It may look like those animals are wearing jetpacks, but the truth is considerably grimmer. The history of warfare is rich with horrible minds, but perhaps none are as out-the-gate disastrous as strapping an incendiary machine to an enemy house cat and only praying it dutifully operates headfirst back to your foe’s fortress.
That’s precisely the tactic offered by the author of the 16th-century German manuscript Feuerwerkbuch (< i> Firework Book ), who optimistically accepted a cat will sit still long enough to allow you to attach a flaming purse of doom to its back. German artillery expert Franz Helm described such a tactic in 1530( translation via The University of Pennsylvania ):
If you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a feline from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well, and thereafter let the cat run, so it runs to the nearest palace or town, and out of dread it imagines to hide itself where it objective up in barn fodder or straw it will be erupted . i>
As you can see from the illustration, fowl bombs were also proposed. It’s unclear whether anybody ever attempted this uniquely depressing sort of war, but we’d like to think that someone willing to engage in such animal cruelty was rewarded with a cat who, upon being armed with fire, immediately freaked out and ran down the most significant tunic.
Take care of your felines, get them a nice cat tree . i > b>
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