War is one of the many tragedies that has plagued human history since before it was even recorded. Conflicts that rise into war and battle generally are over disputes of land, resources, colonialism, misunderstandings or emancipation; however, as history has demonstrated, there are several wars that are a bit stranger and came about from stranger incidents.
Future Founder of Scientology’s Imaginary Navy Battle
In May 1943, L. Ron Hubbard, commander of the PC-815 submarine chaser and future founder of the Church of Scientology, was ordered to take his ship from Portland to San Diego. On May 19, at 3:40 AM, Hubbard detected what he thought to be a Japanese submarine on his sonar. At 9:06 AM, two American blimps were called to help with the search. By midnight on May 21, a small fleet had been called in to help Hubbard hunt the elusive enemy, including two cruisers and two Coast Guard cutters. The ships dropped over 100 depth charges. After an engagement lasting 68 hours, with no sign of the enemy being damaged or even moving, Hubbard was recalled. A report, with testimonies from other ship commanders on the scene, later found that Hubbard had fought a 68-hour naval battle against a well-known and well-charted magnetic deposit on the sea floor. Later, Hubbard nearly caused a diplomatic incident by bombarding Mexican territory.
Two Drunk Soldiers Start a Battle to see who’s Tougher
In the autumn of 334 B.C., Alexander the Great was bogged down trying to take Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum) from the Persians. The defenders were well-supplied, and their walls were built to resist the recent invention of catapults. This long and difficult siege led to many a man in Alexander’s army getting bored, including two hoplites of the Perdiccas brigade. The two were bunkmates in the same tent, meaning that they often shared tales of their exploits. One day, while drunk, the two got into a fight over who was braver. Eventually they agreed that to settle the argument they would assault the walls of Halicarnassus—all by themselves. The soldiers within the city, seeing only two men approaching, left the walls and rushed the pair. The two are reported to have slain many of their attackers before being overwhelmed and killed. However, soldiers from both forces saw the small fight and rushed to help their respective sides, resulting in a full-blown battle. During the attack started by two drunk men, the lightly guarded walls were nearly captured by the attacking forces on several occasions. Had all of Alexander’s forces been dedicated to the attack, the city would have likely fallen to two drunk guys trying to test their manhood.
The British Use Drugs to Beat the Ottoman Empire
On the 5th of November, 1917, the British were striking back at the Ottoman Empire, who had attacked their colonies in the region during World War I. The Turks were forced back to Sheria, just south of Gaza. Richard Meinertzhagen, a member of British intelligence, decided to give the besieged Ottomans a gift, dropping cigarettes and propaganda leaflets from a plane. Unbeknownst to the Turks, Meinertzhagen had laced these cigarettes with opium in an attempt to drug the defenders, who happily lit up. When the British attacked Sheria the next day, they came across very little resistance. What they did come across were Ottoman defenders so high that they could barely stand, let alone raise their rifles in defense of the town.
Meteor wins the Battle
Lucullus, a politician of the Roman Republic, was a major commander during the Third Mithridatic War of 76–63 B.C. Hoping to attack the Kingdom of Pontus while its army was away, Lucullus was surprised to find his invasion force met by King Mithridates of Pontus himself. With the two armies on the verge of battle, a “fireball” meteorite was suddenly sighted in the sky. The molten object then slammed into the ground between the armies. Reports from each side suggest that both forces, fearing the wrath of their respective gods, fled the battlefield as quickly as they could, making the visitor from out of this world the first alien victor of a human battle. Lucullus was eventually successful in his conquest of Pontus, though failed attempts to invade Armenia led to the Senate relieving him of his command.
Bathroom Break War
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident took place on July 7–9, 1937. The Bridge, located in Beijing, was right on the border between the Empire of Japan and China. Since it was a period of high tension, the buffer zone was being occupied by both Japanese and Chinese troops. After unplanned night maneuvers by the Japanese on the night of the 7th, there was a brief exchange of gunfire. After the fire ceased, Private Shimura Kikujiro, of the Japanese Army, failed to return to his post. After the Chinese allowed a search for Kikujiro, the Japanese, thinking the private had been captured and looking for any excuse, attacked the Chinese positions during the early morning hours of July 8. Both sides took numerous casualties. This battle eventually resulted in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which itself eventually blended into World War II. Private Shimura returned to his position later that day, bewildered at the claims that he’d been captured and saying that he’d become lost after going to the toilet in a secluded spot.
