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Author Topic: Bat Bombs...  (Read 3614 times)
MontyB
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« on: 14 April 2010, 11:49:03 »
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Bat bombs were bomb-shaped casings with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed Bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper construction of the Japanese cities that were the weapon's intended target.
Developed by the United States during World War II, four biological factors gave promise to this plan. First, bats occur in large numbers (four caves in Texas are each occupied by several million bats). Second, bats can carry more than their own weight in flight (females carry their young — sometimes twins). Third, bats hibernate, and while dormant they do not require food or maintenance. Fourth, bats fly in darkness, then find secluded places (often in buildings) to hide during daylight.
The plan was to release bat bombs over Japanese cities having widely-dispersed industrial targets. The bats would spread far from the point of release due to the relatively high altitude of their release, then at dawn they would hide in buildings across the city. Shortly thereafter built-in timers would ignite the bombs, 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.



Project details

By March 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 similar to a bomb casing was designed that included 26 stacked trays, each containing compartments for 40 bats. The carriers would be dropped from 5,000 feet (1,525 m). Then the trays would separate but remain connected to a parachute that would deploy at 1,000 feet (305 m). It was envisioned that ten B-24 bombers flying from Alaska, each carrying a hundred shells packed with bomb-carrying bats could release 1,040,000 bat bombs over the target — the industrial cities of Osaka Bay. A series of tests to answer various operational questions were conducted. In one incident the Auxiliary Army Air Base in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was set on fire when armed bats were accidentally released. The bats incinerated the test range and roosted under a fuel tank. Following this setback, the project was relegated to the Navy in August 1943, who renamed it Project X-Ray, and then passed it to the Marine Corps that December. The Marine Corps moved operations to the Marine Corps Air Station at El Centro, California. After several experiments and operational adjustments, the definitive test was carried out on a mockup of a Japanese city built by the Chemical Warfare Service at their Dugway Proving Grounds test site in Utah.

Observers at this test produced optimistic accounts. The chief of incendiary testing at Dugway wrote: “A reasonable number of destructive fires can be started in spite of the extremely small size of the units. The main advantage of the units would seem to be their placement within the enemy structures without the knowledge of the householder or fire watchers, thus allowing the fire to establish itself before being discovered.” The National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) observer stated: “It was concluded that X-Ray is an effective weapon.” The Chief Chemist’s report stated that on a weight basis X-Ray was more effective than the standard incendiary bombs in use at the time. “Expressed in another way, the regular bombs would give probably 167 to 400 fires per bomb load where X-Ray would give 3,625 to 4,748 fires”. Walter Ying, Lecturer at Harvard University suggests that the number of viable fires would be approximately 20 times less than this figure.

One person involved in this project was actor Tim Holt. This was revealed in a conversation between Mr. Holt and Bob Marshall at a rodeo in Ada, Oklahoma in 1954 where Tim was signing autographs[citation needed]. The two had become friends during the summer of 1943 at El Centro. Apparently, Holt and his crew would carry canisters of bats in bombers, release the canisters for bat deployment. If the canister opened properly, the crew would search for bats. If the canisters failed, the crew would retrieve the failed canister (along with many dead bats) to determine the reason for the canister's failure to open.

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 overtaken in the race for a quick end to the war by the atomic bomb project.
Dr. Adams maintained that the bat bombs would have been effective without the devastating effects of the atomic bomb. He is quoted as having said: “   Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped.
Japan could have been devastated, yet with small loss of life.”

The infamous "Invasion by Bats" project was afterwards referred to by Dr. Stanley P. Lovell, director of the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) as "Die Fledermaus Farce."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_bomb

How the bomb worked

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. They were oblong, nitrocellulose cases filled with thickened kerosene. A small time-delay igniter.

A special hollow bomb case was created to house a thousand or so chilled bats. Which would have been 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 bats would seek shelter in buildings , warehouse, factories. Then the fire bombs would go off setting fire to the city.
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Rattler
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« Reply #1 on: 15 April 2010, 08:35:30 »
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I read about this some time aago, a really intriguing project, the  main problem was to reduce weight for the incendiray device and still have it effective, Napalm was the solution. It proved to be so effective that a few bats that escaped set the test air field on fire within minutes.

Shows what the human mind is capable of thinking up when in war... Smiley

There also exists a video about this project:

The Bat Bomb


Rattler
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the_13th_redneck
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« Reply #2 on: 16 April 2010, 06:57:41 »
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Incredible!
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