I am in the middle of reading An Ice Cream War by William Boyd, and came to notice a bit of an anniversary. It’s now hundred years since the Battle of Tanga, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bees.
This was the first major engagement in Africa in World War One. The British attempted to capture the town of Tanga by amphibious assault, with the element of surprise, after an agreement to keep the settlement neutral had fallen apart. Unfortunately for the British, they spent too long faffing around in the boats and by the time they attacked, the Germans had had time to prepare. In the resulting battle, the British were forced to withdraw by a much smaller German force.
The most remarkable part of the battle however was what happened to the 98th Infantry Regiment. They charged into a field full of African bees nests – those full of suddenly angry African bees. They were routed before they even made contact with the enemy. As, in fact, were the nearby Germans. Bees 1 Humans (of all nationalities) 0.