“Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of [64 kilometers (40 mi)] in diameter for every bomb dropped.” This was the fevered dream of Pennsylvania dentist Lytle S. Adams, who imagined Japan being devastated by a series of fires started by tiny incendiary devices delivered by hundreds of bats.
The idea didn’t arrive from nowhere. Adams was a keen spelunker and had been impressed by the bats he had seen on a recent trip to Carlsbad Caverns. When he heard the news that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, he cooked up his zany scheme and took it to his friend Eleanor Roosevelt.
As a result of Adams’s connection to Roosevelt, his bizarre plan was heard at a higher level than might be expected for a scheme that involved strapping bombs to bats. The National Research Defense Committee certainly warmed to the idea. Over time, “Project X-Ray” had over $2 million invested in it to solve the problems of bat transportation and simultaneous release.[
The bat bomb might have been a success if it had been fine-tuned enough, but the US military decided to move all its development resources to a far more powerful weapon. In the end, the atomic bomb was simply a higher priority than the bat bomb.