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Encyclopedia > Bat bomb

In the United States, there was a World War II proposal to drop bats carrying tiny incendiary bombs over Japan, hence creating bat bombs. The plan was to trigger thirty-minute timers in the bombs upon the bat's release from their carrier, so that they would explode when the bats had roosted in Japanese buildings, causing widespread fires and chaos. The bat bomb idea was conceived by dental surgeon Lytle S. Adams, who submitted it to the White House in January, 1942, where it was subsequently approved by President Roosevelt. Adams was recruited to research and obtain a suitable supply of bats. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... Suborders Megachiroptera Microchiroptera See text for families. ... Incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, or white phosphorus. ... The southern side of the White House The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States of America. ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), often referred to as FDR, was the 32nd (1933–1945) President of the United States. ...


Project details

By March of 1943 a suitable species had been selected. The project was considered serious enough that Louis Fieser, the inventor of military napalm, designed 0.6 ounce (17 g) and one ounce (28 g) incendiary devices to be carried by the bats. A bat carrier looking like a bomb casing was designed that included 26 stacked trays each containing compartments for 40 bats. The carriers would be dropped from 5000 feet (1525 m). Then the trays would separate but remain connected to a parachute that would deploy at 1000 feet (305 m). Drop tests in May of 1943 were unsuccessful, with many hibernating bats being killed by the fall when they failed to wake up in time. In one incident the Auxiliary Army Air Base in Carlsbad, New Mexico was set on fire when armed bats were accidentally released. The unfortunate but still developing project was given to the Navy in August 1943, who transferred it to Hondo Army Air Base near San Antonio, renamed it Project X-Ray, and then passed it off to the Marine Corps that December. A partially successful test was carried out on a mock-up of a Japanese city. More tests were scheduled for the summer of 1944 but the program was cancelled by Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King when he heard that it would likely not be combat ready until mid-1945. By that time it was estimated that $2 million had been spent on the project. It is thought that development of the bat bomb was moving too slowly and was beaten out of the race for a quick end to the war by the Atomic Bomb project. Dr. Louis Fieser was a chemist and professor emeritus at Harvard University. ... A napalm airstrike during the Vietnam War Napalm, or jellied gasoline, is a flammable liquid fuel weapon first used in World War I by the Germans, with the Allies quickly following suit. ... The Apollo 15 capsule landed safely despite a parachute failure. ... Hibernation is a state of regulated hypothermia, lasting several days or weeks, that allows animals to conserve energy during the winter. ... Carlsbad is a city located in Eddy County, New Mexico. ... San Antonio (the Spanish name of Saint Anthony) is a common toponym in parts of the world where the Spanish language is or was spoken: Argentina San Antonio, Jujuy province Belize San Antonio, Cayo District Chile San Antonio Mexico San Antonio, San Luis Potosí Philippines San Antonio, Quezon San Antonio... A Fleet Admiral is a generic term for a senior admiral in command of a large group of ships, comprising a Fleet or, in some cases, a group of Fleets. ... Admiral Ernest Joseph King (November 23, 1878 - June 25, 1956) was the Commander in Chief of the United States Navy during World War II. As such, he was Chester Nimitzs immediate superior but himself was subordinate to Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ...

The book Sunwing written by Kenneth Oppel was inspired by this plan. Sunwing is a popular childrens book written by Canadian author, Kenneth Oppel in 1999. ... Kenneth Oppel, a Canadian writer, was born on August 31, 1967 in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada. ...


  • Bat Bomb: World War II's Other Secret Weapon, by Jack Couffer, University of Texas Press, 1992, ISBN 0292707908

See also

During World War II, Project Pigeon (or Project Orcon) was American behaviourist B. F. Skinners attempt to develop a pigeon-guided missile. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Military animals are creatures that have been employed by humankind for use in warfare. ...

External links

  • "The Bat Bombers," Air Force Magazine, Oct. 1990
  • Top Secret WWII Bat Program article on Historynet accessed February 9, 2006
  • Bats in Military Service
Exploding animals and other exploding organisms
Bat | Bird | Chicken | Cow | Dog | Donkey | Hamster | Human
Rat | Sheep | Snake | Termite | Tree | Toad | Whale

  Results from FactBites:
Bomb - definition of Bomb in Encyclopedia (353 words)
The explosion of the bomb has to be triggered, usually by a clock, a remote control, or some kind of sensor, usually pressure (altitude), radar, or contact.
Bombs are first and foremost weapons; the term "bomb" is not usually applied to explosive devices used for civilian purposes (such as construction or mining).
By contrast, terrorist bombs are usually custom-made, developed to any number of designs, use a wide range of explosives of varying levels of power and chemical stability, and are used in many different ways.
bat: Definition and Much More From Answers.com (3136 words)
Bats are traditionally grouped with the tree shrews (Scandentia), colugos (Dermoptera), and the primates in superorder Archonta because of the similarities between Megachiroptera and these mammals.
The bat is sacred in Tonga and West Africa and is often considered the physical manifestation of a separable soul.
Chinese lore claims the bat is a symbol of longevity and happiness, and is similarly lucky in Poland and geographical Macedonia and among the Kwakiutl and Arabs.
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