Obscure and/or unusual military conflicts.


Book Reviewer
Leafing through an old copy of The Chap, I came across this little gem in an interview National Army Museum staffer.

Q. Which military campaign would you have gladly taken part in, given the chance?

A. The Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896. It started because of a cricket match, it lasted three-quarters of an hour and there were no British casualties.
Had never heard of that glorious campaign before and was especially amused to discover that we demanded payment from the Zanzibar Govt for the shells we'd fired at them!
Yes it's Wiki, but it cross checks

Just wondering how many other unusual such conflicts there are in our history? I guess the War of Jenkins' Ear gets the award for most bizarrely named conflict. Any more for any more?
I think one of the least heard of was the Invasion of Tibet which was lead by Captain Younghusband in 1906. This came about due to the cattle raids by the tribesmen of Tibet on India. If you can the book on this by the Captain it is a very good read.
The Football War, El Salvador v Honduras, July 1969.

Tensions were running high between the two countries for various reasons, when they met in the qualifying rounds of the 1970 World Cup. For the statto's, first game went 1-0 to Honduras, second went 3-0 the other way. Playoff was 3-2 El Salvador when rioting broke out which escalated somewhat - full scale war, infact. Lasted about a week, I've got no idea who won. They take the Beautiful Game quite seriously, it would seem.

Edited to add - Errikson or McClaren not involved in any way, hotheads that they are.
"The War of Jenkins' Ear" - 1731

The strangely named "War of Jenkins' Ear" had an improbable and superficial origin, and an unusually tragic ending. In 1731, a Spanish coast guard sloop off Havana boarded the English privateer Robert Jenkins of the Rebecca as he made his his way from Jamaica to London. The Spanish found no evidence of privateering, but repeatedly tortured Jenkins and a Lieutenant Dorce finally sliced off his ear with his cutlass and told him to take it to King George as a token of what they had in mind for the king. Seven years later Jenkins was invited by a certain party of warmongers to display his pickled ear to Parliament, thereby inflaming British and American colonial opinion against Spain. The government of Hugh Walpole duly but reluctantly declared war. The press and later historians could not resist naming the war for its theatrical beginning.

Clickety Click


Book Reviewer
My contribution - again, Wikipedia is easiest, but it seems pretty straight compared to the little I have read of this conflict.

Laydeez and Gents, I give you:


The war between France and Thailand. Results:

Thai Army 1 0 French Army (Saved from disaster by the Legion)

Royal Thai Airforce 1 0 French l'Armee de Air

Royal Thai Navy 0 1 French Navy

The Japs brokered a ceasefire, and later invaded and captured all the territories....
I'll have to hunt for the book but how about the spanking fresh subltan whose's first command was an Imperial Japanese Infantry Battalion in what is now South Vietnam and spent his time fighting bandits (Viet Minh mostly) Gives a vivid description of getting a "bollacking" from his Japanese escort for getting involved in a scrap after having been presented with the heads of the bandits.

Now that's an odd entry on a CV......
Way back in 1859, the British and Americans had a war over the San Juan Islands called The Pig War. Though the lands were disputed for many years it was the killing of a pig owned by the British Hudson Bay company which started the war. It lasted 12 years and was finally settled following arbitration by Kaiser Wihelm I. Total casualties - 1 x pig.

pig war

Of interest to American civil war buffs, the Captain Pickett involved with this war is the same Pickett famed for his charge on the last day of the Gettysburg battle.
US and the UK nearly came to have a really pointless scrap in 1859: the "Pig War"

On one end of the island is “English Camp.” “American Camp” sits on the other end, allowing our two countries to glare at each other across this small, hilly and forested island for nearly thirteen years in what is known as “The Pig War.” The short version concerns a farmer — American — that was possibly squatting on land claimed by the Hudson Bay Company, who also owned a few pigs. The farmer was unhappy when these British pigs kept rooting up his potato patch until he finally shot one. The situation then quickly spiraled out of control

”The Football War, El Salvador v Honduras, July 1969……………. I've got no idea who won. “

Yeah, well, with a score of 0-0 the match was awarded to Honduras. Right at the last knockings of extra time, El Salvador was awarded a penalty after they had a Self Propelled Gun fouled from behind in the box. They assigned Airborne to take the kick who started their run from 2000ft. Unfortunately due to an unprecedented updraft from the hedge at a Taco eating contest, they completely missed the world, and the war timed out.


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