The Failed British Plan to Destroy Nazi Factories With Exploding Rats

Sep 29, 2020 0 comments

During the Second World War, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE)—a secret organization whose job was to conduct espionage and sabotage in occupied Europe, as well as aid local resistance movements—devised an ingenious plan to blow up Nazi factories.

A SOE officer posing as a student, procured about a hundred rats under the pretext of conducting laboratory experiments. The rats were killed, and their carcasses were filled with plastic explosives. The idea was to get French Resistance fighters and Special Operations Executive agents to infiltrate German armament factories and leave the dead rodents in or around the boiler rooms. It was hoped that the Germans would throw the dead rodents directly into the furnace causing a huge explosion.

rat bomb

A rare surviving example of a rat bomb.

It was a sound plan. However, the very first batch of the rigged rats were intercepted by the Germans before they could be put into use. Although the secret was blown, the mission was not entirely a failure. The Germans were so fascinated by the idea, that they conducted massive searches for dead rodents believing that the British had distributed thousands of these pesky bombs across Europe. These wild goose chases consumed so much German resources that the SOE concluded:

The trouble caused to them was a much greater success to us than if the rats had actually been used.

Most of the captured rat bombs were disarmed and exhibited at top military schools for German scientists to study. After this, what became of them is not known. They were probably taken by the German soldiers and scientists as souvenirs.

rat bomb

rat bomb

rat bomb


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