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A superweapon is defined as a powerful weapon compared to others of its time. In theory, such a weapon could turn around the outcome of a war. For example, a supergun may render enemy fortifications obsolete. However, in practice superweapons can be overwhelmed or disabled and are costly to implement on a large scale. A superweapon is different from a weapon of mass destruction.[further explanation needed] Most superweapons are used to influence civilian morale on both sides of a conflict and are therefore helpful as propaganda machines. For example, throughout 1943 and 1944, The German public was repeatedly assured that Wunderwaffen, or wonder weapons, would rescue an otherwise doomed war effort.
Not many superweapons have been used. Although the V-1 and V-2 rockets were common during 1944 and 1945 in Europe, the Schwerer Gustav was the only other superweapon. Nuclear weapons have only been used twice, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and nuclear artillery, bombers and submarines have never been used. Among superguns, the Paris Gun only fired on civilian targets, while Big Bertha was, though famous for shelling Paris from over 40 kilometers away, primarily responsible for smashing the Belgian forts near Liège during World War I in 1914 as part of the Schlieffen Plan.
Weapons regarded as superweapons
- Nuclear weapons
- Strategic bombers
- Ballistic missile submarine
- Space weapons