Blind King Vs. French Army
On August 26, 1346, an English and Welsh army met a French force at Crecy, France. The Bohemian King, John, had joined the conflict on the French side and accompanied their army with his own knights. In 1340, while on a crusading mission, John had lost his sight completely. However, after being a warrior for most of his life, he didn’t really seem to take much notice of his new disability. Some way into the melee of the battle, it was obvious that the English and Welsh were going to win, with France’s Genoese mercenaries being routed by their longbows. John, however, was unable to see the full extent of the retreat. His knights, perhaps too afraid to tell the King to run, were unable to persuade him that charging the enemy wasn’t the greatest of plans. Riding on horseback, with a mounted knight attached to the King’s bridle on either side, John went straight for the English. His brave escorts, who presumably had to duck his blind swings, were found dead along with the King after the battle.
Lijar Vs. France
In 1883, the citizens of Lijar, a small village in southern Spain were infuriated when they heard reports that, while visiting Paris, the Spanish king, Alfonso XII had been insulted and even attacked in the streets by Parisian mobs. In response, the mayor of Lijar, Don Miguel Garcia Saez, and all 300 citizens of Lijar declared war on France on October 14, 1883. Not a single shot was fired, and not a single casualty sustained on either side during the confrontation, but despite the anticlimactic war, Mayor Saez was declared “The Terror Of The Sierras,” for his exploit.
A full ninety-three years later, in 1976, King Juan-Carlos of Spain made a trip to Paris, during which he was treated with great respect by the citizens of the French capital. In 1981, the town council of Lijar ruled that “in view of the excellent attitude of the French,” they would end hostilities and agree to a ceasefire with France.
The War of the Oaken Bucket
This war began in 1325, when a rivalry between the independent city states of Modena and Bologna spiraled out of control over the most unlikely of things: a wooden bucket. The trouble started when a band of Modena soldiers raided Bologna and stole a large wooden bucket. The raid was successful, but Bologna, wishing to secure both its bucket and its pride, declared war on Modena. The war raged on for twelve whole years but Bologna never did manage to get its bucket back. To this day the bucket is still stored in Modena’s bell tower.
Paraguay Vs, Stronger Neighbors
The President of Paraguay, Francisco Solano Lopez, was a huge admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. He fancied himself a skilled tactician and excellent commander, but lacked one thing, a war. So to solve this problem, in 1864 he declared war on Paraguay’s three surrounding neighbors, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The outcome of the war? Paraguay was very nearly annihilated. It is estimated that 90% of its male population died during the war, of disease, starvation and battles with enemy armies. This was perhaps one of the most needless wars in history since Lopez had almost no reason to declare war on his more powerful neighbors.
War of the Stray Dog
In 1925, Greece and Bulgaria were not friends. They had fought each other during the First World War and those wounds had not yet healed. Tensions were perpetually high along the border, especially along an area called Petrich. Those tensions reached a boiling point on October 22, 1925, when a Greek soldier chased his dog across the Bulgarian border and was shot dead by a Bulgarian sentry. Greece vowed retaliation and, true to its word, it invaded Petrich the very next day. They quickly cleared Bulgarian forces from the area but were halted by the League of Nations, who sanctioned Greece and ordered them to leave Petrich and pay Bulgaria for damages. Greece withdrew its forces ten days later and paid Bulgaria 45,000 pounds.
The Pig War
Another British/American war, The Pig War was started when a British infantryman shot a pig that was wandering on American soil. The local American militia responded by gathering at the border and waiting for the British to make a move. Eventually the British apologized and the brief war ended, leaving the pig as the only casualty.
Three Hundred and Thirty-Five Year War
This war was fought between the Netherlands and the Isle of Scilly, which is located off the southwest coast of Great Britain. The war started in 1651, but like many wars of that era it was not taken seriously and soon forgotten about. Three centuries passed before the two countries finally agreed to a peace treaty in 1986, making their war the longest in human history.
The Football War
Some wars begin with a surprise attack, others a massacre, but this one began with a football game between El Salvador and Honduras, in 1969. El Salvador lost the game and tensions rose and rose until, on June 14, the El Salvadoran Army launched an attack on Honduras. Surprised by the sudden violence the Organization of American States organized a cease-fire that was put into effect on June 20, just one hundred hours after the first shots were fired.
The Great Emu War of Australia
This is perhaps the only formal war where one of the belligerents was not human, but rather avian. In 1932, the emu population in Australia was growing out of control, with an estimated 20,000 emus running around the Australian desert and causing havoc among crops. In response, the Australian military sent out a task force of soldiers armed with machine guns to kill the emus and even jokingly declared war on them. In mid-November they drove out into the desert and proceeded to hunt down any emus they could find. However, they ran into complications; the emus proved remarkably resilient, even when struck by multiple machine gun bullets they continued to run away, easily outstripping the heavily laden soldiers. The Emu War lasted for nearly a week before Major Meredith, the commander of the emu-killing task-force gave up in disgust after the soldiers only bagged a fraction of the elusive birds.