Apichart Weerawong/AP Photo via ABC News
In February 2012, the Iranian government dispatched teams of assassins to kill Israeli diplomats in several countries, to varying degrees of failure:
-- The team in Azerbaijan was caught before they staged their attack.
-- In Georgia, their bomb was defused safely.
-- In India, the bomb exploded but didn't kill anyone.
Some nearby pigeons were almost startled, though.
But then there was the team in Thailand, who set new records for secret agent failure. It all started when some minor mistakes were made while building their bomb, which is really the kind of project that doesn't leave much margin for error. The bomb blew up inside their own safe house, and the three members of the team stumbled out into the street bloody, dazed, and trying to get as far away as possible before the cops showed up. One of them, Saeid Moradi, grabbed two hand grenades on his way out the door.
Moradi tried to flag down a taxi. The driver didn't stop, probably because he was being hailed by a man covered in blood and holding two grenades. So he threw one of his grenades at the fleeing cab, as if that was going to make it stop and pick him up. He missed. The explosion, however, alerted every cop in the area as to where he was.
Stephen Morton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
He was too far from his secret hiding spot full of tracer rounds.
As the police closed in, he threw his second grenade at them. It bounced off a tree, rolled back to his feet, and exploded, blowing off both his legs.
The other two guys were caught later. All of them got some lengthy prison sentences for the crime of accidentally blowing themselves up several times in one day.
Long War Journal
"This was all part of my design to intentionally get captured, like in Skyfall! Here, hook up this laptop."
We've already covered how SS Lieutenant Colonel Otto Skorzeny was one of history's greatest supervillains. What we haven't talked about was how, during the Battle of the Bulge, he led a 600-man commando unit whose mission was to sneak behind Allied lines, dressed in American uniforms and driving captured American Jeeps. Once they blended in as American troops, they were supposed to blow stuff up, give soldiers wrong directions, and eventually make their way to Paris, attack General Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters, and take him dead or alive.
Here was the first problem: only 10 of those 600 men could speak fluent English. They were supposed to do all the talking. The Nazi high command told the other 590 that if an American talked to them, they were to pull down their pants and run off into the woods pretending to have explosive diarrhea. That is not a joke. That was their actual plan.
German Federal Archive
Adolf Hitler: Master of Espionage.
The Germans also made bad attempts at learning American slang: One man was sharing a cup of coffee with an American soldier and handed him the last dregs of a cup to finish while saying "up your bottom" instead of "bottoms up." Another shouted at an American soldier to "keep your pecker up" while peeing.
Most of the captured commandos were executed as spies, since by fighting in enemy uniforms, they were not considered prisoners of war. Others were shot by their own side, because German fighter planes couldn't tell the difference between Americans riding in an American Jeep and Germans dressed as Americans riding in an American Jeep.
"Wait, I suddenly see the flaw in our plan!"
The remainder tried to launch an attack to rescue the guys trapped behind enemy lines, and charged straight into the Norwegian Battalion. Yep, after trying for who knows how long to get these schmucks to speak proper English, they just happened to fight the only Allied soldiers in the entire region that couldn't speak English. Word has it that the SS men charged yelling "Surrender or die!" The Norwegians looked at them funny before mowing them down with machine guns.
The operation ended with nothing infiltrated, most of the men dead, and Eisenhower completely safe.
Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images
Way back before Saddam Hussein became President of Iraq, he worked a part-time gig as a hitman for the Ba'ath Party, which he would later control. In October 1959, he was sent with six others to kill General Abd al-Karim Qasim, the then-dictator of Iraq. Their "plan," if you can call it that, was to jump out into the middle of the road in front of and on both sides of Qasim's car and shoot it up. If you don't immediately see what is wrong with this, let us draw you an illustration:
In real life, unlike the movies, bullets that miss don't just evaporate in mid-air.
As planned, the seven assassins jumped out at Qasim's car as it drove down the street. Two of their guns immediately jammed. The other five started shooting wildly at anything that moved. Saddam was supposed to shoot Qasim's bodyguards while the others shot Qasim, but instead he started shooting at Qasim, too. Another of the assassins accidentally killed one of his own men standing on the other side of the car. The fourth one hit Saddam in the leg. The fifth guy had a grenade, and was about to throw it when Qasim drew a pistol on him. He dropped it and ran away.
Qasim sat there while the assassins sprayed bullets everywhere like Imperial Stormtroopers. They shot his car 43 times and a random taxi that pulled up 20 times because hey, why not. This hurricane of gunfire left Qasim's driver dead and Qasim and two other men slightly wounded.
And most tragically of all, Qasim missed the previews.
After killing as many of their own men as they killed of the enemy, the assassins scattered. In order to make himself not look like an idiot, Saddam later wrote a book (which was made into a movie) that depicted him digging the bullet out of his own leg using nothing but a razor blade and sheer manliness, then swimming the Tigris River to escape before riding a horse all the way to Syria. In reality, he went to the doctor. Then he went home.
But inconvenient "facts" didn't stop Saddam from celebrating the anniversary of his fake exploits by dancing in a speedo on national television.
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