Even if you have the finest weapons and the absolute best leadership, war is hell. In fact, hell is just the beginning when you're facing an enemy with 10 times the gear and manpower your side has.
In those desperate circumstances, sometimes the underdog just has to get stupid. What do we mean? Well ...
5Cambyses II Conquers Egypt With Cat Shields
Like most other centuries, the sixth century B.C. had to witness a war in the Middle East. Persian king Cambyses II, fresh from his coronation, set his eyes westward to expand his empire, which meant war with Egypt. But going up against the Egyptians on their home turf was seven kinds of stupid. Not only did they know the terrain, but they were exactly as tough as you'd expect from people whose embalmed corpses were destined to become horror movie villains a few millennia down the line.
Fresh Egyptians: 30 percent more zesty than desiccated Egyptians.
Even so, Cambyses didn't give a damn. He stormed Egypt like a jock mowing through a keg party, only to have his ass promptly handed to him. Sure, Cambyses had the numbers, but the Egyptians had the home advantage and far superior weaponry. The Persians were bound to lose the war ... until Cambyses spotted the Egyptians' only weakness: cats.
Back in the day, Egyptians were deathly afraid of cats, which they thought were representatives of death itself. As such, killing a cat was both a terrifying sin and a quick one-way ticket to Death Central. So, according to legend, it is here that the Persians started using cats as shields. Seriously.
Embarrassed artists hid this fact and said Cambyses won just by being really tall.
Also, they lobbed a bunch of felines into the battlefield, to the point where Egyptians could not take a step or swing a sword without the risk of harming a cat. By some accounts, Cambyses supplemented his feline secret weapon with a bunch of other animals Egyptians held sacred, such as ibis birds, dogs, and sheep, thus creating the world's first Battlefield Petting Zoo.
Whatever the reasons behind it, the gambit worked, as the Egyptians were so afraid of accidentally striking a cat that they either fled or just flat out surrendered to the inferior Persian fighting force. Hey, this is what writers at the time say happened, we weren't there. The Persians went on to preside over Egypt for ages to come. Cats went on to lazily rule over man until the end of time itself.