The Great Emu War

Shortly after world War I, and during desperate times, the Australian Military declared war on a large mob of emus, a battle which they ultimately lost. 

Shortly after World War I ended, many Australian and British soldiers starting taking up land and farming in the remote regions of Western Australia. When the Great Depression came along, most farmers were provided with incentives from the Australian government to increase their wheat crops, but the incentives were not forthcoming. To make matters worse, in the early 1930's a migration of approximately 20,000 emus made their way into the wheat fields and formed a habitat, consuming and spoiling the wheat crops that the country desperately needed.

With nowhere else to turn, the farmers approached the government for assistance, which was returned in the way of soldiers with machine guns.

In October 1932, the military engagement was set to begin under the command of Major Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Artillery, Meredith, along with 2 soldiers, 2 Lewis guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition, went to war with the emus, they quickly learned that the emus were gathering in small groups due to the abundance of food.

In their first attempt the soldiers began firing from 1,000 meters out, but the first burst fell short of the pack, and the second killing about 12 emus before they raced for cover.

Later that day the soldiers attempted an ambush, on the cusp of sunset about 100 birds approached the dam when the guns were positioned and got to within 100m before the soldiers opened fire, but the emus quickly spread and further shooting seemed futile.

The next day they attempted another ambush with 1000 emus in their sights, but again they quickly spread, with their escape aided by the jamming of one of the machine guns, many were surprised to see the emus resilience to being wounded as they kept on running after being shot. Major Meredith was quoted as saying "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 Zulu's…".

Frustrated with his limited success, the major mounted one the guns to a farmers truck in a bid to keep up with the emu's, but with the weight of the gun and the solder, the truck couldn’t keep up with the emus.

One of the farmers attempted to 'hit and run' one of the straggling emu's at the back of the pack, but the emu ended up smashing through the car, getting tangled in the steering wheel, forcing the truck off the road and crashing it into the fence.

Within a week the Australian Defence Minister had ordered a military withdrawal.

The farmers went back to parliament in 1934, 1943 and 1948 and pleaded for the military to re-engage, but the Australian government was reluctant to go to war with the emus again.