Throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries, military technology has advanced considerably. Along the way, that evolution has taken some disastrous turns, particularly several weapons which proved almost as dangerous for the men using them as they were for the enemy.
Here are five that proved unreliable to the point of being deadly to those who used them.
The Mark 14 Torpedo
Like many nations around the globe, the US and its Navy struggled to develop effective torpedo systems during WWII. The Mark 14 torpedo was a particularly dangerous venture.
Not only did it often miss its target, but on one occasion it sank the submarine it was launched from. Due to its magnetic trigger mechanism, it doubled back and hit the USS Tullibee, the submarine that had fired it, resulting in the deaths of almost everyone on board.
Its development had been under-funded and the testing period for the weapon was much too short, so the risks were already high. The torpedo was eventually redesigned, and the problems that had made it so dangerous were corrected.
The M16 Rifle
During the Vietnam War, American soldiers were issued with new M16 rifles. The manufacturers claimed the weapons were “self-cleaning” so troops were supplied with minimal cleaning materials and no instructions on how to maintain them. It proved to be a deadly problem.
The rifles got clogged with dirt and detritus, and spent cartridges became stuck inside the chamber. The only way to remove the blockage and get it operational again was to take the rifle apart, clean it and remove the cartridge. This laborious process left troops on the battlefield completely defenseless, and there were numerous reports of soldiers being found dead after a gunfight with their M16 disassembled beside them.