World War 2 Secret Weapon The Bat Bomb
When I first heard about Bat Bomb, I thought it is a bomb carried by Batman, but in fact, this is a non-fiction weapon invented by human being during World War 2.
What a small little bat knows about strategic modern warfare? Not a great deal, but a bat can be ‘programmed’ by humans in such a way to carry bombs, silently sneak into your house and do some free renovation to you.
It was a US funded research project, with military personnel assigned to it, to produce a bomb which would carry bats laded with small incendiary devices attached. The bomb would open over an enemy city, the bats would fly out and find a nice building to roost in for the day. The incendiary would go off, incinerating the bat, and hopefully setting fires all over the city.
This project was suggested by a dental surgeon from Pennsylvania, named Dr. Lytle S. Adams, to burn Japanese cities to the ground during the end of World War II. He suggested strapping small incendiary devices to bats, loading them into cages shaped like bombshells and dropping them over a wide area.
How it works?
Basically, newly recruited bats were placed in ice cube trays and cooled to force them into hibernation. By cooling them down to this state, they were very easy to work with and transport. This is how a small incendiary bomb was attached to the bats.
A special hollow bomb case was created to house a thousand or so chilled bats and would be released from bomber aircraft above the target city. The bomb would release a parachute and slowly glide to the warmer air below. This would bring the bats out of hibernation and at a pre-set height the bomb would open releasing waves of tiny bat bombers.
The bombs were oblong, nitrocellulose cases filled with thickened kerosene. A small time-delay igniter was attached to the side of the casing, serving as the means to detonate the explosive. When the bomb was ready to use, a copper chloride solution would be injected into a cavity through which steel wire was passed. The solution would corrode the wire, which held the firing pin under tension. Once corroded away, the firing pin would spring forward, igniting the kerosene.
The bats would seek shelter in the buildings, warehouse, factories. Then the fire bombs would go off setting fire to the city.
Testing testing 123…
They began testing the Bat Bombers in May of 1943. Several thousand bats were collected and flown to the testing facility in California where they would be testing dropped. The bats were placed in a series of refrigerators, which caused the bats to hibernate, making them much easier to transport and handle.
Initially, the test was carried out with dummy bomb to bolster confidence and eventually live explosive test was carried out on a mock Japanese village simulating Japanese structures.
The live explosive test with the mock Japanese village can be considered one of the rare successful drops. However, most of the bats found other non-predetermined adjoining targets such as: research facility’s warehouse, most of the research material, hangars and a general car. In owning to this, the ‘Project X’ was brought to the end of the road by the army. The Navy took over but the weapon was never put into use. In 1944 the Navy abruptly canceled the operation By. that time, Project X-Ray had cost an estimated $2 million and an estimated 25,000 bats had made the ultimate sacrifice for Uncle Adams. Soon after, the funding was diverted to another project called ‘The Manhatten Project’ (Atomic Bomb).
Dr. Adams believed that fires created by the Bat Bombers could have been more destructive than the atomic bomb. He had found that the bats spread out in a twenty mile radius from where the case was dropped, which created a high potential for destruction. Thinking thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles for every Bat Bomber case dropped. Japan would have been devastated, but with a much smaller loss of life. That is, of course, unless you count the bats. If the ‘Project X’ was continued at that time, we won’t able to watch any batman movie anymore… Haha!!