An American scheme for attacking Japan using thousands of exploding Mexican bats!

William Stephenson was a wealthy Canadian industrialist whose visits to Germany as owner of the Pressed Steel Company enabled him to provide intelligence on the German steel industry, and who later went on to head wartime intelligence liaison with the United States. Bill Stephenson’s adventures as Britain's World War II chief of intelligence in the Western Hemisphere were chronicled in the 1979 bestseller ‘A Man Called Intrepid’. Ian Fleming once wrote, ‘James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is... William Stephenson’. Sir William Stephenson died in 1989 in Paget, Bermuda at the age of 93.


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William Stephenson helped to organise the United States' wartime intelligence operation, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS – the forerunner of the CIA) whose head, Maj. Gen. William J. (Wild Bill) Donovan, later said: 'Bill Stephenson taught us all we ever knew about foreign intelligence.’

‘Stephenson’s New York office, which eventually took up residence on the sixth floor of the Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue with the title British Security Coordination (BSC), was responsible for keeping track of enemy activities against the British war effort in the Western hemisphere, for devising countermeasures, and for providing liaison between American intelligence and all sections of the British intelligence community.’ Christopher Andrew, ‘Secret Service: the making of the British intelligence community’.







‘The Double Cross idea had always been based on lateral thinking, which perhaps explains why, just as the D-Day deception plans were falling into place, the Double Cross system suddenly took wing and soared into the surreal… In December 1943, Guy Liddell reported an American scheme for attacking Japan using thousands of exploding Mexican bats. “These bats should be put into crates shipped to Seattle. Attached to the feet and wings of the bats were to be small incendiaries. The bats were to be released from an aeroplane near Tokio [sic] the idea being that they would fly down chimneys and that Tokio would go up in flames.” The idea never took off, but was taken seriously. “It sounds like a perfectly wild idea but is worth looking into,” said Roosevelt.’ Ben Macintyre, ‘Double Cross: the true story of the D-Day Spies’. (Incidentally, the CIA still comes up with audacious plans such as exploding cigars and itching powder in a wetsuit in an effort to get rid of Castro…and they also like to stare at goats.)