- "Generally accurate."
- —Imperial soldier's manual[3a]
Herstel-Wenckler was the first Engineer to train a determined cadre of homing pigeons to fly towards the foe. Each bird was fitted with a bomb, designed to fall away when its fuse burned to a certain point.[1a]
An idea devised by engineers Karl Herstel and Stefan Wenckler after watching a meeting of the Street of a Thousand Taverns' Pigeon Fanciers Hundred Leagues race. The engineers wondered it it might be possible to train a bird to deliver an explosive device into the heart of the enemy before returning safely. Initial experiments with this concept were unsuccessful, with the original bombs proving too heavy and the overloaded pigeons plummeting to the street before exploding. Some simply flew off and exploded in the air, while others, obeying their homing instincts returned the bomb to their unfortunate owners, resulting in several rooftop coops being blown sky-high. Eventually, a determined cadre of pigeons were trained to fly away from the owner, and fitted with a bomb where the fuse was wrapped around a light metal harness that, when it burned to a certain point, fell away from the bird. The explosives were packed in a spiked casing that would stick to whatever it hit. In time, these pigeons developed a fearsome reputation... until they were employed against a contingent of recalcitrant Elves, who simply shot the birds from the sky. Herstel and Wenckler have since moved on to other projects, and without their guidance, the enthusiasm to train up a new contingent of bomb-carrying pigeons soon faded.[2a]