History Military

5 Times Animals Beat Humans at War: A Brief Battle Synopsis

In memory of Boscoe, September 2003-September 2018. "Raise your glass, a Good Boy went home." - Iron Mike

Iron Mike – Gruntworks Contributing Blogger

One of humanity’s highest achievements in our species domination over planet Earth is our intricate and thorough mastery of the martial art and science of warfare. We have implemented every facet of our vast brain power and study of the natural world to enhance our ability to beat one another into submission better than any other creature that has ever existed. We humans wrote vast manuscripts on how to terrify a city into surrender long before the field of Psychology became a serious academic discipline. We harnessed the atom to devastate a nation into total capitulation long before we used it to generate electricity and power our world. We weaponized the plague before we understood what bacteria even were. Hell, at one point we even tried to use pigeons to guide bombs (Google it). However, on occasion ol’ Ma Nature gets her panties in a bunch and decides to teach us a lesson that Homo Sapiens aren’t quite as great at our most horrific pastime as we like to think we are…

Here are 5 short battle synopses from those lessons.

5) ISIS Swine ambushed by Literal Swine

Animals - swine vs ISISDate: April, 2017

Order of Battle:   ISIS – 1 Squad-sized Element of Paramilitary Jihadists

                              Feral Pigs – Unknown Disposition

 Task and Purpose: ISIS – T: Occupy AO 

   P: Establish Ambush site

   Feral Pigs – T: Retain AO

       P: Prevent ISIS occupation of AO

BDA: 3 ISIS Fighters KIA

Result: Feral Pig Tactical Victory

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Basically, in April of 2017 a group of armed insurgent fighters affiliated with the terrorist pseudo-nation of ‘The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS) were attempting to maneuver into an ambush site to attack US-backed Kurdish forces near the city of Kirkuk, Iraq which ISIS had held since 2014. In the process of setting what they thought would be an easy roadside ambush site, the group of jihadists startled a large herd of feral pigs. From the information available (and from what I know about feral pigs) the ensuing fight was likely sparked by aggressive pigs defending their new litters of spring piglets from the invading ISIS with rifles. Despite their typical assortment of small arms (AKMs, RPKs, and RPGs usually) the ISIS dickheads suddenly found themselves overrun by dozens of angry mama pigs charging them in the dark with murderous intent armed with 4-to-6-inch tusks. The results were both a testament to the lack of courage of ISIS and the tenacity of an angry pig. 3 ISIS fighters were gored to death and the remaining ones were forced to flee into the darkness back the way they had come.

Moral of this battle:  Bacon ALWAYS wins.


4) The Great Emu War

Date: October-November, 1932

Order of Battle:   7th Battery, Royal Australian Artillery – 2x MG Sections (Motorized)

                               Emus – ~20,000 Birds in the AO

 Task and Purpose: 7th BTRY, RAA – T: Clear AO of enemy forces

                       P: Prevent crop loss by civilian farmers

   Emus – T: Retain freedom of maneuver within AO

           P: Continue eating delicious farmer’s crops

BDA: ~1000 Emu KIA

Result: Emu Strategic Victory

The Great Depression had hit the Australian farming town of Campion in Western Animal - EmuAustralia especially hard in 1929, and by 1932 the drop in wheat prices had nearly pushed the farmers there to the brink of financial ruin. To make matters worse, years of high crop yields had fostered an enormous population of 6-foot-tall, 90-pound Emus numbering in the tens of thousands. This population of aggressive prehistoric Australian monster-turkeys was congregating in such numbers around the area of Campion that they threatened to devastate the wheat crop before it could be harvested. In response, the local farmers (many of whom were Aussie veterans of WW1) requested the government provide military assistance to cull the population of Emus before things got really bad. So the Australian military ordered Major G.P.W. Meredith to take a couple sections of machine guns out in a truck and shoot as many of the birds as possible. Initially the task force was delayed by heavy rains that also scattered the massive flock of birds over a wider area. After conducting some initial reconnaissance, the ad-hoc group of the Major and two teams of machine gunners (armed with Lewis guns) with 10,000 rounds of ammunition set out to eliminate a large flock of Emu. The initial engagement went poorly. The Lewis gun jammed after a few bursts and the Emu broke into small groups and conducted a tactical bypass of the Australians’ position. A few days later the next engagement had a similar outcome. After several attempts to eliminate the birds by military force all that had resulted in was laughter from the public to the point that the operation was being discussed in the halls of the Australian House of Representatives.

