Quiz: Can You Identify These Military Items A-Z?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Identify These Military Items A-Z?
By: Jacqueline Samaroo
6 Min Quiz
Wiki Commons by FEMA News Photo
Only two of these items that begin with "A" have ever been used in war. What are they called?
The term "atomic bomb" refers to an explosive weapon of mass destruction that are powered by the rapid release of nuclear energy. Only two atomic bombs have been used in military conflicts, both times during World War II by the United States against Japan.
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What is the name of this destructive class of military items that starts with "A" and includes things like mortars and falconets?
Artillery is a broad category of military weaponry that provides destructive force that is well beyond the capabilities of small arms used by infantry (firearms, swords, etc.). Some notable types of artillery include mortars, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns.
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This item is attached to the end of a rifle for use as a melee weapon or as a tool. What is it called?
The bayonet is a simple ancillary weapon that is affixed to the end of a rifle. In the past, bayonets were simply spikes or modified swords; modern bayonets have taken the appearance of combat knives.
Terry Moore/Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images
Do you know the name of this wearable protective military item whose name starts with "B"?
Ballistic vests are a type of personal armor that is designed to protect the user from projectiles or shrapnel that come from firearms or explosions. As the name suggests, it is worn over the torso and commonly used by military forces, bodyguards and law enforcement.
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What is the name of this defensive military structure designed to withstand devastating attacks?
A bunker is a defensive fortification that is used to protect personnel or resources from attacks (usually bombs). Civilian implementations of bunkers have been used in dangerous industrial locations and on residential properties to provide safety during tornadoes or other destructive events.
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Do you know the name of the handheld ranged weapon that fires bolts?
The crossbow is a ranged weapon that is often viewed as an evolution of the conventional bow. It rose in popularity because it needed less energy and skill to operate.
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This class of warships is only operated by the U.S. and Russia. What is it called?
In the military, the term "cruiser" refers to massive multipurpose warships. Today, there are only two nations in the world that still operate cruisers: Russia and the United States.
Do you know the "D" word that describes a device used to trigger explosives?
The term detonator refers to any device that triggers an explosive. While they are used in the military, they are also used for demolition, excavation and mining.
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Starting with "E," what is the name of this spade that is used by military personnel?
An entrenching tool is a collapsible (folding) spade that is used by military forces, as well as by hikers and survivalists. It is also known as a "trenching tool" or simply an "E-tool."
PublicDomainPictures / 17913 images / Pixabay
What is the name of this fiery military weapon that has seen significantly less use in recent years?
While they aren’t widely used by militaries today (the U.S. Department of Defense has not used them since the 1970s), flamethrowers were once a destructive and feared weapon on the battlefield. They still see significant use by civilians for controlled burning tasks in agriculture and land management.
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This melee weapon that starts with "F" was favored by peasants. What is its name?
The flail is a historical melee weapon that saw some military use throughout history, specifically by peasant armies and rebellions. This is because the weapon directly evolved from the less deadly farming tool of the same name.
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Do you know the name of this class of small explosive weapons that starts with "G"?
Grenades are relatively small explosive weapons that detonate on impact or have a timed delay. Fragmentation grenades, which release deadly shrapnel upon exploding, are the most common grenade variation.
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Debuting in the American Civil War, this deadly weapon was named after its inventor. Can you identify it?
The Gatling gun is a hand-cranked machine gun that was capable of rapid fire. It was first used in the American Civil War by the Union forces and is named after its creator, Richard Gatling.
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Starting with "H," what is the name of this aircraft that is widely used around the world and has the ability to hover?
Helicopters are rotary-wing aircraft notable for their precise maneuverability and ability to hover. They are not only widely used in the military; they are also used for healthcare, public safety and civilian transport.
What is the name of the structure that serves as a landing platform for helicopters?
A helipad is a landing platform (or simple landing area) that is specifically designated to be used by helicopters. They are not restricted to military compounds and are usually a necessity for any organization that utilizes helicopters on a regular basis.
duncan1890 / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images
These metal-plated ships replaced the widely used sail-powered warships. What were they called?
The term "ironclad" refers to the steam-propelled warships that emerged in the 19th century. The ironclad served as a replacement for the increasingly vulnerable wooden warships that had ruled the seas beforehand.
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Do you know the name of the type of aircraft that starts with "J" and is used for both commercial and military purposes?
The term "jet" directly refers to any aircraft propelled by jet engines. While modern air-based transportation systems make heavy use of jets, militaries around the world also make use of extremely fast and deadly jet-propelled aircraft.
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What is the name of the historic military vehicle that shares its name with a brand of automobiles?
While today the word "Jeep" is usually used to refer to the brand of automobiles, back in 1941, it was actually the nickname of the Willys MB and the Ford GPW. These were off-road capable military utility vehicles that were widely used by the Allied forces.
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This weapon has been used for millions of years and is still used by soldiers today. What is it called?
While tools and weapons have come and gone over the centuries of human development, the simple (yet effective) knife has endured for over 2.5 million years. Military forces still use combat knives to this day as general-use tools and close quarters weapons.
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Starting with "L," what is the name of this ranged weapon that was extremely prolific throughout history?
While they have been made obsolete nowadays in the age of firearms, the longbow has cemented its place in history as one of the most influential and enduring weapons throughout the world. It was not only used in military conflicts, but was also an indispensable tool for hunting and survival.
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Do you know the name of the explosive weapons that are capable of taking out tanks?
As the name suggests, land mines are explosive devices that are placed on the ground or buried underground. They are commonly used as traps and deterrents against enemy combatants or even large vehicles like tanks.
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This class of weapons that starts with "M" fires explosive shells. What is it called?
