The Day The Austrian Army Lost 10000 Soldiers To Friendly Fire

Austria during 1787, or as they were known at the time the Hapsburg Empire, was a close ally of Russia. This was mostly to fight a common foe: The Ottoman Empire. The Turks were attempting to expand heavily into Europe and in 1788 there was fierce fighting in current day Romania, over who would control the Danube River. This was a key supply river at the time and would allow either force to easily reinforce. There were many bloody battles during this time, yet mostly this war is remember for the infamous events that took place in Karansebes which resulted in the death of 10000 soldiers.

I know what you are thinking, this was a war and there is bound to be a high amount of casualties. However, these soldiers all perished as a result of friendly fire! In fact, the Turkish Army had not even arrived at Karansebes before Austrian artillery was blowing their own troops to smithereens! It may be one of the most embarrassing military failures, and why it largely went undocumented until around 40 years later.

Of course, friendly fire does happen, it is one of the sinister consequences of war. In the heat of the moment, sometimes vital communications are lost and mistakes happen. Yet never has it resulted in such high casualties. So how did the Austrian Army essentially defeat itself during the 1788 Battle Of Karansebes?

One thing we have to note is that the Austrian Army was made up of Austrians, Czechs, Germans, French, Serbs, Croats, and Polish. This made communication a nightmare for officers, as no one spoke the same language, and resulted in an army that was poorly organized. And it was this language barrier that was their downfall. During the night some Austrian infantrymen and cavalrymen got into an argument over some alcohol that had been offered by some passing Gypsies. Of course, every Austrian wants to drink some Schnapps. Especially when going to battle!

The argument turned ugly and a shot was fired, suddenly the main camp was shouting “Turks, Turks!” and utter chaos ensued. Austrian officers were shouting “Halt, Halt!” in German, trying to restore order but the majority of the soldiers did not speak German and believed they were hearing the Turks screaming “Allah Allah” as they attacked. Suddenly everyone was shooting anything that moved in the darkness, however, the worst was yet to come. A commander believing the Ottoman cavalry was reaping havoc upon the camp decided to bombard his own men with artillery fire! This is what undoubtedly caused the enormous casualties: 10000 Austrian soldiers dead.

The Turkish Army? Well, they did not arrive until 2 days later and found to their delight that the town of Karansebes had no defenses.

Next Article
  • Let’s Nuke The Moon Just Because We Can

    Any guesses to who once said that? Yup, you guessed it… The United States once planned to shoot a nuclear bomb at the moon for the sole reason of “Because We Can!” The absolute ridiculous project was put into action during the 1950s by the U.S. Air Force and was...

    Read More
  • The Biggest Spread Of Plague Was Not Caused By Rats

    New studies have shown that rats have been unfairly accused of being the main culprit of causing the immense spread of plague during the time known as the Black Death. Initially, the rats were believed to have spread the plague so severely during 14th century Central Europe due to them...

    Read More
  • The First Medieval North American City

    Cahokia was a settlement that thrived during the years of A.D. 1050-1200, a city that held a population of 10000 to 20000 people and covered over six square miles. This made it bigger than even London at the time and numerous other European cities. It was located in Mississippi, close...

    Read More
  • Twenty-Two Years Of Poop Removed Surgically From One Man

    Remember that last time you could not go to the toilet? You just sat there in agony, with just nothing coming out? Or that constipated bloated sensation that never goes away, well now think that you have had that feeling for wait for it... 22 whole years. Impossible, right? Yes, one Chinese man has defied...

    Read More
  • Yes, There Was A Black Nazi

    Meet Hans Massaquoi, one of the very rare and few biracial Germans who were born and grew up during the Nazi regime. Though do not be mislead by the photo, he was not actually allowed to join the Nazi Party. This does not really make much sense when you remember...

    Read More
  • Marijuana Farms Are Killing Owls

    In California the great marijuana legalization growing revolution is having some dire consequences to the local ecosystem, notably, it seems to be killing Northern spotted owls! Unfortunately the profitable of the marijuana legalization vote in California has seen the rise of numerous unpermitted private grow sites. These grow sites are...

    Read More
  • Napoleon’s Biggest Loss Was Against A Horde Of Rabbits

    Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French emperor who dominated European and even global affairs for over a decade from 1804 to 1814. Renown for being one of the greatest military commanders ever to rule, his campaigns and victories are still studied around the world today. He won the vast majority of his battles, which means his...

    Read More