The Info List - Weapons

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A weapon, arm, or armament is any device used with intent to inflict damage or harm to living creatures, structures, or systems. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defense, and warfare. In broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target. While ordinary objects such as sticks, stones, cars, or pencils can be used as weapons, many are expressly designed for the purpose – ranging from simple implements such as clubs, swords and guns, to complicated modern intercontinental ballistic missiles, biological and cyberweapons. Something that has been re-purposed, converted, or enhanced to become a weapon of war is termed weaponized, such as a weaponized virus or weaponized lasers.


1 History

1.1 Prehistoric 1.2 Ancient history 1.3 Post-classical history 1.4 Modern history

1.4.1 Early modern 1.4.2 Late modern Nuclear weapons

2 Types

2.1 By user 2.2 By function 2.3 By target

3 Legislation 4 Lifecycle problems 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

History[edit] Main article: History of weapons Prehistoric[edit]

An array of Neolithic
artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools.

The use of objects as weapons has been observed among chimpanzees,[1] leading to speculation that early hominids first began to use weapons as early as five million years ago.[2] However, this can not be confirmed using physical evidence because wooden clubs, spears, and unshaped stones would have left an ambiguous record. The earliest unambiguous weapons to be found are the Schöninger Spear: eight wooden throwing spears dated as being more than 300,000 years old.[3][4][5][6][7] At the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, numerous human skeletons dating to 10,000 years ago may present evidence of major traumatic injuries to the head, neck, ribs, knees and hands, including obsidian projectiles still embedded in the bones, that might have been caused by arrows and clubs in the context of conflict between two hunter-gatherer groups,[8] but this interpretation of the evidence of warfare at Nataruk has been challenged.[9] Ancient history[edit]

A four-wheeled ballista drawn by armored cataphract horses, c. 400.

Ancient weapons were evolutionary improvements of late neolithic implements, but then significant improvements in materials and crafting techniques created a series of revolutions in military technology: The development of metal tools, beginning with copper during the Copper
Age (about 3,300 BC) and followed shortly by bronze led to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
sword and similar weapons. The first defensive structures and fortifications appeared in the Bronze Age,[10] indicating an increased need for security. Weapons designed to breach fortifications followed soon after, for example the battering ram was in use by 2500 BC.[10] Although early Iron Age swords were not superior to their bronze predecessors, once iron-working developed, around 1300 BC in Greece, the Domestication of the horse
Domestication of the horse
and widespread use of spoked wheels by ca. 2000 BC,[11] led to the light, horse-drawn chariot. The mobility provided by chariots were important during this era.[citation needed] Spoke-wheeled chariot usage peaked around 1300 BC and then declined, ceasing to be militarily relevant by the 4th century BC.[12] Cavalry
developed once horses were bred to support the weight of a man[citation needed]. The horse extended the range and increased the speed of attacks. Ships
built as weapons or warships such as the trireme were in use by the 7th century BC.[13] These ships were eventually replaced by larger ships by the 4th century BC. Post-classical history[edit]

Medieval Indian weapons

Ancient Chinese cannon displayed in the Tower of London.

European warfare during the Post-classical history
Post-classical history
was dominated by elite groups of knights supported by massed infantry (both in combat and ranged roles). They were involved in mobile combat and sieges which involved various siege weapons and tactics. Knights
on horseback developed tactics for charging with lances providing an impact on the enemy formations and then drawing more practical weapons (such as swords) once they entered into the melee. Whereas infantry, in the age before structured formations, relied on cheap, sturdy weapons such as spears and billhooks in close combat and bows from a distance. As armies became more professional, their equipment was standardized and infantry transitioned to pikes. Pikes are normally seven to eight feet in length, in conjunction with smaller side-arms (short sword). In Eastern and Middle Eastern
Middle Eastern
warfare, similar tactics were developed independent of European influences. The introduction of gunpowder from the Far East at the end of this period revolutionized warfare. Formations of musketeers, protected by pikemen came to dominate open battles, and the cannon replaced the trebuchet as the dominant siege weapon. Modern history[edit] Early modern[edit] The European Renaissance
marked the beginning of the implementation of firearms in western warfare. Guns and rockets were introduced to the battlefield. Firearms
are qualitatively different from earlier weapons because they release energy from combustible propellants such as gunpowder, rather than from a counter-weight or spring. This energy is released very rapidly and can be replicated without much effort by the user. Therefore even early firearms such as the arquebus were much more powerful than human-powered weapons. Firearms
became increasingly important and effective during the 16th century to 19th century, with progressive improvements in ignition mechanisms followed by revolutionary changes in ammunition handling and propellant. During the U.S. Civil War
various technologies including the machine gun and ironclad warship emerged that would be recognizable and useful military weapons today, particularly in limited conflicts. In the 19th century warship propulsion changed from sail power to fossil fuel-powered steam engines.

