They Fought Too
Animals in Combat


A batty project that bombed:

Just after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, an American dentist named Lytle S. Adams contrived a plan to use bats with tiny bombs strapped to them to defeat Japan. Lytle got the idea while on vacation in the southwestern U.S. He'd seen caves full of bats and thought there might be a way to turn the tiny mammals into a war-ending secret weapon. Adams petitioned the White House, outlining his bat-bomb plan.

The President himself expressed interest in Adams' plan and the military funneled money into what became known as Project X-Ray. The project leaders chose free-tailed bats as the ideal bat-bomb bat. In a series of farcical experiments with the bats, the military managed to freeze hundreds of bats to death and set fire to one of its own bases. The bats, it turned out, just weren't as enthusiastic about the bat-bomb project as Adams was. All told, the military sank over $2 million into the failed Project X-Ray before scrapping it after the advent of the atom bomb.


Sources: ABC News, Air Force Association, University of Texas at Austin.







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