Weird History Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish  

Noah Henry
67k views 12 items

As they say, all is fair in war, and brilliant military minds from the earliest recorded feuds to modern conflicts such as the Vietnam War knew this. If you think that only serious, hardline tactics have a place in battle, think again. Militaries from ancient to modern times have engaged in some seriously childish wartime tricks. Never underestimate the power of juvenile chicanery in the midst of battle.

These historical military tricks range from kind of ingeniously dumb to just plain stupid, but here's the crazy part: they all worked. This list includes some of the worst tricks in military history, so put up your best defenses and steel yourself against the onslaught of these brilliant but childish tactics.

The British Used a Dead Guy to Trick Hitler into Leaving Sicily Undefended

The British Used a Dead Guy to... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish
Photo: Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know a Welshman basically won World War II? Glyndwr Michael died a hero. He wasn't a soldier, though - he was an alcoholic vagrant who died of rat poisoning in January 1943. It was his body that would be used to secure the most vital territory for Allied shipping across the Mediterranean: Sicily.

Operation Mincemeat was perhaps the greatest disinformation ruse of all time. The Allies had to trick the Nazis into being nowhere near Sicily, so they could take it. How? Well, they convinced the German high command they would attack Greece and Sardinia instead, of course.

They turned the dead Michael into Captain Bill Martin, a pilot who tragically died in a plane crash off the coast of Spain. They loaded him with fake documents and forged plans in order to bamboozle the Germans into thinking the Brits and Americans would go elsewhere. Though Hitler had his doubts, the plan worked - the Germans waited patiently in Greece and Sardinia until the Allies stormed Sicily, taking it once and for all. Flight Lieutenant Charles Cholmondeley and Royal Navy Intelligence Officer Ewen Montagu were credited with such a shamelessly sweet plan. 

US Operatives Spread Rumors of Deadly Vampires in Communist-Occupied Phillipines

US Operatives Spread Rumors of... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish
Photo: US Air Force/Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

CIA Operative Edward Lansdale is one of the most celebrated psychological warfare specialists in American history. During the Vietnam War, he was in Southeast Asia helping remove communist influence from the area.

As the story goes, one Philippine village that was terrorized by communist Huk rebels had a fear of "aswang" - a vampirish creature that would come in the night and snatch babies and drink their blood. Lansdale heard about this and spread rumors in the village that the aswang were back in action and hungrier than ever. Lansdale ordered his men to ambush lone Huk rebels and pierce their necks with two fang bites, hang them upside-down in trees to drain their blood, and place them on trails. The Huk soon got the message, and they booked it out of town.

Poles 'Invented' a Disease to Repel Nazis

Poles 'Invented' a Dis... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish
Photo: Unknown/Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

In the small Polish town of Rozwadow, Dr. Eugene Lazowski and Stanislaw Matulewicz discovered that they could inject fellow townspeople with dead Typhus bacteria, and it would show up positive on blood tests without actually making them sick. During World War II, Lazowski "gave" villagers who were about to be sent off to work or concentration camps the disease. He was able to convince the German Public Health Authority that Rozwadow was a Typhus-afflicted area, and the Nazis - terrified of the disease - pulled out and quarantined it. His plan saved thousands of Jews from almost certain death.

A Fake Army of Inflatable Tanks Confused the Sh*t out of the Axis Powers

A Fake Army of Inflatable Tank... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish
Photo: United States Army/Public Domain/via Wikimedia Commons

They were the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. And they were special all right. They weren't even real. To this day, they're called the Ghost Army of World War II.

Here's what they did: they simulated actual army units using blow-up tanks, jeeps, airplanes, cannons, and trucks - and positioned them right where enemy reconnaissance would see them. They'd blare loud sounds of angry soldiers doing soldier things. And to finalize the deception, they'd relay pseudo-Morse code in radio broadcasts. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops would situate themselves right near the front lines, and impersonate a boastful army of thousands of well-armed men to confuse Hitler's henchmen and make them believe the Allied army was much bigger and stronger than it actually was.

In fact, there were only 1,100 men. And they were civilians. Artists, architects, actors, set designers, and engineers. They staged 20 fake battlefields during the war and saved an estimated 30,000 lives - not bad for a battalion that wasn't even real.