Weapons with Cool Names!

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A Brief History

On July 20, 1304, the forces of King Edward I of England successfully took Stirling Castle during the First War of Scottish Independence.  Although the Scots would ultimately maintain their independence, key to the English victory was the intimidating-sounding “Warwolf,” allegedly the largest trebuchet ever made.  This mighty siege engine catapulted rocks or other projectiles up to 300 pounds and was capable of battering down the walls of any castle.   

Digging Deeper

Intimidated by the weapon, the Scots tried to surrender the castle, but Edward (known as “Longshanks”) wanted to see the effectiveness of the 300 to 400-foot long artillery piece.

Other names given to such machines by astute warriors include “Bad Neighbor” and “God’s Stone Thrower.”  Centuries later massive artillery cannons were given such monikers as “Big Bertha,” “Atomic Annie” (in case you wondered what sort of ammo that cannon used), “The Paris Gun,” “Anzio Annie,” “Dora,” “Gustav,” “Little David,” and “Mallet’s Mortar.” Some of those names are decidedly not intimidating, meaning their users missed the chance to lay a really cool name on them to frighten the foe, although the caliber of up to 36 inches (double the biggest ever battleship guns) probably fulfilled that requirement.

Want to scare the enemy with your fighter and bomber airplanes?  Do not name them “Camel,” “Buffalo,” “Mosquito” or “Swallow.”  Give them rough and tumble names such as “Thunderjet,” “Komet,” “Typhoon,” “Tornado,” “Tempest” (the British apparently think bad weather scares the enemy), “Devastator,” “Avenger,” “Hellcat,” “Helldiver,” “Thunderbolt” or “Lightning” (as we see, weather is scary), “Dominator,” “Flying Fortress” (and really scare them with “Superfortress”), “Sturmovik” (nicknamed “The Flying Tank, with more than 36,000 built, this was the most common warplane) or “Sturmvogel” (meaning “war bird,” this is the rougher sounding name of the ground attack version of the “Schwalbe” or Swallow as it is known in English).

Even munitions can have nifty, scary names such as “MOAB” (Massive Ordnance Air Burst or Mother Of All Bombs), “Hellfire Missiles,” “Super Explosive” (SX pistol ammo), “Fireball,” “Beowolf,” “Guard Dog” “Black Talon,” “Hydro-Shock” and the like.  When the media wants to demonize a bullet, they give it a nickname such as “cop killer” to scare the public (it works).

How about handheld rifles, pistols and shotguns?  Give them an aura of death and destruction by calling them “Thunderer,” “Bulldog,” “The Judge,” “Street Sweeper,” “Honey Badger” (it doesn’t care), “King Cobra” (or any other deadly snake), “Annihilator,” “Hi-Power,” “Skorpion,” “Grendel,” “Jaws Viper,” “Grizzly,” “Doorbuster” or “Jackhammer.” Do not call your gun “Airweight” or “Cub.”  Those names will not scare anyone.

Please share with us your favorite intimidating names of weapons and ordnance.  Or, do you have a few goods ones of your own?

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see:

The Hammer of the Scots: The History and Legacy of Edward Longshanks’ Conquest of Scotland (Paperback)


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A History of Weapons: Crossbows, Caltrops, Catapults & Lots of Other Things that Can Seriously Mess You Up (Hardcover)


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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.