Marty Mornhinweg’s Wacky Weapons: Animal Bombs

The Maestro
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The Maestro

The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn’t in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
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People talk about coaches’ ability to control the locker room, and how it’s an important one. Some people say I never did that so well. I call bullshit on them. You know what’s hard to control? Animals. Football players are comparatively a walk in the park to work with, especially when the animals are small and want to kill you! Confused yet? Don’t worry, you’ll be even more so very shortly…

ANIMAL BOMBS

Country of origin: USA

Purpose built: Alternative, cost-efficient and surprising bomb delivery methods

Years used: 1942-1945

What is it? With humanity constantly striving to create new, devastating weapons of war, it’s only natural that we often look for throwback ways to inflict pain and suffering on each other. Since humanity domesticated the horse and dog many thousands of years ago, we’ve forged a close relationship with animals; much of this is predominantly to our benefit, but in many cases, it is also a net positive for our animal companions. Not so for these unfortunate creatures here – they were in a no-win situation thanks to American military research in the Second World War.

Let’s consider, first off, the idea for the Navy to deploy “cat bombs”. First proposed by the American Office of Strategic Services (a forerunner to the CIA), it revolved around a very simple premise: cats hate water. Therefore, let’s stick a bunch of explosive on the backs of a whole bunch of cats, drop them in the water close by to a ship, then have them swim aboard and explode. Yes, this was a serious idea that was proposed and tested – not some kindergarten creative writing assignment. It was among the dumbest ideas in the history of the universe, and I’ll explain why shortly.

Image result for cat bombs
There are no modern images for cat bombs, but I imagine they probably looked even sillier than this medieval version. [source]

Only slightly better than the cat bombs – but almost just as insane – was the idea to use bat bombs against the Japanese. Again, this isn’t some drug-induced Hunter S. Thompson longform concept. Bat researcher and dentist Dr. Lytle S. Adams managed to connect with top military intelligence thanks to his friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; realizing that bats were well-suited to be weapons of war, he almost convinced the Air Force to deploy bombs over Japan that were filled with semi-frozen, hibernating bats with smaller bombs strapped to their bodies, which would thaw out, wake up, and fly away to shelter. Later, they would chew through the string attaching the bomb to their body, and then fly away once more. The bomb was a miniature incendiary bomb, with a string on the inside that held the firing pin in place. Each bomb was then injected with copper chloride – a highly corrosive substance – that would slowly dissolve the string, finally allowing the firing pin to trigger the explosion of the bomb.

[source]

Thanks to to the bats’ tendency to find places to roost such as attics and doorways – and thanks to the predominantly wood and paper construction of Japanese buildings during this era – the Air Force was convinced that roosting bats would firebomb Japan to the ground if they infested key buildings after being dropped on the country.

Neither of these things did end up ever happening in battle, but my god, let’s consider for a moment if they actually had…

Why didn’t it work? 

In the case of the cat bombs, which was clearly the way, way stupider idea of the two, it failed for a variety of reasons:

  • Cats are shitty swimmers. Most of them didn’t survive very long in the water.
  • It would be almost impossible for cats to climb aboard a ship from the water, due to the difference in size and the lack of solid ground for the cats to get a good initial jump in.
  • The cats used in testing passed out halfway through the drop stage and were unsuccessful in guiding the bomb to the target.

The fact that this one even got to the testing stage is a clear indictment of military budgets and intelligence everywhere. The bat bombs were also unsuccessful, but at least there was a slight modicum of thinking behind the whole operation. Why didn’t they work?

  • The bats actually did fly away – they were stealthy enough that they could establish roosting spots without being observed by fire watchers in the testing situations conducted in the New Mexico desert.
  • The main issue was controlling the live bats; when some armed bats got loose on the testing range in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and roosted underneath a fuel tank, they ended up accidentally burning the entire place to the ground. The Air Force would later pass off the project to the Navy, who would later pass it off to the Marine Corps. After some two million dollars was spent amongst all three branches, the project – titled Project X-Ray – was ultimately canceled in 1944, despite some positive results shown in later testing. Citing the fact that a final version wouldn’t be available for combat usage until 1945 – not to mention the concurrent expensive research going on with the atomic bomb at the same time – it seems likely that the American military wanted to focus their efforts on the Manhattan Project.
  • Some eyewitness accounts recall bats dropping to the ground “like stones” in a few test cases – this clearly would limit their efficacy.
WHOOPS LOL. [source]

What could make it better? 

