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.

5 Comments on "The French And Chinese Militaries Could Once Again Use Carrier Pigeons"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Nov 13, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    Learn falconry now. Get a leg up.

  2. “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!!!

  3. 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.

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

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