Life is full of happy little accidents, mistakes that wind up working out in the end. They're the best part of, say, painting a picture or baking a pie. But where you don't find happy accidents is on the battlefield, where brilliant commanders will use the slightest misstep against you. In war, you do it right, or you die.
That's what you'd think, anyway. Sometimes, even in war, a little stupidity can work to your advantage.
5The British Accidentally Announce Their Surprise Attack on the News
In 1982, Great Britain and Argentina were fighting over a small island grouping called the Falklands, and Britain was losing. In need of a quick victory to reinvigorate the campaign, operational planners closed their eyes, took out a map and (we can only assume) played pin the tail on the Falklands to decide where to attack.
We attack here, at "Cow Pasture City."
The selected town was called Goose Green. To prepare, 690 Royal Marines stealthily broke off from the main contingent and moved down to set up the attack. It was all ready to go for May 28, but then ...
... the BBC announced the upcoming attack on their worldwide news, and yes, you guessed it, the Argentinians were watching.
"Look, we're on the news! Oh ... crap ..."
The British commander of the Royal Marines in the upcoming battle was furious, threatening to sue the BBC for ruining their plan of attack and spoiling their element of surprise.
But It Turned Out ...
The Argentinian commanders saw the broadcast and concluded that no attack would ever come, under the assumption that only total arrogant idiots would announce their plans via worldwide news service. The British, however, continued with their plans anyway. Did they know the Argentinians had let their guard down? Or did they just decide that if they had already gone through all this trouble, they might as well follow through?
We didn't drag this flag all the way here for nothing ...
When the British actually attacked the following day, the Argentinians were caught by an even more complete surprise, and the British easily won the battle, retaking Goose Green, reinvigorating the Falklands campaign and ultimately earning a victory.