Weapons are designed to cause devastation and havoc to the enemies. After all, the purpose of creating them was to improve, if not secure, your chance of defeating the enemies and becoming victorious with whatever cause you’re fighting for, right? There are times, though, when weapons were deployed way before they were truly ready for war. As a result of the rush, the weapons could be instead dangerous to their users instead of the enemies. Here are some of those weapons you wouldn’t want to use unless you wanted to die.

Mark 14 Torpedo

Mark 14 was designed during the Great Depression in 1930 when there was little to no money that could be used to even paint barracks, let alone fund an expensive weapon system. In fact, when Mark 14 was put into production, it was not even live-fire tested beforehand. Back then a torpedo was a very expensive piece of ordnance to expend, each one cost more than $10,000 when a new Chevrolet convertible was about $700. To save money the government only fired the occasional inert test torpedo to make sure the engine worked and that could be recovered, but none with actual live warheads used against actual ships. If this was not a recipe for disaster, we’re not quite sure what is.

Used by the US Navy during World War II, Mark 14 was notorious for missing the target entirely. As written by Defense Media Network,

In 1942, submarines in the three regional Pacific Ocean commands had fired 1,442 torpedoes and sunk only 211 ships totaling almost 1.3 million tons (post-war analysis of Japanese records reduced these figures to 109 ships and 41,871 tons). The new Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Charles Lockwood looked at the tally sheet for March 1943. The results continued to be disappointingly low. The problem: duds and premature explosions of torpedoes.

MK 14 MOD 5 Torpedo. (Matrek, derivative work of User: Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The torpedo has several problems. First, a faulty depth gauge meant the torpedo ran about 10 feet deeper than its settings.  The Mk 14 was designed to run under the target vessel and explode under the keel, a devastating hit that would often break the keel of the vessel sinking it for sure.  Running too deep meant the torpedo’s magnetic trigger device would fail to detonate and the “fish” would pass harmlessly under the ship.  The triggering device proved faulty as well resulting in torpedoes prematurely detonating well short of the target.  Submarines rely on stealth for survival and a premature detonation of the torpedo would alert the convoy’s escorts to the submarine’s presence and invite an immediate counterattack.

Second, In desperation, the navy told its’ submarine skippers not to use the faulty magnetic trigger and set the torpedo for contact detonation which would mean the torpedo would be set to run at shallow depth and explode when it actually hit the side of the enemy vessel.  Apparently, the contact trigger or “Pistol” was also faulty.  More often than not, the torpedo would hit the side of the ship with a clunk and not explode.

In 1943, the sub-USS Tinosa spent an entire day trying to sink a single Japanese merchant vessel. She fired eleven torpedoes at the ship, none of which exploded.

Perhaps its worst scandal was when its gyro mechanism failed, causing the torpedo to circle back and hit the submarine that launched it. This happened to the USS Tullibee, on March 26, 1944. This caused the Tullibee to sink, killing all but one of her crew.