Jon’s best war
I could start and finish this post by telling you that in 1932, ex-soldiers in Australia waged war against 20,000 emus – and despite all their machine guns and military training, they sort of lost.
That would be enough I think. It’s up on wikipedia anyway…
But let me tell you the full story:
Emus are large, flightless birds – Australian ostriches really – and they were eating farmers’ wheat crops so the military were called into action.
I don’t want to deceive you. This was not large scale battles like the world wars or the star wars. It was just two soldiers, two large machine guns and a commanding officer named Meredith. They still had an advantage but no tanks or nuclear bombs.
Despite being out-gunned, the emus did pretty well for themselves. When they were attacked they split into small groups and ran away at speeds of up to 30mph. This made them difficult to hit with a machine gun and they were a waste of ammunition.
On the first day of work, only a dozen or so birds were killed. The soldiers changed tactic and set up an ambush for 1,000 emus. But their gun jammed and the emus ran away, again.
Major Meredith, the commanding officer of Operation Emu, was impressed and probably embarrassed at the birds’ capacity to survive a bullet or two. He’s quoted as saying:
If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world…They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.
After 6 days of emu fighting, the team returned home with newspapers reporting that they killed only a few emus.
Their second attempt was more successful – they spent a month killing emus. Getting stats of around 40 a day and adding some on for those wounded, they guessed around 2,500 died – but no one knows exactly…
This is my best ever war – certainly in terms of comic value. I guess it’s a bit like the end of life of pi though. You have a decision to make – who do you think won the emu war? Here’s a little graphic to help you make up your mind…
If you wonder where I am for the next year, I’ll be locked away writing this up as a screen play. It will be a cross between O Brother Where Art Though and Jurrasic Park.