So, it's Friday list time! This one really excited me: in consultation with the editorial team, we have come up with a list of history's most decisive weapons. We have selected a top eight, which was difficult, and while there are obviously endless candidates for a list like this, I think these are pretty good choices. These are some serious pieces of hardware!
1.) Composite Bow
An ancient weapon, used by countless cultures over the centuries and usually recognisable by a prominent recurve, the composite bow was ideal for use on horseback because of a combination of high power and low size and weight.
2.) Greek Fire
A mysterious weapon, about which we are still trying to discover more information, Greek Fire has captured the imagination over the centuries. Used to seemingly great effect in naval battles by the Byzantine empire, the substance would burn on water, and is believed to be responsible for many great Byzantine victories.
3.) Flintlock musket and socket bayonet
A muzzle-loading smoothbore long gun that was loaded with a round lead ball, the musket was the main infantry weapon of European armies between 1660 and 1840. Being involved in some enormous and very important land battles during that time, some sources indicate that up to a third of all battlefield casualties were actually a result of bayonet wounds. A firearm and a blade are indeed a deadly combination.
A weapon that symbolised British Colonialism, the Vickers-Maxim was used to terrible effect on the Eastern and Western Fronts of World War I, and even continued to soldier on into the Second World War. As the world's first self-powered machine gun it will always be remembered as demonstrating the deadly power of automatic fire on massed ranks of infantry.
Oft-overshadowed by the sleeker, better looking and more famous Spitfire, it was the Hurricane which bore the brunt of bomber interception over the British Isles suring the Battle of Britain. The fact that the Hurricane had been around for some time before the Second World War and continued to serve long into it is a testament to the fundamental effectiveness of this design.
A fantastic WWII tank design, possible the most effective ever. Whilst not quite as big or bad as the King Tiger and other monsters, it was so effective that it inspired the Germans to create the Tiger in the first place. Most importantly, when it entered service on the Easter Front it was available in large numbers and was free from the mechanical problems that plagued a number of other types. One of the most important weapons on arguably the most important front in WWII.
7.) Atomic bomb
Perhaps the most important/historically significant weapon in the list, at least for modern times. The bomb ended the Second World War, and the associated concept of 'mutually assured destruction' influenced the Geo-political landscape from then up to the present day.
Another automatic makes it onto the list - possibly the world's most famous! Developed just after the Second World War, the AK-47 and its' derivative variants are still in use over six decades later. Insurgents, militia fighters and regular infantry have found that its' combination of light weight, ease of operation, low cost and ruggedness make it an ideal assault rifle.
We hope you enjoyed that, some very dangerous tools in the list indeed. What are your most significant weapons?