The Emu War.

by Daniel Russ on January 14, 2012

Emu, large flightless birds that can run 50 mph and  swim as well.

An Emu

 

 

There is little about war to laugh about. That said, there  is so much war in world history, it’s hard to imagine that there would not be wars so ludicrous, so asinine that we would not find anything to laugh about.

 

In 1932, Western Australia experienced a horrific drought that sent animals into the cities looking for water and food. Among the most pestilent were flocks of emus, yes emus, large birds that can run 50 miles per hour and can eviscerate you with a single swipe of one of their talons.

 

Major Meredith, an Australian commander was a trained artillery commander. He was ordered to solve the problem. There is a saying that if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. This Army officer led two machine regiments out to the paths where the emus entered local townships. The men carried two Lewis Machine Guns. The Lewis Machine Guns in this war fired the British .303 Enfield round with an effective range of a mile and a half carried in a drum magazine with a capacity of 47 rounds. The .303 round can knock a man down and kill him before he hits the ground.

 

When Australian troops spotted flocks of emus, they opened fire. The emus scattered, and even when feathers popped up in the air off of the bird indicating a hit, the emus continued to run. It didn’t seem to matter much to the emus who returned time and again. After a week, Meredith commented “if we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds, it would face any army in the world. They could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus…”.

 

After a week of engagement, having fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition and having killed maybe five birds, the Australian Army withdrew, officially losing the war to unarmed flightless birds.

 

 

A World War I era weapon, the Lewis Machine Gun

The Lewis Machine Gun

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