Now Olga gave to each soldier in her army a pigeon or a
sparrow, and ordered them to attach by thread to each
pigeon and sparrow a piece of sulfur bound with small
pieces of cloth. When night fell, Olga bade her soldiers
release the pigeons and the sparrows. So the birds flew
to their nests, the pigeons to the cotes, and the
sparrows under the eaves. The dove-cotes, the coops, the
porches, and the haymows were set on fire. There was not
a house that was not consumed, and it was impossible to
extinguish the flames, because all the houses caught on
fire at once.
Sounds like it was probably a closely-kept, obfuscated military secret like Greek Fire:
This is why keeping oily rags are a fire hazard.
I found this out as a child by accident and set fire to the desk in my bedroom...
To be fair that desk caught fire quite a few times.
He once really stalled on us, we were stuffing an empty 7.62 cartridge with explosives and he very clearly explained that while he though we shouldn't make fireworks at least we shouldn't use metal parts.
We continued with a small plastic tube and a couple of hours later it went off in my hand. I love my Dad for a lot of reasons.
We weren't blessed with such weaponry in the UK. About all we got was 12 gauge shotgun cartridges and anything we made ourselves. The latter included ANFO so we made up for it through chemistry. This was 25 years ago; doing this now would get you chucked in prison in 2 seconds flat.
Regarding Olga, she christianized Rus and here sainthood was recognition of that. I don't actually know if she was ever considered a saint by the Roman Church.
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.
A: "So what are you working on?"
B: "Well, we're harnessing the nucleic forces to create a destructive force hitherto unknown to man. How about you?"
A: "Um... bats"
A: "We attaching firecrackers to bats."
B: "OK, um great!"
America had already flattened 20+ cities before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but instead of bats, they used large non-atomic bombs. The bats sound cool, but actual bombs were a little bit more dependable.
One night the city caught fire (it was firebombed in addition to the normal bombings) and he and his wife, both in their 20s, ran outside into the street and covered themselves with their futon mattresses as means of protective cover. The next morning they arose to find their neighborhood severely burned, and the outsides of their mattresses even partially charred.
Later I talked to another man who grew up near Nagoya--he used to love watching the bombings so much that he and his friends would sneak out of their bomb shelters and lay in the rice paddies watching them fly over. They would laugh and shout, "bii ni-jyu kyu!" (B-29!) They'd ooh and ahh as they watched flares drop.
Hearing stories like these really made me realize what a complex and nuanced world we live in.
Edit: I didn't realize this, but apparently "pumpkin bombs" were dropped on Yokkaichi City in preparation for the atomic bombing of Japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin_bomb
Consider the Japanese perspective. Pretty much every military target and major urban center is already in ruins, and suddenly the enemy starts dropping an entirely new kind of bomb? The Japanese weren't scared of the handful of nuclear bombs the U.S. had managed to build. They were scared of the idea that the U.S. would start saturation nuking the entire country, even if the U.S.'s nuclear stockpile was purely symbolic at that stage.
As for bat bombs, given that the conventional bombing of Japan was so successful that nuclear weapons were a purely psychological threat, it's not surprising that "bat bombs" were deemed superfluous.
Interestingly enough, the "bat bomb" idea might be due for renewed consideration. Nuclear weapons are now considered last resort. Cluster bombs are banned by many nations and considered rather despicable to use due to the fact that the duds remain a threat to civilians long after the conflict is over (Note: The U.S. has not signed the ban and still uses cluster bombs). A "bat bomb" full of mini-drones might provide superior coverage and accuracy to cluster bombs. One such bomb could cover a larger area and target specific structures. Drones could fly their payloads directly inside buildings to structural weak-points, greatly multiplying the impact of their munitions. There would still be duds of course, but, by reducing the amount of ordinance needed to hit all targets in a given area, the impact of unexploded duds on civilians would hopefully be reduced.
America was dropping napalm on Japanese cities filled with civilians. Firebombing was a popular tactic in the 1940's.
So when talking about scary stuff like incendiary weapons it's better to not to try and fool yourself with words like "yeah, past was dark, but now it is 2014, we have all these conventions and stuff, and even in times of war people know limits of humanity, so worry not". Humans are wicked animals.
But, just because it's not marked 'incendiary' on the side of the munition doesn't mean it can be used (both purposefully or accidentally) to horrible effect on people.
Indeed. As Jonathan Swift put it: "the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth"
I'm kind of bummed out from that one.
Out of the first group of 30 dogs, only four managed to detonate their bombs near the German tanks, inflicting an unknown amount of damage. Six exploded upon returning to the Soviet trenches, killing and injuring soldiers.
Another serious training mistake was revealed later; the Soviets used their own diesel-engine tanks to train the dogs rather than German tanks which had gasoline engines. As the dogs relied on their acute sense of smell, the dogs sought out familiar Soviet tanks instead of strange-smelling German tanks.
The book Sunwing written by Kenneth Oppel was inspired by this plan.
I guess Dr. Adams wasn't counting the actual bats here.