The Innovative Necessities of War

Home Technology
The Innovative Necessities of War

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo The MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected) Overhead Wire Mitigation Kit was a top Army invention in recent years.

You’ve all heard the amazing stories of soldiers hacking on the battlefield — the stories of fox hole radios, scrap armor, and anti-IED tech (that must constantly change as IED tech itself adjusts to the hacks). In time for this year’s Memorial Day, the Army announced that they are going to start giving awards to recognize soldiers for their “Battlefield Innovations.” Jeez, what took them so long? They’re calling it the Soldier Greatest Inventions Awards.

I love the amazing stories of some of these battlefield innovations, some done at the risk of a soldier (or POW’s) life. There are all of the pee hacks, for instance — peeing on machine gun barrels in WWI to cool them down, peeing on stuck gun mechanisms in WWII to unfreeze them from the winter cold, and the most amazing one, of Jewish prison workers secretly peeing on V2 control mechanisms to create time-released rusting which would remain undetected during assembly, but cause a malfunction by the time the rocket hit the pad. Recently, there’s been the cat and mouse “game” between US forces and insurgents with tricks like suspending a toaster from a pole in front of a truck to cause heat-triggered IEDs to detonate early.

What are some of the more clever battlefield innovations that you’ve heard about?

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.