Did you know that messenger pigeons still saw heavy use in World War II?

The wireless operator of a British Avro Lancaster heavy bomber with two pigeon boxes
(Photo: Imperial War Museums)
We often associate World War II communications with radio, and pigeons with older conflicts; and yet, the brave birds served on all sides of the war. The U.S. Army Signal Corps alone sent some 30,000 messages with pigeons, with 96% of them reaching their destination. The United Kingdom went even further and used 200,000 birds donated by private citizens. The 1962 war movie The Longest Day pays tribute to this fact with a humorous scene involving two war correspondents, but the gist of the scene was true: pigeons were, in fact, used to carry the first news of the Normandy landings back to Britain. They were a common sight on board Royal Air Force bombers and were sent out with the coordinates if the plane crashed, ditched, or had a radio failure.
Some American pigeons were considered for an even more special role: controlling bombs. One to three birds would be housed in a compartment inside the bomb and see their surroundings with the help of some lenses and a screen. They were trained to peck at the target on the screen, and the impact of their beaks would correct the bomb’s trajectory if it flew off course. Project Pigeon was never adopted, even though it had a short, similarly failed revival after the war.
A would-be bomb operated and its experimental compartment
(Photo: Milos Stefanovic / Wikipedia)

Battle of the Bulge promotion

Pay in full and get 15% off until January 25

An American soldier in an attack on German forces in December 1944
(Photo: U.S. Army, Tony Vaccaro)

We will start 2023 with a promotion in remembrance to the men who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. In the current four-week promotion period you can get a 15% discount on our select tours by booking and paying full by January 25, 2023. Note that this offer applies only in case of new bookings, and it cannot be combined with other special promotions. The offer excludes those three tours in 2024 which include the 80th anniversary D-Day commemorations in Normandy. If you have any questions related to this promotion or our tours, feel free to contact our travel consultants.

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