Ornithologist Dominic Serventy proclaimed: “The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic. A crestfallen field force therefore withdrew from the combat area after about a month”.

The operation was eventually abandoned having repeatedly failed to subdue the Emu insurgency. Another attempt was made later in the month of November with a similar result of only around 300 Emus killed. Emus held the field despite being heavily out-gunned and still roam Western Australia to this day. Meanwhile, the Australian Army has to chalk one in the loss column to a bunch of flightless birds…Shop Now Banner


3) The Battle of Ramree Island

Date: 19 February, 1945

Order of Battle:   121st Infantry Regt. (JPN) – ~1000 Infantry Soldiers

                               Crocodiles: Unknown Disposition, likely several thousand in AO

 Task and Purpose: 121st Infantry Regt. – T: Withdraw

                             P: Retrograde to secondary defensive positions

   Crocodiles – T: Block Japanese withdrawal through AO

                   P: Prevent Japanese Retrograde

BDA: Estimated ~900 Japanese KIA

Result: Joint Crocodile/British Victory

Animal - RamreeAs the war in the Pacific Theater began to go away from the Imperial Japanese and the Allied forces began retaking ground lost across the South Pacific, the British began advancing on their territorial possessions in Asia to drive out the Japanese Army which had occupied them. By 1945 much of the Japanese Army across the Pacific was a shell of its former glory with troops suffering from critical shortages of food, ammunition, medicine, and fuel; due to the destruction of the Japanese merchant fleet by the allies’ bombs and submarines. In the Burma theater, the British were preparing a major offensive to retake critical islands on the coast from the Japanese, to be used as staging bases to launch further attacks inland. On of these was a small tropical marshland with a light Japanese garrison called ‘Ramree Island’. After the initial British attack had succeeded in establishing a bridgehead, the Japanese defenders were order to collect up everyone they could and disengage to form a defense on the mainland. In the dark of night on February 19th, 1945 around 900 or so surviving Japanese soldiers (many of them wounded or suffering from malaria) attempted to pass through a shallow mangrove swamp that had not been defended by the British… namely because this saltwater marshland was infested with 15-foot-long, 2000-pound saltwater crocodiles. The details of the battle here are limited, but the British recorded hearing screams, splashing, and rifle fire throughout the night. When dawn broke, British motor patrol boats investigated the area and were horrified to discover numerous crocodiles carrying human limbs and bodies clearly visible under the shallow water. Of the 900 or so Japanese soldiers that entered the mangroves, only about 20 were recovered by British forces alive. It is unknown how many Japanese perished that night and how many may have managed to escape the island, but one thing is for sure… The Crocodiles got a bunch of them. British naturalist Bruce Stanley Wright recounted the affair later:

“That night [of the 19 February 1945] was the most horrible that any member of the M. L. [motor launch] crews ever experienced. The scattered rifle shots in the pitch-black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left…. Of about one thousand Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about twenty were found alive.”


2) Kamikaze Comrade Fido Betrays the Motherland to Save Dog-Kind

Date: June, 1941 – 1942

Order of Battle:   USSR Anti-Tank Dog Program

 Task and Purpose: T: Destroy German Armored Vehicles

                                 P: Prevent the conquest of Russia by German Panzer Divisions

 BDA:  ~50 German Armored Vehicles Disabled/Destroyed (If you believe the Soviets)

