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Experimental Weapons

dly many animals have suffered cruelty at the hands of man. At the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty (early 12th century AD), in a battle between rebels of the Yanzhou province and the Chinese Imperial Army, monkeys were used as live incendiary devices. Setting them on fire, they were unleashed into an enemy’s camp and subsequently ignited tents and unleashed chaos amongst the confused inhabitants.

During his invasion of India in 1398, the Turkic ruler Timur loaded his camels with as much hey and wood as they could carry and set them on fire sending them screaming into the ranks of the opposing 120 war elephants. The elephants panicked and stormed back towards their own lines creating carnage and allowing Timur to seize the advantage.

During WWII, the Soviets trained anti-tank dogs to carry bombs and charge at tanks or other military targets. This tactic proved a failure as the dogs were either too scared to charge or sought shelter in Russian camps with the bombs still strapped to them.

WWII also saw the testing of the bat as a potential flying bomb. Looking for a swift end to the war, American dentist Lyle S. Adams conceived an idea that could cause great destruction with minimal loss to life. As Japanese houses were built primarily of wood, bamboo and paper, fire could prove devastating. The bats ability to carry more than its own body weight in flight, fly in the dark and often settle in buildings meant they were the perfect choice. Therefore, the idea was to strap incendiary bombs to Mexican Free-tailed bats and drop them behind enemy cities. The bats would then spread out undetected over large areas and settle in and around houses and once detonated the subsequent fires would cause widespread destruction. The project was so serious that an estimated $2 million was spent on it. However, it was eventually overtaken by the atomic bomb project.

In more modern times, troops in Afghanistan were warned of potential attacks from kamikaze camels strapped with explosives. This was a tactic used by Afghanistan's mujahedeen during their conflict with the Soviets in the 1980s.