A box of secret documents from WW2 were discovered this week in a long-forgotten chill-out room at the Ministry of Defence in London. The documents detail British weapons research during the war, and are so unbelievable that they could almost have been invented for a Channel 5 documentary. A Channel 5 documentary on them will be aired later this week.
Many of the planned weapons never came to fruition, for various reasons. One of the more unusual plans was for an inescapable bath-trap. Churchill himself came up with the idea when he struggled to escape from his bath one day after a few whiskies. He envisaged a bath with sides ten feet high, enough to trap any German soldier. He reasoned correctly that if a soldier was unable to leave the bath then he would be unable to fight. Three million French plumbers were trained to fit ten-feet deep bathtubs throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, but the plan eventually had to be abandoned due to a spanner shortage.
That was not the only plan Churchill came up with in the bath. On discovering that his rubber duck appeared to be completely unsinkable, he ordered an armada of seventy giant yellow ducks for use in the Normandy invasion. Such a bright fleet would not only confuse the enemy but should also be invulnerable to U-boat attack. However, only one duck was ever built, and was deemed to be "too successful" for use. "If we ever use such a weapon in war," said Churchill, "not only will we be condemned for crimes against humanity, but we will unleash a deadly new age of rubber duck-based sea warfare. I cannot allow myself to be responsible for such a thing."
Not all of Churchill's bath-time plans were futile. He also invented the idea of the "dam-busting" bouncing bombs. It came to him after he was struggling to escape from the bath one evening, and found that the splashing of his gonads against the bath water made him imagine round hairy bombs bouncing into the Ruhr dam. Later on that dream was made true.
Other plots which never saw the light of day include:
- a nuclear loofah,
- a shoulder-launched flannel,
- a giant tap that was to be built over Berlin to drown it.