Weirdest Military Experiments
The craziest (or coolest?) military experiments…
From bat bombs to cat bombs; pigeon guided missiles to rocket propelled explosive wheels, military armed forces worldwide have conducted some of the craziest experiments known to man.
There may be many more classified experiments. If these ones made it out of the top secret files, imagine the records of experiments that are locked up tight or burned to make sure they never see the light of day.
Top 10 Craziest Military Experiments Ever
In the 1940’s the Air Force initiated a program that would strap small explosives to bats and have them fly over enemy territory to cause obvious destruction.
The armed bats were dropped from B-29s in specially made cases that released them as they plummeted to the ground. Once released, the bats would naturally find somewhere to rest and the timed explosives would detonate.
Unfortunately the program ran into hiccups when a rogue bat blew up a fuel tank at the Carlsbad Air Force base in New Mexico. The bat bomb program was then turned over to the Navy which successfully carried out tests on a mock-up Japanese city at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, but the program was eventually scrapped due to slow development and mixed results.
Our friendly felines were another animal that underwent testing during WWII as a military offensive. When the United States Office of Strategic Services, precursors of the C.I.A, wanted a way to guide bombs down on enemy ships, they turned to cats for the solution.
It was theorized that when dropped from a plane with a parachute, the cats’ natural disdain for water would instinctively force it to guide itself – and the bomb – to enemy decks.
Unfortunately the program never got past testing stages because the cats regularly passed out during the fall.
Pigeon Guide Missile
Pigeon Guided Missiles
Animal weaponry seemed to be all the rage during WWII. While the Air Force were hard at work throwing cats out of planes and training bats to bomb Japanese cities, psychologist and inventor B.F. Skinner was busy guiding missiles with pigeons.
Project pigeon was an attempt to develop accurately guided missiles that couldn’t be jammed by enemy devices. The idea was put a pigeon and a monitor displaying the target in the nose of the missile. The pigeon was trained to peck at the target on the screen, steering the missile and keeping it on course.
Surprisingly tests were relatively successful but the program was abandoned in favor of newer, more effective technology.
Anti-Tank Dog Mines
Anti-Tank Dog Mine
While pigeons and bat bombs never really took off for American armed forces, the Russian military were already utilizing its infamous dog mines against the tanks of the German army.
The dogs were taught to run underneath tanks and other vehicles where, in training, they would be rewarded with food. However on the battlefield the dogs were strapped with bombs and sent out to ‘find’ food under enemy tanks where the bombs would detonate.
The original training routine was for the dog to leave the bomb, retreat and have the explosive detonate by a timer. This idea was later abandoned in favor of detonation immediately upon delivery, thus killing the dog.
Unfortunately, because the dogs were familiar with the sight and sound of the Russian tanks, they often came back, making them a real but very limited threat for the Germans.
The Great Panjandrum
Penetrating enemy fortifications in the 1940s when technology was half what it is today was by no means an easy task, but the Brits appeared to have an answer – the Panjandrum.
The Panjandrum was basically a tank sized wheel with a 2 ton explosive hub, powered by rockets that could propel the device up to 67mph. The wheel was supposed to launch itself toward barriers, and then explode upon impact leaving enough room for tanks to enter the fortification.
Unfortunately the Brits were unable to stabilize the device. In test runs the rockets either failed or separated from the wheel causing the whole thing to steer widely off course.
The last above-ground nuclear explosion conducted by the U.S. in 1962 was also part of another crazy military experiment.
At the turn of the decade the military began researching close range nuclear weapons that could be fired from portable launchers. Although the low-yield nukes were small, the range for these projectiles was a very risky 2.5 miles.
Extreme Sky Diving
There’s only one way to test the affects of sky diving from miles above ground – put a man in a suit, give him a parachute, fly him to the stratosphere and make him jump. That’s exactly what happened to Captain Joe Kittinger in 1962 as part of Project
Excelsior, a program to explore safety issues of flying extremely high altitude aircraft.
Fortunately Kittinger landed safely in the New Mexico desert after hurtling to ground at 714mph – faster than the speed of sound – And not surprisingly, his record remains unbroken.
It seems that using animals in your arsenal is an idea that just won’t die. In 1990 it was reported that a Russian military officer trained several dolphins to attack enemy ships, identifying them by the sounds of their propellers.
Later when he could no longer afford to keep them, he sold them to Iran. No word has been heard of the dolphins since.
The gay bomb is exactly was it sounds like – a chemical weapon that could make the enemy irresistible to each other.
The weapon would work by blasting the enemy with female sex pheromones. This could theoretically cause overwhelming feelings of lust strong enough so they would stop fighting and start loving (each other).
The idea was put forward in the early 90’s but a working prototype has yet to be unveiled. The team from Wright Laboratory responsible for the development of the Gay Bomb did, however receive the 2007 Ig Nobel Peace prize for “instigating research & development on a chemical weapon—the so-called ‘gay bomb’ / ‘poof bomb’”
Quite what they were hoping to achieve with this is beyond me, but military forces all over the world have at one time or another tested LSD on their troops.
Hoping to induce a focused but deadly state of mind for the troops, or to spike and confuse the enemy, either way it was clear the idea wasn’t going to work.
Here’s some footage of the British military testing acid on its troops.
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