  • Just completely fucking scrap the cat bomb idea. That’s so far beyond putting lipstick on a pig.
  • The bat bomb idea could absolutely work if it’s possible to have easier transport of the animals; the freezing of the bats was useful for triggering hibernation, but it’s a labor-intensive process to actually capture all of them in the first place, let alone then wrangle them well enough to get them all cooled down. That said, I’m sure PETA would be having a shit-fit if somebody tried to do this in the modern era.

Despite the ridiculous nature of animal-borne bombs, I’m still fairly confident we haven’t seen the last of them, somehow… guess we’ll have to see what’s up next in the rotation. Oh, I remember! A run play on third and 6! That’ll work!

Information for this article taken from here, here, here, herehere, here and here. Banner image by The Maestro.

The Maestro
The Maestro
The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn't in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
https://www.doorfliesopen.com/index.php/author/the-maestro/
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UnsurprisedballsofsteelandfuryMoose -The End Is Well NighSonOfSpamGame Time Decision Recent comment authors
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

So you left out the Rape Dolphin; also indiscriminate.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

I saw a comment by RTD on Deadspin and now the articles he wrote with balls make so much more sense.

ballsofsteelandfury

Wait, which ones?

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

The Hollywood agents.

ballsofsteelandfury

Those are indeed brilliant but I can’t take credit. RTD writes those all himself.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

It definitely makes sense now that he’s just transcribing IRL.

SonOfSpam

BREAKING: Broncos trade Keenum to Redsk*ns for a sex-slave handjob. Elway to collect next time he runs at Hialeah.

Game Time Decision

So, we need to put our heads together and come up with some crazy weapon, that if things go perfectly will work, and then just, like, profit, when it gets scrapped. Who’s with me?

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

If you’re good enough at lobbying, it’ll never get scrapped even if it’s not use worthless but aggressively deadly to the users. *cough*F-35*cough*

King Hippo

That cat thing would have made me turn traitor, had I known about it (and been born).

Cats are morally, intellectually, and by divine right superior to all other living creatures.

SonOfSpam

No.
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King Hippo

my cat vastly prefers dogs to other cats. They are about the only animals (other than humans) that he tolerates.

SonOfSpam

Dogs are superior to humans. Presidents who don’t own dogs are not to be trusted.

King Hippo

has there ever been a “cats only” President? DISCRIMINATION ah say

SonOfSpam

According to Wikipedia, no “cats only” Presidents evar. Closest was Clinton, who didn’t get a dog until 2nd term. Trump is apparently the first since Polk to be pet-free.

Kinda surprised he doesn’t have a parakeet. Stupid, shit all over the place, look at the mirror all day…

King Hippo

he could never love a dog, nor put up with a cat lowering him on the totem pole. I think he’s one of those extreme germophobes, too.

nomonkeyfun

“Of course I couldn’t love a dog. I’m an eleventy billion and can only fuck 50 billions.”

-D. Trump

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Twilight Zone Twist: he is the parakeet. Melania is the owner.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

But with better hair.

SonOfSpam

Why not strap bombs to various Trumps? Two birds, one stone.

LemonJello
LemonJello

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theeWeeBabySeamus

theeWeeBabySeamus

Cats are shitty swimmers.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!! – A Wet Pussy Somewhere

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theeWeeBabySeamus

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Sharkbait

Does this count as an animal weapon? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wojtek_(bear)

nomonkeyfun

What about my idea?
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pigeon

No bald man or statue will be safe.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

It’s a damned good thing that by the time people understand biology well enough to design living weapons (such as superdiseases or dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you) they also understand how completely and totally those weapons will inevitably backfire on themselves.

Senor Weaselo

Don’t forget frickin’ sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads!

WCS

What about sea bass?

ballsofsteelandfury

Wait, Bat Bombs?
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theeWeeBabySeamus

I can’t stop laughing at this.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

The whole scene is so long it goes from funny to stupid and back to funny again.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

“Yes, bat bombs.”

– Alfred, angrily heading upstairs with his trusty plunger in hand