The French And Chinese Militaries Could Once Again Use Carrier Pigeons

Long distance strategic communication via bird may seem obsolete by a hundred years or so, but pigeon squadrons are quietly being maintained and could one day be essential in calamitous conditions, the Wall Street Journal writes:

Glorified for their roles in World War I, pigeon squadrons have long been removed from active duty because of the introduction of more reliable, all-weather communication systems. And yet the French Defense Ministry still operates a military dovecote—Europe’s last—with 150 birds drafted into the 8th regiment for communication and transmission.

The corporal [who] sees to their upkeep and training draws hawkish scenarios—a nuclear catastrophe, a hurricane, a war—where racing homers would be the last-resort messaging network. In the Syrian city of Homs, insurgents defying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad are relying on carrier pigeons to communicate because their walkie-talkies are out of reach, he says.

Last year, Mr. Decool became concerned that France could be outdone in carrier-pigeon expertise by China, which maintains a platoon of 50,000 birds with 1,100 trainers for communication in border and coastal areas, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Learn falconry now. Get a leg up.

  • Raz

    “France could be outdone in carrier-pigeon expertise by China”?! This pigeon thing is old. And the west is competing with China now for how much pigeons they have? jeeez!! Grow up!!!

    • Anarchy Pony

      We can’t allow a pigeon gap!

  • alizardx

    Sounds like the joke Internet RFC about Internet TCP/IP transport via pigeon. However, a flying “sneakernet” is more workable than one might think. 64Gb micro-SD cards off-the-shelf, encrypt the data, load up the cards (use several pigeons if data MUST get there)… done. And moving data that way faster than wireless Internet transport is in many cases.

  • J

    only thing pigeons are good for after a nuclear strike is food