Is that Really a Cat Wearing a Jetpack?

rocket_catNo, I’m afraid not. It’s actually a depiction of a pretty twisted siege-warfare tactic proposed by a German artillery master named Franz Helm. In 1535, Herr Helm proposed strapping incendiary devices to the backs of cats and doves and then letting them loose to set fires within the walls of besieged cities. Atlas Obscura has the gory details.

Nobody knows if anybody actually tried this method of capturing a city, but apparently the idea was entertained in many regions of the world. Historical texts from Scandinavia and Russia to South Asia discuss the strategic advantages of animal-borne pyrotechnics.

But you’ve got to admit, a cat wearing a jetpack would be pretty cool.

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