5 Soldiers Who Were More Badass Than Rambo (Without Guns)
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.
Corporal 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.
"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.
Gurkha 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.
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.
Shit, he could probably hobble Seal Team Six with the case for that medal.
Grabbing a Bomb Maker Off a Motorcycle
Movies have the benefit of trained stuntmen and women, people who dedicate their entire professional lives to figuring out how to jump from moving vehicle to moving vehicle without crippling themselves. War sometimes calls for the same abilities, but provides no opportunity for preparation. It's also got notoriously lax rules about cushioned landing pads. This probably leads a lot of young men to die horribly trying to do awesome-looking stunts.
But every now and then, it works out gloriously.
Almost as glorious as his matted locks of power.
Private Lee Stephens, one of the crewmen on a British Warrior armored vehicle, was minding his own business, chasing down a motorcycle-bound terrorist. The bad guy's comrades were providing covering fire, and Stephens had no weapon in hand to take the shot. So, he used his body as a weapon and leaped off the goddamn truck to tackle that terrorist off his motorcycle. Said terrorist turned out to be a high-level bomb maker, and this whole story pretty much fulfills our need for a new Lethal Weapon movie.
Unlike a movie, Lee didn't have a screenwriter to help him script his explanation to the press:
"My muckers were getting shot at and I was hopefully doing what they would do for me in the same situation."
This is the only picture we could find that's nearly as British as the sentence you just read.
No one at Cracked knows what the word "muckers" means, but based on the context, we have to assume he was talking about his testicles.
Two Men Fistfight on an Active Battlefield
OK, so the Civil War isn't super modern as conflicts go, but it was a war where gunfire dominated the battlefield, and old standbys like the sword really started to look like outdated relics of a more elegant, less survivable age. But at least the sword has a few thousand years of advancement on freaking fists, mankind's first and fleshiest of weapons.
Hello, old friend.
So you wouldn't expect one of the first mechanized wars in history to have had any fistfights of consequence. It's just a stupid idea in an era of Gatling guns. And yet two bold soldiers weren't willing to leave man's oldest way of messing up his fellow man behind. During the Battle of the Wilderness, a Yankee and a Confederate warrior each sheltered in the same gully for cover from the murder whizzing about in the air above them.
They decided immediately that this whole "dual occupancy" trench thing wasn't going to fly. Both men agreed that one of them needed to take the other prisoner. A straight-up fistfight was the only sane way to decide which man would capture the other. So they started punching each other, and gradually both sides around them stopped firing to gawk at the spectacle of two young men fisting each other's meaty frames in a brutal ballet much less sexy than this sentence has made it sound so far.
Like this, but before showering existed.
Eventually the Yankee surrendered, and the two presumably staggered off arm-in-arm to have a beer.
One Man Makes War the Shovel Way
Every now and then we come across a story so insane, so unbelievably impressive, that we can't believe we haven't already covered it on Cracked. We're convinced the only reason you haven't already heard of Anthony Kaho'ohanohano is because his name ought to be freaking impossible based on everything we know about letters.
But he was a real man. And he could do more with a folding shovel than the average SWAT team can do with ... uh, itself.
Hell, this guy ate SWAT teams and pooped out Delta Force.
Kaho'ohanohano was fighting in the Korean War, trying to stop North Korea from becoming All Korea, when he ran into a minor problem: All his friends were retreating, and he had to stop an entire army from chasing them down. He did this via the traditional methods, aka "every gun at hand." But eventually those ran out, and he was also shot repeatedly. When the North Koreans massed for their final charge, Kaho'ohanohano had only one weapon left: his entrenching shovel.
The world will never know exactly what happened that fateful day, but when American forces recovered the position, they found Tony's body, shovel in hand, surrounded by 13 men he'd beaten to death before deciding to take the counsel of his many bullet wounds and die.