12 Craziest War Tactics Used in the History

Cropped shot of soldier holding grenade in hands. War.

Throughout the pages of history, warfare has been an arena where cunning and creativity have often played vital roles. The human drive to win at all costs has led to some of the most bizarre and mind-boggling war tactics ever conceived. In a social media thread, various users have shared their knowledge and fascination with these unconventional methods.

In this slideshow, we’ll take a closer look at these extraordinary tactics as if we’re eavesdropping on a discussion among history enthusiasts. So, buckle up as we dive into the annals of history to discover the craziest war tactics that have baffled and amazed the world.

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#1 French Cavalry on Ice

Macro photo of ice surface, winter abstract background
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“In the French Revolutionary Wars, a French Cavalry unit successfully traversed the ice of the frozen Den Helder harbor and captured the Dutch fleet as it was stuck in the ice. This was the first ever capture of naval units by a cavalry detachment”.

It’s not every day you witness a cavalry unit galloping across frozen waters to capture an entire fleet. During the French Revolutionary Wars, the unexpected happened when French horsemen crossed the icy Den Helder harbor to seize Dutch naval ships trapped in the ice. This audacious move left everyone, including the Dutch, frozen in astonishment.

#2 Persian Pony Parade

Side view of handsome male equestrian in professional apparel sitting on horse at ranch and looking away
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“The Persian Empire was noted as putting their largest men on their smallest ponies, and organizing them into parade units. Enemy cities saw them from far off and thought that they were giants riding normal sized horses, and would often either give up, or it would lower morale just enough in order to get the upper hand”.

In the annals of unconventional warfare, the Persians were masters of illusion. The psychological impact of this trompe-l’oeil tactic cannot be underestimated. The enemy’s morale often plummeted, leading to surrender or a significant advantage for the Persians. It’s a remarkable testament to the power of perception in war.

#3 Elephant Invasion of Rome

Two elephants in the savannah in the Serengeti park
Image Credit: pascalegueret /Depositphotos.com.

“Invading Rome on elephant back has to be up there”.

When it comes to wild war strategies, rolling into Rome on the back of elephants definitely deserves a mention. The Roman defenders must have had their jaws drop when they saw these massive pachyderms as armored transports. It’s a bit like showing up to a knife fight with a tank – definitely a jumbo surprise for the ancient Romans.

#4 Op**m-Laced Cigarettes in WWI

Lukashi, Ukraine: 24 March 2022: ukrainian soldier in trench
Image Credit: Oles_Navrotskyi /Depositphotos.com.

“In WWI the British air dropped op**m laced cigarettes on the enemy and then when they started smoking and fell asleep, they attacked the trenches. This happened twice.”

WWI was a time of trench warfare, but the British introduced a curious twist to the battlefield. What’s truly remarkable is that this daring tactic wasn’t just attempted once but twice. The element of surprise, when combined with the op**m’s drowsy effect, made for a highly unusual yet effective approach.

#5 Japanese Balloon Bombs

Ballooning over the Rose Valley. Cappadocia, April
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“During World War II, Japan floated hot air balloons containing incendiary devices across the Pacific Ocean, hoping to start forest fires. No fires were started, but one did explode and kill a few civilians. The media was not allowed to report on it, which eventually led to Japan abandoning the tactic because they were hoping to hear results on the US news”.

In World War II, Japan had an idea that seems like something out of a science fiction movie. The idea was to sow chaos and destruction, but it turned out to be a fiery flop. No fires were started as intended, and one balloon tragically exploded, claiming the lives of a few unsuspecting civilians.

#6 Electrifying Swamp Road

Shot from the top of a marshy area near Viareggio Tuscany. Swamp.
Image Credit: Fotografiche /Depositphotos.com.

“Iraq vs Iran war. Saddam electrified a swamp full of Iranian troops. Then took all the bodies and built a road across the swamp and used it to attack”.

In the midst of the Iraq vs. Iran war, Saddam Hussein shocked the world quite literally. This gruesome strategy reminds us that the horrors of war can take on many forms, even electric ones.

#7 Ancient Biological Warfare

Bioterrorism. Selective focus. Outbreak of the epidemic. Bokeh. Virus. Elimination. The concept of Microbiology. The concept of health care in medicine. Doctor in a gas mask and gloves.
Image Credit: Drinkins+ /Depositphotos.com.

“The earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is recorded in Hittite texts of 1500–1200 BCE, in which victims of tularemia were driven into enemy lands, causing an epidemic.”

It appears that the ancient Hittites were ahead of their time when it came to unorthodox war tactics. Their texts from 1500–1200 BCE reveal an early intention to use biological weapons, driving victims infected with tularemia into enemy lands and triggering an epidemic. This chilling historical account highlights the early origins of biological warfare and the lengths people went to for strategic advantage.

#8 Feline Distraction Strategy

Black cat
Image Credit: Extezy /Depositphotos.com.

“Releasing 100s of cats onto the battlefield to distract the Egyptian army”.

Sometimes, war tactics can take on a distinctly furry flavor. The tactic of releasing hundreds of cats onto the battlefield to distract the Egyptian army is the kind of head-scratcher that makes you wonder if you’re dealing with military masterminds or a battalion of cat lovers. Regardless, it’s a purr-fect reminder that even the most unconventional ideas can make their mark on the history of warfare.

#9 The Unbreakable Code Talkers

Lukyanivka, Ukraine: 25 March 2022: destroyed russian military vehicle
Image Credit: Oles_Navrotskyi /Depositphotos.com.

“US recruiting Navajo radiomen so that their radio signals would be hard to decode…They were instrumental in maintaining uninterrupted communications in Iwo Jima and Okinawa”.

When it came to securing radio communications in World War II, the U.S. turned to an unlikely source: the Navajo people. By using their unique language as a code, Navajo radiomen became instrumental in maintaining uninterrupted communications during critical battles like Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

#10 The Empty Gate Gambit

Decorative carved wooden door
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“I don’t know if it was just a story but I heard about this Chinese lord who left the gates to his city open and unmanned before a superior army stormed them. They didn’t end up attacking because they thought it was a trap”.

In the annals of military strategy, sometimes, leaving the gates wide open can be the ultimate bluff. Legend has it that a Chinese lord left the gates to his city unmanned when a superior army was poised to attack. The invading force hesitated, believing it was a trap. This audacious tactic is a masterclass in psychological warfare, proving that sometimes, your vulnerability can be your greatest strength.

#11 Spooky Sounds in Vietnam

Close-up of confident soldier against american flag
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“In Vietnam, the Americans used haunted noises to scare the opps. Genius”

War can be a place of eerie experiences, as was the case in Vietnam. American forces used spooky noises to terrify their opponents. The power of psychological warfare came into play as ghostly sounds haunted the enemy, creating a chilling atmosphere.

#12 The Spicy Mexican Counterattack

a series of green and red chili peppers. Food.
Image Credit: triphka /Depositphotos.com.

“In Mexico, a native tribe once destroyed a Spanish attacking force by setting up huge trenches and filling them up with all the peppers they could get their hands on. They proceeded to light it on fire, making a toxic smoke that was extremely painful to breath. Chemical warfare babyyyy!!”

Spice isn’t always nice, especially when it’s used as a weapon. This early form of chemical warfare was a fiery surprise for the invading force, a reminder that sometimes, the kitchen can be as dangerous as the battlefield.

Source: Reddit.

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Hasanthi Kodituwakku