This Moment In Dumb History: The Great Emu War

The Players

Major G.P.W Meredith (M.M.)

Private Franhampton (P.F.)

Gunner Turver (G.T.)


Campion District, Western Australia


November 1932

Interior, large office with two chairs and a desk.  Major Meredith stands behind the desk as Private Franhampton and Gunner Turver enter the room.  They salute the Major, and the Major returns the salute and invites them to sit down.

M.M.:  Men, thank you for making it into today.  I want to welcome you to this briefing.  Before we begin, there is coffee and bagels here available to eat, so help yourself.

P.F. and G.T.:  Thank you.

M.M.:  Okay, everyone set?  Great, lets begin.  I’m sure you are both wondering what you are doing here today to cause you to wake up this early in the morning.

G.T.:  Admittedly, it crossed my mind.

M.M.:  Well, I will get right to it.  We have a very serious situation that we must begin to deal with today. Command has labeled it with top importance.

P.F.:  Is it war, Major?  ‘Cuz I don’t remember any war declarations lately.

M.M.:  It is war, Private.  A very important one.

G.T.:  If it’s war, why isn’t everyone else here?  Is this some sort of special op?

M.M.:  Yes, yes my good man.  The three of us will no doubt be enough to send those blasted birds to the sky from which they once came from.  No doubt these feathered foes…

P.F.:  Major, I’m going to stop you right there.  Did you say birds?

M.M.:  Yes man, birds.  Emus specifically.

P.F.: ………………………………..emus?  Seriously?

M.M.:  Quite.  They are taking over our lands and must be stopped at all costs.  We shall not have them rule our territory!  We will defeat them!

G.T.:  …They’re birds.  Pretty sure they aren’t an innimate threat.

M.M.:  On the contrary, Gunner.  They are threatening the farmland of the good people here of this continent, and anything that is a threat to our people requires a response.  Also, we can use those new machine guns to mow ’em down.

G.T.:  I’m sold.

Afternoon, same day.  The three are currently perched upon a truck in the middle of vast farmfields surrounding them on all sides.  Directly in front of them, at a distance, stands a small pack of emus.

M.M.:  Alright men, this is what we were waiting for.  This is our time to take it to the enemy once and for all!

P.F..:  May I remind everyone that we are literally just fighting big, dumb, flightless birds.

M.M.:  Just shut up and start the truck.

G.T.:  Hold on a second.  They are coming closer.

The emus approach within a few hundred feet.  They don’t pay the truck much mind as they begin feeding upon an outcrop of plants.

M.M.:  Gunner, you ready?

Gunner inspects the shiny new machine gun he holds in his hand.

G.T.:  Ready.

M.M.:  Private, you ready?

P.F.. (sighing):  Yep.  I can’t believe I’m being paid to…

M.M.:  Okay and……….FIRE!

Gunner starts firing.  It becomes quickly apparent that the emus are too far away from the gun to hit many.  And upon the first fusillage of bullets, the emus go scattering in every direction.  After a few moments he stops shooting.

M.M.:  Damn those flightless bastards!  Gunner, attach that gun to the truck.  We are going hunting!

G.T.:  Uh….I’m not sure that’s going to work so well but…

M.M.:  That’s an order Gunner!  I am not going to be shown up on the battlefield by those… birds!

P.F.:  How did you become Major again?

M.M.:  Private…..the truck.  Start it.

P.F.:  Yes, Major.

Gunner attaches the gun using some wire and a wooden stand to help support it to the frame of the truck.  However, as they set about traveling the terrain going after the birds, we can see both Gunner and the gun bouncing and jostling around violently.

G.T.:  Major!  I can’t control the gun at this pace.  It’s far too rough!  Tell the private to find some steadier road!

P.F.:  I can’t!  I have to go faster to catch these damn things!  They’re outrunning the truck!

M.M.:  We will get them, just hold on Gunner!  I’ve called in a flank maneuver so that they should all be together right….over…..THERE!

Everyone turns to see a group of what looks like about 1000 birds pinned in surrounded by three sides with chain link fencing with the truck coming in fast from the open side.

M.M.:  Hah!  Now we got ’em!  Get ready Gunner!

They approach now within about 50 yards.  Gunner grabs the machine gun and aims at the closest group to him.  The machine gun spits rapid fire and puts down several of the birds.  Within about 20 seconds however, he stops firing.

P.F.:  What happened?

G.T.:  The gun jammed!  Damn it!

M.M.:  Fix it Gunner!  We have the advantage!

The birds take the moment to charge past the group.  All three quickly scramble inside the truck as hundreds of birds scurry past them.  Gunner attempts to unjam the gun but is unsuccessful.  After about a minute or so, the group of emus has dissapeared once again from the area.

M.M.:  I’ve been outmaneuvered by birds.

P.F.:  That was the craziest thing I have ever been witness too.

G.T.:  No one is going to believe this.

The Major turns very slowly to both Gunner and Private Franhampton with a look of measured determination on his face.

M.M.:  ….And they won’t.  Because we are not mentioning this to anyone.

P.F.:  Sir?

M.M.:  Not…a…word.  You want to admit to command we just got outsmarted by…that Private?

P.F.:  Good point.

M.M.:  …And nothing from you either Gunner.

G.T.:  Mum’s the word, Major.

M.M.:  Good.  Let’s go back.


This is in fact based on a true story.  Search for “The Great Emu War”  for more information on this bizzare moment in history.  Stay tuned for more moments in dumb history.





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