’s trusty, burly companion ‘Little’ John. The idea behind the miniature motor was inspired by the French vehicle designer Adolphe Kégresse after the Wehrmacht […]


Back to the Drawing Board – Aunt Jemima

The brief was simple: create an explosive device which is easy to carry and innocent in appearance. No sticks of dynamite, no ticking time-bombs. As part of an attempt to supply arms to the Chinese to aid resistance against the Japanese during WWII, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) developed an incendiary known as ‘Aunt […]


Back to the Drawing Board — EXPLODING RATS!

Exploding Rats By 1941, Germany had already subjugated half of Europe, the Luftwaffe was raining bombs down on the cities of Britain, and U-boats were inflicting terrible losses all along the Allied shipping routes. Britain needed a new weapon, a way to hinder the increasingly threatening Germans in any way possible. The cat bomb had […]


The Spruce Goose – Back to the drawing board

Howard Hughes surely defined the word eccentric. One of the richest men in the world, he was famous for his maverick movie-making, addiction to drugs, and love of beautiful actresses. On one occasion, he became obsessed with designing a complicated cantilevered bra for one of the stars in his movie The Outlaw. He was also an accomplished aviator and innovative aircraft […]


The Davy Crockett – Back to the drawing board

  Few weapons in this series have been sent back to the drawing board because of their efficiency. This page is usually occupied by a terrible concept doomed from the start or a wacky idea that might just have worked but for a crucial, disastrous oversight at the last minute. But for the Davy Crockett […]


The Tumbleweed Tank – Back to the drawing board

We and all nations have a sense that we have come to the turning-point of an age,’ said Adolf Hitler in a speech regarding the re-occupation of the Rhineland in 1936. Preparations for war were being made even as the horrors of the last war were still fresh in the mind. A storm was brewing. […]


The Rotabuggy – Back to the drawing board

In 1965, when the latest Ian Fleming novel was published, the world once again marvelled at James Bond’s futuristic gadgets: the Solar Agitator, the Camera Rocket-Launcher, the Imitation Nipple. Yet the most enviable of the gadgets was surely the villain Scaramanga’s airborne AMC Matador, equipped with jet-engine and wings. But this was not the first […]

1 2 3 4 5