World War I was a time for technological innovation. Weapons like the machine gun and artillery cemented themselves as a tool of war.
Others… not so much. Here are five bizarre weapons that may make it into Battlefield 1.
Despite being painfully obsolete at the start of the First World War, mounted cavalry with lances (“Lancers”) were still employed on the battlefield early on in the conflict, with Germany relying on the antiquated weapon the most. As the war progressed and mobility crawled to a halt on the Western Front, lances fell by the wayside. Many cavalry units fought as mounted infantry, using horses to maneuver and then dismounting for combat. With the confirmation of ride-able horses in Battlefield 1, will the lance make a return? I look forward to “lancers only” servers.
#4. Mobile Personnel Shields
These may seem completely impractical, but they were actually used to decent effect. Soldiers could push these shields across uneven terrain, providing some cover from snipers and shrapnel. It came at a significant cost of movement, however. The shields were heavy and often bogged down in mud. These mobile personnel shields were eventually abandoned when larger caliber rifles were introduced to counter them and tanks became more widely available.
Imagine an arrow, dropped from an airplane. Now imagine about 500 of them at once, hurtling towards you. That was the flechette. Made out of steel and about four inches long, these weapons were dropped over trenches en-masse. Silent, capable creating incapacitating wounds, and even able to penetrate steel helmets, flechettes were a spectre on the battlefield. They weren’t very accurate, and eventually many pilots refused to drop them because they found them unsporting.
#2. The Tsar Tank
In 1914, the tricycle seemed an effective design, so Russian engineers decided to create a massive armored vehicle based on it. The two powered front wheels were nearly 30 feet in diameter, and limited the traverse of the guns mounted in the turret. Due to some power miscalculations, the Tsar Tank was under powered and prone to getting stuck. It never saw combat and was abandoned at the test site until it was scrapped post-war in 1923.
#1. Leach Trench Catapult
Early in the World War I trenches, weapons like mortars were in short supply. With a distance between 100-300 yards between friendly and enemy trenches, the British were in dire need of a short-range weapon. Ugly but effective, the Leach Trench Catapult fit the bill. A cross between a crossbow and slingshot, the Leach could pitch a grenade some 200 yards. Cheap and made by a department store in London, the weapon was also relatively silent. It was quickly replaced by more modern mortars like the “Stokes.”
Will any of these weapons make it into Battlefield 1? Some are more likely than others. We’ll likely know more after EA Play 2016 (set for June 12th-14th) and E3 2016 (June 14th-16th).
Would you like to see any of these weapons in Battlefield 1? What other weird weapons should be added? Tell us in the comments.