Following on from a previous post on “RoboRoach” and the “militarization of nature”, I stumbled upon this brief article on the development of bats as incendiary devices during the close of World War II.
As the article states, during the mid-1940s many Japanese houses were still constructed from highly flammable materials such as wood and paper. To ignite these, the U.S. military brainstormed different attacks – from napalm to conventional bombing sorties.But the effectiveness of these tactics were all deemed limited.
A few months after the Manhattan Project began, a dental surgeon named Lytle Adams pitched the idea of using bats as firebombs throughout Japan. His idea was “straightforward” – collect a million bats, strap timed incendiary devices to their backs while they hibernated, stick thousands of them into containers designed to open at high altitudes, and then when daybreak comes, the escaped bats will hide in the interior of homes…before they detonate.
“Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped,” he later recalled. Japan could have been devastated, yet with small loss of life.”
The U.S. Marine Corps invested $2 million in the program, or $25 million in today’s money.
The bat bombs were never deployed however, missing the close of the war, and cancelled before the project could be fully realised. Many suspect the focus shifted from bat bombs to a much larger weapon: the nuclear bomb.