In World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps worked on a project to train bats as kamikaze bombers against the Japanese. A Pennsylvania dentist, Lytle Adams, first proposed the idea to the White House in 1942, after visiting the bat-filled caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Adams proposed strapping tiny incendiary explosives to the animals and exploiting their use of echolocation to find roosts in barns and attics. According to Lytle’s plan, the bomb-strapped bats would fly to Japan, nestle in the nooks of the mostly wooden buildings in Japanese cities, and set them ablaze.
The Marine Corps captured thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats and developed explosive devices to strap to their backs. The project was scrapped in 1943, probably because the U.S. government had made progress on the atomic bomb.