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Animals as weapons or weapon guidance during WWII

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Initial post: Nov 5, 2012 1:51:41 PM PST
Bubba says:
The Military Channel has a series titled "Top Secret Weapons Revealed" and one episode had segments on the use of bats to deliver incendiaries in Japan, pigeons being trained to tap on a controller inside a bomb to guide it to a target, and the use of cats inside a bomb to guide it to a target.

Little incendiary bombs with timers to detonate them were designed to be attached to bats. The bats were to be kept cold in the airplane to keep them sleeping until they were dropped over a Japanese target city. The bats were expected to wake up after they were dropped from the plane, fly down to the city below, and then roost in the eaves of buildings. The incendiary bombs were to then detonate and ignite the buildings. The scheme may have actually worked if it wasn't for a poorly conceived testing scenario. During the test at an American US Army post, the incendiary bomb laden bats flew off and roosted under the eaves of buildings at the installation; causing several fires that destroyed a number of buildings. The program was cancelled very soon after the test.

The pigeons as a bomb guidance system controller would have probably worked; several pigeons were trained to peck on a screen to control the flight of bomb, keeping a ship in the center of the screen. It is not known why the program was cancelled.

The cats as bomb guidance system controllers was more than a bit misguided. The cats were to be put into a harness that was attached to the bomb guidance fins, to guide the bomb to a ship below. The idea was that cats do not like water and they always land on their feet, so cats would try to land on their feet on a ship to avoid getting wet in the ocean.. The motions of the cat in a harness were to be used to control the bomb's guidance fins. There is some question as to whether a cat would realize that the blue expanse below them was water, and that the brown or gray spot in the middle of the water was a dry spot. The researchers found an interesting physiological problem with cats; they passed out on the way down to the ground when they were dropped from airplanes. The program was cancelled.

Does anybody else know of any use of animals during WWII as weapons or as weapon controllers?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:53:04 PM PST
akaik they researched many things
pigeons were best
but never used

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 3:16:40 PM PST
Those were pretty far out projects and weren't implemented. However, the Soviets trained dogs as mobile anti-tank mines and they saw fairly widespread usuage. The dogs were trained to crawl under tanks for food, then when deployed had an explosive charge with a (as I remember) pressure detonator strapped to their back. They would run under the German tanks and the pressure on their backs would detonate the explosives. The only drawback was that they couldn't be used around Soviet armor since the dogs weren't trained to discriminate German from Soviet tanks. It sounds wierd, but I learned about them in EOD school, not from the History Channel.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 3:21:47 PM PST
good one

i recall they tried it and were blowing up their own tanks

not sure if ww2 started the use of dogs to sniff explosives and enemy locations. by vietnam they were used big time.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 3:43:41 PM PST
I know wardogs were used inthe Pacific, but not as explosive detectors. My grandmother had a retired wardog when I was a young boy.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 4:43:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 5, 2012 4:46:22 PM PST
dogtags of courage is a good book

Dog Tags of Courage: Combat Infantrymen And War Dog Heroes in Vietnam

Posted on Nov 6, 2012 1:19:55 PM PST
Bubba says:
In Mozambique, rats have been trained to sniff out and identify land mines. The rats scurry over the field, sniffing for explosives. They alert their handler by scratching at the ground; the handler feeds them a treat and an EOD technician deals with the mine. The rats do not trigger the mines.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2012 4:51:40 PM PST
they need to breed bigger rats
or use NJ rats
looks like an export opportunity for the usa to balance the exim payments

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 6:56:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 6:58:30 AM PST
OldAmazonian says:
About the plan to use cats to guide anti-ship bombs based on the assumption they would aim for the ship in trying to avoid getting wet: It's the most hare-brained plan of the lot, bar none.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 12:59:07 PM PST
Bubba says:
I agree, I don't think that the idea went very far, but it went far enough to know that cats pass out on the way down to the ground when dropped from an airplane.
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  10
Initial post:  Nov 5, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 7, 2012

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