3The Canadians' Piss
Less than a year of fighting into WWI, the Western front was at a stalemate. The armies of France, the British Empire and Germany were unable to break through one another's trench defenses. The Germans, not a people exactly fond of "calling it a tie," decided to use a new weapon of war to break the standoff: Chlorine gas. They deployed the gas on the French territorial troops, and "the line quickly broke." Well, that's how the Germans phrased it, anyway.
Jolly-fun-time Germans, not scary Buchenwald Germans.
A more accurate way to put it would be to say that 6,000 soldiers died in the first 10 minutes of the battle from asphyxiation, many more were blinded and a four-mile gap of destruction was carved into the Allied lines. The only downside to this tactic was that the Germans had to wait to advance into that gap, seeing as how Chapter 1 of The Art of War is "Don't Run Into Your Own Poison, Fellas."
Chapter 2 is "Owe Your Artillerymen Money."
While the Germans waited for the gas to disperse, Canadian forces were sent in to fill the gap. A medical officer (there is some debate as to which one, exactly) saw the greenish cloud approaching and identified the weapon. Then, thinking quickly, he spread word to the troops, advising them to urinate in cloths and hold them up to their faces.
"Dulce et decorum est, eh buddy?"
Whoever he was, we feel we can unequivocally state at this point that the medical officer in question was either the most beloved man on the battlefield or the most feared, because the troops quickly obeyed and basically pissed all over their own faces at just his say-so. And that's what saved all of their lives: The urea in urine reacted with the chlorine, effectively neutralizing the deadly gas. The Canadians were able to hold the Germans back until British reinforcements arrived. And though they suffered nearly 50 percent casualties defending Ypres, they successfully held the Germans off with the power of pee.
"The mustache will act like a filter!"
2The Han's Song
In the third century B.C., after the collapse of the Qin Dynasty, the Chu and Han forces went to war for supremacy. The Han forces, under the leadership of Han Xin, won a string of significant battles over Xiang Yu and the Chu. When the Chu started retreating back to their capital, Han Xin ordered several ambush attacks, hoping to force Xiang Yu into a canyon, where the Chu would be defenseless. Xiang Yu resisted, until finally Han's forces kidnapped Xiang's wife and held her in the canyon as bait. This is known as the Gruber Gambit, and military tacticians largely advise against it due to the overwhelming odds of the opponent countering with the Willis Maneuver.
Xiang Yu sent most of his forces back to his capital but took 100,000 troops and marched into the canyon to save his wife.
The Chu were able to rescue Xiang Yu's wife, but they were now caught in Han's trap. They tried to break out but were pushed back into the canyon time and time again. Yet they were able to hold their position against the Han, creating a siege situation. That's when Han unleashed his secret weapon: sing-a-longs!
Traditional military strategy -- sending hundreds of conscripts to die in battle with heroic supermen, was turned on its head.
He ordered his forces to sing traditional Chu songs, which he called the "Chu Song From Four Sides" tactic. That's right: It has a name, thus indicating that the Han had some sort of long and storied tradition of musical warfare. When the trapped soldiers heard the songs of their homelands, nostalgia and sentiment charged through their defensive perimeter and began looting and pillaging their heartstrings.
The singing caused massive desertions throughout the night: Only a few hundred men stayed with Xiang Yu. In the morning, they tried to escape together. Though they did successfully break out of the canyon, the Chu forces were eventually tracked down by Han Xin. Seeing that all was lost, Xiang committed suicide on the spot. And thus the Han Dynasty was created ... through the power of song.
Later, Jefferson Starship would adapt this slice of history into their hit song "We Built This Dynasty (On Ancient Chinese Folk Songs)." Sadly, record executives changed the original wording before release.