Firebird

 

 

Before guided missiles, humans had few ways to attack their enemies remotely. So they tried using animals – something that is still done today. The Chinese were enthusiastic practitioners of this art. The firebird was a simple, if imprecise example. To make your own firebird, follow the advice of this Chinese military manual from the 1000s: “Take a peach pit and cut it in half. Hollow out the middle and fill it with mugwort tinder. Then cut two holes and put it back together. Before this, capture from within the enemy’s territory some wild pheasants. Tie the peach pits to their necks, and then prick their tails with a needle and set them free. They will flee back into the grass, at which point the peach pits will let loose their fire.”[1]

 

 

[1]      Zeng Gongliang 曾公亮, Wu jing zong yao 武经总要, in Zhong guo bing shu ji cheng 中国兵书集成 (Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1988), juan 11, huo gong (p. 511). Here’s the Chinese: 火禽,以胡桃割剖分,空中,實艾火,開兩孔,復合。先捕敵境中野雞,系項下,針其尾而縱之,奔入草中,桃敗火發。

Not good enough? Choose another:

 

Fire Sparrows

Old-Fashioned Fire Ox

Exploding Fire Ox