World War II is arguably the worst catastrophe to have ever struck the world. It involved nearly every continent and affected every country on the planet. Tens of millions of people died - both civilians and military. From a brutal and maniacal attack on Eastern Europe and Africa to political upheaval and the industrial revolution which was a precursor to developing technology at a record rate, there were dozens of factors which played into the destruction this war brought.
However, it was the technological advancements of weapons that unleashed the horrifying effects of the war. From atomic bombs which could destroy cities to devastating machine guns which could wipe out a front line attack within minutes, these weapons were not only designed to kill but also intended to prove a point and spread fear to enemies. Tanks protected soldiers while running through an opposing army and flak could take down the world's most advanced jets. All the while U-boats eerily maneuvered waters unseen.
Take this quiz, not to name the weapon, but rather to see if you know which weapons were used by the Axis, or which were used by the Allies. Some may be easy, and others will test you to limits you never knew existed.
The M1 Garand was the standard service rifle for the U.S. during WWII. This .30-caliber weapon was semi-automatic, and fired at a faster rate than German units that were sometimes still stuck with bolt-action rifles.
The Tiger tank was a Germany heavy tank that saw action in Europe and Africa during the war. Historians say the tank was a fantastic weapon, but it required too much time and money to manufacture.
The Bf 109 was one of Germany's most capable and numerous fighter planes, and it first saw action in the Spanish Civil War. By the time WWII was well underway, Germany began replacing these fighters with more modern planes.
The Colt 1911 was a semi-automatic pistol used by the Allies. Millions of the guns were produced and then used from WWI up to the Korean War.
On August 6, 1945, the history of the world changed when the Allies dropped Little Boy -- the first atomic bomb used in combat -- on Hiroshima. Days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb and Japan soon capitulated.
Germany and its allies used the MP 40 machine gun all over the Eastern and Western fronts during WWII. The weapon could fire around 500 rounds per minute.
The Thompson submachine gun -- or "Tommy Gun" -- was a favorite of many American troops. It fired a large .45-caliber cartridge for stopping power. Some of the very first Tommy guns were sold to the Postal Service in the early '20s to protect against robberies.
The Panzerfaust was a cheap, one-shot anti-tank weapon deployed by the Germans. These small but deadly weapons were a constant threat to Allied tanks in Europe and Africa.
Nicknamed "Hitler's buzzsaw" for its distinctive sound, the German MG 42 machine gun was cheap, reliable … and deadly. It had a crazy-high rate of fire (about 1,200 rounds per minute), making a fearsome weapon of the Axis.
The British developed the Supermarine Spitfire fighter to combat the Luftwaffe. Although it had a short range, it was extremely maneuverable, a fact that helped pilots counter German attacks.
As Germany subjected Britain to withering air attacks, the Brits feared invasion. In desperation, they began cranking out cheap STEN submachine guns, just in case the Nazis suddenly appeared on their shores.
Germany had the largest number of submarines (U-boats) in the war. Allied ships were under constant threat in the Atlantic, fearful that a "wolf pack" of U-boats would suddenly appear and sink them to the bottom of the sea.
The German Maxim MG 08 was an improved version of the original Maxim machine gun that was introduced by Hiram Maxim in the late 1800s. The MG 08 had water-cooling features that helped it blast up to 600 rounds per minute.
The British churned out Hurricane fighter planes as fast as they could during the Battle of Britain. Though not as celebrated as the Spitfire, Hurricanes actually shot down more German planes during this critical battle.
Germans loved to menace people with the Walther PPK, a semi-automatic pistol. The PPK version is the one that Hitler used to commit suicide at the end of the war.
The Germans developed the StG 44 assault rifle in the midst of the war, but it was too little, too late to turn the tide. The StG 44 was the world's first assault rifle.
The British built the Lee-Enfield rifle starting before the turn of the century. Versions deployed during WWII typically had a top-mounted magazine that fed cartridges into the bolt action.
As the war dragged on, the Allies deployed an updated version of the M1 carbine. The M2 was different in that it allowed for full-auto firing capability.
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an Allied fighter plane that featured longer range, making it suitable for extended escort missions during bombing campaigns. The Allies built more than 15,000 of these stalwart weapons, which helped beat back the Luftwaffe time and again.
The Browning M2 (or "Ma Deuce") is a feared .50-caliber machine gun that still sees action in America's military. Its large cartridges menaced man and machine alike.
As Nazi tanks steamrolled through the Allies, American began manufacturing many bazookas, which fire explosives meant to destroy armored targets. Bazookas weren't always powerful enough to blast through heavy front armor, meaning that soldiers often shot their weapons at the sides and rears of tanks.
Close quarters combat in WWII required the appropriate weapons, like the Ithaca 37 shotgun. This gun was renowned for its reliable pump-action, which allowed it to fire as fast as the shooter could work the pump.
The Allied M2 flamethrower only had enough fuel to shoot a stream of fire for around 10 seconds, but that turned out to be enough to make this effective weapon. The M2 cleared enemies out of bunkers in a hurry.
The Allied M4 Sherman tank was a medium tank that was easy to build in large numbers, a fact that made it one of the most common tanks of the war. The Allies built nearly 50,000 of these feared armored vehicles.
The U.S. first introduced the Mark 2 hand grenade in 1918. It was produced by the millions during WWII and used until the Korean War.
Angered by bombing campaigns that destroyed German cities, the Nazis devised the world's first-ever guided ballistic missile. They flung the V-2 at Allied cities, killing thousands of civilians.
The French began building the Somua S-35 tank long before the war started in hopes of fending off any German advance. The tanks were OK -- French tank commanders, however, made tactical mistakes that negated the advantages of the S-35.
U.S. soldiers were famous for their Ka-Bar knives, which were useful in combat and as general purpose utility knives. The Ka-Bar is still one of the war's most iconic weapons.
The 8.8 cm Flak gun (or "88") was one of Germany's most feared weapons during the war. Not only did the 88 bring down many Allied planes, it could be tilted downward and fired as a ground weapon, too.
British Cromwell tanks were first deployed in large numbers during the Battle of Normandy in 1944. Only a few thousand of these tanks were built, in large part due to the success of the Sherman tank.