The bayonet is used as both knife and, when attached to a rifle, a polearm.

The age of edged weapons ended abruptly just before World War
I with rifled artillery. Howitzers were able to destroy masonry fortresses and other fortifications. This single invention caused a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and established tactics and doctrine that are still in use today. See Technology during World War
I for a detailed discussion. An important feature of industrial age warfare was technological escalation – innovations were rapidly matched through replication or countered by yet another innovation. The technological escalation during World War
I (WW I) was profound, producing armed aircraft, ships and tanks. This continued in the inter-war period (between WW I and WW II) with continuous evolution of all weapon systems by all major industrial powers. Many modern military weapons, particularly ground-based ones, are relatively minor improvements of weapon systems developed during World War
II. See military technology during World War
II for a detailed discussion. Late modern[edit]

The Vickers was the successor to the Maxim gun
Maxim gun
and remained in British military service for 79 consecutive years.

The new assault rifle CZ-805 BREN
(produced in Czech Republic).

Since the mid-18th century North American French-Indian war through the beginning of the 20th century, human-powered weapons were reduced from the primary weaponry of the battlefield yielding to gunpowder-based weaponry. Sometimes referred to as the "Age of Rifles",[14] this period was characterized by the development of firearms for infantry and cannons for support, as well as the beginnings of mechanized weapons such as the machine gun, the tank and the wide introduction of aircraft into warfare, including naval warfare with the introduction of the aircraft carriers. World War
I marked the entry of fully industrialized warfare as well as weapons of mass destruction (e.g., chemical and biological weapons), and weapons were developed quickly to meet wartime needs. Above all, it promised to the military commanders the independence from the horse and the resurgence in maneuver warfare through extensive use of motor vehicles. The changes that these military technologies underwent before and during the Second World War
were evolutionary, but defined the development for the rest of the century. World War
II however, perhaps marked the most frantic period of weapons development in the history of humanity. Massive numbers of new designs and concepts were fielded, and all existing technologies were improved between 1939 and 1945. The most powerful weapon invented during this period was the atomic bomb, however many more weapons influenced the world in different ways. Nuclear weapons[edit] Main article: Nuclear holocaust Since the realization of mutually assured destruction (MAD), the nuclear option of all-out war is no longer considered a survivable scenario. During the Cold War
in the years following World War
II, both the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race. Each country and their allies continually attempted to out-develop each other in the field of nuclear armaments. Once the joint technological capabilities reached the point of being able to ensure the destruction of the Earth x100 fold, then a new tactic had to be developed. With this realization, armaments development funding shifted back to primarily sponsoring the development of conventional arms technologies for support of limited wars rather than total war.[15] Types[edit] By user[edit]

- what person or unit uses the weapon

Personal weapons (or small arms) – designed to be used by a single person. Light weapons – 'man-portable' weapons that may require a small team to operate.[16] Heavy weapons – artillery and similar weapons larger than light weapons (see SALW). Hunting
weapon – used by hunters for sport or getting food. Crew served weapons – larger than personal weapons, requiring two or more people to operate correctly. Fortification weapons – mounted in a permanent installation, or used primarily within a fortification. Mountain weapons – for use by mountain forces or those operating in difficult terrain. Vehicle weapons – to be mounted on any type of combat vehicle. Railway weapons – designed to be mounted on railway cars, including armored trains. Aircraft
weapons – carried on and used by some type of aircraft, helicopter, or other aerial vehicle. Naval weapons – mounted on ships and submarines. Space weapons – are designed to be used in or launched from space. Autonomous weapons – are capable of accomplishing a mission with limited or no human intervention.

