War! You know what it is good for? Stories of unfathomable badassery, that's what. Over the years, we at Cracked have gathered a formidable collection of these stories, and we've put the very best of them here so that a whole new generation of readers can feel inadequate about their life choices. Read on and you'll learn all the military history too pants-burstingly awesome to make it into your history books.
94Commandos in Fake Boobs and Blackface
What if you had to disguise some commandos who were going to be walking right past enemy guards? You'd have to come up with something amazing -- lives are at stake here.
Or, you could come up with something so stupid that the enemy finds it too awkward to make eye contact. Such was the thinking of Israeli special forces commandos who infiltrated Beirut in 1973 to kill three leaders of the PLO. To not arouse suspicion, they took several hulking special forces guys and dressed them up as women, complete with wigs, high heels and fake boobs.
"Uh, guys, the mission's been over for like a month ..."
Pairing up with men dressed as men, they walked along in each other's arms like they were on dates. They walked right past police, bodyguards, etc. without raising any questions, such as why that woman had a five o'clock shadow and an Adam's apple, or what that lump was that looked like an Uzi hidden under their clothes.
When they got to the Palestinian leaders' bedrooms, they kicked in the doors, whipped out their guns and killed everyone.
Oh, and lest you think this was a bad career move, one of the "women" was Ehud Barak, who later became Prime Minister of Israel and is currently Defense Minister.
Robert D. Ward
We repeat: People died because they mistook this man for a woman.
The Israelis hardly invented this technique, by the way. In 1943, 11 Australian commandos, all white, disguised themselves as Malay fishermen by dyeing their skin brown and boarding a fishing boat. They sailed through 2,000 miles of Japanese-controlled ocean from Australia to Singapore. At one point they even traveled right alongside a Japanese warship without them noticing anything strange (which was good, because none of the commandos could speak Malay). They then took canoes right into Singapore Harbor, where they blew up seven Japanese ships before escaping.
Australian War Memorial
So racism is OK as long as you have plenty of bombs and canoes.
But to top them all, Sarah Edmonds, a 21-year-old white woman working as a spy for the Union Army, infiltrated Confederate territory in Virginia disguised as a black man. Somehow, this totally worked, and she snagged the plans to a fort and the identities of some Confederate spies before "escaping" back to Union lines.
Yet neither of her identities were allowed to vote.
93Matt Hughes Curves the Bullet
Welsh Royal Marine sniper Matt Hughes was participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, looking for a perfect occasion to shoot some dudes from really far away. He found it in two Iraqi troops who were holding up the offensive. Hughes was ordered to take them out. And not out to dinner, unless they both ordered a lead steak. A tiny one, shaped like a bullet.
"Sir, I understand you didn't like it, but you've already eaten most of it. I'll have to get a manager."
The problem was that the wind was blowing tremendously. See, this is something that doesn't come up in the movies -- when you're trying to shoot from far away with any kind of wind, you have almost no goddamned idea where the bullet will end up. Sniping isn't just holding the cross hairs steady on the tiny soldier in the scope; it's trying to predict gusts of wind that could push the bullet into some innocent tree trunk 50 feet away. And yes, that's how much of a difference wind can make. You can not only miss the guy, but miss the whole house he's standing in.
So that's what happened to all those road signs in the country!
Oh, and as if his fate were being written by the vengeful spirit of a vaudeville comedian, Hughes discovered that his targets were a little over a half mile away, which, powerful wind notwithstanding, was beyond the range of the rifle he was using. To make matters worse (and yes, there apparently was still room for them to get worse), the enemy soldier he was targeting was covered in a fortified position, with only a small portion of his head and torso exposed. Hughes would have only one chance, because if he took a shot and missed, the Iraqi would simply duck completely behind cover and never come back up. It'd be like if Luke Skywalker had been commanded to park his X-Wing at the beginning of the trench, and to lean out of the cockpit with a grenade wedged in his ass and try to power-shit it into the Death Star's exhaust port.
Cackling in the face of insurmountable odds, Hughes did his best to judge, based on the haze from the heat, how to aim the rifle to hit his target. His judgment led him to aim the shot 56 feet to the left and 38 feet high, which is another way of saying "Hughes pointed his gun in a totally unrelated goddamn direction."
"If I can take out the sun, we'll kill the whole Iraqi army."
Either way, Hughes presumably prayed to the sniper gods and let off his first and only possible shot, not even remotely pointed toward his target, and watched as the arc of the bullet formed the shape of a giant banana and struck the enemy soldier directly in the chest. Needless to say, the Iraqi was killed, though we're fairly certain his last words were the equivalent of "Oh, no fucking way."