These 7 Crazy Military Strategies Worked Despite Their Insanity.

If you’ve read about war (or were in a war), you know you need to be creative to win battles. These generals used their creativity to the extreme and the results were fantastic. Even if you have the biggest and best equipped army, you’re not immune to embarrassing losses.

Bag and Hammer

German U-Boats terrorized Europe during World War I. This was due to the British, French, and Americans having no submarines of their own and no counter measures. Eventually, with all other options exhausted, the British decided to do something drastic. They would sneak rowboats up to the U-Boat’s periscope and place a bag over it or smash it with a hammer. This would blind the captain of the submarine and the boat would have to resurface, leaving it vulnerable for attack. This strategy worked well, as it stopped many U-Boats from bombarding Allied vessels.


As a descendant of Ghengis Khan, Timur knew more about animals than anyone could have thought back in the day. While trying to invade India, Timur encountered an enemy that recruited 120 war elephants. Timur had several camels used as mounts for his army. He proceeded to set the camels on fire and march them toward to elephants. When the elephants saw this, they panicked, turned around, and trampled a large portion of the Sultan’s army. Timur not only won the battle, but he then stole those elephants and used them for his bidding.

Cambyses II

I bet you would never have guessed that cats would be instrumental in the dismantling of an empire. While attacking Egypt, Cambyses II ordered his men to paint felines on their shields, and he brought hundreds of actual cats into his front lines. His theory was that Egyptians, who hold felines in high esteem, wouldn’t fire upon them. The plan worked: The Egyptian archers refused to fire on his felines, fearing that they would injure the animals—a crime punishable by death.


Hastein was a Viking leader trying to prove his worth. He came up with an ingenious plan to raid Rome. Knowing that Vikings were far better at pillaging villages than cities, he came up with a plan to bypass the city walls by pretending to be a dead Norseman seeking burial in the city. Hastein played dead in his coffin, and his raiding force just walked through the front gate. Although his plan was met with great success, he later learned that he had mistaken the city of Luna for Rome and pillaged the wrong city. Whoops!

Zhuge Liang

This Chinese general defended a town against an army of 150,000 troops, and only had around 100 men in his own army. He told his men to hide, flung open the gates of the town, and sat on the walls playing a lute. The opposing general was so certain that it was a trap that he immediately retreated.

Vlad III

One of history’s most notorious bad boys, Vlad the Impaler aimed to scare off the Ottoman troops, and boy did he ever. While the Ottomans were marching toward the capital of Transylvania, Vlad left around 20,000 slain Turks and Bulgarians that he impaled on the path to the capital. The plan worked. The Ottomans saw exactly how crazy this dude was and ran the other way.

The Russians vs. The Teutonic Knights

Trying to invade Russia during the winter is always a stupid plan. Yet the Crusaders (also known as the Teutonic Knights) tried anyway. The Crusaders were far more equipped than the Russians, with full plate mail and armored horses. The Russians could be easily beaten in a straight fight this way, so they retreated over the frozen Lake Peipus and then turned around to face them. They hoped the lake would slow the enemy down. The over-eager knights followed them, not realizing that the ice would be unable to hold their armored weight. According to reports, the Crusader ranks were in chaos, slipping and breaking through the ice while fighting the armored Russian infantry. Eventually, an archer bombardment led to a full retreat of the Teutonic Knights.

If you ever find yourself in a war with someone, just get a little creative with it. You’ll come out the victor if you think outside of the box like these people. I just hope you never find yourself in such a sticky situation.

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