By function[edit]

- the construction of the weapon and principle of operation

weapons (theoretical) would combine matter and antimatter to cause a powerful explosion. Archery
weapons operate by using a tensioned string and bent solid to launch a projectile. Artillery
are firearms capable of launching heavy projectiles over long distances. Biological weapons
Biological weapons
spread biological agents, causing disease or infection. Chemical weapons, poisoning and causing reactions. Energy weapons rely on concentrating forms of energy to attack, such as lasers or sonic attack. Explosive weapons use a physical explosion to create blast concussion or spread shrapnel. Firearms
use a chemical charge to launch projectiles. Improvised weapons are common objects, reused as weapons, such as crowbars and kitchen knives. Incendiary weapons cause damage by fire. Non-lethal weapons are designed to subdue without killing. Magnetic weapons use magnetic fields to propel projectiles, or to focus particle beams. Melee weapons operate as physical extensions of the user's body and directly impact their target. Missiles are rockets which are guided to their target after launch. (Also a general term for projectile weapons). Loitering Munitions are weapons that are designed to loiter over or in the battlefield searching for targets, striking once a target is located. Nuclear weapons use radioactive materials to create nuclear fission and/or nuclear fusion detonations. Primitive weapons make little or no use of technological or industrial elements. Ranged weapons (unlike Mêlée weapons), target a distant object or person. Rockets use chemical propellant to accelerate a projectile Suicide weapons exploit the willingness of their operator to not survive the attack.

By target[edit]

- the type of target the weapon is designed to attack

weapons target missiles and aerial vehicles in flight. Anti-fortification weapons are designed to target enemy installations. Anti-personnel weapons are designed to attack people, either individually or in numbers. Anti-radiation weapons target sources of electronic radiation, particularly radar emitters. Anti-satellite weapons target orbiting satellites. Anti-ship weapons target ships and vessels on water. Anti-submarine weapons target submarines and other underwater targets. Anti-tank weapons are designed to defeat armored targets. Area denial weapons
Area denial weapons
target territory, making it unsafe or unsuitable for enemy use or travel. Hunting
weapons are weapons used to hunt game animals. Infantry
support weapons are designed to attack various threats to infantry units.

Legislation[edit] The production, possession, trade and use of many weapons are controlled. This may be at a local or central government level, or international treaty. Examples of such controls include:

The right of self-defense Knife
legislation Air gun laws Gun
law Arms trafficking
Arms trafficking
laws Arms control treaties Space Preservation Treaty

Lifecycle problems[edit] There are a number of issue around the potential ongoing risks from deployed weapons, the safe storage of weapons, and their eventual disposal when no longer effective or safe.

Ocean dumping
Ocean dumping
of unused weapons and bombs, including ordinary bombs, UXO, landmines and chemical weapons has been common practice by many nations, and often caused hazards.[17][18][19][20] Unexploded ordnance
Unexploded ordnance
(UXO) are bombs, land mines and naval mines and similar that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk for many years or decades.[21] Demining
or mine clearance from areas of past conflict is a difficult process, but every year, landmines kill 15,000 to 20,000 people and severely maim countless more.[22] Nuclear terrorism
Nuclear terrorism
was a serious concern after the fall of the Soviet Union, with the prospect of "loose nukes" being available.[23] While this risk may have receded,[24] similar situation may arise in the future.

