4. Lantern Shields
Serving as both a defensive and offensive weapon, the lantern shield was like a giant medieval swiss army knife combining a buckler with various blades as well as a lantern and iron gauntlet. The longer primary blade attached to the shield was meant to be used for offensive strikes, while the two serrated blades attached to the gauntlet could be used to snap an attackers’ sword or spear if wielded properly. But the most notable feature—and the one that give the weapon its name—was the small leather flap on the front of the shield that could be lifted up to reveal a lit lantern behind it. The idea was that if someone attacked you, you could open the flap and momentarily blind them with a flash of bright light that would afford you the opportunity to either strike first or escape. Whether or not this technique was actually effective is still up for debate.
http://readysetbored.com/strange-and-unusual-weapons-made-and-used-by-our-ancestors/ Source: Readysetbored.com
In the winter of 1585, Antwerp was under attack by the Spanish army who had constructed an eight-hundred-meter-long ship blockade to cut off incoming supplies to the region and starve the population. Antwerp retaliated by sending out flaming ships in the hopes that the fire would spread to blockade and burn it down. This plan failed, however, as the Spanish army simply pushed the vessels away with pikes until they burned themselves into the river. However, the Spanish didn’t know that the Dutch had a trick up their sleeve in the form of Italian weapon designer Federigo Giambelli. Giambelli asked the city council for 60 ships, assuring them he could break the blockade. But the city only provided him with two. Undeterred, Giambelli worked with what he was given. He gutted the holds of each ship and built a cement chamber inside with five foot thick walls. Next, he loaded them both with about 7,000 pounds of gunpowder. He then proceeded to stock each ship with all sorts of deadly projectiles. Finally, the most ingenious part of his work was a clockwork mechanism he constructed to ignite the whole load at a predetermined time. The two ships became known as “hellburners” but they were actually the world’s first remotely detonated time bombs.
On April 5, Giambelli sent 32 fire ships ahead of the hellburners to distract the Spanish army. As men were called in to push the flaming ships away, the hellburners approached. Although one of the ships had a problem with its igniter, the second hellburner exploded, blowing a 200 foot hole in the blockade and killing 1,000 Spanish soldiers as huge cement blocks and piercing projectiles rained from the sky. The blast had succeeded in reopening the waterway to resupply the city.
http://www.lolwot.com/10-ancient-weapons-we-can-barely-believe-existed/5/ Source: Lolwot.com