Blunderbuss, a type of flintlock firearm introduced into England from Holland in the 17th century. The name comes from the Dutch word for “thunder box.” The blunderbuss had a trumpet-shaped muzzle and loaded a heavy charge of gunpowder that made a very loud noise when fired. The short, thick barrel was usually made of brass. The blunderbuss fired many small lead slugs and scattered its shot, like a shotgun. It was not accurate but was effective at close range. English coachmen often carried blunderbusses to deal with highwaymen, and some early American settlers owned these weapons. Its military use was limited to repelling boarders from ships. A few percussion-lock blunderbusses were made-early in the 19th century.
Zouaves, an elite corps of French colonial infantry, notable for their rapid and vigorous system of drill and for their colorful uniform of red, baggy trousers, blue jacket, and fez.
"Star Wars" at sea? That's sort of the promise of a new generation of laser-firing jets now being developed by the U.S. military.