A Shitload of Soviet Tanks Disabled/Destroyed, Dozens of Soviet Soldiers Killed

Too many Good Boys lost…

Result: Strategic Canine Victory

Animal - USSR Dog In 1941 with the launch of Operation Barbarossa (the largest military invasion in history), the German invasion of the Soviet Union led the Russkies to adopt some unconventional means of countering the vaunted German armored formations as they dashed across the Russian steppe towards Moscow. One of the more barbaric tactics involved training a bunch of puppies to run underneath oncoming tanks with explosives strapped to them which then detonated knocking out the tank and vaporizing the poor doggo in the process. The Soviets quickly established a school to train dogs and handlers how to accomplish this task. The training involved the dog being rewarded for running up to a tank or armored vehicle and climbing underneath it. The tactics were relatively straight forward. The handler (who had to be the most soulless fuckers in the Soviet Union) would wait until German tanks were within a certain distance of their position, then arm the time fuse on the dog’s harness and release them to run for the oncoming panzers. In late summer, 1941 the first dogs and handlers were deployed to the front lines. In their first engagement, the brave puppers turned on their cruel Soviet handlers and used their last moments to inflict devastation on the communist heathens in the name of all abused dogs everywhere! Well… not exactly that, but they ended up killing way more Soviets than Germans. See, the Soviet anti-tank dog program had several major flaws in it and they all centered around the fact that dogs don’t really know all that much about tanks in the first place. First, Soviet tanks ran on Diesel while German ones ran on Petrol – so tanks smell different to dogs. Second, Soviet tanks and German tanks have different engines – so tanks sound different to dogs. Third, when dogs are scared they run towards the people they are familiar with – namely the ones dressed in the uniforms of the guys who have been feeding them their whole lives. When the dogs were trained, they had been trained on stationary Soviet tanks with no gunfire or explosions. When they were employed, the terrified kamikaze pups ran for the nearest trench full of familiar soldiers as the noise and shock of explosions burst around them. The ones who did execute their training, did so a little too well… That is, they ran and dove under the nearest diesel-powered Soviet vehicle that smelled and sounded like the one they had been trained on. Many dogs had to be shot by their own handlers. Many more vaporized their own handlers as their final act on Earth. So many Soviets died that by the next year the program was canceled entirely and dogs were never again used by Russian heathens for suicide charges.

 1) The Battle of Tanga

Date: 2-5 November, 1914

Order of Battle:   British Indian Army – 8000 Infantry Soldiers, 1x Royal Navy Cruiser

                               German Colonial Army – 1,000 Infantry Soldiers

                               African Honeybees – Literally millions of them

 Task and Purpose: British – T: Seize port city of Tanga

       P: Enable follow-on operations against German forces

   Germans – T: Retain Tanga

                 P: Prevent British landing force from seizing key terrain

                                  Honeybees – T: Control AO
P: Maintain neutrality in sector

BDA: 360 British KIA, 480 British WIA

            71 German KIA, 76 German WIA

            Unknown number of Honeybee Casualties

Result: Joint German/Honeybee Victory

In the opening months of the First World War, the various European powers began flexing their might against one another in their colonial possessions. For the British and Germans, that meant a fight to control East Africa. A British force (Named ‘Force B’ ironically) from India under the command of General Arthur Aitken was steaming for the African coast to take Tanganika away from a far smaller German force trying to hold it. The 1,000 men of the German Army and their native allies took up positions and awaited the landing by the British (who had artillery support from the cruiser HMS Fox just off shore). In between them were several miles of tropical jungle full of hollow palm trees and in those palm trees lived thousands of hives of extremely aggressive African Animal - TangaHoneybees. Now, in matters of European conflict Honeybees are a lot like the Swiss – they’re extremely neutral to the point of aggression. If anyone enters their territory, they will be attacked with overwhelming force regardless of allegiance. You can imagine how the bees felt about the sudden arrival of naval artillery and machine gun fire through their normally peaceful stretch of woods. They were pissed and came out be the hundreds of thousands to make their displeasure known. The German defenders took the hint, made a truce with the bees, and withdrew from the area. The British, on the other hand, tried to march the 98th Infantry Regiment straight through them to outflank the Germans… It went pretty much like you think it would. An entire British (well, Indian) regiment got so fucked up by swarms of killer bees than they broke and ran from the battlefield. Numerous fatalities resulted from both German bullets and anaphylactic shock due to dozens of bee stings in the disorderly withdrawal. The British reported that some of their soldiers had been stung in excess of 300 times and that they had taken dozens of casualties from bee stings alone. Eventually the Germans bypassed the bee swarms and attacked the British flank, causing a total rout. The colonial possession of Tanganika remained in German hands until the Treaty of Versailles four years later. The bees maintained bee-neutrality that remains to this day and continue to sting just about anyone for any reason.

In memory of Boscoe, September 2003-September 2018. “Raise your glass, a Good Boy went home.” – Iron Mike

Animal - Boscoe


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