CRAZY British WW2 Invention – The Panjandrum

 CRAZY British WW2 Invention – The Panjandrum

The Panjandrum: the Brits INSANE D-Day weapon!

During World War II, the Allies experimented with many new weapons, one of the most ridiculous and little known was undoubtedly the Panjandrum. The Panjandrum, was an explosive amphibious spinning wheel propelled by rockets intended to smash through enemy fortifications.

Fearing an invasion across the English Channel, the Germans had erected heavy fortifications along the European coastline. Known as the Atlantic Wall, the barrier stretched all the way from Norway to Spain. Thick concrete bunkers lined the beaches, and machine guns bristled from their nests. The Allies feared any landing attempt would quickly become a massacre and thought extensively about ways to avoid this.

The British Government’s Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development had been tasked with coming up with a device capable of penetrating the 10 ft high, 7 ft thick concrete defense’s made by the Germans. It was specified that the device should be capable of being launched from an amphibious landing craft, so soldiers did not need to get close up to the defense’s and risk themselves unnecessarily.

Under these demands the engineers came up with the Panjandrum, as a cheap rather strange unmanned bunker buster . The Panjandrum was designed to reach speeds of 60 miles per hour and to smash through 10-foot walls of concrete. Shaped like a massive wagon wheel, the weapon was equipped with about 70 rockets and packed with explosives. The idea was that it would roll off amphibious landing craft, whilst they were reaching shore. Its rockets would then propel the wheel up the beach into the German defense’s at which point an explosive charge would detonate, destroying defender and defense all at once. Men and armor would then rush through the subsequent hole and overcome the enemy’s remaining defenders.

A crazy idea, the design was ridiculous, yet simple. A steel drum filled with explosives, suspended between a pair of steel-treaded wooden wheels. The wheels were 1 feet wide, and 10 feet in diameter. The weapon would be propelled by sets of cordite rockets attached to each wheel. The designers predicted that the 4000 pound explosive load would make short work of any enemy defense’s.

The tests conducted on the panjandrum never worked out and in the end the project was scrapped never actually seeing use in D-Day. However it remains on the most interesting and inventive weapons of WW2.
Credit to : WW2 Stories

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