"I want you to remember, that no bastard ever won a war, by dying for his country. He won it, by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." -US General George S Patton
As funny as this may sound, the famous general was actually right. But the question is, how do you make the other bastard look dumb? Well... you deploy the best war tricks up your sleeve to fool them.
Having said that, here are some of the most mind-blowing tricks that have been used during various wars through history:
1. World War II's Ghost Army that never fired a single shot.
Officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, this army was deployed by the US during the second world war to break Hitler's rampaging streak.
The 1,100 man unit consisted of make-up artists, actors, sound technicians, painters, photographers and press agents.
They used inflatable tanks, fake radio transmissions and sound trucks to stage more than 20 battlefield deceptions.
The unit's success was very vital in the Allied victory that followed. And their secret was revealed 40 years after the war.
2. Yugoslavia's fake military bases and armed vehicles during the Kosovo War in 1999.
In 1999, Yugoslavia had feared an attack from NATO during the Kosovo War. So they decided to make fake fortifications, artillery, war machines and vehicles as decoys.
They made planes of wood and plastic.
They used old cars disguised as tanks and simulate engine heat.
They used old and obsolete tanks as decoys for the enemies to waste their ammo on.
3. The magician who tricked the Nazis during World War II.
The British employed the services of illusionist Jasper Maskelyne to confuse and deceive the Nazis in North Africa. He made a team called the 'Magic Gang', which consisted of a carpenter, a stage designer, a chemist, a picture restorer and a criminal.
He hid the Suez Canal using mirrors, lights and reflectors.
He created a ghost army in the Battle of El Alamein consisting of 1000 dummy tanks with fake pipelines in the South that were easily spotted & engaged by German aircrafts. While the British actually attacked the North.
He faked an explosion of an entire factory, using painted tarpaulin, paper-mache, rubble, and debris to create the illusion, visible both from the ground and air. The factory continued its operation smoothly.
4. Timur's siege of Delhi where he just walked in and captured it in September, 1398.
Before invading Delhi, Timur asked his army to drop caltrops (3 way spikes) in the path of advancing elephants. The bottom of their foot is the only place where an elephant cannot be protected by armour.
He put bales of hay on the back of his camels and set them on fire, making them charge forward. The elephants got scared and trampled their own troops.
He simply walked in, captured Delhi and built towers out of skulls.
5. The empty fort strategy used by Chinese kingdoms.
It is the 32nd of 36 Chinese Startagems, and is completely based on luck, where you leave the gates of your fort wide open for the enemy to enter.
The reverse psychology involved would make the enemy think that an ambush was waiting for them inside. They would eventually retreat.
This strategy was successfully used by Cao Cao, Zhao Yun, Wen Ping, etc. This brilliant strategy can be viewed in the video below:
6. The USS O'Bannon using potatoes as weapon during World War II in 1943
The submarine spotted a Japanese sub (Ro-34) on the surface and wanted to ram into it. But fearing that it could be a minelayer, they pulled back and ended up being too close.
As the Japanese were readying their deck guns, sailors from O'Bannon, who had no arms, started pelting potatoes at the Japanese.
Occupied with trying to throw the potatoes away, the Japanese never fired and were eventually sunk by O'Bannon using depth charges.
7. Double agent Eddie Chapman's grand deceptions during World War II.
He was a criminal in London and incarcerated on the Channel Islands when the Germans took over. He sent the Germans a letter saying, or rather lying, that he would spy for them on the British.
After training, he was asked to blow up a factory. But as soon as the parachute dropped into the UK, he turned himself in and became a double agent.
He conspired with illusionist Jasper Maskelyne to 'fake' blow up the De Havilland factory and convinced the Germans that he did so.
He was transferred to Oslo to teach in a spy school and even earned an Iron Cross from the German militia.
He was again sent to London to study the accuracy and effect of V1 and V2 rockets. Although they were very accurate, he told Germans they were overshooting and so, the rockets started falling short. Thus, London was saved.
8. The capturing of Newburgh without firing a single shot.
Before crossing the Ohio river into Indiana, Colonel Adam Rankin Johnson had his men paint a long stove pipe & felled log black and put them on wagon axles.
They crossed the river and captured a small building with some troops and handed them a spy glass, showing them the fake, make-shift 'cannons'. The troops surrendered out of fear.
9. The Israeli spy who planted trees to help capture Golan Heights, Syria, after his death.
Eli Cohen was an Israeli spy in Syria and established a name in the high society there. While visiting Syrian fortifications, he saw greyish objects placed strategically to propel Israeli attacks.
He convinced Syrian officials that he would plant eucalyptus trees around the fortifications by saying that the Israeli will think these areas aren't inhabited. Also, it would give the soldiers some shade.
He was publicly hanged after being found guilty of espionage in 1965. But the trees he had planted made it easy for Israeli forces to spot and bomb. Golan Heights was captured in 1967.
10. When Austria used avalanches against Italians during World War I.
During World War I, Austrian troops were battling the Italians on the Alps. Although well protected from them, the Gran Poz summit of Mount Marmolada had other ideas for them.
Around 300 Austrians died in an avalanche. This was followed by more avalanches.
Though the theory isn't confirmed, it is said that Austrians used this lesson to their advantage and started shelling mountain covers above the Italians, causing man-made avalanches and presumably killed thousands.