The shortest war in history
Richard Dorsey Mohun/Public Domain
Wars usually drag on for years, but the conflict between the United Kingdom and the sultanate of Zanzibar in 1896 was over in 40 minutes at most. Zanzibar revolted when the local sultan was replaced by another ruler chosen by the British.
The troops of the United Kingdom were clearly outnumbered: only 1050 men against 2800 soldiers of the sultanate of Zanzibar. The Zanzibar army also had machine guns and a naval ship. Nevertheless, the battle was quickly won in favor of the British. The British troops besieged the sultan’s palace, which immediately caught fire. They also sank the Zanzibar naval vessel. After 40 minutes the battle was over and the war over.
The war that started because a soldier… had to go to the toilet
Photographer unknown, Ministry of the Navy, public domain
The Second Sino-Japanese War lasted from 1937 to 1945. Tensions between China and Japan rose sharply in the 1930s. Japan was out to expand territory and looked for an excuse to attack the Chinese army. When a Japanese soldier went missing on July 7, 1937, Japan accused China of kidnapping one of their soldiers. Fire was opened and the Second Sino-Japanese War had begun. However, the missing Japanese soldier was not in the hands of the Chinese army. He had simply gone to the bathroom and unknowingly started another war. of course this war was also denied without this ‘excuse’ it became one of the bloodiest wars ever.
A conflict started by a stray dog
Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer/Public Domain
The historic ‘Incident at Petrich’ is also known as the ‘War of the Stray Dog’. Petrich is a town in Bulgaria near the border with Greece. In 1925, relations between Greece and Bulgaria were tense: there was a dispute over the border area between the 2 countries. It didn’t take much to ignite fighting between the two states.
That became clear when a Greek soldier chases a stray dog which he coddled like his pet. By mistake he entered Bulgarian territory and was promptly fired upon by the Bulgarian army. The Greek army demanded compensation and apologies from the Bulgarians for this incident. When the Bulgarians did not agree, the Greeks besieged the city of Petrich and the surrounding villages. The League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations, intervened and forced the warring parties to lay down their arms.
The conflict lasted 10 days and killed more than 50 soldiers. And the dog? He was never seen or heard from again…
The battle for an oak bucket
The ‘Battle of Zappolino’ went down in history as the ‘War of the Oak Bucket’. In 1325, soldiers of the army of Modena invaded the hostile city of Bologna and stole the oak bucket from Bologna’s main well. Great alarm in Bologna, which immediately sent 30,000 foot soldiers and 2,000 cavalrymen to Modena. Modena was defended by only 5,000 foot soldiers and 2,000 horsemen, but still managed to drive the troops from Bologna. The captured oak bucket is still on display in a clock tower in Modena.
Christmas day in the trenches
Varges Ariel, Ministry of Information/public domain
Christmas Day 1914 was a remarkable day in military history. The First World War had been going on for many months and both German and Allied armies were holed up in trenches. However, on Christmas Day 1914, German and Allied soldiers emerged from their trenches and wished everyone a merry Christmas. Cigarettes and food were even exchanged, and football was played in some places. The next day, however, it was business as usual at the front: both sides continued to fight. World War I is known as one of the bloodiest wars of all time, but on Christmas Day 1914 all guns and cannons fell silent.
The Wehrmacht and the Allies against the SS
Steve J. Morgan/wikipedia commons
During World War II, soldiers of the German Wehrmacht fought against the troops of the Allies. Except on May 5, 1945, when the Wehrmacht fought alongside American soldiers against elite soldiers of the German Waffen-SS. Hitler had committed suicide 5 days earlier, and almost everyone realized that Germany had lost the war. However, the elite troops of the Waffen-SS fought on bitterly.
They wanted to regain control of an Austrian castle, where important persons were held captive. Among the prisoners in the Schloss Itter were 2 former prime ministers of France, Edouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud. The SS had orders to kill all prisoners. The soldiers of the German Wehrmacht saw the nonsense of this and joined 14 soldiers of the American army to defend the castle with all their might. One of the former prisoners managed to enlist the help of American troops in the area. At the end of the day, the SS division lost out and the prisoners were liberated from the castle.
The Battle of Cajamarca
The Battle of Cajamarca (in present-day Peru) was one of the bloodiest battles in history, fought by completely unequal means. This battle between Spanish conquerors and the Incas took place on November 15, 1532.The Spaniards were by far outnumbered: only 168 ‘conquistadors’ against 3,000 to 8,000 Incas. However, the conquistadors possessed firearms and gunpowder, weapons unknown to the Incas.
The Incas, led by King Atahualpa, were only lightly armed. The Spanish army chief Pizarro first negotiated with Atahualpa, but when the Inca king felt insulted, a real slaughter began. The Incas first became acquainted with the power of firearms and fled en masse, chased by the Spanish conquistadors. More than 2000 Incas lost their lives and King Atahualpa was imprisoned. There were only 5 casualties among the Spanish conquerors.
A meteorite impact during the Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War lasted from 73 BC to 63 BC. The warring factions were the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Pontus, whose ruler was King Mithridates VI. Many battles took place during this war, but in one of them both the Roman and Pontic armies fled headlong . The cause was a sudden meteorite impact on the battlefield. The superstitious soldiers did not know what was happening and thought they had inflicted the wrath of the gods on them. However, the meteorite impact would not stop the war. A few days later the battle resumed. Rome would eventually defeat Mithridates’ army and occupy the territory of Pontus.
The Great Air Raid on Los Angeles
In the night of 24 to 25 February 1942, a major (air) alarm was blown in the American city of Los Angeles. Someone had spotted 25 ‘enemy’ planes in the night sky. This incident happened just 3 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and everyone immediately thought of an impending Japanese bombing of Los Angeles. The US military responded immediately with intense anti-aircraft fire. No less than 1,400 shells were fired at the enemy aircraft. Afterwards it turned out that nothing was going on in the sky over Los Angeles. The alleged “enemy aircraft” were likely weather balloons. But it could also have been alien UFOs, or so some UFO hunters claim….
Youtuber LEMMiNO (highly recommended!) made a mini-doc about the battle of Los Angeles.
The war against the emus
From November 2, 1932 to December 10, 1932, there was a war in Australia between the Australian army and… emus. An emu is a flightless bird, a smaller version of the ostrich, of which there were about 20,000 individuals on Australian soil in 1932. Because the emus wreaked havoc on agricultural crops, the Australian government thought there was nothing better than to deploy the military and declare war on the emus.
Australian soldiers took machine guns into the woods and fields to exterminate the emus. They were only partially successful, as the emus were smarter than expected. The flightless birds dispersed in small groups, kept a sufficient lead over their assailants and entrenched themselves in the most unimaginable places. The result was humiliating for the Australian military:
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