See also[edit]

Arms industry List of martial arts weapons List of practice weapons Lists of weapons Military technology Riot control Toy weapon Weapon
mount Eurosatory


^ Pruetz, J. D.; Bertolani, P. (2007). "Savanna Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus, Hunt with Tools". Current Biology. 17 (5): 412–7. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.12.042. PMID 17320393.  ^ Weiss, Rick (February 22, 2007) "Chimps Observed Making Their Own Weapons", The Washington Post ^ Thieme, Hartmut and Maier, Reinhard (eds.) (1995) Archäologische Ausgrabungen im Braunkohlentagebau Schöningen. Landkreis Helmstedt, Hannover. ^ Thieme, Hartmut (2005). "Die ältesten Speere der Welt – Fundplätze der frühen Altsteinzeit im Tagebau Schöningen". Archäologisches Nachrichtenblatt. 10: 409–417.  ^ Baales, Michael; Jöris, Olaf (2003). "Zur Altersstellung der Schöninger Speere". Erkenntnisjäger: Kultur und Umwelt des frühen Menschen Veröffentlichungen des Landesamtes für Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt. Festschrift Dietrich Mania. 57: 281–288.  ^ Jöris, O. (2005) "Aus einer anderen Welt – Europa zur Zeit des Neandertalers". In: N. J. Conard et al. (eds.): Vom Neandertaler zum modernen Menschen. Ausstellungskatalog Blaubeuren. pp. 47–70. ^ Thieme, H. (1997). "Lower Palaeolithic hunting spears from Germany". Nature. 385 (6619): 807–810. doi:10.1038/385807a0. PMID 9039910.  ^ Lahr, M. Mirazón; Rivera, F.; Power, R. K.; Mounier, A.; Copsey, B.; Crivellaro, F.; Edung, J. E.; Fernandez, J. M. Maillo; Kiarie, C. (2016). "Inter-group violence among early Holocene hunter-gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya". Nature. 529 (7586): 394–398. doi:10.1038/nature16477. PMID 26791728.  ^ Stojanowski, Christopher M.; Seidel, Andrew C.; Fulginiti, Laura C.; Johnson, Kent M.; Buikstra, Jane E. "Contesting the massacre at Nataruk". Nature. 539: E8–E10. doi:10.1038/nature19778.  ^ a b Gabriel, Richard A.; Metz, Karen S. "A Short History of War". au.af.mil. Retrieved 2010-01-08.  ^ "Wheel and Axle Summary". BookRags.com. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2011-06-13.  ^ "Science Show: The Horse
in History". abc.net.au. 1999-11-13. Retrieved 2011-06-13.  ^ "The Trireme
(1/2)". Mlahanas.de. Archived from the original on 2011-06-19. Retrieved 2011-06-13.  ^ p.263, Hind ^ Estabrooks, Sarah (2004). "Funding for new nuclear weapons programs eliminated". The Ploughshares Monitor. 25 (4). Archived from the original on June 20, 2007.  Report on congressional refusal to fund additional nuclear weapons research.There was a guy named Henry Bond he was around 74 years old ^ "1997 Report of the Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms". un.org. 27 August 1997. Retrieved 6 August 2012.  ^ Wilkinson, Ian. "Chemical Weapon
Munitions Dumped at Sea: An Interactive Map". James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Retrieved 19 August 2017.  ^ Curry, Andrew. "Chemical Weapons Dumped in the Ocean After World War II Could Threaten Waters Worldwide". SMITHSONIAN.COM. Retrieved 19 August 2017.  ^ "Military Ordinance [sic] Dumped in Gulf of Mexico". Maritime Executive. August 3, 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.  ^ Edgar B. Herwick III (29 July 2015). "Explosive Beach Objects-- Just Another Example Of Massachusetts' Charm". WGBH news. PBS. Retrieved 4 August 2015.  ^ Hall, Allan (10 November 2013). "Mustard gas blisters and a daily risk of death: Bravery of soldiers still clearing the 'iron harvest' of World War
I shells from beneath Flanders' fields". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 22 March 2014.  ^ "Demining". UN. Retrieved 19 August 2017.  ^ "Russia: Threat Of Unsecured Weapons Considered Serious". 3 October 1997.  ^ Allison, Graham (December 29, 2011). "Washington Can Work: Celebrating Twenty Years With Zero Nuclear Terrorism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of weapon at Wiktionary Quotations related to Weapon
at Wikiquote Media related to Weapons at Wikimedia Commons

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