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The 6 Most Embarrassing War Stories of All Time

We've previously discussed some of the most hilarious ways grown adults, tasked with either the defense or expansion of their nation, have managed to dick things up so completely that it crosses into the realm of comedy. Here are a few more instances of people stepping onstage in the military theater and splitting their pants in front of everyone.

#6. Nicaragua Invades Costa Rica Because of Google Maps

Christopher Pillitz / Getty

So what's the worst your GPS or Google Maps instructions has ever steered you wrong? Maybe you missed an exit, or wound up in the wrong side of town and got stabbed a bunch of times? Whatever it was, at least you didn't accidentally go to war with a neighboring country.

Google
"In 500 feet, annex Belgium."

Because that happened in November of 2010, when a Nicaraguan Military commander, Eden Pastora, led his men across the border into Costa Rica, which, in no uncertain terms, is pretty much a declaration of war. He claimed the whole thing was a mistake due to being led astray by Google Maps.

To be clear, it wasn't as though Pastora and his guys just stumbled across the border, set up some tents and then hurriedly cleared out in embarrassment once their error was discovered. They leveled a protected forest, dredged the San Juan river (the ownership of which is the sorest point of contention between the two nations), and dumped all the bullshit they scooped out of it into Costa Rican territory (that is, the portion of the land they decided to agree was Costa Rica's, since they were actually several miles inside the country's borders at this point).

Hector Retamal / Getty
"Son of a ... didn't anyone bring a Garmin?"

It's not clear why he decided to consult an Internet atlas instead of official military charts (which clearly depict the borders that both countries recognize). It's also not clear why it took him so long to figure out where he was. At one point, they took down a Costa Rican flag and replaced it with a Nicaraguan one, presumably because the flag wasn't represented by Google Maps so they assumed it had been erected by mistake. That's like walking into someone's house, throwing out all of their family photos to put up pictures of you and your grandparents, and then trying to tell the police that Mapquest is to blame for giving you shitty directions back to your apartment.

In Pastora's defense, the Google Maps view of the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is off by about 3,000 meters (around a mile-and-a-half) in Nicaragua's favor. In Google's defense, their maps are meant to locate Burger Kings, not plan military patrol routes for rival South American nations.

Miguel Alvarez / Getty
Eden Pastora, seen here with his wife.

#5. Santa Anna Takes a Nap and Loses Texas

Most of you have probably at least heard of Santa Anna, the Mexican general who defeated several hundred Texan soldiers at the Battle of the Alamo in that movie with Billy Bob Thornton. What you probably haven't heard is how, a few months after the Alamo, Santa Anna parked his army directly next to Sam Houston's much smaller American force by the San Jacinto River and ordered everyone to take a nap. Unsurprisingly, Houston took this opportunity to stomp the living shit out of them and claim independence for Texas.

Hulton Archive / Getty
"I also stole this hat, because look at it."

At the time, Santa Anna was riding pretty high on his Alamo victory, and the conquering of Texas seemed like a mathematical certainty. The soldiers under his command outnumbered Houston's by more than double, so he felt pretty comfortable telling everyone to "take five" while he stood on the banks of the San Jacinto and waved his dick in Houston's face. He didn't even bother to post sentries to keep watch during siesta time, but -- in all fairness -- the sentries were probably tired too.

Presumably, after having to convince himself that the scene before him wasn't some heatstroke-borne sight riddle, Houston plowed his troops through Santa Anna's army while they slept, crushing them in 18 minutes and suffering only nine casualties in the process (to compare, over 600 Mexican soldiers were killed).


Thousands of extra-fluffy pillows were captured.

Santa Anna himself was taken prisoner, after his attempt to disguise himself as a commoner failed because he neglected to remove his jeweled cuffs and frilly undershirt. Despite desperately wanting to Tiger Knee the general for the slaughter of his compatriots at the Alamo, Houston bartered for the independence of Texas instead and sent Santa Anna back to Mexico.

MPI / Getty
This contemporary cartoon depicts the surrender, as well as General Houston's flawless taste in bonnets.

#4. The U.S. Mistakes an Italian Island for a Libyan Submarine

Back in 1986, Libyan terrorists blew up a German discotheque and, not willing to let this aggression go by unpunished, President Ronald Reagan was determined to send a stern message back to Libya consisting of jets and explosions. Unfortunately, the message got scrambled somehow, like in that game Telephone -- only, instead of ending up with a wacky misinterpretation, the jets accidentally bombed the everloving puddingshits out of an Italian island.


"I don't really like spaghetti. What can we do about that?"

While crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to the bombing, American fighter pilots noticed some strange steam rising up out of the water beneath them. If nearly 100 years of movies are to be believed, mysterious ocean steam is never a good thing, and, in fact, is frequently a catastrophically-bad thing that occasionally rhymes with Godzilla. The pilots, clinging to the more rational (but no less knee-jerk) assumption that what they were seeing were telltale signs of an enemy Libyan submarine (does Libya even have any submarines?), dropped depth charges on the source of the steam and continued on to their scheduled bombing raid.

Only later did they discover that the alleged Libyan submarine was actually the volcano Empedocles, located at an underwater island called Ferdinandea, which is a territory of Italy. It didn't used to be underwater, you see, so at one point it was actually worth the effort for the Italians to plant a flag in it before it promptly sank back into the ocean. On their way to immolate some disco-hating Libyan terrorists, the United States inadvertently bombed Italian soil, which is ironic, considering Italians love discos.


"Map? No? Ok, we'll just guess."

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