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How Killer Bees Triumphed Against The Allies In One World War One Battle

How Killer Bees Triumphed Against The Allies In One World War One Battle

When studying up on important events in history, you will find that honey bees are largely absent from most world changing events. However, one decisive battle that was fought during World War One saw dangerous African bees join the fight, and they significantly influenced the battle’s outcome. When World War One broke out in 1914, the warring European nations owned colonies in Africa. Therefore, much of the war had been fought on African soil. Unfortunately, the British and German forces that were fighting on the continent did not possess any knowledge concerning African wildlife, which is why a sudden appearance by thousands of killer bees during a battle took them by surprise. This surprise bee attack occurred during the battle of Tanga in November of 1914. After suffering several casualties at the hands of the much larger British forces, German troops gained an advantage after they received some help from local bees.

Tanga, which is located in what is now Tanzania, was being occupied by German troops since the start of the war. There was an official agreement between the warring nations that African land would be left alone by all sides. Despite this agreement, eight thousand British troops and their Indian allies arrived at the seaport town of Tanga in order to attack the German occupiers. During the first two days of battle, the British swiftly made territorial gains in the region. The German forces were outnumbered by the British by 8 to 1. But, just when everything seemed lost for the Germans, an enormous swarm of African honey bees appeared over the horizon. The bees had been agitated by the loud gunfire, and decided to attack the British and Indian troops in return. Only a few Germans sustained stings, but the British were panicking as they sprinted away from the bee swarm. One British soldier reportedly died after sustaining thousands of stings. The bee swarm contained millions of bees, and they literally chased the British troops off of the battlefield. The British were forced to abandon their guns and equipment in order to escape the wrath of the angry bees. Thanks to this sudden bee attack, the British suffered their first and arguably most humiliating defeat since the war’s start.

Have you ever heard of using weaponized insects in warfare?