One of the most bizarre execution methods in the 20th century was Thailands bizarre method which was utilized from the 1930′s until 2002. While the use of firing squads has been a common practice around the world throughout history, the use of a single submachine is rare. The condemned was blindfolded and restrained on a cross facing away from the executioner. A screen was then placed in between the condemned and the executioner, with a bullseye that was aligned with the center of mass of the condemned. At the executioner’s end was a fully automatic 9mm submachine gun, stabilized in a special vice which held the weapon steady. Before 1984 a Bergmann MP-34 was used, a German weapon dating to the 1930′s.
After 1984 a Heckler & Koch MP-5 submachine gun was used, mounted with a silencer.
One the signal was given, the executioner would pull the trigger, firing a burst of 15 rounds which mostly likely would instantly kill the condemned.
The last execution by submachine gun in Thailand occurred in 2002, undertaken by prison guard Chavoret Jaruboon, of which the biopic The Last Executioner is based upon. Between 1984 and 2002 he was involved in the execution of 55 people, of which he was paid a bonus of 2,000 baht (60 US dollars) per execution. According to Jaruboon, one strange incident occurred when the submachine gun misfired. Jaruboon worked the action and chambered the next round, only to have it misfire again. The weapon was tested and found to function perfectly, but again it misfired. The condemned was searched and found to be wearing a sacred amulet, which was confiscated. On the next attempt, the weapon functioned without issue.
Execution by submachine gun was banned in 2003, and replaced with lethal injection.
An Italian creation by the Ansaldo corporation in 1935, the
Motomitragliatrice blindata d’assaulto (MIAS) was a one man tracked vehicle intended to give infantry a little bit of extra armor and firepower. The MIAS featured a 250cc (5 horsepower) engine which could propel the vehicle at 5 kilometers an hour forward, and 2 kph in reverse. Incredibly, the MIAS lacked at seat for it’s one man crew, thus the crewman had to scooch around in a squatting position with the vehicle as it moved. It had armor that was rated to deflect 7.92x57mm Mauser rounds at the front, and 6.5x52mm Carcano rounds at the sides. However these ratings only counted for standard ball ammunition, any kind of armor piercing ammunition would easily pierce the vehicle’s armor at any point. The MIAS was armed with a 6.5mm machine gun with 1,000 rounds. As counterpart to the MIAS, Ansaldo also created the Moto-mortaio blindato d’assaulto (MORAS), which utilized the exact same vehicle, only with the machine gun replaced with a Brixia Model 35 mortar which fired high explosive .5kg shells with fifty rounds of ammunition.
Neither the MIAS or the MORA made it beyond prototype stage, the Italian Army deeming it impractical for modern warfare.
In the 18th and 19th century dentures were made from a variety of materials; ivory, bone, animal teeth, ceramics, and others. However the best dentures were those constructed from genuine second hand human teeth. Such dentures were rare and expensive as there was a very limited supply of teeth available to construct them. A lucky dentist might be able to acquire the teeth of an executed criminal, granted the criminal not have bad teeth. Body snatchers were also a common source. While body snatching was often done to provide cadavers for medical schools, corpses could also be unearthed by snatchers for their teeth. War was particularly profitable time for dentists, who would often hang around battlefields so that they could yank the teeth of fallen soldiers after the fighting had ended. Such a practice was especially common during the Napoleonic Wars as large battles of the war such as Austerlitz, Jena, and Leipzig resulted in fields strewn with tens of thousands of corpses. The Battle of Waterloo was most notorious for teeth scavengers. Located in Belgium, Waterloo was the crossroads of Europe, not far from France, the Netherlands, England, and Germany. Thus there was an opportunity for dentists and denture makers from many nations to converge upon the battlefield in order to scavenge teeth. In addition, being the last major battle of the Napoleonic Wars, it was the last chance for dentists to score an easy source of second hand teeth before peace broke out and once again constrained the second hand teeth market. The pickings were very rich as the carnage of Waterloo would result in the deaths of over 50,000 men. As a result, dentures constructed from soldiers teeth, regardless of which battlefield they originated from were often called “Waterloo Teeth”. The practice of scavenging battlefields for teeth would continue to a lesser extent during the Crimean War and American Civil War.
Invented by a British solicitor named Philip Baker, the bayonet hat was intended to be an extra weapon issued to British troops for close quarter hand to hand combat. The hat was standard issue field cap common among British troops before the adoption of steel helmets. Mounted upon the hat was a folding bayonet complete with a scabbard. Inside the hat was a built in grip so that the soldier could wield the hat much like a small shield or a buckler.
Unsurprisingly the British Army chose not to adopt the bayonet hat, deeming it as impractical and perhaps dangerous to the user. In addition to the hat a pith helmet was also designed but never entered into production. Believe it or not Atlanta Cutlery makes a replica of the pith helmet if you are interested.