History Meme | One War → The Great Emu War
In 1932, Australian farmers had a problem: A gigantic flock of birds had migrated into their land and were obliterating their wheat crops. And this being Australia, these particular birds were unlikely to be intimidated by a dude made of straw and old clothes. They were emus: flightless, 6-foot-tall eating machines that had decided to take over the local farmlands. And there were 20,000 of them. The situation quickly escalated to the point where you could barely see the fields from scores of Big Birds lounging around. And since the problem was downright cartoonish, the farmers opted to solve it in an appropriately Wile E. Coyotesque way: They asked for military assistance. That is how Major G.P.W. Meredith of the Royal Australian Artillery found himself leading two regiments of battle-hardened soldiers, complete with some big-ass heavy machine guns, to unleash hell on a bunch of helpless birds. When Australian troops spotted flocks of emus, they opened fire. The emus scattered, and even when feathers popped up in the air off of the bird indicating a hit, the emus continued to run. It didn’t seem to matter much to the emus who returned time and again. After a week, Meredith commented
“if we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds, it would face any army in the world. They could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus…”.
After a week of engagement, having fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition and having killed maybe five birds, the Australian Army withdrew, officially losing the war to unarmed flightless birds.
“The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic.”