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The Military’s Top Secret WWII Bat Bomb: Bats Away!

Written by on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

There’s an obvious parallel between Batman and the US military. This billionaire super hero spends his fortune developing some of the world’s most high-tech weapons and devices, such as the batarang, the bat tazer, thermite bat grenades, and the Batmobile. If you haven’t noticed, Batman has a habit of adding “bat” to the names of all of his devices. This has created something of a joke in popular culture wherein a bat-anything is usually a ludicrous device that’s more science fiction than reality.

But what if I told you that the US military poured money into an actual bat bomb? I don’t mean a bomb shaped like a bat, or a bomb that just had “bat” as part of a secret code name — I mean actual bats carrying around incendiary devices. We’ve come up with some bizarre uses for animals, like monkey personal assistants and fish pedicures, but this one really takes the cake.

Shortly after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the military was inundated with ideas for new, ingenious, and often bizarre weapon ideas. One such idea came from Dr. Lytle S. Adams, a dentist and inventor. Adams happened to be friends with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, which allowed him to submit a proposal to President Roosevelt.

His idea was to attach incendiary devices to bats and drop them over Japan to create a widely effective firebomb. Four facts made this a tempting idea:

1. Bats can be induced to hibernate, which makes them easy to transport.

2. Millions upon millions of bats can be found in caves across the US, which means that they will be cheap to acquire.

3. Bats seek out dark buy cialis online australia areas during daylight, so there is a good chance that they will roost in the attics and cubbyholes of buildings.

4. Bats can carry several of their young at a time, so they can probably carry a bomb.

The project received funding, amazingly, and the US military set about experimenting with ways to equip bats with incendiary devices. After a few bungled prototypes, they eventually developed a napalm device that weighed less than an ounce and operated on a 30 minute timer.

Testing the bomb proved to be incredibly effective — even moreso than anybody had ever predicted. Several bats escaped from captivity at the Carlsbrad auxiliary airfield, and within a few minutes the entire base was up in flames. The military later performed another test in a mock Japanese village; the fake town was completely obliterated. The military wrote, “It is concluded that the bat bomb is an effective weapon.”

Now, the only tricky part was figuring out how to deploy the bats. Bats couldn’t just be dropped out of a plane because they would simply crash into the ground. That’s where the bat bomb came in. They created a bomb-shaped device that held hundreds of bats in stacked layers. The bomb would release a parachute after it was deployed and then open its stacks to give the bats a chance to wake up and take to the skies.

As effective as the bat bomb would have been, even more powerful bombs were being developed under the Manhattan Project. The nuclear era had just begun, and the age of the bat bomb was over before it even got started.


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