Infamous Military Tricks That Were Actually Pretty Childish

Voting Rules
Vote up the most immature tricks deployed to prevail on the battlefield.

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 surprising and unconventional 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 risky as heck, but here's the wild part: they all worked. This list includes some of the most unexpected tricks in military history, so put up your best defenses and steel yourself against the onslaught of these brilliant but unusual tactics.

Photo: US Government/Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons

  • 1
    73 VOTES

    The US Military Spooked The Vietcong By Pretending To Be Ghosts

    Operation Wandering Soul was carried out by the Americans during the Vietnam War and involved blaring sounds of ghostly moans and groans from speakers in the woods. The goal was to rattle the Vietcong, and it worked. Vietcong would hear their "fallen comrades" and believe they were haunted by poltergeists, lowering morale.

    It played on the popular Vietnamese superstition that souls wandered the earth after life.

    73 votes
  • 2
    55 VOTES

    Persians Used Cats To Force Egyptians To Surrender

    In ancient times, Egyptians believed cats to be sacred. The Persians knew this and used this belief to their advantage. The battle historian Herodotus recorded that during one specific invasion, the Persians released cats onto the battlefield, and 50,000 Egyptians perished because they could not fight effectively - they were too busy trying not to hurt the cats

    On many occasions, Persian armies would actually unleash the feline hounds to make the Egyptians frantically avoid going full berserker. 

    55 votes
  • 3
    54 VOTES

    Greeks Hid In A Large Toy Horse

    Greeks Hid In A Large Toy Horse
    Photo: Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo / Wikimedia Commons

    This is probably the most famous military trick of all time. During the Trojan War, the Greeks pulled the ultimate ruse. They placed a giant, wooden horse at the entrance of Troy as a "gift," and sailed away into the sunset. The Trojans merrily bought into the idea that the Greeks were offering an end to the war, and brought the horse into the city limits.

    Right as the Trojans were about to celebrate, the Greeks literally popped out of the woodwork and stormed the city.

    54 votes
  • 4
    56 VOTES

    Great Britain Gave Their Nuclear Project A Boring Name So No One Would Be Suspicious

    Great Britain Gave Their Nuclear Project A Boring Name So No One Would Be Suspicious
    Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory / Wikimedia Commons

    The first nuclear program in Great Britain (and the world) came to fruition when researchers at Birmingham University figured out that a tiny amount of pure uranium-235 could trigger a chain reaction within a bomb. This smidgen of uranium could blow entire cities to smithereens. The program basically inspired the Manhattan Project in the United States.

    Project manager Wallace Akers chose the name Tube Alloys because it seems innocent and, well, boring. In other words, it was utterly unassuming and linguistically meaningless. No one ever thought to poke their heads in on the project because it sounded so dull.

    56 votes
  • 5
    65 VOTES

    A Fake Army Of Inflatable Tanks Confused The Axis Powers

    A Fake Army Of Inflatable Tanks Confused The Axis Powers
    Photo: United States Army / 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 WWII. 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 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 tens of thousands of lives - not bad for a battalion that wasn't even real.

    65 votes
  • 6
    60 VOTES

    The British Used A Deceased Man To Trick Hitler Into Leaving Sicily Undefended

    Did you know a Welshman basically won WWII? Glyndwr Michael died a hero. He wasn't a soldier, though - he was a vagrant and a drinker who passed 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 deceased Michael into Captain Bill Martin, a pilot who tragically passed when a plane went down 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 shamelessl effective plan. 

    60 votes