French Soldiers Hid Inside a 'Dead Horse' to Get Close to Enemy Trenches

By Lily Rowan

During World War I, opposing sides sat in trenches for years on end, blasting each other to oblivion.

This created a problem: How do you sneak out toward the enemy trenches without being seen when you've already obliterated everything around you until the entire landscape is just a flat, barren expanse of charred dirt and corpses? Well, the French army had the perfect solution: Disguise yourself as a dead thing.


The idea came when a horse broke loose, ran wildly toward the enemy trenches and, unsurprisingly, got shot.

"Hmmm," someone said, "look at that horse carcass -- you could almost hide a soldier inside one of those." Of course, hiding a soldier in the actual carcass would be crazy, but the idea isn't without its merits.

So inspired by the idea, the French soldiers built a hollow papier-mache replica of the dead horse, with a gun port elegantly situated in its anus.

After dark, a group of soldier sneaked out into no-man's land, right up near the German trenches, dragged away the dead horse and replaced it with the papier-mache with a sniper inside. He also had a telephone wire that ran back to his own trenches so he could send back reports of German movements.

They kept this up for three days before one German soldier spotted a man climbing out of the dead horse they'd shot a few days before. Of course, the Germans destroyed the decoy, but that didn't stop the French from trying it again a few more times.

H/T Camoupedia