When it comes to weaponry, the term “mortar” refers to a lightweight and portable infantry weapon that launches explosive shells. Historically, they were used to provide close fire support, damage fortifications or bypass fortifications altogether and damage personnel behind them.
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What is the name of the explosive military weapon that is capable of traveling long distances through the air?
The term "missile" refers to a self-propelled explosive device that can be used over relatively long distances. They can be fired from the Earth’s surface or from the air when they are carried by aircraft.
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Starting with "N," this compound was used in both bombs and flamethrowers. What is it called?
Napalm is without a doubt one of the most infamous incendiary weapons in recent history. Napalm was initially used in bombs, but it eventually served as a fuel for flamethrowers as well.
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These military structures that start with "O" are used for surveillance. What are they called?
Observation posts are an aspect of the more strategic side of military warfare. They are usually hidden from plain sight (either due to their secluded location or by camouflage) and serve as a protected area from which soldiers can survey enemy personnel.
Do you know the name of the device that is used to survive large falls?
In the military, parachutes are primarily used to allow personnel to safely descend from dangerous heights (usually from a flying aircraft). However, they have also been used to safely send food and other essential resources to troops as well.
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This class of weapon that starts with "P" is one of the most popular types of firearms. What is its name?
The pistol is a type of handgun that is featured in two common types: semi-automatic and single shot. While it's primarily used by military personnel and law enforcement, civilians also widely use it for hunting and self-defense in some parts of the world.
Thierry Dosogne / DigitalVision / Getty Images
What is the name of the structure where ships go to load and unload?
A quay is a structure that is located on the shore and it serves as a location where ships can easily unload or load passengers and cargo. The usage of quays is not restricted to only military forces; however, the ones used by navies have to be far more defensible than their civilian counterparts.
DANNY HU / Moment / Getty Images
Used for directing air traffic and carrying out surveillance, what is the name of this complex device?
The acronym RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. Radar systems feature large, complex antennas and are used for military purposes, civilian traffic control and meteorological monitoring.
by ale_flamy / Moment / Getty Images
Do you know the name of the firearm that is used primarily for long-range combat?
While the rifle has evolved over the years, the core concept of the weapon has remained the same. It is, by definition, a long-barreled firearm that is primarily designed to excel at long-range precision shooting.
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Capable of travelling underwater, what is the name of this vehicle that starts with "U"?
Submarines are a class of aquatic vessels that have the capability of operating with unhindered effectiveness underwater. While they are largely used by military forces, they are also used for marine exploration, scientific studies and salvage missions.
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This ranged weapon is widely used by armed forces and hunters, what is its name?
While it is a popular hunting firearm, especially when it comes to birds and other small game, the shotgun also has a place in military and law enforcement arsenals. In the military, it is used as a defensive weapon or close quarters weapon.
What is the name of the massive military vehicle that was extensively used in the World Wars?
The tank is without a doubt one of the most recognizable military vehicles, and it was an integral part of both World War I and World War II. The most effective tanks are designed to withstand heavy fire on the front lines while having strong firepower of their own.
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Starting with "T," this nonlethal chemical weapon still has the potential to be extremely harmful. What is it called?
The term “tear gas” refers to a type of chemical weapon that causes respiratory pain, skin irritation, eye pain, and other debilitating effects. Non-lethal types of tear gas are used today for riot control; however, deadly forms of tear gas were used during World War I.
What is the name for the large, explosive weapons that play a pivotal role in aquatic warfare?
In design (and usually appearance), a torpedo is strikingly similar to a missile. Torpedoes are self-propelled and feature an explosive warhead; however, whereas missiles travel through the air, torpedoes are propelled underwater.
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Which of these abbreviations is used to describe an aircraft that is not directly piloted by a person in a cockpit?
The acronym UAV stands for “unmanned aerial vehicle” and, as the name suggests, they are designed to be operated without an on-board pilot. In the military, they are used for missions where it would either be wasteful or too dangerous to use a manned aircraft.
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The most popular submachine gun in the world goes by what name?
The Uzi is an Israeli submachine gun that was introduced in 1954 and is still used to this day. It is extremely popular and holds the distinction of being the most widely-sold submachine gun in the world.
Kanok Sulaiman / Moment / Getty Images
Naval vessels that are used for combat are know by what name?
The term "warship" is used to describe any naval ship that is primarily designed for naval warfare. Warships have evolved from galleys to sailing ships to dreadnoughts.
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A name that starts with "X" refers to an group of experimental military aircraft. Can you identify the name?
X-plane is a group designation that is used to refer to experimental United States aircraft (and sometimes rockets). Over the years, the United States Air Force has usually operated the X-planes, in conjunction with NACA or NASA.
John Parrot/Stocktrek Images / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images
What is the name of this piece of historic German aircraft that was effective in World War I?
The zeppelin is a type of airship that is notable for its rigid metal framework and relatively massive size. It was utilized heavily in World War I by the German military, especially during bombing raids against the British.
As humankind has grown and developed over millennia, we have found more effective and complex ways of interacting with each other. From better agricultural techniques to more complex forms of government and even more advanced forms of technology, we have made huge leaps in a relatively short span of time. Likewise, military equipment and structures have evolved. Challenges such as the ability to shape metal into a blade or the ability to carry armies across seas on wooden boats were once thought to be the pinnacles of military power. Nowadays, massive aircraft carriers, deadly automatic weapons and incredibly fast jets are all commonplace military items.
We've taken a look at military items throughout the years and put together some of the most unique and challenging ones. Do you know the difference between an ironclad and a submarine? Can you identify a mortar from a missile? If you think you've got what it takes, then get ready to dive right into this expert military quiz!
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