We've told a lot of stories about badass soldiers on modern battlefields. It's inherently cool to be someone who has survived whizzing bullets and bursting artillery, and it's inherently cooler to be someone who looked out at all that modern murder technology and said, "Fuck it, too easy."
Collected below are men who didn't need guns to make a difference on battlefields full of modern weaponry. They brought knives, fists, and freaking shovels to fights someone else started via earth-pounding cannons and automatic weapons. These are men who know that wars aren't won by the side with the best gear and the coolest-looking toys. Wars are won by the side with the soldiers who want it hardest.
5Corporal Toloza Takes on AK-47s With a Pocket Knife
Once upon a time, there was an El Salvadoran corporal named Samuel Toloza. There probably still is a guy named Toloza in El Salvador, but we've got to assume he either quit the army or moved past corporal a while back.
At this point, he's probably evolved into a being of pure energy.
Anyway, Toloza owned a pocket knife. He brought it with him to Iraq, probably in anticipation of the myriad knife-related tasks you run into when your life is basically one long armed campout. He used it to slice open MREs, maybe pry open the odd can of chili, and all in all the knife had a pretty placid life until the day Iraqi gunmen surrounded Toloza and his buddies.
The soldiers quickly ran out of ammunition. They were wounded, outnumbered, and functionally unarmed. It's not the sort of situation most soldiers thrive in. It's also not the sort of situation small pocket knives thrive in, especially considering small pocket knives only really thrive when you're whittlin' or cutting up lines of coke. But Corporal Toloza had gone to all the trouble of bringing that knife to Iraq. So he figured "fuck it" and charged a bunch of dudes with automatic rifles wielding a blade almost small enough to legally carry on a plane.
AP Photo/Saurabh Das via Joint Force Quarterly
"Does the crusted blood count against my 3 ounces of liquid?"
Toloza stabbed several of the attackers, who, we've got to stress this, had freaking guns. This whole "crazy knife-wielding man" thing was enough to knock the Iraqis off their game until a counterattack could rescue Toloza and his men. Although if they hadn't, he was probably only one X-ACTO away from being able to finish the job.
4Gurkha Beats Taliban Insurgents Down With a Tripod
Actual weapons are all well and good, but you don't always have the luxury of something designed to hurt people, or even something designed to cut open small packages and lengths of rope. Sometimes all you have is a tripod. A Nepalese Gurkha named Dipprasad Pun found himself in exactly this situation one gunfire-y night in Afghanistan.
Cate Gillon / Getty
Pictured: a Gurkha. Not pictured: fucks.
Pun was on guard duty, alone, when dozens of attackers swarmed out of the mountains with murder on their minds. He emptied every weapon in his arsenal: a machine gun, 17 grenades, and a land mine, somehow. But eventually that all ran dry, and there were still Taliban guys he hadn't killed.
A normal man might have given up. Pun grabbed a nearby gun tripod and proceeded to wail on multiple armed men until help finally arrived. It's hard to imagine he needed them. Give a dude like this an empty iPhone case and he could probably fight his way out of a convention for drunken UFC fighters with impulse control problems.
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Shit, he could probably hobble Seal Team Six with the case for that medal.