Thursday, June 6, 2013

Apocalyptic bat bombings

We are continuing on with our apocalyptic menagerie of alternate war animals.

Today's animal shows up in semi-apocalyptic novels of the gothic persuasion, the vampire story, quite frequently.  In a world under vampire control, bats do well.

But the bats as spreaders of a more realistic (in a science fictional sort of way) has been looked at in fiction.  In Alan Scott's The Anthrax Mutation they spread disease, and

But bats have also had their day in weapons research as well.

During World War 2, the United States thought about using bats dropped from bombers as a way to spread little incendiary bombs into the trees and attics of Japanese cities.

As odd as the idea sounds, it may have worked to well for its own good  (from Wikipedia: Bat Bomb):
A series of tests to answer various operational questions were conducted. In one incident the Carlsbad Army Airfield Auxiliary Air Base near Carlsbad, New Mexico, was set on fire on May 15, 1943, when armed bats were accidentally released
The bats incinerated the test range and roosted under a fuel tank. Following this setback, the project was relegated to the Navy in August 1943, who renamed it Project X-Ray, and then passed it to the Marine Corps that December.
The Bat Bomb fire (from here)
The Japanese tried to set our Northwest forests on fire (with some success) with balloon carrying incendiaries.  It appears that if you could make a small enough device, the bats did a better job.


James M Dakin said...

So, crap projects rolled downhill. The Navy gets first crack at crap and the jarheads on the bottom.

russell1200 said...

James: It sounds like the type of effort that a military with limited resources might try to make. But our resources were far from limited, and even without the H-bombs, they had pretty much gotten to the point where they could gut the cities one at a time. Keeping your effort focused at the point of decision is a fairly well understood operational approach these days.