14 Gruesome Weapons That Are Banned From War

Even though war in itself is already inhumane, these weapons have been considered too inhumane to use in warfare.


1. Mustard gas.

When inhaled, this particular gas makes people’s lungs to fill with fluid, thereby causing them to drown. The gas gets its name from its yellow-brown color and proved efficient when clearing trenches in WWI, as it is heavier than air and will stay within the trenches.


2. Nerve gas.

Nerve gases were first deemed inhumane by both the Hague and Geneva in 1899, and can cause all sorts of nasty physical reactions. To cut a long story short, they basically break down your whole nervous system. Death often results from a long and painful shutdown of the respiratory system.


3. Phosgene gas.

Due to its affordable production costs, this gas was responsible for 85% of all deaths caused by chemical weapons in WWI. By destroying essential proteins in people’s lungs, it prevents the lungs from exchanging oxygen.

4. Tear gas.

Although police are still allowed to use it against angry demonstrators, this non-lethal gas is banned from warfare as it prevents people from breathing properly.


5. Pepper spray.

Technically. pepper spray is considered an aerosol chemical weapon banned by the Hague convention. Hence, it is banned from warfare as well.


6. Plastic landmines.

According to the Protocol I of the 1979 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, it is prohibited to use any weapons containing fragments which are not detectable in human bodies by X-rays. If fragments were hard to detect, they couldn’t easily be removed by field surgeons, which would unnecessarily prolong the victim’s suffering.

7. Spike pits.

Although you might deem these death-traps somewhat old-fashioned, they were still in use in WWII.


8. Biological weapons.

Bio-terrorism attacks are one of the oldest weapons known to men. In ancient warfare, warring parties would catapult rotten bodies over city walls in order to spread nasty diseases among their enemies. Today, any form of biological weapon is banned from warfare, as its effect is difficult to contain.


9. Flamethrowers.

Flamethrowers are not forbidden for as long as the battle field is nowhere near civilians. However, it is banned from use in civilian areas.

10. Napalm.

The same restrictions apply to the use of napalm. It can’t be used against civilians, nor anywhere near them.


11. Blinding laser beams.

No, we haven’t taken this one from a sci-fi movie. Blinding laser beams are powerful enough to cause permanent blindness – which is why their use is forbidden, both on the battlefield and among civilians.


12. Non-self destructing landmines.

Planting landmines is only allowed if they include a self-destruction mechanism that will be activated after a certain period of time.

13. Poisoned bullets.

While most people don’t survive being shot, some lucky fellows do. Poisoning bullets would cause the survivors to subsequently die from secondary infections – which is why they’re forbidden.


14. Dirty bombs.

Dirty bombs (bombs loaded with radioactive material) are forbidden under international law. Most warring parties wouldn’t use them anyway, as these bombs will turn the area into an uninhabitable wasteland.