Check out these animals used as military weapons! From military training to fighting with soldiers, this top 10 list of amazing animals used in the military is incredible!
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The bat bomb was a strange experimental weapon developed by the United States military during World War II. It was designed to start thousands of fires in cities across Japan in retribution for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The bat bomb plan called for 1,000 live bats per bomb, with a tiny incendiary device fitted to each bat. All 1,000 bats would then be housed inside a casing that could be dropped from an American warplane over Japan. The idea was that the bats and their attached incendiaries would then seek shelter in wooden Japanese homes and buildings to roost in, where they would kindle fires for the war effort. President Roosevelt approved the plan in 1942. The United States Military than spent about $2 million trying to get the plan to work. More than 6,000 bats were used in the bat bomb tests. However, most of them plunged straight to the ground or just flew away. They did manage to set fire to a simulated Japanese village and the car of a general before the program was completely abandoned. The plot was almost perfect, but not quite.
In 2012, U.S. Army officials highlighted their use of rats in the Rugged Automated Training System (RATS)- get it??- which was developed to see how well the rodents could find bombs. In Cambodia, each rat is responsible for clearing a 200-square-meter (239-square-yard) patch of land during its training. Specifically, these are African giant pouched rats, which are larger than the average rat. They are about 2 feet long (60.96 cm) from head to tail. Their eyesight is terrible, but their sense of smell is extraordinary. The rats can detect the presence of TNT in amounts starting at 29 grams (about 1 ounce). The use of rats could have several advantages, including that their small size would allow them to sneak into tiny spaces where larger animals and people cannot. Landmines continue to be one of the world’s most dangerous weapons, especially in post-conflict countries. Scattered across 78 countries, these weapons of war can remain buried beneath the surface for decades, and their deadly nature does not diminish over time. It is estimated that about 800 people are killed by landmines on a monthly basis. If rats are able to detect landmines, and remove them, this could be a huge advantage for not only the military but also civilians in countries that are still affected by war. Bet you didn’t expect that rats are saving lives!
Due to their massive size and powerful tusks, elephants have been used in the military since ancient times. Elephant units were first incorporated in militaries in India about 4,000 years ago. Throughout history, famous generals including Hannibal, and Alexander the Great used elephants to crush their opponents. There were 37 elephants in the Second Punic War with Hannibal. They famously traveled from Spain, through Gaul, over the Alps, and into northern Italy. How any of them survived the journey is still a wonder! War elephants were usually deployed in the center of the line, where the imposing beasts would charge at up to 20 miles per hour toward the enemy. Their thick skin made it hard for enemies to injure them up close and they could easily crush enemy lines and throw soldiers out of the way. They were also used to carry heavy materials across difficult terrain before the invention tanks and helicopters. Their trunks could carry spears and other weapons easily and could knock down fortifications and were even used to help armies cross rivers.
Elephants are very intelligent and take well to training, but no matter how well prepared and disciplined they are, they are still wild at heart which made them hard to use in combat. On more than one occasion, elephants panicked and trampled friendly soldiers during confrontations. However, the elephant was not very fearful of enemy lines and only panicked when there was cannon fire since they were such a big target.
Most recently, elephants were used in the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong to move supplies. Even today, Burmese rebels use elephants in their fight against the government.
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