5. Emu War: How Australia lost a war against birds
The Emu War, also known as The Great Emu War, was a week-long military operation undertaken in Australia in November 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amuck in the Campion
district of Western Australia. The emus were responding to a long, hot
summer, which caused shortages of food and water. The "war" was
conducted under the command of Major Meredith of the Royal Australian
Artillery, commanding a force of soldiers armed with two Lewis machine
guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition. But shooting blindly into a group
of birds which can run up to 50 km/h (30 mph) did not brought the
expected results. The birds simply ran away even after being hit by a
machine gun round.
Over the course of a week or so, only a handful of the estimated 20,000 birds were actually killed. Major Meredith - the Australian commander in the "Emu war" - was astonished and famously compared the emus to Zulus. After a few days the Defence Minister ordered a withdrawal. And thus the "Emu War" ended in a military defeat for Australia.