Considering that warfare is a wall-to-wall carnival of gruesome horror, you wouldn't think you'd run into that many moments of wacky slapstick. And you certainly wouldn't expect armies to be thwarted by tricks so stupid that they could have come from the burglary scene of Home Alone.
But that's exactly what happens in pretty much every war. After all, how else can you surprise the enemy but by doing something so stupid that they'd never expect it? Like ...
6The U.S. Army Distracts the Japanese With a Kickass Air Show
Finding yourself in enemy territory as a war is winding down is like finding yourself at your ex-wife's father's house after you screwed his other daughter. And his wife. And mom. Nothing good is going to happen while you're there.
... nothing but an extra memorable Thanksgiving.
Which is why, during the last year of World War II, the Allies knew their chances of rescuing POWs held in Japanese internment camps in the Philippines were zero, give or take. For one thing, the Japanese already had a track record of seeing surrendered enemies as subhuman and had no problem executing them on a whim. Any attempted rescue could mean freeing a bunch of corpses. They needed a plan. A ridiculous one.
The Cartoonish Plan:
How do you penetrate a camp surrounded by an open field without being seen? The answer is by creating a distraction in the air and hoping that the guards look to the sky long enough for you to belly crawl your way into the camp. In the absence of a Pink Floyd laser show, they figured some sick airplane maneuvers just might do the trick.
Tragically, "Danger Zone" wouldn't be written for another 41 years.
On January 30, 1945, Captain Kenneth Schrieber and First Lieutenant Bonnie Rucks flew their P-61 into what was quite possibly the most moronic mission they had ever attempted. Flying in low, they backfired their aircraft several times while performing aerobatic maneuvers. They continued doing this for 20 minutes, and every Japanese guard watched, waiting for Schrieber and Rucks to crash.
Basically, it was the monster truck rally of the Pacific Theater.
While that was going on, several hundred U.S. soldiers and Filipino guerrillas sneaked up to the camp walls, completely unopposed and unhindered. When the order finally came to unleash hell, every single Japanese tower and pillbox was obliterated in less than 15 seconds. The Americans quickly liberated the camp and the 500 POWs located there. All because somewhere along the line, someone figured that the Japanese guards would be just as impressed by rolling airplanes as the rest of us.