Carrier Pigeons (World War I) | Summary and Q&A

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September 24, 2018
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Carrier Pigeons (World War I)

TL;DR

Carrier pigeons played a crucial role in delivering messages during World War One, despite the availability of wired communication.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did carrier pigeons deliver messages during World War One?

Soldiers would attach paper messages in a small tube to a carrier pigeon's leg. The pigeon would then fly back to their home loft at the base, where a bell would sound to alert the soldier to pick up the message.

Q: What challenges did carrier pigeons face in delivering messages?

Carrier pigeons were targeted by enemy soldiers who tried to shoot them down. They were also at risk from natural predators like hawks. However, despite these challenges, carrier pigeons were successful in delivering messages.

Q: How many carrier pigeons were used during World War One?

More than 100,000 carrier pigeons were used during the war. They proved to be a reliable method of communication, especially when wired communication was unavailable or disrupted.

Q: How did carrier pigeons contribute to aerial reconnaissance during the war?

The Germans attached small time-delayed cameras to carrier pigeons to conduct aerial photo reconnaissance. This allowed them to gather important information about the battlefield.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Carrier pigeons, specifically the racing homer breed, were used during World War One to deliver messages between units at the front lines and their bases.

  • Despite being targeted by enemy soldiers and natural predators, carrier pigeons were successful in delivering 95% of their messages.

  • One particular carrier pigeon named Cherami saved the lives of 194 American soldiers by successfully delivering a message despite being wounded.

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