The 6 Greatest Battlefield Mindf*cks

The most powerful weapon in any army's arsenal isn't a nuke--not even one of those big nukes that shoots smaller nukes. No, no weapon or technology can stand up to the classic military mindfuck.

Strategists have been using it for millennia and perhaps none did it better than these guys:

#6. Chuko Liang and the Lute of Death

Chuko "Sleeping Dragon" Liang was a brilliant Chinese strategist and possessor of one of the top 10 awesomest nicknames in history. A chancellor of Shu Han during the third century, his cunning is widely so celebrated that in China his name is synonymous with intelligence and tactics, which is way better than General Tso, who only wound up with a Chinese restaurant dish named after him.

"No, General Tso, it is your chicken that is weak and lacking in discipline."

Chuko was a master of the mindfuck. But he was still capable of making mistakes and it was his greatest miscalculation that required him to draw upon his greatest of mindfuck powers.

According to historians, during the War of the Three Kingdoms, accompanied by a consort of just 100 soldiers and the rest of his army miles away, Chuko saw an opposing army with over 100,000 men marching towards him. The opposing general, Sima Yi, was a veteran who had fought Chuko in multiple battles. Familiar with the Sleeping Dragon's clever ways and, deciding to take no chances, he led the massive army to capture Chuko.

Ordering his few men into hiding, Chuko commanded that the town gates be left wide open and, positioning himself atop the city wall, he proceeded to play the lute as the massive enemy army approached. Upon his arrival at the town gates, Sima Yi, who had fallen victim to many a Chuko-led ambush, halted his army and studied Chuko's calm manner as he ripped a solo on the chords.

Convinced it was a trap he could not yet comprehend, Sima commanded a hasty retreat, more than a 100,000 soldiers pulling back from one man and his musical instrument. Chuko thus earned an entire wing in the Bullshitter's Hall of Fame.

#5. Cambyses II of Persia: Master of the Catfight

The Battle of Pelusium in 525 B.C. was a mindfuck of godly proportions. Literally.

Egypt was being invaded by the Persians, lead by Cambyses II. At the time, Egypt was at the zenith of their wealth and power. They also were at their most zealous for their religious beliefs, based around a variety of animals they considered holy. The Egyptians remained convinced that their gods would continue to shower good fortune upon them so long as they were treated with due respect and awe.

Cambyses knew this, so he brought along to Egypt a zoo's compendium of every animal they thought was holy. He also painted the image of the Egyptian feline goddess, Bastet, on the shields of his soldiers. The result was that during the battle, many of the Egyptian soldiers refused to fight back lest they strike the holy image, bringing the wrath of Bastet upon them.

After dealing the hesitant Egyptians a resounding defeat, Cambyses pursued them to the fortress of Pelusium. Unwilling to deal with a protracted siege, and to amuse himself, Cambyses decided to release a wave of cats to charge at the fort. This prevented the soldiers from shooting arrows at the advancing Persian army, for fear of hitting the sacred cats. The Egyptians were so concerned with the vengeful hands of their gods that they ignored the ones swinging scimitars right at their faces.

The victory ushered the end of Egyptian sovereignty for centuries to come. It was annexed to Persia and then tossed back and forth between different empires before ultimately falling into the hands of the Romans. As if all that wasn't enough, when he won Cambyses laughed and hurled cats at the faces of his defeated foes. No, Seriously.

#4. Vo Nguyen Giap and the Tet Offensive

In 1967, the Vietnam War was in full swing. On the rare occasions that the American army had forced the Viet Cong into a direct engagement, Vietnamese asses were roundly kicked. The American public was keeping an eye on the world's first televised war, but because of the North Vietnamese guerrilla strategy, there wasn't much action to watch. Prior to the Tet Offensive, Americans largely supported the Vietnam War and, despite scattered peace protests, most believed the war to be coming to a close.

During the war, the North Vietnamese and Commander Vo Nguyen Giap took great pains to understand the American cultural scene. Having dissected Barbies and fed Big Macs to caged monkeys, they began to comprehend that the center of power in American politics wasn't congress or even the president, but with public perception and the news media.

So, Giap developed a plan to influence them directly: the Tet Offensive.

In one of the all-time dick moves, Giap broke the truce traditionally kept on Tet, the Vietnamese lunar new year, bringing the war to the Americans, and more specifically the TV cameras. He attacked multiple locations of both strategic and symbolic importance, including the American embassy. Militarily it was a pretty shitty strategy. Outmatched and outgunned, there was no way the Vietnamese forces could capture and hold all the places they were attacking. In fact, after it was all said and done, the American and South Vietnamese forces had turned back the Viet Cong from every single spot they had attacked, and they suffered massive casualties.

It didn't matter. Though American combatants claimed a hard-earned victory in a battle that American General William Westmoreland likened to the Battle of the Bulge--the war began losing popularity with the American people. Having seen the scary ass Viet Cong up close on their TVs, the people were now certain that there was no end in sight to the war and wanted out.

Pretty soon, politicians who still supported the war were thought to be hawkish dicks, and history books would call it one of the darkest points in U.S. military history. The lesson was learned, and 40 years later America's enemies skip the whole Tet thing and just take the war right to the cameras.

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