The Cold War helped to cook up some of the most batshit plans known to the modern world, from the bright idea to nuke the Moon or the what-could-possibly-go-wrong gambit to arm spaceships with lasers guns. As part of this paranoid game of one-upmanship, the Soviets devised a weapon that's so flamboyantly ludicrous, it sounds unbelievably similar to the weapon created by The Underminer, the mole-like supervillain from The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2.

As recently pointed out by Jalopnik, the gigantic drill-tipped vehicle featured in The Incredibles movies bears an uncanny similarity to the USSR’s prototype nuclear “subterrenes”. These clunking machines consisted of a chunky metal cylinder with a colossal drill attached to the end. The notion was that the vehicles could bear tunnels and covertly cork-screw beneath enemy lines, entirely out of sight, to deliver troops or furnishes beyond enemy lines. Alternatively, it could use its subterranean vantage point to meddle with adversary communication lines.

Russia Beyond, a Russian state-owned news organisation, reports that the early incarnations of the subterrenes rapidly ran into problems. Besides anything, it probably didn't assistance that early prototypes of the machine were inspired by the motion that tiny moles use to excavate through soil, according to a 1956 report in New Scientist.

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After this impediment was jumped, it became apparent that a huge amount of energy would be required to drill a tunnel through hard types of soil and stone. So, in 1964, the USSR unveiled a nuclear-powered subterrene, dubbed “Battle mole”. Just like the nuclear submarine, of which they are still many, the “Battle mole” would be fitted with a relatively small nuclear reactor that could provide all of its energy requires. Equally, the extreme heat from the reactor could also be utilized to help bore through the earth.

Bear in mind, most information about the military's projects were kept under wraps during the course of its Cold War, so there’s not much in the way of official information out there. Nowadays, a search for “Battle mole” will bring a host of state-owned Russian news sites and suspect YouTube videos.

Nevertheless, Russia Beyond claims that “some reports” show that the Soviet nuclear subterrene was actually built and tested out in different geological conditions. Some of the trials in the suburbs of Moscow and the Rostov region appeared to go well, however, a handful of tests ended in tragedies. In one instance, the nuclear subterrene blew up deep within the Ural Mountains. As you can imagine, an detonation, deep underground with a nuclear reactor nearby isn’t going to end well, so the project was promptly scrapped.

Stay safe out there, the Underminer.

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