Throughout the combat history of humanity, there have been proven effective ways to increase, if not effectively, ensure your chance of winning the battle. These may be combat formations like squad file or maybe squad echelon; or techniques like ambushing them or playing with their minds with some psychological warfare. They’re pretty awesome, but sometimes, an unprecedented and unconventional strategy born from a combination of quick thinking and maybe fear is all it takes to turn the tides against the enemies and secure victory. Here are proofs:

Sending Erotic Dancers As Distractions

“The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”

— Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Perhaps this was what Tang General Chai Shao lived by, so when he found himself and his soldiers on the low ground (literally and figuratively) during the Tuyuhun invasion of Gansu in 623, he came up with an idea to confuse and distract the enemy forces.

The battle was fought between the Tuyuhun Kingdom and the Tang Dynasty. The Tuyuhun invaders were on the high grounds showering the Tangs with waves after waves of their pointy sticks. Luckily, General Chai Shao was a quick thinker and thought of the women in their army encampments who were assigned to cook, clean, tend the wounded, and entertain the soldiers. His idea? Give the enemies some entertainment.

He sent some women up the enemy lines accompanied by a musician playing the pipa. The girls positioned themselves on top of a hill, visible to the enemy troops, before they started performing their erotic dances. Their attention turned to these girls, and they rushed to the hill to get a clearer view of the show, forgetting they were in the middle of a war. Chai Shao took the opportunity and attacked the entranced Tuyuhuns in the rear with their cavalry. As a result, they suffered more than 500 casualties throughout the battle.

Faking Your Death

Harald Sigurdsson, also known as Harald Hardrada, was the King of Norway. He was the brother of the saint-King Olaf II and was also the last great Viking warlord of Scandinavia. He fought for the Byzantine Empire as a mercenary and traveled to Sicily to retake it after the Saracens invaded it during his youth. Unfortunately, the walls were impenetrable, and their weapons proved ineffective. Fortunately, he had the best weapon he could ever bring: his big brain.

Harald Hardrada. (Colin Smith / Harald Hardrada / CC BY-SA 2.0)

He pretended to get sick before the gates and stayed in his tent for days. Soon, there were announcements that Harald was already dead, and his grieving mercenaries requested the townspeople if they could please permit his dying wish to be put to rest in one of their town’s beautiful churches. They told them that he was a Christian prince of Norway and brother of Saint Olaf. Perhaps their conscience didn’t want them to deprive a Christian of a proper funeral, or maybe it was so they could use his tomb to warn future besiegers of what could happen to them if they tried to invade. Whatever it was, they agreed to have him entombed inside the city.

They opened the gate, and the mournful procession marched in, with a clergyman waiting at the entrance. Soon, the very much alive Harald jumped from his coffin like a surprise gift from hell. The gates were blocked from being closed as his troops rushed in and slaughtered everyone.

Convincing Your Enemies To Fake Sickness

During World War II, Denis Sefton came up with a brilliant way of crippling enemy forces without firing a shot.  He was a British journalist of Australian roots born in Berlin. He used his journalistic skills by producing fake radio broadcasts and pretending to be a nonexistent person called “Der Chef” on the radio. Der Chef was a fictional Nazi diehard and Prussian officer who lambasted the incompetence of Hitler’s subordinates for screwing up the war and failing to live up to the high ideals of National Socialism.

British journalist Sefton Delmer. (Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F005102-0003 / Steiner, Egon / CC-BY-SA 3.0CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons)

His broadcasts included a long reading of numbers that the Gestapo was supposed to think was a code being sent to a fictional Nazi resistance movement within Germany. The Gestapo was able to break the code but the information in it was so vague(intentionally) that it sent them chasing around after false leads and meeting places that could be any of a dozen places.

He also wrote books and pamphlets on how to fake an illness if they wanted an excuse to avoid the military, providing recipes, tips, and tricks to make one look ill and convincing. This resulted in higher absenteeism. When they found out that some soldiers were faking it, they sent the ill soldiers back into the field, even those genuinely sick, further demoralizing the army or spreading the diseases in the field.

The broadcasts(some 700 of them) were so convincingly done that the Germans thought they were actually being broadcast inside Germany by a growing anti-nazi movement using portable transmitters. Even the US was fooled by this secret British radio program and believed it originated within Germany as well.