I have no idea if this is a joke or not, but according to this web page (which claims to be quoting a book called “Psychological Operations American Style”), during WWII the U.S. considered and even tested (in Central Park, of all places) the idea of painting large numbers of foxes with luminescent paint and unleashing them against the civilian population of Japan, in a bid to create mass superstitious terror among them.
Good article. And funny. 🙂
Project Pigeon was another American attempt to use animals for war.
The idea was to create a large, gliding bomb. One - three lenses would be mounted on the outside of this bomb. They would be used to project an image onto a screen placed inside the gliding bomb. Pigeons–specially trained to recognize the bomb’s intended target–would peck at the screen. The screen was attached to a steering mechanism. Pecks at the center of the screen would cause the bomb to continue its current course. Off-center pecks would steer the bomb in a different direction. The project was canceled in late '44; perhaps because humans didn’t trust birds to steer large, expensive weapons.
America’s bat bomb project solved that trust problem. Instead of allowing birds or bats to steer one big bomb–as in Project Pigeon–each individual bat was attached to a small quantity of explosive. The plan was to release large numbers of bats at night over Japanese cities. The bats would fly around for a while. Then at dawn they would hide in man-made structures. The bats’ bombs were timed to go off shortly after dawn. Japanese buildings tended to be made of wood, bamboo, or other flammable materials. A homeowner would not initially realize his home had been penetrated by a bomb-laden bat; or that the bat’s bomb had started a small fire. Only after the fire had really taken hold would the homeowner become aware of the problem.
It was a promising project–at least if the goal was to burn Japan to the ground. But it was eventually abandoned, after the atomic bomb had made it redundant.