Weaponology Quiz


For centuries mankind has tirelessly sought the better weapon. How well do you know the winners?

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Question 1 of 13

One of the first rifled firearms formally adopted by a major military power was the:

Brown Bess
Jaeger Rifle
Kentucky Rifle
Mannlicher Shoenauer

... The German Jaeger, a large-caliber, short-barreled flintlock rifle, was developed in Europe during the first part of the 18th century and became a favorite in the American colonies. A military version of the rifle was used by select British regiments during the American Revolution, making it one of the first rifled firearms put into service by a standing army.


Question 2 of 13

The Minié ball was the first ammunition to combine the accuracy and range of a rifle with a smoothbore’s speed in loading.


... The Minié ball was created by French Capt. Claude Minié in the 1840s. A cylindro-conoidal bullet that was muzzle-loaded like a round lead ball, it had a hollow base that expanded when fired to fit the rifling of even a powder-fouled barrel. Prior to the Minie ball, the ammunition used in rifles was the same diameter as the barrel, so the soldier had to force the bullet into the barrel to engage the rifling grooves. Since the Minie ball was smaller in diameter than the barrel, it could be loaded more quickly by dropping it down the barrel. Once the weapon was fired, the gases created by burning gunpowder expanded and deformed the hollow base of the minnie ball, which caused the ammunition to engage the rifling in the barrel. As a result, the Minié ball would spiral through the air, which provided for greater accuracy at longer ranges, a better seal with the barrel for more consistent velocity and clearing the barrel of gunpowder debris in the process.


Question 3 of 13

During which conflict did the military first adapt infrared, or heat-seeking, technology to small-arms use?

Vietnam War
Korean War
World War II
World War I

... Military adaptation of infrared technology began during WWII. The Allies developed a device called the Sniperscope, which enabled soldiers to see and shoot at night by distinguishing the heat differentials of terrain.


Question 4 of 13

The Chinese developed smokeless powder.


... Black powder, a mixture of charcoal, potassium nitrate and sulfur, was developed in ancient China. Its first documented wartime use was in 904 A.D., and for hundreds of years it was the only military explosive and propellent. However, the heavy smoke produced by black powder was a handicap on the battlefield, compromising command and control capabilities and firing efficacy since troops' lines of sight would be obscured by a thick pall of smoke after discharging a few rounds. The first stable smokeless gunpowder was invented by Paul Vielle in France in 1886.


Question 5 of 13

The first bullet-proof vests were made from:

Quilted cotton
Thin iron plates

... In 1881, Dr. George Goodfellow witnessed a shooting and when he examined one of the wounded combatants who’d been shot through his breast pocket, Dr. Goodfellow found that the bullet had been captured by the victim’s silk handkerchief. He documented other cases of bullet-resistant silk and many individuals actively researched silk-based protective clothing. At the forefront was the Rev. Casimir Zeglen who developed a bullet-proof vest made of silk at the end of the 19th century.


Question 6 of 13

Who invented the first “true” machine gun?

Hiram Maxim
Richard Gatling
Anthony Fokker
Samuel Colt

... While Dr. Richard Gatling invented the world’s first sustained rapid-fire gun in 1861, a hand-cranked weapon that offered controlled, sequential automatic fire with automatic machine loading of prepared cartridges, it was Hiram Maxim who invented the world’s first true machine gun in 1881. The Maxim gun used the recoil power of the previously fired bullet to reload rather than being hand powered, enabling a much higher rate of fire than was possible using earlier designs. The gun required fewer men to operate it, it was lighter, and it was easier to use than the earlier Gatling gun. Maxim also used water cooling (via a water jacket around the barrel) to reduce overheating. By World War I, Maxim's gun was in widescale use and derivative designs were employed by all sides during the war.


Question 7 of 13

The Fokker E.III, a plane built for the German army during World War I, featured an innovative modification that:

allowed the pilot to dive the plane without stalling the engine.
scrambled its radio signals.
released chaff, to divert enemy fire.
allowed a machine gun to be fired through the propeller.

... Aviation pioneer Anthony Fokker is credited with devising an interrupter gear, which synchronized machine gun fire through the arc of an airplane’s propeller. In 1912, he founded Fokker Aeroplanbau in Berlin, Germany. In late 1914, he implemented the interrupter gear in his Fokker E.III, which was used by the German air combat service.


Question 8 of 13

The record for the longest combat kill with a .50 caliber heavy machine gun was set during which conflict?

World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War

... During the Vietnam War, in 1967, Carlos Hathcock, widely recognized as the Marine Corps most proficient sniper, set the record for the longest-distance combat kill at 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) with a Browning M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun he had equipped with a telescopic sight. Hathcock’s accomplishment led to the introduction of .50 caliber anti-material sniper rifles, such as the Barrett M82.


Question 9 of 13

The earliest gunpowder artillery was:

the catapult
the trebuchet
the ballista
the bombard

... While the catapult, trebuchet and ballista are all artillery, the mid-15th-century bombard is the earliest gunpowder artillery. Marked by unreliability, a lack of field carriage and immobility once emplaced, bombards were vastly improved with the introduction of a dedicated field carriage with axle. Though large and cumbersome, cannon revolutionized the battlefield as commanders now had mobile field pieces that could support an army in action, rather than being confined to siege and static defenses.


Question 10 of 13

The French submarine Foucault was the first submarine to be sunk by:

aerial bombardment.
a torpedo launched from a German destroyer.
a torpedo launched from a German U-boat.
an explosion on board.

... In 1916, an Austro-Hungarian air service pilot named Konjovic bombed and sank the French submarine Foucault in the Adriatic Sea, thus becoming the first person to sink a submarine from the air.


Question 11 of 13

The USS Nautilus was the first submarine to:

circumnavigate the globe.
cross the North Pole beneath the polar ice cap.
to remain submerged for more than five days.
test-launch an SSBM.

... In 1958, the USS Nautilus crossed the North Pole beneath the Artic ice cap, thanks to nuclear power. In the 1950s, diesel-electric propulsion was being replaced by nuclear reactors. Along with newly developed equipment that extracted oxygen from seawater, nuclear power gave submarines the ability to stay submerged for weeks or even months. These innovations enabled previously impossible voyages, like the Nautilus’.


Question 12 of 13

Who invented the first operational helicopter?

Igor Sikorsky
Anthony Fokker
Charles Lindberg
Louis-Charles Breguet

... The first “gyroplane” was invented by Louis-Charles Breguet in 1935. It was Igor Sikorsky, however, who captured the attention of the U.S. and British militaries in 1939, with demonstrations of his VS-300, XR-4 and XR-6 helicopters.


Question 13 of 13

The first operational “vertical takeoff” jet is the:

F-22A Raptor
Mirage 2000

... The USMC’s single-pilot Harrier ground attack/fighter jet was developed by British Aerospace in the 1960s. Powered solely by vectored thrust from a single turbine engine, it was the first operational VTOL jet. It is fuel-inefficient and noisy, but with the flick of the pilot’s wrist it can transition to forward jet flight from vertical flight mode.